Archives For resolutions

David Helm serves as lead pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Chicago, IL, director of their training center, and chairman of The Charles Simeon Trust. With the beginning of this new year, as an expositor of God’s Word he committed himself, by God’s grace, to three resolutions and resolves regarding his expositional preaching, to which he also challenged fellow expositors:

Resolved: To remain convinced that biblical exposition must be done.

Resolved: To find collegial relationships that will encourage me in the hard work of biblical exposition.

Resolved: To invest my time in ways that show me how to go about getting biblical exposition done.

Two application questions:

  1. Can you join Helm in praying for and working towards these resolutions?
  2. What are your commitments to be a better, more faithful expositor of God’s Word this year?

Resolutions, Resolves, Vows

Greg Strand – January 3, 2013 Leave a comment

To follow my post regarding resolutions, here are a few good reminders of a vow, resolve or resolution.

Buck Parsons, “Resolved by the Grace of God,” Tabletalk (January 2009)

For a positive reason for considering resolutions, Parsons looks back to Jonathan Edwards to learn the proper reason and goal of resolutions. He quotes from Edwards as he grounds his 70 Resolutions, and any and all subsequent thoughts about them, including my own:

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

David Powlison, “David Powlison on New Year’s Resolutions,” (December 31, 2009)

Prior to this question posted by Justin Taylor and this post, Powlison had not thought much about resolutions. As he pondered them, there were numerous concerns he had about them. But he also saw some benefit, as he himself has lived by a key one, a general one that affects every aspect of his life. Here is how he understands a resolution:

For starters, what is a resolution? What does it mean for me to resolve something? (We can dispense with the “New Year’s” part as merely arbitrary, not necessary.) This use of the word resolution means coming to a firm and determined decision to do something, to behave in a certain manner, to abide by certain principles. That sounds decidedly Christian. Considered from this angle, the Nicene Creed is one sort of resolution. And “I am Your servant . . . I promise to keep Your words” (Ps 119:124, 119:57) is another example of resolve. When you resolve_____, it means you formally express what you believe, will, or intend. It is a stand you take, a direction you choose. After thought and decision, you commit yourself to take steps along a trajectory which changes the destination of your life. Put that way, the entire Christian life might be conceived as a lifelong determination to make and walk out “New Creation Every-Day Resolutions.”

There is a single resolution to which he submitted upon becoming a Christian in 1976 and became a member of a local church. And this is the same resolution to which he was recommitting himself specifically to love his wife the night he wrote this post.

So are you making your New Year’s resolutions? On this New Year’s eve, I’ve decided to make one for the first time in my life, and I’m making it public.

          I now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that I will endeavor to live as becomes a follower of Christ.

I can see very specific implications for my choices later this evening (when Nan and I go to a party with old friends) and early tomorrow morning (when we drive our daughter to the airport).

Then, by the grace of God, I’ll make this same resolution tomorrow on New Year’s Day, and, no doubt, there will be different implications, in different spheres of life. (My office really does need to be tidied up and reorganized. And University of Hawaii is playing in the Sugar Bowl. And several good friends are facing serious cancer. And. . . .) And then by the grace of God, I’ll make (and live out) the same resolution on January 2nd, and 3rd, . . . , and every day in this new year of Christ’s new creation, every day, for as long as it is called Today.

Jean Williams, “A statement of purpose for the new year,” The Briefing (January 18, 2012)

Williams recognizes the negative aspect to resolutions. But she also sees that if understood as Edwards spells, there is an appropriate place for them in the Christian life. Here is her introductory confession which is followed by her 8 Christ-focused/centered “prayerful commitments, shaped by the Bible.”

But this year, I tentatively stuck my foot in the waters of the New Year’s resolution once again. My resolutions aren’t vows. They’re not promises. In fact, they’re not really resolutions (I don’t have enough confidence in myself for that!). They’re prayerful commitments, shaped by the Bible: a description of the life I want to live as a woman who’s received God’s grace (Titus 2:3-5, 11-14; 1 Tim 5:10).

Tim Challies, “Keeping Your Resolutions,” (January 4, 2012)

Bearing in mind the proper biblical and Christian understanding of resolutions, Challies provides some resources for those who are looking for some help.

For those of you who did (or now will) make resolutions, I wanted to recommend just 2 or 3 resources that I’ve found helpful in the 6 areas of life that people are most often resolving to see change (and yes, I actually did some research to see what areas we tend to make resolutions).


