I hate New Year's resolutions, how about you? But December 31st is almost here.
In AA we always called New Years Eve "amateur night." In the early 80's I used to participate in the Alk-a-thons (24 hours of meetings) that were held at an old train station near New Haven. That is how "we" used to stay sober on the last of the holidays in something we referred to as the Bermuda Triangle - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. It is a tough time to abstain - especially if you are addicted.
There were always a few guys there trying to make another 24 hours. Over the past 30 years, I attended them at various other places. One year I even did close-up magic, making lit cigarettes disappear, changing a $1 bill into a $100 bill, and doing card tricks.
I confess, the last few years my wife and I went to bed at the same time as usual; waking up to news reports of the celebrations around the world while we slept and the usual hang over cures.
I have long since given up on resolving to end or start a new routine in my life on December 31st. The Christian life for me is lived day-to-day. I pray, I meditate, read some Scripture, look for opportunities to be Christ to another, and go to sleep to wake up another day just to do it all over again. I am either pressing in, or sliding back - there are no other choices.
I know, it sounds boring. My kids tell me that all the time. My wife and I like happen to like boring. We go to work during the day, enjoy dinner each night as a family, and snuggle for an episode of Law & Order or CSI. Only an occasional vacation or holiday breaks the routine.
I have also lost my passion for sermons about the new and coming opportunities in the next year. I suppose the church will do the same thing next Sunday; expecting different results - again!
As I got more involved with church, I would attend overnight prayer meetings to ring in the New Year, and cast vision for our next year in ministry. God is always doing something "new" this week of the year - there is always a year of Jubilee, a year of triumph or a year of deliverance.... blah blah, blah. What if we knew we were going to have a year of persecution, hardship and trial? We probably would stone the person that said that!
Church, His mercies are NEW EVERY MORNING - grab yourself a handful!
I guess I would be pleasantly surprised if someone stood up next Sunday and said, this year we are not going to have children's church, nor Wednesday Bible study or home-group. Why? Ummm... because it isn't working, there is no fruit and honestly, it's boring. Or Sunday hasn't seen a salvation in a few months, maybe we should do something else, does anyone have any ideas?
Wouldn't it be cool if someone suggested that we have a fellowship night in which the Spirit of God was let loose in such a way that we didn't know what to expect - one in which there was no specified leader except the one reveled during the 30 minutes of prayer before hand? What if we hung out in prayer until someone heard from God? I know, it sounds kinda Quaker. What if someone came with a "word," a "hymn;" and not a Chris Tomlin song, or someone had a tongue and interpretation? What if we gave our gatherings to God, and didn't have an agenda, a book, or a bulletin? What if?
This year, I propose a New Year's Revolution and not a resolution. Instead of resolving to do what we should be doing anyway, why not resolve to go deeper; with greater abandon then we ever have before?
As Abraham brought Issac to the altar of sacrifice, why don't you (and me) put it all on the altar?
Are you with me? Do you want more of the same, or more of God? Ask yourself, is this all there is to Christianity, and is it enough?
If you are in, then let's pray together.
Lord, I am willing to give up whatever keeps me from you. It could be my job, my home, or just a few TV shows. Lord show me what I need to do to be closer to You.
Jesus, I want more of you, I want to be a part of what you are doing here on earth! I don't want to wear my salvation like a piece of jewelry, but like a power pack that enables me to serve others.
Lord let me experience true peace and true joy, not just calm and happiness which don't last.
Father God, shake what needs to be shaken, heal what needs to be healed, and Lord, let my works be hot for You! Lord let today be the first day that I promise not to look back, but to look up and hear your voice. And remind me to ask again tomorrow.
Lord stop me from being a hypocrite, but ignite me, fill me with your Spirit, set me on fire, unlock the spiritual gifts within me, and let me stop looking to others to supply that which you generously give to those that ask.
Protect my family, and bring my relationships into order; children honoring parents, parents instructing and loving their children, wives submitting to godly husbands and husbands laying down their lives for their Lord, their families and for the gospel.
Let me be filled with hope and faith; quick to forgive and quicker to love. Lord carve out a place for me to be like You with those that are like minded, and those that can lead me closer to your perfect will. And Lord deliver me from evil as I put behind me my selfishness, my faithlessness, and my fear.
Today, Lord God, I desire your spiritual gifts - not that you use my talents, but that you gift me in supernatural ways that I might proclaim Your Kingdom - let it come.
Lord forgive me of my sins, heal my soul, provide seed that I might sow, and bring me to the end of the race; my life spent for You, that I might worship you forever and ever. Amen.
I'm going to pray this everyday until God changes me. I am starting today. Will you join me in the revolution!