Tag Archives: New Year

Seven Questions To Ask Before Making a Resolution

Bye-Bye 2014

Another year has come and gone. I wish I had more to show for it.

Honestly, 2014 was not so bad of a year, it’s just that I let so much slip by without ever making notes. In other words, if I had kept track of all the blessings afforded me in the past year….well, I’m ashamed that I didn’t. That’s one of the things I am going to try to do better with in the coming year – keeping a journal of good stuff, not just my venting.

So, goodbye 2014. Hello 2015!

Seven Questions

Believe it or not, now’s the time when so many of us prepare to make resolutions for the new year. Because of this, I felt led to preach a sermon in which I posed seven questions: questions we should ask ourselves before we make any new year’s resolutions. The primary text was a prophetic verse from the prophet Isaiah:

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. – Isaiah 50:7

“Seven Questions To Ask Before Making a Resolution”

  1. Do I need to make any resolutions?

There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks.” – David Lloyd George

  1. What has God called me to do? (John 6:38)
  2. Where will I be at this time next year if nothing changes?
  3. What should I do that I know is right, but will cause others to mock me?
  4. Will I be willing to be held accountable?
  5. Will my determination be visible?
  6. Will I rely on my own strength?
  7. To Whom will the glory go when I succeed?

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” – Col. 3:23

 Click on the picture of the church to hear the sermon (edited).

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Getting Ready for Resolutions

Resolutions

We have all made them; we’ve all broken them. However, making a resolution is not a bad thing.

I will be sharing some thoughts about making resolutions in an upcoming post, but for now I want to briefly address one resolution I will not make a priority – having a large crowd at church.

Numbers

Numbers are not a bad thing, either – at least not always. But when it comes to growing a church for numbers’ sake, then numbers are a very bad thing.

I pastor a small church which could benefit from a few more in attendance (there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see a church congregation grow). But on the other hand, numbers don’t paint the whole picture (or is that painting by numbers doesn’t give you the best picture?). Actually, many times small numbers may reflect better than thousands on the roll. How is that possible?

In a commentary on Ezekiel 2:5 I found the following:

“Preachers ought not to look to, to reckon upon hearers, but to listen to the Lord alone.—To preach God’s word compensates even in the case of empty churches.—A full church, therefore, is not always a testimony for the preacher, 2 Tim. 4:3.”*

*John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Ezekiel (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 65.

2 Timothy 4:3 says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

So, a large church could be the result of listener-approved sensationalism and flimsy doctrine. Ever been to one of those, or watched one on television?

Resolution #1

bibleMy number one ministerial resolution (aside from those having to do with my personal walk with Christ and roles as husband and father) will be to “Preach the Word.”

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. – 2 Timothy 4:2

The last thing I will resolve to do is grow an Oprah-sanctioned, ear-scratching, one-size-fits-all book club. I will preach from the Book, full church or not. That will be my “testimony.” That will be my resolution. Therefore I have “set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed (Isaiah 50:7).”

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13 Things (I Don’t Want to Do)

Year-End Sermon

On Sunday night, December 30, 2012, I preached the final sermon of the year at Riverside Baptist Church. It was an honor to stand before the congregation and deliver a word from the Lord. So, what was the message I chose to encourage and motivate us all as we faced the new year?

Forgetting the past and reaching toward the things before has been preached countless times. Beginning again has been covered, as well as how to have a prosperous new year. Therefore, this year I decided to do something a little different. Instead of talking about resolutions or remembering, I simply listed 13 things I do not want to do in 2013.

I Don’t Want to…

1. Believe another politician. Why did I ever? I won’t do it this year, that’s for sure. Even if he/she is telling the truth, how would I know? Let God be true, and every man a liar, especially those running for office (Romans 3:4).

2. Eat more in one sitting than the average family in Africa eats in a week. (Prov. 23:21; 21:17)

3. Lie, cheat, or steal, even when it’s socially acceptable. This is especially important during tax season, but there are many times we lie to each other, deprive each other, and take what isn’t ours. Have you ever told someone you were “fine” when you actually weren’t? You lied. Used two coupons instead of one, just because the cashier didn’t notice? You stole.

4. Be angry.  Anger rarely solves anything. Angry people are miserable and always finding fault. Angry people turn a leisurely drive into a demolition derby. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

5. Whine or complain. What do I have to complain about? Really?

6. Tell people how stupid they are. I don’t understand why some people act the way they do, but I need to be a little more understanding of idiots, morons, ignoramuses, and bone-headed nincompoops. They must answer to God, not me, for their actions (Rom 14).

7. Add another x to my large. I can’t afford any more clothing. Even now I must wear Hawaiian shirts year-round because nothing will stay tucked in. I mean, seriously! The last thing I need is to expand the “temple.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

8. Lose another favorite sock. I can’t figure out how it happens, but something has to be done.

9. Waste time.  Today I listened to my two girls play with a new ukulele. They laughed and sang.  Soon they will be grown, and there will be no more music, games, or bedtime stories. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

10. Get a divorce.  Many do it because the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. They don’t realize the unnatural stuff has a nasty aftertaste. I want to stay with the woman God gave me. Who could be better than a gift from God?  “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

11. Give one more dollar to a guy on the street….without offering the gospel as a condition. If he wants a dollar, then fine. I’ll give him $5 if he lets me tell him about Jesus.

12. Be on a reality TV show. So many people say, “Anthony, your family would make a great reality show.” I say, “Yes, I know.” However, it ain’t gonna happen. The world isn’t ready for it.

13. Forget to pray. I don’t pray enough. More is better. What I need is to follow David’s example and pray morning, noon, and evening (Psalm 55:17). I shudder to think how much I’ve given up by forgetting to spend time with God.

James 4:17  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

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Filed under Christian Living, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce, Do not judge, Future, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Relationships and Family, scary new year, the future, Uncategorized