What happens when 2012 changes to 2013?

What happens when 2012 changes to 2013?

 

We are coming to the start of a New Year. The numbers on the calendar will be changed.

What else will be new in your life?

For some of us, the change of dates will be the most significant difference between this year and the next.

If we are brutally honest, aspects of our lives have become stuck in a rut. The time, place and faces may change but the events seem all too familiar. Deja vu is a constant companion.

For others, the New Year promises to bring developments that we dread. We will need to face realities that make us uncomfortable.

Still others are bursting with excitement as they look forward to new achievements in the New Year.

The underlying theme of most of my presentations this year has been the need for the renewing of our minds. (Rom 12).

Today, I want to share some thoughts related to the adjustment of our mindsets that you could consider taking on board in 2013.

 

Bucket list clarity

Spend significant quiet time going through a careful analysis of what is your purpose in this life and what are your core priorities.

What is it that you feel committed to becoming, doing, experiencing before your life on earth ends?

Compile a list and assign priorities to the each item. In the final analysis, you should be able to identify a bottom-line “must” that should give direction to all your thoughts, words and deeds.

We expect that at the top of the list will your preparation to spend eternity in heaven.

Ecc 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

 Be mindful of where you anchor your goals and priorities. Gamaliel’s counsel is wise:

Acts 5:38 “….if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

In addition, I am urging you to go further and to earnestly commit to documenting your vision, mission and goals in clear terms.

Review from the Scriptures and adopt the philosophy of:

  • Moses’ plan with respect to the occupation of the Promised Land
  • Nehemiah’s plans for the rebuilding of the wall
  • David/Solomon’s plans for the building of the temple.

Let 2013 be different with respect to:

  • greater clarity of purpose
  • more detailed planning
  • increased commitment to documentation of goals, plans and progress.

 

Expanded horizons

 

One of the by-products of stress and a harried lifestyle is the tendency to become increasingly inward looking.

As we grapple with life’s challenges, they tend to consume more and more of our being and we risk losing sight of the bigger picture.

Matt 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Some of us are walking with our heads bowed and only have a view of the pavement.

Let 2013 be different as we look beyond our challenges.

2 Cor 4: 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewedday by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Let us dream big dreams in 2013. Let us set lofty goals individually and collectively.

1 John 5: 14       This is the confidencewe have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Our horizons tend to be influenced by age and by gender.

Some of us have given in to a philosophy that says “at my stage in life I will just watch the dates change until time is called on me.”

Gen 12: 4 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s householdto the landI will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

At age 75 Warren Buffett set up a $30 billion contribution to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for use in various world-wide charitable causes.

Cancer survivor Barbara Hillary became one of the oldest people, and the first black woman, to reach the north pole.

At age 70 Benjamin Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence; Judy Brenner ran the Boston Marathon.

At age 60: Frieda Birnbaum became the oldest woman in the U.S. to give birth to twins.

At age 40: John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.

At age 30: Donald Trump persuaded bankers to lend him $80 million so he could buy the Commodore Hotel. Bill Gates was the first person ever to become a billionaire by age 30.

At age 20: Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and cofounded Microsoft. Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, her second and most famous novel.

At age 19: Keshorn Walcott from the little island of Trinidad beat the entire world at the Olympics in a discipline (javelin throw) that is unusual for athletes outside of Europe and the USA.

At age 16: Tennis player Tracy Austin became the youngest person to win the U.S. Open.

You are not too young or too old to achieve more. Broaden your horizons!

Incredible does happen. It can happen at your location if you welcome it.

Dare to be the difference and break new ground in 2013.

 

Positive expectations

 

We serve a mighty God and we cannot go about with a defeatist’s mindset.

Numerous examples are provided to indicate that once we walk with God we need not rely on our strength but on His. And so, there is every reason to have positive expectations.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Let 2013 be different in the level of confidence that we display.
Can there be a greater sense of faith and assurance in our prayer life, in our decision-making and in how we present ourselves?

