The Columns – January

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So, how did you do on last year’s resolutions? Were you really committed for the first three days then gave up when your favorite dessert
was passed? Did you go to the gym a few times only to realize that you don’t like working out in a mass of sweaty bodies? Here are
some deeper more transformative resolutions you may take up in this new year. Drum roll, please…

TEN: Learn to Dance
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal 5:26)
The early church fathers spoke of the inner life of the triune God as the divine dance of pouring themselves into one another. We are also called into that divine dance. This requires that we allow God to take the lead in our lives and be sensitive to the way He wants to move us to build up our families, encourage our colleagues, and strengthen our community.

NINE: Get a Grip on Your Life
“Add to your knowledge self-control” (2 Peter 1:6)
‘Time management’ is really selfmanagement. This year cultivate your power of choice to shape your future. Manage your time according to life-giving priorities. Make time for morning devotions. Make time for weekly date nights. Make time for family meals and games. Cultivating important relationships is a matter of ‘self-control’ so that the fullness of life doesn’t just dribble away.

EIGHT: Be Easy on People
“Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Phil 4:5)
One of my Philosophy professors at Wheaton once counseled me, ‘Remember that people are fragile.’ People have enough difficulties in life without us piling more on through insensitive or unforgiving words and attitudes. Just as we hope people will extend grace and understanding to us, so we should extend the same to others.

SEVEN: Be Faithful in the Small Things
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (I Cor 4:2)
I remember my dad telling me when I was heading off to Scouts, ‘Jon, you are laying a good foundation.’ Everything we do opens or closes opportunities in the future. Every step of our careers and family life is about faithfulness. There is nothing in our lives too little to not do well. As we are faithful with little things, we will be trusted with greater things.

SIX: Prize Goodness
“Hate what is evil – cling to what is good” (Rom 12:9)
Our culture does just the opposite. It makes evil desirable and fascinating, while it makes good seem naïve and stupid. This year, get off the fence. When something is wrong, speak up. The way you verbally interpret what is going on in the world will help your children and grandchildren internalize a Christian understanding. If we are quiet, the world will be the dominate voice they listen to day in and day out.

FIVE: Be Kind
“Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (I Thess 5:15)
Kindness is underrated these days, but how it smooths the way for peaceful relationships! Remember what your mama told you every time you left the house, ‘Be sweet!’ Show proper concern. Offer your help. Be generous with your time. Be Kind.

FOUR: Don’t Blow your Stack
“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Prov 16:32)
Being patient is like counting to 10 before you speak. It gives you time to make sure your filter is in place so you don’t say anything that you might regret, or that may make matters worse. Patience enables you to stand your ground while giving a fair hearing to the other person. Patience disarms an aggressor and keeps a situation from escalating.

THREE: Pursue Peace
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge.” (Rom 12:17-19)
Peace doesn’t just happen. It can be hard work. But it is always cheaper to work on a broken relationship sooner rather than later.

TWO: Be Joyful
“Shout with joy to God, all the earth!” (Psalm 66:1)
Count your blessings instead of disappointments and joy will come. Express gratitude over grumbling in a 3:1 ratio. 3:1 is the magic ratio that transforms the atmosphere from getting by to going forward with joy. When you choose joy, you will draw others into that joyful spirit.

ONE: Love
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (I John 4:11)
This love is not the passionate erotic love that our culture is obsessed with. It is the agape love of God that our culture so desperately needs. Agape love means to be committed to another person’s good, wholeness, without expecting anything in return. Who can you help without any anticipation of return? Is there a neighborhood boy who needs a father figure? A student who needs tutoring? Poor who need feeding through your service at the Salvation Army or Rescue Mission?

There are so many resolutions we could make this year. Why not try a couple of these. The key is to be intentional. Think about what your resolution will actually look like, then do it! Who knows how God will use these to transform your life, your family, and your work!

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday Business Lunch • Every Wednesday • Hunter 101 • Cost $7
  • Marriage Matters Seminar • February 20 • Led by Ross Githens MS,L. Please contact Tammy Hogg for more information
  • Pig Roast Eggstravaganza • March 13 • Rice Family Farm

Men’s Bible/Book Studies
Drop-ins are always welcome!

  • Tuesdays • Noon • Courtyard Kitchen • Cost $7 • Led by Geoff Westmoreland Contemporary topics of work, manhood, and community looked at through a Biblical lens.
  • Wednesdays • 6:45AM • Courtyard Kitchen • This Men’s Study is starting the study of Surprised by Scripture by N. T. Wright. Call Jonathan Beck at 424-7771 to let him know your interest.
  • Thursdays • Noon • Courtyard Kitchen • Bible Study is presently focusing on The Pastoral Letters: I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus by N. T. Wright. Call Jonathan Beck at 424-7771 to get a book.
  • Fridays • Noon • Progressive Bank on Fern Ave. • Led by Chris Rea – Bible Study is presently focusing on Acts. Call church office for more information at 424-7771.

Dr. Jonathan Beck • Executive Pastor • jbeck@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/mens-ministry@jonathanbeck • 318.424.7771

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