Change Agents for the New Year

Practical Ideas for Growth

Read through the Bible in a year. Why not consider reading through the Word of God this year? There are several formats and ways to accomplish this. Many study Bibles include reading schedules. Many ministries offer a folded daily record that you can keep in your Bible. I have recently enjoyed a paperback Bible entitled, “The One Year Chronological Bible.” It includes daily scripture readings that allow you to read the Bible books from an historical, chronological perspective. This allows the reader to appreciate, for example, how particular Psalms, prophecies, and epistles, fit within the historical record of the text. Perhaps you desire this year would be to read through the New Testament in a year (possibly including the poetical and wisdom literature of the Old Testament.) Some may choose to focus upon an in depth study of a certain section of scripture. Whatever you decide, make 2007 a year to focus upon the Word of God!

Develop a consistent daily prayer life. Commit a daily time to focus on specific areas of prayer. These may include personal and family needs and issues, church needs, mission needs, national and international issues, and an evangelistic prayer list. Study prayers that are recorded in Scripture. Adapt your prayers to reflect the prayer burden of scripture. For example, use the prayers of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, and the Psalms to structure your conversation with God. As a church plan a special prayer emphasis such as, a day of prayer, prayer marathon, week of prayer, etc.

Make it a priority to be an effective witness. Develop an evangelistic prayer list of people within your realm of influence that you would desire to influence towards Jesus Christ in the coming year. This may include family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. Pray regularly for them, asking God for special opportunities to share Christ with them. Plan a special gathering, invite a friend to join you in a regular activity, such as a sports league, study group, etc.

Review your time commitments from the past year and make necessary adjustments for the new year. Does your life show the proper Biblical balance designed for the Christian walk? (Ephesians 5:1-21) Do you take the proper time for personal and corporate worship? Personal spiritual development? Development of your interpersonal relationships? Are you showing signs of complacency and lack of commitment? Are you overemphasizing “doing” to the detriment of “becoming?” Are you consistently demonstrating Biblical stewardship? What necessary steps should you take to bring your life into the proper Biblical balance? Who should you seek out to provide regular accountability in your spiritual disciplines?

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