It's that time of the year when the New Years’ resolutions are made, and by the time you read this might soon be broken, if not already. (“So, pastor, how is that diet coming along?”)


We promise ourselves much for changes in our life, just as we promise to give up things for Lent. And we all know so many of us don’t follow through. And we know why.

I suppose that could be the end of it. Have a nice day. Better luck next year. But nothing has really changed in the past, so why pin hopes on the future? Change of topic…

Last Fall I attended a Circuit Visitor Training event in Sioux City. It was on reconciliation in a congregation. I found it very helpful. One of the points it made was the reconciliation is easier to make within a healthy congregation than a “sick” one. Now bear with me, this all comes together very soon.

First, I do not see us as a conflicted congregation. I have been a part of conflicted congregations. We are not one of them. The point was made that congregations need to move their health indicators up a few notches before any conflict would arise, so that if conflict should arise, they would be blessed. A nationwide, pan denominational study was cited that compared attributes of congregations that are healthy and those that are, well, not as healthy. Across the board the universally observed reality was that the more the members were involved in Bible study within their congregations, the healthier the congregations were.

(You know, common sense is never common until it is pointed out.)

What am I saying? Resolutions, setting aside the joyful distractions of life during specific times of the year, can be good for us, if we are doing them for the right reasons. Self-improvement is great, but how much greater should be the improvement of our knowledge of God and our relationship with Him, and His people in this place?

I would challenge you even now (I know, New Years’ Eve is already passed) to make a resolution that is not just for your benefit, but for the benefit of all. Resolve to be a part of the Bible Study opportunities that await you this year at Peace. If none of the studies currently being offered draw you in, then be bold! Talk to me about what you would like to learn more about (topical), what we as Lutherans believe (catechetical / confessional), or even a basic, dig into it Bible study of a particular book. There are 66 to choose from!

Healthy bodies require a healthy diet and movement. A healthy spirit requires the same. Feed your soul. Grow in the joy of understanding. Resolve by the power of the Holy Spirit to make this your healthiest year in the Lord ever. 

Pastor Barnes