I love the frightfully stark manner in which James addresses the issue:

 “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1: 6 – 8 (NIV)

We can take encouragement from Apostle Paul’s admonition that we should not be anxious for anything (Philippians 4:6). Think also on Christ’s challenge that if we ask, seek and knock we will receive, find and have doors opened to us. (Matthew 7)

Let us break down psychological, financial, health, relationship, career, self-esteem “walls of Jericho” in 2013.

 

Spring cleaning

 

The tendency to gather baggage appears to be common to most humans. Physical clutter attracts our attention perhaps because it is visible.

Our lives are also cluttered with things that do not add value. Let us welcome 2013 with a spring cleaning of our minds.

There are thoughts and habits that are weighing us down and limiting our effectiveness. We know clutter when we see it. Take time to clear out some of the negative things that have started to define you.

Phil 4: 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Bad habits and wayward thinking have a way of becoming addictive. Breaking loose from them might be challenging. Step up to the challenge and break free in 2013!

 


Shared vision

What is your favoured operating style when you encounter challenges?

Do you prefer to tough it out on your own or do you seek early support and assistance?

Independent thought and courage are important as we strive for success. At the same time, we are not intended to be islands unto ourselves.

Let 2013 be different because of our increased willingness to share our visions and our burdens. Let us set up support mechanisms and seek out the specific input of wise and like-minded individuals who are firmly grounded in the faith.

There is immense value in wise counsel. Hear Solomon on the issue of advice:

 Proverbs 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Out in the wilderness animals move in closely-knit packs. This is designed to provide a solid front against the threat of predators. The strategy of the predator has consequently shifted to picking off the strays, the weak and the lame. They do not succeed in getting animals that are in the centre of the pack. There is safety in numbers.

As you strive to be the best you can be, take care to take up a secure position in the pack.  Never put yourself out of the reach of well-meaning, supportive and firmly grounded individuals.

No matter how shy or private you are, take care to identify at least one tower of strength to whom you can look for support and guidance.

The persons you choose must be able to command your respect and be able to put themselves in a position to understand your situation. You cannot rely on persons who will let you have your own way or who will provide the spiritual equivalent of ‘take 2 aspirins and go to bed’ for every situation.

If there is no one that fits the bill readily accessible to you, you should set about coaching someone to play that role for you. Work with them to bring them to the required level of maturity and sensitivity.

Just DO NOT try to go it alone!!!!!

The shared vision is also about being there for others and for letting them into your dreams.

Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

 

Get to heaven

 

We end where we started – the imperative of getting to heaven. The scriptures outline a clear plan of salvation.

Christ tells us that the way to the Father goes through Him. (John 14:6).

The conversions reported in the New Testament reflect these steps:

1. Hear and believe:

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 2. Repent:

Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

3. Announce Jesus as Lord of your life

Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;   That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.   For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

4. Be immersed in watery baptism for the remission of sins (Act 2:38)

5. Live by the Spirit

 Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

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Engage, Encourage, Enable

Engage, Encourage, Enable

As we move forward in this new year, I want to share some options for your commitment.  Many of us fail to follow through on our resolutions. Here is hoping that this year you will make one or more of these options come true.

The resolutions fall into 3 basic categories:

Engage, Encourage, Enable

Engage

The invitation is that this will be a year in which we strive to be more engaging. Let us seek to look beyond ourselves and our inner circle.

I am suggesting that this should be a year in which we widen our sphere of influence. Let us be more open to the possibility of interacting with others.

Instead of holding our heads straight and avoiding contact let us change our mindset and actively seek to connect with others.

Let us banish the word “Shy” from our vocabularies and work to broaden our network of friends and associates.

Each new contact that we make represents an option for new possibilities. So the more contacts we make the more possibilities become available to us.

Proactive networking and being open to engaging new contacts is one of the keys to success.

“To the weak I became weak in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some of them.” 1Co 9:22

 I would also like for us to commit to making real connections this year. Move at least one of the surface interactions that we have to a genuine friendship.

Move from exchanging pleasantries to a genuine interest in issues of concern to the other party.

Is there scope this year to learn more about someone’s hopes, fears and aspirations?

Can we take time to go beyond the warm greeting to better appreciate what makes someone else tick?

