Seeking To Be Amazed By Jesus In 2018

Happy New Year!

As you know this is a time of resolutions and new beginnings, and so on that note I’ve been evaluating my life and planning for the new year. As I said in my last sermon, resolutions can be great things, as long as we are making them for the right reasons. If you want to read through some good resolutions made for some good reasons, take a look at Jonathan Edwards’ found HERE.

I don’t have 70 resolutions this year, but I do hope to commit myself to a few things this year, and I thought I would share them with you and challenge you to join me…

Lord willing, I hope to give much time and effort in 2018 and beyond to:

  1. Prayer… E. M. Bounds once wrote, “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.” This year I hope to give myself all the more to prayer: prayer for my own walk—my own love and affection for Jesus… From there I hope to give myself to desperate prayer for my family, for my church, for my friends, extended family, and neighbors… And I want to pray more for the churches around us and around the world, along with the lost around us and around the world. A great way to pray for the world is by going HERE. I want to be in a constant posture of prayer for revival here and around the world…
  2. Studying God’s Word… Christianity is not about being amazing for Jesus, but being amazed by Jesus… And the way to be amazed by Jesus is to meditate on His Word… This year I plan to read through the Bible (you can find some great reading plans HERE, or pick one up at the church), but I also plan to really study the Word too. I guess you could say I plan to read more and less… I hope to read through the Bible as many times as I can this year, but I also plan to slow down, meditate on, memorize, and do hard study of individual books of the Bible… And along with that I hope to read through as many good Christian books that I can: biography, theology, Christian living… Whatever books I can read that will stir my affection for Jesus…
  3. Spending more time with God’s people… Gospel community is the context of discipleship… Being in fellowship with God’s people is gospel balm to the weary soul… This year I want to be consistent in gathering with God’s people (every Sunday morning, Wednesday evening, and every Members’ Meeting)… Just as I pointed out in my last sermon, in Isaiah 6 Isaiah was surprised by God… While I would love to be surprised by God, I want to come to gather with God’s people in eager expectation… I don’t want to miss church because I don’t want to miss a mighty work of God… In eager expectation of a mighty work of God I want to be faithful to gather with God’s people… And along with that I also want to open up my life more to God’s people throughout the week. Whether I’m getting together with one other believer, or multiple believers for Bible study, prayer, or just living life (running errands, getting coffee, eating a meal, etc…), I want to prioritize time with God’s people… I want to be around people who make me want to love Jesus more, and I want to be the type of person that encourages others to grow in their affection for Jesus… We tend to become like those we spend time with, so I want to give more of my time to God’s people… I want to spend this year being discipled and discipling others…
  4. Sharing the gospel with the lost… If I am truly amazed by Jesus I should delight to talk about Jesus, and I should want to introduce as many people to Him as I can… I’m hoping and praying that the Lord might use me this year as a means to help others come to know, love, and treasure Jesus… As David Platt has said, “Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell…” But it isn’t just the weight of that that should motivate us, but also our love for Jesus and the joy that comes from seeing the lost saved… As Jesus said, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). I want to pray for opportunities and take every opportunity I can to share the gospel, for their joy, the joy of heaven, and my joy as well… When the lost are found, joy is found as well…
  5. Dying to myself… This year I want to get over myself. I don’t want to spend this year getting offended or justifying myself… I want to give myself to loving and serving others… I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, I want to be gracious… I want to love and serve my family selflessly… I want to love and serve my church family selflessly… I want to help people, expecting absolutely nothing in return… I want to give sacrificially of my time, my talents, and my finances… For the glory of King Jesus and the joy of His people I want to love others like Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…

There are other goals I have for myself this year, but I’ll stop here for now. Will you consider joining me in these, or in your own version of these? Or perhaps you just need to ask the Lord what He would have you give yourself to this year…

I love you all! Happy New Year!

Jesus is all!

Nick Esch