St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

A New Year's Resurrection
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Joe Natwick, Associate Pastor


When it comes to breaking bad habits or starting something new, I’m the kind of guy that goes all in. Drinking too much soda? No more soda. Ever. Spending too much time on Facebook? Log out and have a friend (preferably a trustworthy one) change the password indefinitely. Haven’t worked out in months? Time to start training for a marathon.


Over the years, I have found this strategy does not work. I still use Facebook too much, I’ve never run any thing close to a marathon, and I certainly have not lost my love for Coke.


First, this strategy is unsustainable. It’s just too audacious to try to transform ourselves in one fell swoop. Yes, it works for very select few people who get on TV and make us all feel inferior. But for most people who resolve to completely change their lives, they usually end up right where they started. As we enter into the New Year, we will witness millions of New Year’s resolutions that will ultimately fizzle out and fail. Our goals are just too unrealistic to sustain for a week, let alone a lifetime.


Second, this strategy is unappealing 99% of the year. The bigger the change, the more daunting is the task. So, we consistently put off making these huge changes until the beginning of new seasons, like New Years Day or Ash Wednesday, rather than recognizing each day as an opportunity to improve our lives.


Lastly, this strategy is not very Biblical, because it starts and ends with me. How often in our lives do we take the words of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength,” and turn them into “I can try to do everything on my own without asking for help?” I think we are too quick to forget the reality of sin, which isolates us and binds us in our brokenness. So when we try to take hold of our life and completely change who we are, we often don’t have the support necessary to get us through.


As Christians, it shouldn’t surprise us that our efforts to transform our own lives often do not work. We have a Bible chock-full of examples of just how much God’s people relied on God to intervene in their lives. As we just celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ in Christmas, let us remember this new year that it is God who will resurrect the dead, it is God who will transform our world and each of us.


So while the world around us is making resolutions this year to lose weight or clean up their finances, we are free to proclaim the ways in which God is making resurrections happen in our lives, not just changing our behavior but making us whole! Sure, resurrection might include the death of some habits and ways of living, but it will also include new ways God is creating us to be in the world. So I ask you, in 2016 what is your New Year’s resurrection?

Boy Scouts Monday, Nov 29 @ 6:30 PM
Quilters Tuesday, Nov 30 @ 8:30 AM
Staff Meeting Tuesday, Nov 30 @ 9:30 AM
Exec Trust Fund mtg Tuesday, Nov 30 @ 4:30 PM
Prairie Rose Chorus Tuesday, Nov 30 @ 5:30 PM

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St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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