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  • The New Year often comes with new goals, new resolutions, new hopes and dreams for the coming year. While many people tend to focus their New Year’s Resolutions on diet and exercise, I’d like for you to consider a few other possibilities as you continue to follow Jesus. Here are some suggestions.

    1. Serve at one event that you haven’t helped with before.

    The crab feed is coming up January 26. It won’t be long before Easter hits and we have the annual egg hunt on Saturday, April 20. There’s always VBS over the summer. And don’t forget about Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving, Breakfast with Santa, and numerous other options.

    There are days when the trustees fix things, days when the altar guild and others decorate, and there are always new events being planned. Find a way to involve yourself in one of these or create your own. Meet some new people. Serve the Lord with Gladness.

    2. Read one book of the Bible multiple times.

    It’s popular to try and read through the Bible in a year, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a worthy discipline. Although, I have found my mind and soul sparked more often by reading one biblical book many times. One class I had in seminary required us to read the Gospel of Matthew three times a week for eight weeks. After that many times through one book you begin to notice things. Patterns emerge. Associations come to light that you would not have seen otherwise. You can choose something a bit shorter, perhaps Philippians, 1 John, or Jonah. You can challenge yourself with something a bit longer such as Exodus, Romans, or the Gospel of Luke. Whichever you choose, see if you can read through that book more than ten times this year. See what you discover, what questions are raised, what answers are found.

    3. Invite people.

    One of my pastor friends in Hayward said that he has this rule for his congregation: don’t invite someone to church unless you have first invited them to your home. I’m not going to make this a rule for you, but it is something to think about. As we continually make friends for Jesus, let’s honestly consider the first part of that: making friends. I read a recent survey of people who recently started attending worship services. 86% said they started attending because a friend invited them. A friend. I can attest to the reality that making friends is not easy, but consider people whom you consider acquaintances that you could know better. Invite them to coffee or lunch. Invite them over for dinner and a game. Maybe invite them to church then brunch. Whatever happens to work for you, think about how you can invite people to be a part of your life and a part of God’s family this year.

    God’s blessings on your week.

    Pastor Andy

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LCMS logoFirst Evangelical Lutheran Church is a member of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a family of congregations focused on bringing Christ to the nations and sharing His unconditional saving Love within our community.

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