In an increasingly sceptical and untrusting world, the call of the Great Commission to go into the world and teach is going require us to engage others on a real basis.

“Show me that you care, if you want me to listen to you.”

The politicians are increasingly being confronted with the phenomenon of people simply opting out when they fail to get the feeling that their interests are of genuine concern.

Let us reflect on Christ’s genuine concern about the well being of others. He dealt with their health concerns and took swift action to deal with their hunger.  He sought to resolve their understanding of the law and how to relate to the authorities.

Above all, He was open to contact from anyone. He was not a respecter of persons and His mission led Him to constantly make new contacts.

Let this year be a year of engagement.

I suggest that we do not limit our commitment to engagement only to connection with others.

Let this be a year in which we open ourselves to something new.

This might be a new hobby, or a new type of book or show. Initiation of a fitness routine.  Going on a diet.  Going back to school.  Starting a new business.

Let this be a year of new beginnings…  a year in which we engage something different.

I would also like for this year to be a year of encouragement.

The environment is overrun with negative sentiments. Predictions of hard times abound. Doom and gloom have been our constant companions.

I suggest that we lift the veil. I suggest that we replace the forecast of dark clouds with expectations of bright sunny skies.

The potential impact of a change of mindset is generally under-estimated.

“Peter answered him, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus said, “Come on!” So Peter got down out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came to Jesus.” Mat 14:28 – 29

I was able to walk on hot, flaming coals bare footed without being seared because of a change of mindset.

Let us focus our energies on being encouraging in our thoughts, words and action. Let us adopt positive mindsets this year. Let us recall that with God all things are possible Matt 19:26.

Let us base our faith on the fact that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

So, in our conversations let us strive to sound notes of encouragement versus discouragement.

We can take the commitment to be encouraging further. We can actively cheer on others in their pursuit of positive goals or in the honest performance of tasks that they have been assigned.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

Let the phrase “Well done!” roll off our tongues more often. Let us be there to say “Don’t give up! You can do it! Persevere, the victory will be yours!”

Lay any temptation to tear down to rest this year. This year you only have eyes for positive outcomes. Thoughts of failure are banished. Disappointments may come but we know that they will be fleeting and victory will be yours in due course.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 New International Version (NIV)

Our encouragement should also embrace helping others to remain in the faith.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”. Heb 3:13

Let us make it a point of duty this year to help others in their Christian walk. Let us encourage a brother or sister to greater levels of commitment and service.

If the opportunity presents itself, strive to restore someone who has fallen away.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6: 1 -3

Our next commitment is to be enabling this year.

As we become more engaging and widen our network of contacts. And as we encourage others and ourselves to positive achievement, we will have created opportunities for us to become enablers.

Each of us has the capacity to help someone to achieve one of their goals.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17

This year we should strive to translate “good wishes” and encouraging words into tangible action.

As we becoming more engaging and as we strive to be encouraging let us find ways to actively enable others as well.

Our enabling action may come in many different forms. It need not require material resources. A simple word of advice could make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Maybe just sitting quietly with someone as they work through a challenging situation may enable them to move forward with their life.

The key is to be on the lookout for opportunities to make a difference. No longer opt to be a bystander. Put up your hand and be counted. Reach out and lend a hand or provide a shoulder. Be a sounding broad. Give someone the assurance that you are there for them.

This year commit to enabling others on their life journey.

In closing, your most significant action in enabling others would be to share the Gospel with them.

No act of empowerment can compare with that of leading someone to Christ. In order to do so you will have to engage and encourage them.

Share the good news of Christ’s sacrificial death to reconcile us to God, the need for repentance, public acknowledgement of Jesus and baptism for the remission of sins.

On a personal level, this is a year for getting things right with God.

We are committing to obeying the plan of salvation before it is eternally too late.

We are committing now to being fully aware of our deceitful SELF and to call out the impostor every time it appears.

We are committing to hungering after righteousness.

We are committing to devoting ourselves to immersion in God’s word on a daily basis.

We are committing to applying its teachings to our lives.

This year we will engage, encourage and enable.

God bless you!