January 2015

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,
but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
[Philippians 3:12-14]

Greetings in the name of Christ!


By the time you receive this newsletter, it will be 2015.

How many of you sat down and made a list of New Year’s resolutions? We make resolutions, some we get started on, some we don’t. Seldom do we seem to reach the goal we set on January 1st by December 31st. Setting resolutions, and not following through, seems to be an annual ritual. This may meet the definition of “insanity”—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Most of the resolutions are the same, losing weight, exercising more, reading more, paying off debt, learning something new, doing something different, or quitting something that is bad for us (smoking, drinking, etc.).

This year, try a new list. We can base our list on what Jesus tells us to do:

  • “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30);
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31);
  • “Love yourself” (Mark 12:31);
  • “Serve the poor” (Matthew 25:40);
  • “As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25);
  • “But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27);
  • “Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks” (Philippians 4:6); and
  • “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

As United Methodists, we are asked to give of our prayers, presence, gifts, and service. Here are some resolutions you may want to consider as United Methodists:

  • RESOLVE: That we will attend church more faithfully in 2015;
  • RESOLVE: That we will be more generous in supporting God’s work through our local church budget;
  • RESOLVE: That we will serve the church willingly and eagerly, without complaint;
  • RESOLVE: That we will be a more effective witness of Christ’s love among friends and neighbors;
  • RESOLVE: That we act more like Christians when we are not “in church”;
  • RESOLVE: That we invite someone new to worship with us;
  • RESOVLE: That we will take time to read God’s word;
  • RESOLVE: That we will give at least 15 minutes to prayer each day; and
  • RESOLVE: That we will be more kind and considerate not only to those we love, but to those we hardly like.

You may think it is a little late for making New Year’s resolutions, but, as the old saying goes, better late than never! It is still the beginning of the New Year, a time when we often think about what we could/should do differently in our lives.

Any or all of these resolutions will make a tremendous difference in our lives. I pray that 2015 will be a great year of fulfillment and love for all of us.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race.”
Philippians 3:13-14

In faithful service,
Don Baker

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