Going for a Goal… Still? – Sunday Suggestion

At the beginning of 2022, I began a new series called “Sunday Suggestion” and the first in that series was Go for a Goal linked here.

As many people do at the start of the year, it was about setting goals for yourself – although I hesitated to call them resolutions!

We are now nearly two months into the year and for this week’s Sunday Suggestion, I want to encourage you to review your goals.

Are you still on track, or have you let it slide? Is this something you need to pick back up again, or do you now realise (in hindsight) that it was too much to take on this year?

If you are still on course, then good for you! If you are not, then it certainly is not too late to catch up. If miss a meal due to a busy schedule, we do not give up eating altogether, but perhaps eat a little more next time!

If you missed that earlier post, or did not set yourself any goals for 2022, then there is no reason why you cannot (prayerfully) set some right here and now. You perhaps cannot claim them to be “New Year’s Resolutions” but if you think about it, 1st January is just an arbitrary date anyway. Why not start a new, positive habit on 20th February? If it is indeed positive, then there is no better time than now to begin.

In Galatians, Paul says:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9 #Bible

I want to encourage you today not to give up. Press on towards your goal, even if progress has been slow up until now. Do not become weary in doing the good you need to do, instead keep putting one foot in front of the other and sooner or later, you will reach your target.

Do comment below with how things are going, and please do respond to one another’s comment with words of encouragement.

Go for a Goal! – Sunday Suggestion

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

I want to begin this new year with a series I’ve entitled “Sunday Suggestion.” It’s not too cryptic, and I intend it to be a fairly brief post each week about how you can make the most of your Sunday, and engage more fully with your church.

As it is a new year where people are setting themselves various resolutions, why not set yourself some goals around church?

You might want to improve your attendance, and commit to being there each week no matter what other offers you get.

You might want to set a goal that you will make notes during each sermon and review them throughout the week.

You may wish to set a goal to help out in the youth or children’s group, or serve coffee after the service.

There are any number of things you could commit to this coming year, and don’t do so lightly. Sit down with the Lord later today and ask Him what He might want you to do. If you get a clear direction, then go for it.

I know that goal setting can become a legalistic exercise at times, and I do not want that for you. Equally, I know life can be extremely busy and the thought of taking on something new might leave you in a cold sweat. If that’s the case, then do not feel you must take something new on. Perhaps your goal could be to prioritise your activities so you can be all the more fruitful for the Lord?

Write the goal down somewhere where you will see it often. If you don’t have a useful place, set a reminder on your phone or tablet to keep the goal in your mind.

Lastly, tell someone about your goal. Ask them to help you stay on track, or to at least review it in a few months. Accountability keeps us honest.

If you intend to go for a new goal this year, please share it below (if you are happy to do so). I’m sure others will be inspired to do the same, and we can help one another stay on track.

Approaching 2021

It is that time of year again, and many are turning to the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. I was listening to the radio this morning, and this was the subject of their phone calls.

I am not a huge fan of new year’s resolutions I must admit, knowing that many who start them have often broken them by mid-January!

New year’s resolutions are largely about forming good habits or breaking bad ones. This is good practice, but I suppose my issue is that assigning them to 1st January is a little arbitrary. If you know today that you have a bad habit you want to break, then don’t put it off until the new year, start breaking it today! Likewise, if you want to start doing something positive, don’t wait, just get cracking!

As we approach the new year however, I am starting to think about what I want to focus on. I am continuing to study through the Course in Christian Studies, so that will take up a fair bit of my time. In terms of my personal study though, there are a couple of areas I feel led to focus on.

Firstly, I want to think about the subject of words. I listened to a series of sermons on our words and their power a few weeks ago, and it reminded me how important the things we say actually are. I have noticed that my words aren’t always positive, and I want to ensure that I speak well.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

Ephesians 5:18-19 (NIV)

The Bible has much to say about the words we use, and is itself the very Word of God. God’s Words contain great power, and truth be told, ours do as well. As we know, words can inflict great harm on others but can also turn around the life of someone in despair or trouble.

We will give an account for every word we utter, and I want to make sure my words are those pleasing to God.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Matthew 12:36 (NIV)

As well as the subject of words, I’ve also felt compelled to use my study time to examine the four Gospels. I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection. I want to know Him, really know Him for all that He is, and the best way to do that is to study His life, words and actions as recorded in the Gospels.

I am in no way dismissing the rest of the Bible, and there is much you can learn about Jesus from its pages, but it is on my heart to really hone in on Christ and His earthly life.

More specifically though, I want to  spend some time really digging into two particular chapters and a set of Jesus’ parables. These are those from Luke 15 and 16. I’ve also been listening to a set of messages about the Prodigal Son from Luke 15, and it has such astonishing depths and much to tell us about Christ. It is not so much about this one prodigal son as it is about the love of the Father, and the equally lost older brother.

Luke 16 has Jesus sharing some parables about a dishonest steward and also the Rich Man and Lazarus. Both of those, interestingly enough, are connected by the idea of how we handle our wealth. The dishonest steward steals from his master, and then uses that same ill-gotten gain to influence his future. Similarly, we see the rich man enjoying his wealth at the expense of his eternal life.

If you are interested, I wrote a three-part series on the Rich Man and Lazarus earlier this year. Strangely, part two was by far the most popular! I am not sure why that is exactly, perhaps I included a tag that keeps popping up on search engines! Anyway, you can read all three parts at the following links.

I am very much looking forward to the new year. This year has been tough for many of us in many ways, and lots of us are hopeful that 2021 is much more positive. There will no doubt be challenges ahead, but I hope and pray it will be a better year for you.

What will you be focusing on? Will you make New Year’s Resolutions, or like me, will you just take each day at a time? Feel free to comment below and tell me what your focus is for this year.

I know it is a few days away still, but may I wish you a very happy and blessed 2021!