Saturday, January 8, 2011


I adapted an old men's study for this one, but I'm not teaching it as I had Amanda Sorelle graciously volunteer to sub.

New Beginnings

There’s no time for new starts and resolutions like the new year. But some surveys show that more than 75% have given up on them within a month.

0) Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Do you know about this tradition?

Psychologists recommend:
To be successful with your own resolutions:
• Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.
• Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.
• Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.
Ingredients for setting yourself up for resolution failure include:
• Not thinking about making resolutions until the last minute.
• Making too many resolutions.
• Framing your resolutions as absolutes by saying, “I will never do X again.”
But this isn’t a pop psychology study – it’s a bible study! What does scripture say?

Learn from the past
(Prov 15: 31-33) He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

(Hebrews 12:10-11) Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

1) What do these say in your own words?

2) What is something you have learned in the past year about living a good life?

But be free of the past
(Ps 32: 5) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD “— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

(Philippians 3:13-14) No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
3) How could remembering what you’ve screwed up in the past help stop you from doing better?

Making a new start
(Ezekiel 36:25-27) “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.

(1 Peter 1:3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

4) ‘New birth’ sounds like a one time thing. Do you think we get one chance to restart or more than one? Why?

God’s plans
(Ps 32:8) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

(Jeremiah 29:11) “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

5) Do you believe God has a plan for you? Do you have any examples from your life?

6) How can we find out God’s plan for us?

Keep on keeping on
(Isaiah 40: 28-31) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

7) How does Isaiah describe God here? Can you put it in your own words?

8) What does it mean to hope in the Lord?

9) Write down one thing you want to do better at this year. You don’t have to share it out loud if you don’t want to.

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