Starting Over … again …

A New Year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 525,600 minutes:

What will you do with this New Year?

A New Year brings for many the dreaded resolutions. The thoughts of being able to begin again, make a fresh start, do a ‘Do Over’, take a mulligan, all bring forth the hope of change for us.

Nearly all of us make resolutions. Over 88 percent of Americans will make at least one “resolution” at the start of the year. Of these resolutions, the most common are: (1) lose weight, (2) save or earn more money, (3) quit smoking, (4) spend more time with family, (5) maintain a budget, (6) find a better job, (7) eat better, (8) become more organized, (9) exercise more, and (10) become a better person.

While these are all goals that one should strive for—with 88 percent of Americans setting out to accomplish them each year—less than 20 percent are successful in attaining success in even one of their resolutions.

Why such failure? I believe it is much like everything we try to do. We are just powerless to do things on our own. It is why, year after year, we make the same resolution. Under our own power, we fail.

I am reminded of what Paul wrote, “Through Christ I can do all things!”

I would suggest that what we need are less resolutions and more renewal – the kind of renewal that is found in Christ who promises all things can be made new.

In 1780, John Wesley recorded the words used in a Covenant Renewal Service that he led. The words of the liturgy still serve us well in 2011.

May these old words bring a renewal to you in this new year:

Let us, therefore, go to Christ and pray:

Let me be your servant, under your command. I will no longer be my own. I will give up myself to your will in all things.

Be satisfied that Christ shall give you your place and work:

Lord, make me what you will. I put myself fully into your hands: put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal.

A COVENANT PRAYER

O Righteous God, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, see me as I fall down before you. Forgive my unfaithfulness in not having done your will, for you have promised mercy to me if I turn to you with my whole heart.

God requires that you shall put away all your idols.

I here from the bottom of my heart renounce them all, covenanting with you that no known sin shall be allowed in my life. In your power I will watch all temptations that will lead me away from you.

Through Christ, God has offered to be your God again if you would let Him.

Before all heaven and earth, I here acknowledge you as my Lord and God. I take you, Father, Son, and Holy SPirit, for my portion, and bow to give up myself, body, and soul as your servant, to serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.

God has given the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way and means of coming to God.

Jesus, I do here accept Christ as the only new and living way, and sincerely join myself in covenant with Him.

Christ has told you that you must suffer with Him.

I do here covenant with you, O Christ, to take my lot with you as it may fall. Through your grace I promise that neither life nor death shall part me from you.

God has given holy laws as the rule of your life.

All your laws are holy, just, and good. I therefore take them as the rule for my words, thoughts, and actions, promising that I will strive to order my whole life according to your direction.

The almighty God searches and knows and your heart

O God, you know that I make this covenant with you today without any guile or reservation. If any falsehood should be in it, guide me and help me to set it alright.

And now glory be to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy SPirit. You are our covenant friend.

Through Your infinite grace, I have become your covenant servant. So be it. And let the covenant I have made on earth be ratified in heaven. Amen

May this covenant rule your life in 2017.

May your faith change your life and those around you.

Happy New Year!

Author:

I am a United Methodist Pastor and have the privilege of serving as the Senior Pastor for the church of my childhood. I preach in a place I once was an acolyte. I love to preach, but more importantly I love to teach. I firmly believe that Faith Matters and should affect how we live. This blog is a place where I come to share the randomness that is life and faith ... and the intersection of the two.

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