For 5 years I was the pastor of Trinity International Church in Strasbourg, France. I created this blog with those people in mind. In mid-November 2018 I will become the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The focus of this blog will therefore shift, but I pray that people from the blogosphere will continue to find it helpful wherever they might be found.
The churches' websites includes recorded sermons for those who are interested. Click the links below to access them.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

Many people make resolutions with the start of the new year. They are commitments to make changes in the way they do things in order to have a better life. Losing weight and exercising are common resolutions. The benefits are obvious: we will feel better, be healthier, and live longer. If the advantages are important enough, we will make the changes in our lives to reach a positive outcome.

For example, I know someone made a resolution to make their bed every day and it really helped with their outlook on life. Their motivation was a YouTube video of a speech given by the Commander of Naval Special Forces. The Commander was giving tips for a
SEALS are among the most highly trained warriors in the
US military.
successful life to a university graduating class based on his experience of training to become a Navy SEAL. One of the his most important tips was: If you want to change the world, first make your bed.

Everyone laughed.

He got serious and explained, that when you make your bed perfectly first thing in the morning you will have already succeeded in accomplishing something. That will give you momentum to get onto your next task with the satisfaction that you know how to get things done and a little bit of healthy pride in doing a something really well. When you come back from an long day, your well made bed will welcome you home.

But there is more to it than that, because some days don't go well. You will have days when you come home exhausted and beat-up. You will feel like everything went wrong and that perhaps you will never accomplish anything. Your perfectly made bed will serve as a reminder that there are some things, however humble, that you can accomplish. Not only that, there are things that you do really well. There are days that we all need that reminder. His conclusion: If you want to change the world, make your bed.

It's not a bad resolution.

Our church's resolution

Our church is making a resolution this year: be on time, ready to worship by 10:00 on Sunday mornings. There are a lot of things we will be doing together this year, but why mention this little thing as a resolution to work on?

What are the positive outcomes of a simple thing like this? Here are fifteen positive results:
  1. It honors the Lord. And honoring the Lord is part of what worship is about. It is a small way to build an attitude of worship into our lives. 
  2. It honors the others in the church. Others have prepared and made the effort to be ready to worship at 10h. Arriving on time honors their commitment to serving us.
  3. The earlier you arrive, the better the parking. 
  4. The children have time to adjust to being at church.
  5. You can have a cup of coffee.
  6. You have time to shift gears before the service starts.
  7. You can meet new friends.
  8. You can sit wherever you want.
  9. You can help. Simple tasks like setting out the Bibles need to happen every week. Doing those tasks, like setting the table at home, help you feel like you are part of the family.
  10. You will be more relaxed and have time to listen to others.
  11. You can be a warm smiling face for others.
  12. Your children will have time to see other children.
  13. You can pray. Either in your seat or join others at 9:15, prayer before the services starts is powerful.
  14. You will be less stressed because you are arriving on time.
  15. You will not be a distraction. We all know the awkward feeling of interrupting something that has started. Arrive on time and never have that feeling again!
The benefits of arriving on time are worth the discipline to make it happen. You will feel more connected, make new friends, and a deeper relationship with God. All this by simply making it a weekly habit to arrive ready to worship before the service starts. It's an excellent return for your investment. So make it your commitment to be there. 

But first, make your bed!

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