Posted by Rick Reiter

Happy New Year!!

Hey family… I hope you had an amazing new years eve and were able to ring in the new year with friends and family. I also wanted to take a few minutes of your time and do two things. First I wanted to encourage you with a few thoughts. Second, I wanted to give you an invitation.

First, the encouragement.

Do you know what’s great about new years eve and the first few days of each new year… they are days filled with hope.

Hope that this year will be the year that…
Hope that maybe someone new will come into your life…
Hope that this will be a prosperous year…
Hope that something longed for will acutally happen…
Hope that this year will be as good as last year… or hope that this year will be better than last year…

It is also, for most, a blank slate. Its a starting over. Its about forgetting all the things you didn’t do and saying, I’ll do it this year. In many ways we see January 1st as a day that means we can forget our failings and now be the person we always wanted to be.

Because of this we make resolutions. We make statements that this year I’m going to…

  • I’m going to go to the gym 3x a week.
  • I’m going to eat better
  • I’m going to be more generous, more encouraging, a better friend, husband, wife, employee, etc.
  • I’m going to cut this sin pattern out.
  • I’m going to (fill in the blank)

As I thought about that, a verse of scripture came to mind. Lamentations 3:22-23 “His mercies are new every morning”. I felt like God was pointing out to me that each day is new years. As followers of Jesus we get to wake up each morning with hope and a blank slate. Jesus has wiped our sins away. We get to start fresh. No matter what yesterday was like (good or bad), today is a new day.

But there’s greater news than that. With each new year, culturally, when we make resolutions, we often do so saying “I’m going to…” We make such statements about what we are going to do in our own strength. Do you know why most resolutions fail? Its because its in our own strength. As followers of Jesus we don’t have to do anything in our own strength. We can do it in the strength of the Lord and in the power of the Holy Spiirt In fact God encourages us to do nothing on our own. As John 15 says apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing. Jesus encourages us to abide in Him and He’ll produce much fruit through us. Isn’t it great that God doesn’t call us to produce fruit, but calls us to abide? Isn’t it freeing to know that God produces stuff through us and in us when we abide. Its a simple thing to abide. Its a tough thing to produce. God’s called us to the simple thing.

It also makes me think of Mary choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet and Jesus declaring that she choose the best thing. Sometimes, we need to pull ourselves away to simply sit at the feet of Jesus.

So that brings me to the invitation.

Melissa and I have been talking about what is important to us and our relationship. In those conversations we wanted to read the bible together. Studying the same thing and talking about what God was pointing out to us. So this year we’ve decided to read the “Daily Bible in Chronological Order” It gives us a daily reading, and as you might guess from the title, it puts the events recorded in the Bible in the order it actually happens. So instead of reading the prophetical books by themselves, the prophets are put in the chronological order and you read the words of the prophets as you’re reading the history of the kings. It really helps us understand what is happening when we read it the order events actually occurred. Each day or each couple of days Melissa and I are going to share with each other the things God has been pointing out to us. We’ll encourage each other, teach each other, and worship the Lord together as we talk about Him.

Here’s our invitation… do you want to join us in a “Bible read through”? We’re not saying you need to do the chronological bible with us. But you totally could. We’re inviting you to read the Bible each day and find someone that you can share what God’s revealing to you once a week. Its a pretty simple idea.

  1. Find someone to do this with you.
  2. Pick a reading plan. I’ll give you several suggestions in a minute.
  3. As you read, underline whatever hits you. Jot down some notes if God revealing something to you about that.
  4. Then once a week, or at whatever interval you choose, share with your friend what God’s been showing you. Also, let that friend share with you what God’s pointing out to them so you can learn from each other, encourage each other, and worship God together.

Where to find a reading plan?

If you want to do the chronological bible with us, here’s a link The Daily Bible in Chronological Order 365 daily readings.

Or, you can find reading plans on these websites:
YouVersion which can be on your computer, on your phone, or tablet. This link goes to all their plans, pick one of the bible reading plans not a devotional plan. You can select plans from the menu on the left side. – a great resource that is an online journal with several reading plans. I encourage you to check this site out. its pretty cool.

Again, this is an invitation. No pressure. Also no pressure to pick a year long reading plan. Pick something that looks good to you. Maybe you should even ask God which plan He would want to encounter you on. Most importantly, its not about a reading plan… its about connecting and abiding in Jesus. This is just an invitation to abide in Jesus and sit at His feet.

Happy New Year! We look forward to each day we have with you.

One last thought, while none of us know the days ahead and what 2013 will bring. We have one promise we can hold onto. Jesus will be with us for each of those days! Praise God that Jesus is “God with us”.

In His Love,