Resolutions for Life
With the coming of the New Year there will be some who make resolutions in the hopes of making permanent changes in their lives. I have found the following guidelines helpful to me in the past and hope they will be useful to you, as well.
Number One: Make God the Priority. You say, “Well, yeah, you’re a preacher. Of course you’re going to say that.” Well, that’s right and it can be hard to really quantify this one in a universal way. So here is what I know, one way we can all make God the priority is through prayer. There is not one person in this church who prays to much or enough. Each of us can grow in this area of our lives. Do you pray at any other time than Sunday or before a meal? Ok maybe you do pray each day. Do you pray with your kids? Do you pray with your spouse? Our praying doesn’t get easier or better unless we are doing it. If nothing else, the more you pray and the more you spend time alone with the Lord, the more you are communicating to Him, “Lord, You are the priority in my life. You are more important than other things.”
Number Two: Love Your Family. Sometimes the things we love get in the way of us sharing time with the people we love. Some people play golf, some people work a lot, some people like to read a lot while sitting on the couch. Each of these things is good but what do they keep you from doing. Who or what are you ignoring when pursuing your hobbies, your professional ambition or your reading list?
I am not suggesting that you quit playing golf, or that you unplug your television, but I am saying that we need to look for some ways to unclutter our lives that will allow us to reach our goals this year. When you do that, you are communicating to your family, “You are more important than this thing.”
I’ve been at the bedside of a number of people throughout my life who have passed away. I have never heard one of them say, “I spent too much time with my family.” I would argue nobody has ever said that on their way out of this life.
Number Three: Love the Church. Christ loved the church. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. I am not talking about a blind love that sees the church as perfect. The church has never been perfect because it is made up of human beings. The church isn’t perfect. However, the church is the bride of Christ that alone is reason enough for us to love the church.
There are a lot of people these days that enjoy ripping on different churches and talking about churches’ weaknesses or their idiosyncrasies. But I would caution you not to join in that rhetoric. In fact, I would challenge you to defend the church. Not just Bangor Liberty, we should defend any Bible believing church.
Number Four: Preach the Word. I could sum this point up by reading 1 Corinthians 9:16 where Paul writes, “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
Now you might sit there and think, “Well, I’m not a preacher. What does that have to do with me.” Well, the truth is that each and every one of us have our own little ministry. Whether you like it or not God puts you in places so that He can use you to accomplish His will. To that end, you preach a sermon every day to the people around you. The way you treat others, talk to strangers and carry yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ does more to advance or deter the Gospel message than anything that happens in a church on Sunday. So, think about that and ask yourself this question, “What do you preach to the people who you spend your life with?”
Number Five: Don’t be Safe. The older we get, the more comfortable we can become. we begin to play it safe and take the easy road. But, if we are here on this earth to bring glory to God, if our mission is to connect people to Jesus and to one another, then we had better start sharing the story of the difference that Jesus Christ has made in our lives.
The closer we get to the return of Jesus Christ and the day when we will stand before Him and answer for what we have done in the body, I am convinced that playing it safe is not what Jesus had in mind when he commanded His followers to, “Go and make disciples.” We need to take some chances. At some point we all have to swallow our pride, pray hard and act like a fully committed disciple of Jesus Christ.
Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church outside of Chicago presented a small group study entitled “Live like you are Dying.” I think that is a solid foundation to base your New Years resolutions upon. To just put everything out there so that I have no regrets and no excuses. To make choices as if tomorrow I will find myself standing before the God of the Universe. And the question is when that time comes, “Will I be pleased with the decisions that I’ve made and the risks I’ve taken or will I be ashamed?”
If this year you decide to put God first, to invest in your family, to love the church, to preach a sermon each day, and take some risks for the Lord, you will be amazed at the change that God can work in you and the impact you can make for His Kingdom.
Volunteers don’t necessarily have the
time; they have the heart
Serve God’s word at your table
and all will be full.
Jan 9-19, 2018: Friends Disaster Service Hurricane Relief work in Houston, TX
Jan 10-17, 2018: Quaker Men-Friends Response Team Trip to Belize
Feb9-10: Blizzard Blast 2018 for 5th-8th grade students
Feb 17: Quaker Men’s Winter Banquet
Feb 23-25: Young Adult Winter Retreat West Union, IA cabin
New this year are: Wild West Christmas, Christmas Hearts, Silent Star & Esther’s Gift.
