John W. McGraw is pastor of the Wheaton Seventh-day Adventist church, Wheaton, Maryland.
When I was a teen-ager, New Year's resolutions were the vogue. Usually we resolved to make a new start where we had failed the year before. Of course, our newly se lected goals were often not much more than youthful whims, and the resolutions usually passed more quietly than did January. There were times, however, when resolutions endured to become part of my life style. As I face the year 1978 my first resolution is to make resolutions that are truly meaningful and lasting.

Among these is a determination to rededicate myself fully to the privilege of my calling. I recognize that this must be a daily experience, but a special emphasis is good as I enter the new year.

I also resolve to immerse myself in the Scriptures daily, and to spend much time in communication with my Chief Shepherd. No doubt, one of the reasons Billy Graham has been used of God in a strong way is the extent of his personal devotional life. He reads the Bible at least three hours a day. Christianity Today confronted Billy Graham with the question, "If you had to live your life over again, what would you do differently?" He replied that he would study more and preach less. That's a goal I too choose as I face this coming year.

I can't ignore preaching, of course, so I face the question, "How can I preach those sermons that the congregation particularly needs?" As I visit the members of my congregation and become aware of their spiritual needs, I'm always impressed that the simple gospel message contains the answer to their basic problems. So I resolve this year to uplift Jesus Christ more.

The "waiting throng" faces many problems and critical decisions dur ing the coming year. Life in the nu clear age, higher energy prices, un certainty in employment, problems in the home, to mention just a few of them. Is there any word from the Lord? Does God have solutions and answers for these problems and questions?

I'm confident that He does, that embattled church members can find the answers. I want more than any thing to lead them to an experience with Christ that will convince them that they can safely submit to His guidance.

I intend not to take for granted that all those I serve are acquainted with the salvation offered by Christ. There are many like Charles Colson, author of the best seller Born Again, who knew about Christ but did not know Him as a Person, as God come down from heaven. I dare not hesi tate to invite men and women to accept Him personally as Lord and Saviour.

I also do not want to forget that believers are in all stages of Chris tian growth. After conversion they need to be taught what it means to belong to the body of Christ. Christ seen in the prepositional revelations of the Scriptures will enable them to develop into mature members.

In our frenetic twentieth century the church member too often de pends on the sermon for his only spiritual food. Recently, I noticed a church bulletin board that stated: "One week without God, makes one weak Christian." This year I want to encourage my members to study God's Word for themselves. If they are to take an active part in the out reach of the church they need to be spiritually healthy.

I also resolve to work more closely with my church leaders in planning the outreach program and to help each member find some mis sionary project in which he or she can become enthusiastically in volved. To implement these resolu tions will mean a lot of hard work. But dedicated believers eagerly await involvement. And they can help carry the load.

As we have already moved into the year 1978 we can see that it promises to be exciting, both for the pastor and the congregation. The Holy Spirit wants to empower us to help those who have not yet re sponded to the gospel call. Together we move toward the greatest events remaining for this world—the finishing of God's work on earth, and the second coming of Christ.

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John W. McGraw is pastor of the Wheaton Seventh-day Adventist church, Wheaton, Maryland.

February 1978

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