1.01.2012

irreversibly abandoned

As the new year begins, I've decided to commit once again to a few "New Year's Resolutions." And I'm a little ashamed to say that these resolutions are... the same as last year. I'm sure I'm not the only one who hasn't always been able to keep the resolutions that seem so easy at the beginning of the year. So, as last year, I am going to be challenging myself to participate in the "Radical Year," as written by David Platt in "Radical" (read it!). The goal: to follow Christ radically. Through this year, I want to become irreversibly abandoned to Jesus. 

First, I'll be resolving to read the whole Bible. Last time, I printed out a little chart and started out strong... but I got lost in Exodus. I know, the second book of the Bible. Pretty shameful. This time, I've got a "Bible-in-a-year"  program on my phone. Yes, technology can even have spiritual benefits. I believe this is an important part of the year because it will cause me to be saturated in the Word. I want to be sure to make the Bible, the living Word of God, a part of my every single day.

 
 Second, I'm resolving to pray for the whole world. Doing this will take some discipline, as I'm going to pray country-by-country through the book "Operation World," which I highly recommend for every family. I posted this last time, but it's just as important now. In regards to praying for the whole world, David Platt wrote: "In a world where more than 4.5 billion people are without Christ... we have to begin somewhere. In Matthew 9 we see [Jesus] surrounded by the multitudes and moved with compassion because they were 'harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.' So He turned to His disciples and said, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.' I would have expected him to immediately start giving orders to his disciples. 'Peter, you go to that person. John you care for that guy.' But that's not what he said... When Jesus looked at the harassed and helpless multitudes, apparently his concern was not that the lost would come to the Father. Instead, his concern was that his followers would not go to the lost. Now think about it. What happens when you and I take these words from Jesus and put them in a world where more than a billion people have still not heard the gospel? A fundamental reality snaps into focus: we are not praying. This the the step that you and I are most likely to overlook and yet the one that is the most dangerous for us to ignore."

Additionally, I'll be sacrificing my money for a specific cause. This part of the challenge I actually did complete last year (don't ask me how I couldn't read the Bible, but I could sacrifice money!). You can read more about the details here. Last year, I sacrificed money for the cause of world hunger, not spending a single dollar unnecessarily, but donating it to world hunger causes. This year, I'm going to spend every dollar I can to giving Bibles to those without them in the countries that need them the most. Last year, I gave physical food. This year, I'll give spiritual food - food that will sustain a person for life and give them the greatest benefit that can be gained: Jesus.

Fourth: Spend my time in another context. David Platt challenges us to spend just 2% of our year with going to those in need of the gospel, going to another context, another place, another country even. Lord willing, I'll be spending a week in Mexico, and possibly several months in another country later in the year. It should be easy for me to get to the other context, but I have to challenge myself to really live out of my context while I'm there, stepping out of my comfort zone to share the greatest message ever given. As I wrote last time, "Sometimes we debate about whether we should simply use the money we would spend on a missions trip to give to the people there, but Platt writes of a time he went to Sudan and spoke with the people. The people expressed thanks for generous giving from donors in America, but then they asked, 'Even in light of all these things that people have given us, do you want to know how you can tell who a true brother is?" "How?" "A true brother comes to be with you in your time of need.' Monetary giving is essential, but spending our time is even more so because through going, we share the personal, relational love of Jesus."


Last, commit to a multiplying community. This is where having a strong and multiplying church family comes in. David Platt wrote on this: "The reality is, we need community in order to follow Christ radically. I am convinced that one reason many of us have not taken radical steps in our giving, for example, may not be so much because we love our possessions as it is because we fear isolation. We get convicted about our way of living when we look at the Bible, but then when we look at one another, we assume it must be okay because everyone else lives this way." I need to surround myself with people who are committed to following Jesus at all costs, as the Bible calls us to do.




If I can do this, 2012 will be a year of, well, radical change. I want to leave this year completely different than I am entering it. I want to love Jesus more, know Jesus more, and obey Jesus more. It might be difficult; in fact, looking at last year's attempts, it will be hard. But Jesus called us to take up our cross and follow Him. I can't speak for you, but as for me, I want to follow Jesus wherever He goes, and I don't even want to be able to turn back.

 Please pray for me. Pray that this year will make me irreversibly abandoned to Jesus.








4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your resolutions! I am also going to read the Bible this year. I'm using the ESV study Bible schedule, which goes through 4 different areas of the Bible every day (available at esv.org). And I've had a desire to pray for the whole world with the "Operation World", but I had forgotten. Thank you for the reminder! I'm also reviewing Philippians that I finished memorizing on Dec 31, and I'm working on memorizing Romans with a couple friends, 3 verses a weekday.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Ellen

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  2. wow, that's great Ellen. Romans?! way to go. thanks for your comments, I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. :)

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  3. Shelby, you encourage me! :D I should tell you about my idea sometime...

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  4. yes, you should tell me about your idea sometime... :)

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thoughts so far