Jumpstart the New Year

Ringing in the new year can be overwhelming. According to research conducted by the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution this year. But only 8% of those people will actually achieve their New Year’s goals. The new year is a great opportunity to have a fresh start. Rather than focus on a singular resolution that may or may not be accomplished we like the idea of trying new things in the new year that will draw us closer in our relationship to God and others.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

1. Go deeper in your relationship with God. Just like an athlete hits the gym to build their physical muscles we need to be daily spending time with God through reading His word and prayer to build our faith muscles. Commit to a time minimum. Don’t compare yourself to other people who may be having hour-long quiet times. Start at fifteen minutes a day and do it consistently. Just like a relationship with a friend gets deeper as we spend time with them so will your relationship with God be strengthened as you daily spend time with Him. Don’t get caught up in how you have done it in the past. Give yourself grace. Remember that each season of life calls presents different demands to our schedules. A hectic semester, a house full of kids, or a period of unemployment, take each season in stride and just focus on the present.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

2. Get refreshed. Take a personal spiritual retreat. It can be at your house or a park near by. Turn off all your devices for the day. Yes this can actually be done. We recommend letting people know that you are going to do this so they aren’t trying to reach you. Be still and quiet yourself before God. Bring your Bible a journal, and a book. Take time reading and praying. Listen to the sounds around you. The birds chirping the wind blowing are all reminders of God.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

 3. Serve-Find a ministry or organization to serve with or start your own. God has given you unique talents and abilities. He wants to use you to impact others around you. Pray and ask Him what he wants you to do. Often times, He wants to use our past trials or hurts to help others. From cancer ministries to quilting, there are needs all around us and are an opportunity to provide God’s love by serving.

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

4. Get plugged in- find a small group or Bible study to be a part of. It can be through your church or a ministry that you are a part of. It can even be a group of friends. Pick out a Bible study to go through and commit to doing it for six weeks. There are lots of great resources already out there. Don’t feel like you have to make it up on your own.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

5. Worship-Start your day with worship music. Check out a worship concert. Grab some friends and go to a picturesque place and sing worship. It is easy to get focused on ourselves and become frustrated. Instead, God uses prayer and worship to adjust our attitude and perspective.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

6. Do a cleanse-We’re not talking juices! Instead go through your bookcases and pass on books, CDs, DVDs that you aren’t using anymore to a friend or ministry that could benefit from them. Some ministries will even send resources to missionaries overseas. Ask a local women’s ministry or foster home if they need any clothing and donate your gently used clothing to them.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

 7. Read a book-Ask people for their recommendations. Check out a book written by your favorite leader. Read a book about a ministry that you are interested in getting involved in. Even if you are busy, you can listen to a podcast or a recorded book. We love Purpose Driven Life, Chasing Daylight, Journey of Desire, and Leaders are Made Not Born.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52

 8. Share-Share your faith and what you are learning with others. You could even share an issue of Risen with a friend that is searching. Use the articles as a conversation starter, share your faith journey and ask them what they believe. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your conversation. The Gospel comes to life through our personal testimonies.

“They triumphed over him
 by the blood of the Lamb
 and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11


Jan1

We look forward to hearing how you have jumpstarted your new year! We will be praying that God reveals Himself to you in a new way this year and that your relationship is strengthened. Have an exciting story? Share it with us on our Facebook page.