Happy New Year!

Happy New Year CBC Family! One benefit of God-created time markers—like days, months, and years—is that they provide hope and an opportunity to renew one’s resolve.  

Each new day comes with a promise of hope for God’s people. Lamentations 3:22-33 reminds us that each day promises new mercies from God, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Each new day gives birth to new hope of new mercies for the God who always sees and cares for his people. A new year similarly invites us to look freshly and dependently upon Christ for new mercy.

A new year also invites us to reassess our resolve. Gyms are already packed with people getting a head start on their new year’s resolutions, because there is something in us that sees a new year as an opportunity for a fresh start and fresh resolve. Moses similarly prays to God asking him to help Israel consider how they are using the time God has given them in Psalm 90:12, asking, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present a heart of wisdom.” As the new covenant people of Christ, we can harness this opportunity to reassess our resolve spiritually.

Jonathan Edwards, famed theologian of the First Great Awakening, wrote out a list of 70 spiritually framed resolutions when he was just 18 or 19 years old. His resolution #43 says, "Resolved to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possible in any respect have done better." Let me encourage you to consider, perhaps with a friend or spouse, how you can live more intentionally this year.

First, a caution. As you consider what needs to change, you might become overwhelmed. Your list seems to grow out of control: 
  • I need to share Christ with more people. 
  • I’m not discipling anyone or being discipled by anyone. 
  • My family needs to spend more time in family worship. 
  • I need to get in shape physically because it has spiritual implications.  
  • I should read more books to help me spiritually.
  • I want to be more generous with my money, or, I know I should want to be more generous.  
  • My marriage needs help.

And as the list grows you can feel like a failure. Remember that God doesn’t love you because of the strength of your resolve. We are all in process of being transformed from one degree of glory to the next by the power of the Holy Spirit. So let me encourage you to make your list, check it twice, and then ask yourself what is the one next thing I can change that will make the biggest difference. Pray and ask for God’s grace in that thing.

Let me offer some suggestions for you to prayerfully consider.  

  • Personal Devotional. If you are looking for a good personal devotion, let me recommend New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. Gia and I have been through this devotion, and I found the depth, brevity, and Scripture readings to provide a great resource for a ten minute devotion in the morning before spending time in prayer.  
  • Family Devotion. Gia recently purchased a number of the 31-Day Devotionals for Life. The topics of these studies could help you double down on your resolve. For instance, you can work on family devotions and issues of the heart like anger. Just before advent we went through, Anger: Calming Your Heart by Robert D. Jones. These devotions can last 10-30 minutes depending on how talkative your family is.
  • Daily Bible Reading Plan. My mom and dad are on their second year of reading straight through the Bible and it has been a massive encouragement to see the difference it has made in their lives. Check out our list of Bible Reading Plans. Use the Scripture you read to guide your prayers each day.  
  • Commit to serve sacrificially and specifically. I have found that you not only serve what you love, but you grow to increasingly love those you serve. Christ has given you gifts to build up your local church (1 Corinthians 12-14), and using those gifts grows your love not only for Christ’s body, but Christ himself. We need help with our children, which would be a great opportunity to help evangelize the lost and make disciples. Contact Danielle Whitley if you would like to help in this area. Jeff Thorpe could also use help with Safety and Security. If you are interested in leadership in the church, you could join Pastor Josh on Tuesday nights this Spring for his class on leadership. You could also reach out to Arthur Keeley about hosting a connect group in your home during the week. https://centrevillebaptist.org/serve
  • Give Faithfully. Perhaps you have gotten out of the habit of giving faithfully. You can set up recurring giving through your bank or you can set it up through our online portal at https://centrevillebaptist.org/give.
I’m praying with you and for you that this is the most fruitful year yet spiritually.  
Grace and Peace,
Josh Vincent