new year resolutions

I hope I’m not too late for those of you making resolutions for the new year, but I just came across this list which I wrote in 1993.  I was in seminary at the time, and it occurred to me that while the chapel speakers in college and seminary had challenged me to do many good things, it would not be humanly possible to do all that they asked from me.  Individually each expectation had merit, but collectively they were overwhelming.

Here is the list of what they said faithful Christians do, along with their reasons for doing them (in parentheses).  Anything to add to the list?

·         study the Bible for one hour each day (how else will God speak to you?)

·         start a memory verse program (you need to hide God’s Word in your heart, and this discipline will set you apart from most other Christians)

·         read through the entire Bible several times every year (to keep the big picture in view)

·         keep a spiritual journal (all growing, committed Christians journal)

·         spend significant time in prayer (no one says how long, but saints like George Whitefield who began at 4 AM are considered fine models)

·         keep a prayer notebook (organize your requests so you can keep track of God’s answers)

·         follow a missionary prayer calendar, praying regularly for each day’s missionary (you’re responsible to do more than send money)

·         pray daily for the significant people in your life (this proves you really care)

·         read several newspapers daily—your local paper plus a few biggies (you can’t reach your world if you don’t know what’s going on)

·         subscribe to a few periodicals also (so you can engage the leading thinkers of our day)

·         read biographies of great Christians (there’s nothing like it for recharging your spiritual batteries)

·         read widely outside your discipline—a few literary classics or stretching philosophical treatises would be nice (read to become a deep person)

·         read just for fun (you don’t want all this work to get tiresome)

·         meditate (most of us spend too much time reading and too little time thinking)

·         hang out with your family (you can’t replace these important people—if you’re a failure at home you’re a failure period)

·         show up on time to all your kids’ school activities (your next job will always be there but you kids won’t be)

·         date your spouse once per week (number one way to protect your ministry)

·         make certain the entire family eats dinner together (the family that eats together stays together)

·         hold family devotions daily (the family that prays together stays together)

·         don’t forget to write/call/visit grandparents (where would you be without them?)

·         call old friends (never forget where you came from)

·         develop deep friendships (because people are the only thing that matters)

·         get to know people you don’t particularly care about (this will stretch you beyond your comfort zone)

·         build many acquaintances (you never know which ones may turn into something more)

·         join an accountability group (you must do this)

·         invite unsaved people over for dinner (God gave you that house for a reason)

·         disciple at least one person—several is better (this is the legacy you’ll leave behind)

·         find a mentor—someone who can evaluate and encourage you (all growing people have mentors)

·         get involved in your community—join the PTA, coach soccer, or protest something, such as abortion or drunken driving (you’re to be salt and light, you know)

·         use your gifts in the local church—if the doors are open you should be there (because the church is what God cares about)

·         visit the field of a missionary your church supports (this is what God really cares about)

·         travel broadly, just for fun (what a fulfilling, deepening experience)

·         sign up for a graduate course (you never want to stop learning)

·         visit the sick and elderly in your church (someday it will be you)

·         start a hobby (you need some  fulfilling diversion)

·         exercise at least 5 times per week for 30 minutes (take care of that body God gave you)

·         maintain a well-kept house and lawn (because how you live says a lot about you)

·         learn at least 1 foreign language (Americans are the only people who are not bilingual)

·         Relax!  (otherwise you could burn-out)







5 responses to “new year resolutions”

  1. Pete Scribner

    Nice list, Mike. Great suggestions throughout, especially (in light of the rest of the list) the reminder to relax!

    Thanks for highlighting that preachers need to remember to differentiate between a biblical mandate and a good idea (no matter how good the idea might be).

  2. Get a couple of good suits (because otherwise people won’t take you seriously).

  3. Part of this may be a repeat, my internet is very very slow today. But I’ve added new ones also:

    Get a couple of good suits (otherwise no one will take you seriously)

    Read Greek and Hebrew every day (you wouldn’t want to waste all that time you put in your seminary classes)

  4. mikewittmer


    Many of these were from message given in seminary, so we were already wearing suits! (I do applaud you for continuing our conversation on your blog over here, even though no one else will understand why your comment is so funny!).

    That is actually a great point about the languages, I’ll throw that in. And don’t forget Latin!

  5. I always knew you were a legalist, now I have the proof!

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