2020 is here. A lot is always said about starting a new year. There are goals to set, plans to make, new things to begin, and trends we can’t even see coming yet. I’ve even noticed a good number of people in the social media world bidding a happy goodbye to 2019 as they hope for bigger and better things in 2020. Nothing wrong with any of that.
Whether any of that describes you or not, I would really encourage you to think with purpose about how you can walk closely with Jesus in the coming year. Nothing will affect your life, your family, your joy, and your soul more. To help with that, I’ve linked to a few recent articles I’ve found thought-provoking as I look with purpose toward my own 2020.
I’m not the best at setting aside time to come up with clear and specific goals, but I do value good personal and corporate reflection from time to time. It’s hard to have much purpose if we never stop to listen and think about what God has done, what he wants to do, and what he is saying. I have not worked through these yet, but I intend to soon, at least several of them. And I would absolutely recommend you do the same.
And since we’re thinking about setting a course for 2020…
“We sow sparingly because we forget what we will reap, or we sow sparingly because we fear that God will provide sparingly. We hoard whatever seed he gives—time, money, energy—because we’re afraid we won’t have enough for ourselves.”
Will you hoard what God gives you this year—your time, your money, and your energy? Or will you sow it generously into others and into the Kingdom of God, trusting that God will supply all your needs from his riches in glory, and that wisely investing your resources will result in your own joy?
And as you sow your time…
“A great place to start is with being honest about what your current habits are. Ask yourself, What are my morning habits? What do I typically do in those first fifteen minutes to half hour each day?”
There’s no law that says we need to read our Bibles or spend focused with Jesus early in the day, but if you’re anything like me, the day quickly fills with other things, and in the evenings I’m usually tired and ready to wind my mind down. So starting early and putting it in first is the best way for me to be consistent and focused. I bet the same is true for most of us. This article gives some good motivation along with a few practical steps to help us prioritize first things first.
And since we’re putting first things first…
There is a lot more to walking consistently with Jesus than discipline and plans. Most of our hangups are heart issues. If you’re finding that to be true, I and our elders would love to unpack some of that with you. But…we also need discipline and a plan.
If you don’t have a plan for reading the Bible in 2020, we recommend Reading God’s Story: One-Year Chronological Plan. If you are not familiar with a chronological plan, it is laid out in the order the events happened as much as possible (for example, David’s Psalms are listed with the stories of David they relate to).
One of the main reasons we recommend this plan is because of the companion book, Reader’s Guide to the Bible: A Chronological Reading Plan (Handbook). It has a few questions that help you think through and apply each day’s reading (which will be pretty helpful when you’re plowing through Leviticus!). The book also has discussion questions that can be a helpful guide for reading and discussing with your Missional Community, your family, or another group.
A word of advice: The point of a reading plan is not to check boxes, it is to immerse yourself in the Word of God and interact with him personally. If you miss some days, give yourself grace, and pick it back up. If you need to slow down, slow down. Finishing “on schedule” is not the point. Spending time with the Lord consistently through his Word is.
That’s it. I know, it’s plenty. May the Lord bless your efforts with grace and peace and be abundantly more than you could ask or even think in 2020.