Others we have are: The Bridge, I’m Dreaming of Some White Chocolate, Sharing Christmas Every Day by Helen Steiner Rice, Julotta: a story of faith & love by Tracie Peterson, The Christmas Sweater, At Christmas the heart goes home: a holiday treasury by Marjorie Holmes, A midnight clear: stories for the Christmas season by Katherine Paterson, A Christmas promise: a Cape Light novel by Thomas Kinkade & Katherine Spencer, The quiet little woman by Louisa May Alcott & Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas to name a few. Also, the true meaning of Christmas comes out in the fiction Christmas Duty, a story about military life.
For those who have read their fill of Christmas books, we have Debbie Macomber’s One Perfect Word & One Simple Act, as well as Tim Tebow’s Shaken.
December 28, 2017 HOC Meal Report
On a cold and snowy night, 37 guests were served chicken gravy over mashed potatoes and biscuits, green beans & bacon, raw carrots, mixed fruit, applesauce, leftover cranberry salad, chocolate cake with strawberries or caramel sauce or rice krispy treats, milk, coffee and hot cocoa.
Our volunteers included Matt & Robin, John & Margaret who donated food or funds, Veronica & Darian, Darla, Chuck & Ann, Neil, Joe & Kay who worked at the House.
We were able to use several leftovers from last Friday when turkey was served with mashed potatoes. The extra turkey was cut up and added to one package of chicken, instead of using 2-3 bags of chicken as planned. We didn’t have to make any mashed potatoes, just heated what was in the refrigerator. I had made white sauce at home and expected to add packages of country gravy, but there was a large container of gravy already made so we just scooped it into the roaster.
Veronica & Darian had never been to HOC before but they adjusted well and got lots accomplished during prep time. Darian smashed cans, rolled silverware, counted out plates, cups and mugs and dished up applesauce. I appreciated Veronica’s help heating & stirring the potatoes, cutting the cake, mashing the strawberries, cutting and combining fruit and mixing up the hot cocoa.
Chuck, Ann & Darla came early to serve so helped fill fruit cups, dish out cake with toppings, and take out drinks. A nice prayer was given by one of our regulars who always gives us a big smile and comments on how he loves “Bangor Liberty nights”. The line was steady for 20 minutes, then others trickled in until 6:00. Some wanted more food and since we had plenty we decided they could return after 6:00. Probably 6-8 stayed and ate more then. The gravy was popular and most had it over both potatoes and biscuits. Green beans were not as big of a hit as usual. Two whipped topping containers were leftover. Most of the fruit was used and all the leftover cranberry salad was taken. The caramel and strawberry toppings on the chocolate cake were much enjoyed. Several told us thanks before they left.
Neil, Joe & Kay did quick work of putting away leftovers and washing the dishes while Darla took care of the dining room. With our small crowd cleanup didn’t take as long as sometimes, which was nice as all agreed the sinks are too deep for comfort. The low numbers could be related to the Christmas holiday, or likely some just didn’t want to get out in the cold, especially if they had to walk.
Ten guests stayed for the Bible study after supper, including one man who we were told was homeless. Karen has been allowing people to come in this week (HOC is normally closed between Christmas & New Year’s) to get out of the cold, have a snack, pick up warmer winter gear, etc. Several donations of winter coats, hats, gloves and blankets have come in and most have gone right out. People have donated food which Karen has offered as well. Surprisingly while many came in for the free items, few stayed longer than to have a cup of coffee or cocoa. Karen is trying to get volunteers to visit and play games with people for a few hours after supper to allow them to have more time in the warmth.
Our next meal responsibility is Thursday, January 25. Please mark it on your calendar and plan to come enjoy serving with others.
Bangor Liberty Friends Church
Sunday Service: the worship service on Sunday mornings will never be cancelled due to weather. As the Pastor lives next door he will be available for anyone who shows up on Sunday for Worship service. There may be instances where electricity, heat, and water or some other utility or service may not be functioning, this may require the cancellation of service. This determination will be made through consolations between Clerk of the Monthly Meeting, Clerk of ministry and Counsel and the Senior Pastor.
Notification of cancellation will be made through a “Text Blast’, announcements on the church Facebook page and direct phone calls where necessary.
Deeper (Wednesday Evening Meal & classes): If the local schools (BCLUW or West Marshall), should cancel school or let out early due to weather evening activities at church will be cancelled. If the weather becomes hazardous or inclement a decision will be made on cancellation through consultation between the Clerk of the monthly meeting, Clerk of Ministry and Counsel and the senior Pastor.
In all instances, you are the ultimate judge of the weather in your area, please use your best judgement when traveling to and from Bangor Liberty Friends Church. It is more important that you are safe at home than on the road in possible danger.
We only request that you are unable to attend and were scheduled to teach, work in nursery or serve in any other capacity that you call and let us know that you will not be attending. We can make arrangements to cover necessary areas.