Saturday, December 27, 2014

What Are Your Plans?

The launching of a New Year is a good time for new resolutions.  Real resolutions are not wish lists, "I should's" or "Wouldn't it be nice?"

Resolution literally means "wholehearted commitment."  Every river has bedrocks, and the water flows around the rocks.

The only way to make significant change is to implement your commitments like rocks -- and then let the rest of life flows around them.  

Many well meaning people depend on inspiration to keep their spiritual resolutions.  Now, inspiration is a good booster to get the rocket off the ground -- but won't keep it flying.

Resolutions won't stick unless accompanied by solid plans!  These plans, when embraced, are the rocks -- the priorities -- and everything else flows around them.

With this in mind. . .

1.  What is your Bible Reading Plan?
If you don't have one, you won't do it.  You may intend to read the Bible regularly, but your efforts will be feeble at best.  Scripture is our spiritual food.  You need it for soul nourishment!  

What is your plan to regularly feed your soul with the Word?

Don't know how to develop one?  Youversion has a wonderful selection of over 50 Reading Plans.  Why not try one of those?

2.  What is your Prayer Plan?
If you wait until you feel like it, you will only pray during emergencies.  God should be more than our spare tire.  He's the steering wheel!  Prayer is our spiritual breath.  We cannot survive without it!

What new prayer commitments do you need to make?  How will you build these into your life?  When will you pray?  How can you strengthen your prayer practices?  How can you develop a better prayer pattern with your family?

3.  What is your Church Attendance Plan?
The Bible challenges us to "forsake not the gathering of believers."  A recent study of church attendance patterns revealed that most of our "regulars" come less than 75% of the time.
  
We're all busy -- but if we're busy to order our lives around God's priorities, then we should change something.

You need to worship with your brothers and sisters.  You need to join your heart together in corporate prayer.  You need to be strengthened by messages from the Bible and your family needs to understand this priority.

Also, your brothers and sisters need you for support, strength and encouragement.  When you are present -- you are a present (a gift) to the others who come.  Your absence leaves a vacancy that no one can fill.

4.  What is Your Small Group Plan?
Are you in a small group of believers for mutual support and spiritual encouragement?  If not, find one and join!

Don't have time?  Sorry.  The busiest people in our church are in small groups.  It's not a time issue.  It's a priority issue.  You find the time to do what's most imporant to you.

Consider the "One Another's" of the New Testament.  Most of these can only be accomplished in a small, loving group of brothers and sisters.

5.  What is Your Giving Plan?
What percentage of your income did you give last year to God's work?  Does this reflect your desire to love and serve Him?  The tithe (10%) has been the historic benchmark of stewardship.  Have you reached that?  If not, what is your plan to get there?   In the grand scheme, everything we own belongs to God, and thus, He should direct all our financial decisions.  

I have discovered, in all my years of ministry, that the loudest protesters against biblical generosity  are those who do not practice it.  Generosity is joyful, and tithers never regret it.

6.  What is Your Blessing Plan?
What are you going to do to bring God's blessing to others this year?  What, specifically, is your calling?  Start at home and work out from there.  How can you bless your spouse?  your children?  your friends?  How can you bless your boss?  your co-workers?  Your neighbors?  How can you bless those who are lost, broken and hurting in your community?  How can you make a difference for someone in another part of the world?

7.  What is Your Servanthood Plan?
Tied closely with #6, what specifically are you going to do to be a part of something bigger than yourself?  How will you invest your life to promote God's work -- beyond your own agenda?  How can you help by joining in and lifting the burden?

Every one of us needs to have at least two places of service -- within the local church (ministry) and beyond the local church (mission).  What are yours?

May God move us from being mere spectators to FULL participants in His glorious work in this world.  May we adjust our lives to reflect this priority.  

If we fail to plan -- we plan to fail!

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