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Know Where You've Been, To Know Where You're Going!
Bible study on reflection and goals.

Near the beginning of the year, the elders will talk to us about our 2009 goals.

But in this article, I want to talk about the past, so we can understand the road we've traveled, and can perceive the possibilities that lie ahead.

Congregation: Reflection of Individuals
It's not my intent to evaluate the congregation over the past year. But I want to note that we've had a good year.

A few weeks ago, Beth and I were talking to a family that visited recently. They're working with a new church and visiting churches in Tampa to see what others are doing. The man again emphasized that the South Livingston congregation was the warmest and friendliest church they visited.

This illustrates the spirituality and commitment of the members, and a genuine concern for souls.

As a church, our progress continues to be positive, growing spiritually and numerically, which is a reflection of our members. The South Livingston congregation is doing well, because the members are doing well.

Future Progress
The future progress of our congregation depends on the future progress of each member.

So, for the remainder of this article, I want to put forth questions to help us think about the past few months, and set a course for upcoming months.

What Did You Accomplish in 2008?
I'm sure you accomplished a lot in 2008.

Besides going to church, attending school, and going to work, we did chores, took care of family, went to restaurants and movies, took vacations, and visited friends among other things.

There's nothing wrong with these things, but what did you accomplish while doing them?

  • Did you become a stronger Christian?
  • Did you learn more about God and apply it to your life?
  • Did you visit Christians in need, and help them?
  • Did you become more involved in the congregation?
  • Did you grow as a person?
  • Did you tell people about God?

What Did You Want to Accomplish in 2008, But Didn't?
All of us have goals and aspirations, and I suppose each of us fell short of our goals in 2008. Personally, I've learned to put more on my plate than I can handle, so I push myself. This makes me be more productive than I would have been otherwise. But as a result, I never get everything done, and fall short of my goals.

This said, I know I can be more productive, and bear more fruit in God's kingdom.

Paul made this point to the Thessalonians, knowing they could excel still more.

  • "Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more" (1 Th. 5:9-10).

Time Management
We can often improve in the management of time.

Just think, if everyone in a congregation of one hundred people spent one more hour per week working for the Lord, rather than recreating, that would be 5,200 hours of work in a year.

Just imagine what we could accomplish with another 5,200 hours of work! And what if we doubled it, and worked another 10,400 hours in 2009 as a congregation!

What can you do differently in 2009, to bear more fruit for the Lord?

  • Can you squeeze another hour per week out of your schedule, to do the Lord's work?
  • What do you have to change professionally, to get another hour each week out of your schedule?
  • What would you have to change recreationally, to get another hour each week out of your schedule?
  • Would it be worth making one, or a combination of these changes, in view of eternity?

Personally, I've been motivated to watch our elders squeeze time from their schedules, over and over, to work more with the congregation. Like us, they have responsible jobs, and families who need them, yet they place their trust in God and push themselves.

Will You Make a Bigger Difference in 2009?
Each member of the South Livingston congregation makes a difference, as he does his individual work.

  • "But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" (Eph. 4:15-16).

The question isn't whether we can make a difference in the Lord's kingdom; it's whether we will make a difference.

Are you committed to use your God-given talents to make a bigger difference in the Lord's kingdom this upcoming year?