Happy New Year! How are those resolutions going that you made to start the year? Did you know research suggests that January 12 is the most common day for people to fall off the resolution wagon and that by early February, more than 80% of people have given up on their well-intentioned plans?
Why is it that we find it so hard to stay the course? This is true not only with matters such as diet and exercise, of course, but also when it comes to our spiritual well-being. Two things prove to be helpful in making resolutions that we can keep: first, that they are realistic and second, that we have built in a system of support, encouragement, and accountability.
I want to invite you to consider a resolution for 2019 that is certain to make a difference in your relationship with God, and for that matter in everything about your life this year. I call it the 40-20-10 challenge. Here's how it works:
Commit to attending a worship service at least 40 weeks out of the year. Our weekly participation in worship with a community of faith is so important. It keeps us connected to our faith and also to a group of people with whom we are sharing the journey. 52 is ideal, of course. I just met a woman last week at the church Catherine and I attended while on vacation who has not missed a Sunday at her church in 39 years! Setting the mark at 40, though, gives us all a little grace for those times when someone in the family is sick or a major life event gets in the way. Want to add a little accountability to this commitment? Remember to sign your connect card each week in worship. We'll keep you motivated as you reach certain milestones during the year and celebrate at the end of the year with everyone who completes the challenge.
Commit to spending time reading the Bible at least 20 days a month. Daily Scripture reading nourishes us for faithful living and helps us grow as followers of Jesus. Setting the mark at 20 means averaging 5 days a week, so again there's a little grace built into each week. This year, my group of covenant brothers has committed to sharing in a journey that will take us all the way through the Bible from cover to cover. If you're interested in following along, we are posting each day's reading on Twitter @nrsvbible365 and several of us are also contributing reflections based on our own encounters with the daily readings. If you're not on Twitter but would like to use our set of readings for the year,
and I'd be happy to share them. And if you'd like to use the same devotional Bible that we are all using, you can order it here. A community that is reading together is one that is growing together as well.
Commit to sharing time with God in prayer and silence for at least 10 minutes each day. These few minutes help us reset the spiritual compass on a daily basis. We all get distracted. We all divert our attention at times. We all take detours from where God is trying to lead us. Taking 10 minutes each day to hit the pause button keeps us from getting too far off track before we start finding our way back again. If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up. And definitely don't give up all together! Just get back on your horse and resume the journey the next day.
So there you have it. 40-20-10. Who's in with me? I'd love to hear from you, you can email me or simply reply to this email
. I look forward to seeing what God will do in our lives together in 2019.
Grace and Peace,