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New Year's Resolutions

Promises, promises that is pretty much what New Year’s resolutions are.  Promises we can never seem to keep.  We always start off with the best intentions but then life gets in the way.  Three-hundred-sixty-five days is a long time to keep doing something or to stop doing something.  Usually we don’t even make it past the first two or three weeks.  I think the entire fitness industry is funded by resolutions to do better this year.  I without fail always make New Year’s resolutions and I always without fail, fail at keeping them. One year I even resolved to not make any resolutions and well you can guess how that turned out… big failure yet again.  Making a New Year’s resolution is kind of akin to promising God that you are going to be completely righteous this year or that you are going to stop sinning this year.  2017, no more sin! Yeah right, tell me how that works out.

The New Year is a good time to make new plans though.  It is kind of like getting a clean slate to start over.  Part of the problem with resolutions is that they require hard action from you.  They usually require you to do something that you really don’t want to do, like stop smoking or stop eating so much, or start exercising.  No one wants to do that stuff because it is hard; it requires lots of work and is uncomfortable.  That’s why most resolutions just don’t work.  If they were easy we would already be doing them.  So let me make a suggestion for you this year.  Instead of making a resolution to stop something or to do something, make a resolution to receive something.  Yes I said receive something. 

I always get real excited when the mailman shows up with a book I just ordered. I love receiving the book.  So resolve this year to receive something.  Resolve to receive God’s grace.  Resolve to be open to God’s Word and his sacraments.  Resolve to take advantage of them and receive God’s constant forgiveness and strengthening of your faith.  Resolve to come to church every Sunday to hear the Word of God read and preached and to receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.  This shouldn’t be that hard, because if you are reading this article you are already a member of the church.  Resolve to attend Bible study and learn more about how God has forgiven you and blessed you and how he is always with you.  Again this is pretty easy stuff; all you have to do is walk in the room and sit down.  Resolve this year to spend time with God doing devotions, but don’t look upon these as a chore or something you have to accomplish but as an opportunity to receive more from God.  Let God fill you up daily with his strength and support before you head off into the world to face who knows what.  Resolve to receive, not to do, not to stop, but to receive.  God wants to give you his love, so this year of 2017 resolve to receive it. 

Pastor Fred

IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?

This is the proverbial question that we must all face in life. Nothing is ever perfect in life or in the church. The pessimist looks at this and says it’s horrible; things are not like they used to be. The glass is half empty, remember when it was full? It just doesn’t seem worth it, things are not as good as they could be. The optimist looks and says, hey maybe it isn’t as good as it could be but it is not all bad; it could be worse. Look we still have half a glass of water left, things are pretty good. Then there is the pragmatist who looks at the glass, picks it up and drinks the water! Which one of the three are you? The real question is which one should you be? Well, which one do you think God wants you to be? I am thinking that being a pessimist is not on his list of things he desires. The reason being that pessimism is related to worry which is a sin before God. To be pessimistic is to show a lack of faith and trust in God. It is to bemoan the fact that the glass is only half full. It is to show a lack of appreciation for the fact, that well its half full. I mean it could be empty; then you would have a reason to complain!

God calls upon us to look at the glass as half full. There is water there to drink, there is something to work with, God has blessed us with some water! We can thank God for that, the future looks bright. God also calls upon us to be a pragmatist and drink the water. I mean it is not there to just look at and discuss; it is there to drink, so bottoms up! We need to use the resources and people that God has given us. We need to think this way both in our life and in the church. The fact is pessimism has never accomplished a thing, it hasn’t built anything, it hasn’t moved anything forward. Pessimism is a useless attitude that only feeds into self-pity and a lack of ability to get anything done. Optimism is one with faith and trust in God. It looks upon the glass and says God has given us something and we can use it to accomplish his will.

So as we start the school year and a new year in the church, let us do so as an optimistic pragmatist, trusting in God that he has a mission for us to accomplish in our community. The future is bright, the water is cold, and we have a glass that we can fill time and time again with God’s living water.

Pastor Fred

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