Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How one word can change your life

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”—John 1:1 (NIV).

If you’ve never made a New Year’s resolution, you’re in the minority. However, we all have one thing in common—time. In an article for “Pulpit Helps,” author Steven B. Cloud wrote,    “As we look into a New Year, we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. And all is a gift from God.”

Our lives have become so busy, yet we add to the burden each New Year by making a list of resolutions that most of us will fail to accomplish—quit smoking, lose weight and get healthy or save more money. This is just a partial list but some of the more popular ones. That’s why we see so many advertisements promoting products and gyms to help us accomplish our goals. Stroll through the aisles of a bookstore and you’ll find so many self-help books, it’ll make you go cross-eyed with confusion.

One book, however, has the power to change your life. The Bible is filled with words of wisdom and encouragement. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

In January 2007, Pastor Mike Ashcraft challenged his congregation to ditch their New Year’s resolutions and each pick one word to focus on that year. Embracing this new idea to approaching personal change and spiritual growth, church members realized the simple plan is more effective than making an overwhelming list of resolutions each year. Why? Called God’s instruction book for life, the Bible addresses every aspect of our lives—spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially.

 One word can change your life when it is grounded in faith.

Because we lead busy lives, we tend to focus on the surface-level of issues, forgetting God has numbered our days. Trying to manage our lives and our time, we fail miserably because we haven’t taken the time to seek God’s wisdom. Ultimately, says Pastor Ashcraft, that’s what the “My One Word” project is all about. 

Willpower and self-effort only get us so far. When we’re overwhelmed with a long list, it’s even more difficult to achieve lasting change. That’s why, according to Ashcraft, the One-Word project works. 

To choose a word for 2015, Ashcraft suggests asking the following questions:
1.      What kind of person do I want to become this year?
2.      What drives my desire to be this kind of person?
3.      What characteristics define this type of person? Make a list.
4.      Reduce your list to 10 words or less, research those words using a dictionary and Bible.
5.      Choose one word from your list as your word for the year.
6.      Choose a Bible verse that speaks to you about your chosen word and memorize it. This will provide a foundation of truth you can continually return to and will fuel your hope to change.
7.      What initial expectations do you have regarding the impact of your word?

One word can change your life when it is grounded in faith.

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