For the last several years I've been really committed to new year's resolutions. It all started about five or six years ago when I was hanging out with some middle school kids at our youth ministry New Year's Eve party. We were having a conversation about resolutions and how pretty much no one keeps them. Then I made a deal with them. I challenged all of them to read a chapter of the bible every day for one year. That's 365 chapters, or roughly 1/3 of the bible. They agreed, but the deal was that I would have to do something equally challenging. Since I was already reading my bible daily, I had to choose something else. At that point in my life I'd fallen off the work-out wagon for several months. Therefore, I agreed to run a mile every day for a year. I figured it would take me about 7-8 minutes to run a mile, and it would probably take the average middle school kid the same amount of time to read a chapter of the bible.
Something incredible happened that year. Those middle school students all stuck with the challenge. They all read a chapter a day for the entire year. It was life changing for them. Many of them have continued that commitment to this day, even as college students. That little conversation on New Year's Eve was one of the biggest faith catalysts I've ever witnessed in a group of students. Oh, and as for me, I stuck with my commitment too. I started off running a mile a day, every day. After about a month I bumped it up to two miles. Then in the spring I ran a 5K. In the fall I ran a half marathon. I ended up running about 1,000 miles that year. It was one of the biggest health catalysts I've ever experienced. I'm still an avid runner.
Each year since I've made some sort of resolution, and I've done a pretty good job of keeping to it. Until this year. This year I realized I needed more than a resolution. You see, 2016 is not only the beginning of a new year for me. It's also the beginning of a new adventure. As I shared in my most recent blog post, my wife and I took a bold step of faith to plant a new church this year.
Along with this step of faith comes a necessity to set a ton of resolutions. I've got short-term goals and long-term goals. I've got financial targets, spiritual targets, and numerical targets. I'm fired up about reaching people for the kingdom of God. I'm resolute about it. But the honest truth is that my resolutions alone will never accomplish this task. I can't do this on my own. No one can. So rather than simply making a resolution this year, I decided to make a request instead.
Years ago I stumbled across a quote from a Jewish theologian named Abraham Heschel. He said, "Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me."
That quote has stuck with me throughout my entire journey in ministry. Now as I'm venturing out into this new season, I decided to make that my request, to make that my prayer for this year. I asked for wonder. I asked God to work in ways that far exceed any resolutions I have. My hope, more than anything else, is that I would experience wonder in this new endeavor.
I want to be amazed by God. I want to be blown away by what he does and how he does it. I want to be in awe of God. So that's my request for this year. I asked for wonder.
The Apostle Paul wrote a similar encouragement to the church in Ephesus. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."
So what's your request this year? What are you asking God for? Where are you inviting him to show up in ways that go far beyond your greatest resolutions?
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