The Trumpet Sounds: ‘A New Year’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Columnist

I love the excitement and anticipation that comes with a new year. It brings with it a new opportunity for change and redirection in our lives. Now we all know that when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve at midnight, millions of us have probably set some new goals. Some pledge that this will be the year to quit smoking, lose 50 pounds, write that novel, get out of debt, eat healthy, take that dream vacation, along with other New Year Resolutions. It’s a statistical fact that memberships skyrocket in gyms all over the country in January.

However, by March of each year, the gyms are back to being empty again. These promises are too easy to make and too easy to fail to keep. We fail to follow through, in part, because we set these lofty goals and we don’t have a plan that includes goals. Goals are difficult to achieve if we don’t make a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail, right?

There is an old saying that states that “origin determines destination.” In other words, what you start with is what you’re going to end up with. Have you even considered if this is your year to truly get right with God? If it is don’t just say it – make a plan. Understand that it’s small steps get you where you where you need to go. So, what might those small steps be? It depends on where you are in your walk with God. If you feel like you’re about a mile off the path, consider simply stepping onto the path. The easiest way to do this is to simply pray. You don’t need a form prayer; you don’t need to “know how to pray.” Just simply talk to God as if He were your friend. Maybe make a resolution to spend five minutes a day talking to God. This could be done on your commute to work, or in the shower, or when you walk the dog. Or, make a commitment to begin each day in prayer. After you hit the snooze button, spend the next few minutes talking to God as you prepare to face your day.

If you already pray regularly, maybe consider aiming your resolution at reading the Bible. Many people resolve to read the Bible in a year. This is an achievable goal if you go at it with a plan. Divide the Bible into 365 sections. There are many books, devotionals, and websites to help you do this. Or, you could simply resolve to spend five minutes, or 30 minutes, in the Word each day. Promise yourself that you will read one chapter every morning or one chapter each night before you go to bed.

Maybe you feel that your walk with God is lacking in service? If that is the case, vow to spend more of your time in service to others and therefore in service to God. Find a volunteer organization or speak to a pastor about where your gifts could be best used. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s workmanship, that we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Maybe this is your year to find out what it is that God has prepared for you to do.

Maybe you feel convicted to get right with God financially? If this is the case, make a commitment to give a percentage of your budget back to God. Maybe there’s something in your life that is standing between you and God? Maybe this is the right time to get rid of that something. Whatever you choose to do this year just be sure to take small steps. God doesn’t want you to fail at your walk with Him, so He will help you, if you open yourself up to His help and ask Him for it. Ask Him to point you in the right direction and then to guide your small steps.

This Sunday at South Side we will begin a new series where we will talk about what God has called us to do as followers of Christ. We would love to have you and your family come and worship with us Sunday at 10:45. As you approach a new year, remember the words of Paul when he said in Philippians 4:13 that “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Make this your year. Make this God’s year. It is never too late to get right with your Lord. God will give you the strength you need to follow through. This year start with God and make this year your best ever!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Minister

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Columnist