Greg Strand – January 2, 2013 Leave a comment

This is the time of year when many assess and evaluate the past year, and look forward and ponder the upcoming year. I am not sure what you think about “resolutions” and how they fit into your understanding of God’s sovereignty, important endings and beginnings celebrated through anniversaries or year ends. Here are four thoughts, three general and one specific to this link below.

First, my sense is that those time-markers are good reminders to reflect on God, His call in my life, life and ministry of the previous year, life and ministry in the coming year, Lord willing, family, etc. It is true that one does not need a year end or an anniversary to do this reflection. But in our busyness of life, we often don’t have the time to do that. Additionally, we also need to be careful of incessantly over scrutinizing because that may well keep us from engaging clearly in what God has for us now in the present.

Second, often resolutions are stated and undertaken, even among Christians, as if one has the will-power on one’s own to enact the change. In fact, it is interesting in that there is a sentiment that as often as resolutions are made, they will be broken or terminated after a short time after having failed again. True spiritual change is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: Apart from Me you can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). For Christians, we undertake these changes based on the indicative of what God has done in Christ by the Holy Spirit. If we forget or overlook the indicative, we end up in moralism. And moralism fails before God even if one is a successful moralist. Before God, there is no successful moralist. Grounded in the indicative of what Christ has done, we then engage in the imperative of living out that Christian life. And another good thing to remember is that those resolutions ought to lead to godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).

Third, Socrates made the statement, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This is an accurate statement. But when you probe the reason why, we would quickly go in a different direction than Socrates. His rationale for making that statement would be far different than what is taught in the Bible. As with Paul, we examine our lives to see if we are of the faith (2 Cor. 13:5), to use time wisely knowing the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-17), to discern where sin resides/remains (mortify) and where we need to grow (sanctify), to purify ourselves as we live circumspectly before God now (coram Deo) and as we look towards His appearance (1 Jn. 3:2-3), to be conformed into the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29), to do all as unto the Lord (Col. 3:17, 23-24), for His glory (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 10:31).

Finally, and specifically, I confess I do not like when a resolution is stated as a “guarantee.” But it is important to note that He does not promise success, but rather improvement in ministry leadership. You should understand improvement as growth and maturity, sanctification and increasing Christlikeness. All of us need that; none of us can do it on our own. As you lay these, and other, resolves before the Lord, you confess your sin in how you have not lived as well as you have taught/preached, and then, secondly, you ask God the Holy Spirit to give you the will, the desire and the power to change.

Having stated my concern and qualification, I include Ron Edmonson’s list, “10 Resolutions Guaranteed to Improve Your Leadership.”

Here are 10 resolutions guaranteed to improve your ministry leadership:

  • I resolve to never compromise my character in my search for progress.
  • I resolve to consistently be walking by faith.
  • I resolve to pray earnestly before I make major decisions.
  • I resolve to surround myself with wise and moral influencers.
  • I resolve to protect my family time while working in ministry.
  • I resolve to make my personal health a priority.
  • I resolve to allow trials and turmoil to draw me closer to Christ and shape my character for good.
  • I resolve to love the unlovable.
  • I resolve to pray for my enemies, extend grace liberally, and never hold a grudge.
  • I resolve to allow at least a few people access to know and speak into the deepest and most private parts of my life.

*Edmonson serves as pastor of Grace Community Church in Clarksville, TN. He writes that he is passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner. He has been in full-time vocational ministry for over 8 years.

Here is the blog post chronicling the June 20, 2012 SBC meeting: Three Resolutions were passed in the morning.

10:19 a.m. — The Committee on Resolutions’ scheduled time has passed, with only three resolutions having been debated (sinner’s prayer, On Appreciation, On 200 Years of Baptist Ministry in Louisiana). All passed. The other six resolutions will be considered at 4:05 p.m.

The remaining six Resolutions were passed in the late afternoon.

4:20 p.m. — Messengers moment ago passed six resolutions, including one on “Cooperation and the Doctrine of Salvation” and another on gay marriage and civil rights rhetoric. All resolutions passed overwhelmingly. 

You can read all nine Resolutions at the link above, which will be found at “7:50 a.m. — Messengers this morning will consider nine resolutions.”

SBC Resolutions

Greg Strand – June 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The major order of ministry/business at the SBC Annual meeting 6/20/12 was the discussion and adoption of Resolutions.

Some of you will remember when Resolutions were discussed, edited and adopted at EFCA Conferences. Like our Resolutions, they represent the decision of a specific Conference but are non-binding. Thus, they are descriptive, not prescriptive.

There were nine Resolutions before the Convention, which you can read at the link above.