It's time for making resolutions for the new year.
We asked Central Kentucky faith leaders to share with us the resolutions they have for themselves and the faith communities they guide. Here are some of the responses we received. Happy New Year!
Ernie Heavin, Oasis Church of Christ, Georgetown: We are going to encounter 2013 by giving people something greater than the problems they face.
A Strong Vision is the title of a sermon series and a vision for our church. It will come from multiple chosen messages from the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah's time, the people of God were being threatened by future economic hardships, the collapse of political and religious leaders, and an enemy who taunted them with such words like, "Do your best to defend yourselves, but you will be shattered. Prepare for battle and die. ...yes, you will die!" King Ahab's solution is to wring his hands in panic. The people's resolve is to take a piece of wood, with half of it they will use for fuel to bake their bread and with the other half they will carve out an image or idol and bow down before it.
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Isaiah suggests taking another route and entrusting themselves to the one who sits upon the circle of the earth, the Holy One of Israel. In essence, the Strong Vision, which is greater than the problems they face, or we face, can be summed up in these few words: God says, "I'm better than you think I am; you're not as good as you think you are, let's talk, let's reason this out together" (Isaiah 1:18).
The Rev. D. Anthony Everett, Lead Christian Social Activist for Nia Community of Faith: In 2013 and beyond, Nia Community of Faith resolves to empower Lexington's least, last, and lost ethnic persons of African descent to transform their lives and the lives of others through
Christian ministry and discipleship driven by the movement of God.
Our vision is to be a growing, multi-ethnic movement of Christian social activists in spiritual development, personal transformation, and social justice in Lexington.
Therese Warrick, founder/ministry leader, Sisters Road to Freedom Inc.: God has been faithful to his people. However, he wants us to be just as faithful to him. So, in 2013 and beyond, my personal faith-based resolution as the director of Sisters Road To Freedom Inc. and for the faith-based community is that we will be more vigilant, passionate, faithful and committed to the work that God has called us to carry out. That is, evangelizing and serving, providing ministerial and social services not only within the church, but most importantly, outside the walls of the church where the glory of God should also be manifested as well. (Matthew 25:35-45).
May we live and love as Christ lives and loves in us! God bless the United States of America.
Rabbi Marc Kline, Temple Adath Israel: An easy answer would be that we need to resolve to make more realistic resolutions. More realistically, I want to be more appreciative. Every day, we have the opportunity to find ourselves embracing the new day or dreading it. Too often, we are so stuck in ... being stuck, that we fail to see the blessings that really are out there and staring us in the face.
I want us to resolve to be more faithful. I am not speaking about showing up for worship more often; I am talking about faith. Faith is the stuff that makes us realize that our real purpose here is to create miracles for each other. This is not about what religion someone is, it is about how faithful someone is. There are lots of religious people who, in my opinion, spend more time putting God in their own box, than they do in taking care of all that God gives us.
I want us to resolve to be more appreciative of our faith; to spend intentional time being thankful, intentional time paying our blessings forward to those who are in need, intentional time finding our way past needing to control someone else's destiny — celebrating the unique pieces of who they are that can make who we are more whole.
In my religious tradition, there is a prayer that we say every morning, "Modeh ani lefanekha, Melekh Khai v'kayam, sheh-heh-khezarta bi nishmati b'khemlah — I give thanks before you God, Sovereign of all life, who has restored my soul to me with incredible compassion."
I want to resolve to speak these words with intention, appreciating each day as a renewal of life ... a gift given compassionately, not just as the next mark on a calendar.
The Rev. Jim Sichko, St. Mark Roman Catholic Church, Richmond: The foundation of the faith we share is the inherent dignity of each and every person made in God's own image and likeness. This belief is foundational in our decisions. My personal resolution if to keep this foundational belief ever before my eyes. I plan to keep this ever before my congregation's eyes, too. If we begin from the place where we value every person as bearing the image of God and having divine life within, we can surmount every difference and meet every challenge. If our world would remember we're all in it together (from a faith-based perspective: because we are all joined in God) we would have, indeed, a happy and prosperous new year and far beyond!
The Rev. Karen Hartsfield, Second Presbyterian Church: Some people seek honor from people (John 5:39-47), glory for 15 minutes, through acts of unspeakable cowardice. My resolution for 2013 and beyond is centered in God. Look at the one who alone redeemed humankind. Our hope comes in, with, and through Jesus Christ. To resolve conflicts globally, nationally, and locally, discern the will of God, living and active spirit of Jesus Christ. "... Seek glory that comes from the one who alone is God."
Myron Williams, Southland Christian Church: St. Richard (1197-1253) wrote in a prayer to the Lord Jesus these words: "may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day." These words ring as true for 2013 as they did centuries ago. May these words likewise guide us for the coming year.
Melissa Bane Sevier, Versailles Presbyterian Church: In 2013, Versailles Presbyterian will be celebrating our 200th birthday. My resolution is to support the congregation as we look back at different eras of our history and look forward through meaningful worship and mission. Nearly every month we will highlight a historical period during one special service. In addition, we are changing up our worship times and styles. A new worship time of 10 a.m. each Sunday combines traditional and contemporary elements with a focus on a variety of musical styles. A contemplative service at 8:30 a.m. is for those who prefer a quieter space and instrumental music along with sermon and prayer. I resolve to lead us in our reaching out as well as growing from within.
The Rev. Kory Wilcoxson, Crestwood Christian Church: My resolution for myself and Crestwood Christian Church is that we continue paying attention to God's guidance and direction in 2013. I hope our own ambitions can decrease so that God's will for us will increase, and I hope that all we do brings God glory. I also pray that we are NOT successful in everything we do, because it is through failure that we will be reminded on whom we truly depend. I pray that we are able to be an instrument of God's peace in this broken world. My resolution is that the end of 2013, my congregation and I are one step closer to being who God has called us to be.
Rachael Brooks, New Hope Church, Lexington: New Hope has had an eventful year that has resulted in a wonderful new church home that has brought stability to our church family and highlighted the real commitment from so many of our members. We have worked shoulder to shoulder with one another and have overcome many challenges that have resulted in great joy and deeper relationships. Now that our "building" phase is over, we are armed and ready to resume the work of Jesus Christ and have prayerfully committed to welcoming and caring for every person who crosses paths with New Hope. God has generously provided for us in so many ways and it is our resolution to wisely use our resources to help others develop a relationship with Christ and grow in meaningful fellowship with other Christians by sowing the seeds of uncompromising truth in Lexington.
Debra Glenn Monck, wife of a minister at Vineyard Community Church, Lexington: My resolution is to hope. I hope for a neighborhood in which God's kingdom is coming closer everyday, where justice and mercy override strife and discord. I hope for violence to cease and lives to be restored. This past year, the community surrounding my home has experienced murder, drug dealings, prostitution and home invasion. My hope is for 2013 to be a year of peace, not meaning the 'bad' people are taken away, but a significant change happens in people's lives.
I want to be a 'bringer of hope' to my family, workplace, neighborhood and community. It's easy to be glum, to give up on people and our community. It's simple to move on, to excuse ourselves from the mess of people's lives. I want to be hopeful in January and remain hopeful throughout 2013.