My friend, Dr. Paul Chitwood serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He recently published a very well-written challenge that I would like to share with you. I echo the following words of Dr. Chitwood as we seek to magnify and honor the glorious name of the Lord Jesus in 2012:
With this first 2012 post, I’m hoping a New Year’s resolution list for Kentucky Baptists will be well received. I offer no earth-shattering new insights. I simply challenge us to be faithful to the basic call of Christ upon our lives and obedient to the fundamental teachings in God’s word. If every Kentucky Baptist would commit themselves to the following resolutions, our churches would flourish, every lost person in the Commonwealth could hear the gospel, and the cause of the Great Commission would be rapidly advanced.
First, would you resolve to walk closely with Jesus through concerted prayer and daily Bible reading? Our Lord exhorts us in John 15:4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” The first call of the gospel is the call to be in Jesus Christ. He is the source of spiritual life and spiritual power. Apart from him, we will remain powerless.
Second, would you resolve to obey Jesus in all things? Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28). Matters like sexual purity, financial stewardship, personal honesty, sobriety, and refraining from gluttony are not negotiable for those who have confessed Jesus as Lord of our lives.
Third, would you resolve to share Jesus with at least one lost person each week? The command to be witnesses and the promise of the Spirit’s empowerment to that end are clearly stated in Acts 1:8. As for the lost, “how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard” (Rom 10:14)? Yet, multiple studies and surveys reveal most of us never take the initiative to tell lost people how to be saved. Pray that God would give you the opportunity to share the gospel with just one person each week.
Fourth, would you resolve to love and serve Jesus’ bride with more passion than ever before? Your church isn’t perfect but it needs you. And you need the church. We simply cannot be faithful followers of Jesus apart from his church. Love and serve her.
Fifth, would you resolve to commit more of your resources to Jesus’ Great Commission? The sin of greed has captivated us. Rather than starting with a tithe and giving generously beyond that, the average church member gives less than 3 percent of their income. If we merely gave a tithe, church ministry budgets and the Cooperative Program mission budget would triple, resulting in an exponential harvest of souls in Kentucky and around the world.