It is once again a new year and upon every New Year many Americans are known to make New Year’s Resolutions. However, very few ever see their resolution completed. Now resolutions aren’t a bad thing to make, but if you are going to make them, make sure they are attainable and that you find ways to keep going at them (write them down, create a habit, etc.). Also make sure they are beneficial to you and those around you.
We looked at Philippians 3:12-16 this past Sunday (you can listen here) with the message title being “How Much Will You Press This Year?” Paul spoke of how he pressed on to lay hold of that which Christ Jesus laid hold of him and how he pressed toward the goal for prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. That word press means “to run swiftly in order to catch a person or a thing.” In other words, Paul’s Christian walk was not a casual one which many American Christians seem to have where just “being saved” is good enough for them and no further effort is put forward in their walks with the Lord. I spoke on how we need to press (not in our own power but through the power the Spirit gives us) in our walks understanding how much Jesus has done for us (meaning we don’t do it to earn salvation or love from the Lord, but in order to see growth in our lives because of all He has done for us).
I gave the following challenge to those at Calvary Chapel Sanger and also give them to you the reader:
- Devote yourselves to making Sunday morning attendance a priority: only 58% of evangelicals attend any sort of service weekly. We are the body and we need each other. It isn’t about having numbers but seeing growth. Others need you as much as you need others. He has given us all talents and gifts to be used to edify the body. If we aren’t involved with the body, we aren’t benefiting those around us.
- Devote yourselves to daily Scripture reading: only 48% of Protestants say they read their Bible at least once a week. It is no wonder we don’t know the Scriptures! My challenge is to make a habit where daily Bible reading is part of your life. If you have time for TV, time for relaxation, time for other temporary things you certainly have time to read (or even listen on the car ride to work) the Bible. Our website has reading plans for you to develop that habit (or simply download the YouVersion Bible app on your smartphone). This is for your benefit – God won’t love you even more for this (or less for not doing it), but you’ll know Him better and see growth in your own life.
- Devote yourselves to getting involved in one of our Growth Group Home Fellowships: these will start in February and will be an excellent opportunity to make deeper connections with one another, chew on what was taught on Sunday morning, and have the type of fellowship that just isn’t available on Sunday mornings. If your church has small groups or home fellowships, get involved. They will be a blessing to you and to those around you (since again we need each other).
- Devote yourselves to attending at least 2 of the Abide prayer services in January: it is important that corporate prayer is a part of the church’s life. We meet on Sunday nights from 7-8pm and pray for the needs of the body, for one another, for missions, and other things as the Lord leads. We don’t pray down a list but seek the Spirit’s moving and directing in how He wants us to pray. It means there is life in our prayer times and a chance to partner with God in doing His work (prayer is His idea). Hopefully your church has a time for this and if so, get involved.
I would challenge you to write down your goals and hang them up somewhere you can see. You are ten times more likely to fulfill your goals if you write them down and have them somewhere you see all the time. These aren’t to make us legalistic or be used to judge how well we are doing compared to someone else, but to see growth in our lives, the lives of the body, and be able to see that abundant life that Jesus promised that comes only through Him. Take the challenge! How much will you press this year? You can let us know if you use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with #challenge2015
This blog post comes from the thoughts of the sermon on Philippians 3:12-16 titled “How Much Will You Press This Year” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings