4 Steps To Making 2021 Better Than 2020
Updated: Jan 3
If you read the title of this article you may be thinking: “it shouldn't be hard to make 2021 better than 2020”.
The four things listed below will help you no matter how good or bad this year has been for you.
1. Evaluate Your Priorities
In Chapter 10 of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus arrives in the town of Bethany where Mary and Martha live. Right away Martha welcomed Jesus into her house. Mary and Martha are both disciples of Christ, however they respond to Jesus in different ways: “she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving.” We have a great lesson to learn between these two women. You may be asking yourself, So, do we listen like Mary or serve like Martha? What if I told you that we don’t have to choose.
This is a great portrayal of the battle we face every day. We don't choose between worshiping the Lord like Mary or serving like Martha because there shouldn't be a fight between physical needs and spiritual growth. Jesus knew that neither Mary nor Martha can live by bread alone (Matt. 4:4) but that it was now time to feed the soul with spiritual bread. Martha was distracted with other things that were not necessarily bad things.
Can you relate?
As you reflect on 2020 you may recall doing things that are good and even commanded in Scripture. However, we all need to be reminded that God has not blessed us with friends, family, jobs, & abilities to clutter our life so much that we cannot have a close walk with Him.
We must remember, without God we can do nothing (John 15:5).
“...but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42). The “good portion” was Mary focusing on the Lord’s teaching. If we are too busy to spend time with the Lord each day, something needs to change. A daily time in the Word of God should be a priority.
2. Get Back In the Game
This past year has brought about a lot of change. When things begin to change people are forced to evaluate what is essential in their life and what can go.
When evaluating your priorities, your relationship with the Lord should be high on that list. Up there with it: gathering with your church.
Before you get defensive and begin listing the reasons why it's not best for you to gather with your church at this time, let me remind you of our online opportunities.
The church staff and volunteers have worked diligently to bring about a quality online worship service each week. It is important to your pastoral staff that this be available so that those who are compromised can still stay connected to their church.
It is also, and has always been, important for those who are able to physically gather with your church to do so.
What’s the significance of physically gathering in person?
The writer of Hebrews says this in chapter 10:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” You see, gathering in person isn’t just for your well being, but for the edification of the others in your church body as well.
The Psalmist says this in chapter 63:
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.”
Clearly he misses God; but in particular, he misses his experience of God in public worship: the sanctuary, with God’s people.
As we get ready to begin a new year it may be time for you to get back in the game. That may look like joining in online, engaging with people in the comments, singing in worship at home, and growing in truth as you listen to the message. That may also look like joining once again with your church in-person to grow in the glory of God and for the edification of other believers - your church family. It may be connecting or reconnecting with your grow group. These are continuing to meet and the new year is a perfect time to connect.
3. Be Generous
This one Park Crest took to heart in 2020. To recap a few things that our church did in the past year to SHOW the love of Christ to our community:
Community Food Pantries
Financial giving to world wide missions
Amazon Gift Cards for Teachers
Donuts for healthcare workers at both Mercy & Cox Hospitals
Camp fundraisers (Kids Camp, Middle School Camp, and High School Camp)
Hosting the Springfield Police Department graduation ceremony on campus
SHOWSpringfield - Over $9,000 donated when the original goal was $5,250
Donuts for ER Staff at Mercy Hospital (Again)
Chick-fil-a lunch catered for all 4 COVID Units at Mercy Hospital
Christmas gift cards to less fortunate families
These are just 10 of the many things our church has been involved in over the past year.
God influences the world through His people.
He gives to us so that He can give through us.
The Bible tells us that everything we have is a gift from God.
1 Chronicles 29:14
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
As you give both faithfully and willingly, the world is changed for the glory of God: the gospel is preached, lives are touched, people are fed, churches are built. You, in turn, are blessed by God so that you can give again.
Be generous in 2021. How could God use Park Crest to reach our community and our world if His people would be faithful and willing to give back what He has already given? Let’s find out!
4. Take the Next Step
After reading through these first three steps you may already have the answer to this but, what is your next step?
This is the greatest gift ever given through the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the gift of salvation is received, it means that we move from being the object of God's wrath to being adopted as God's family.
Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer. This identifies the believer with Christ and is a prerequisite to becoming a church member.
Becoming a Member of Park Crest?
Becoming a member at Park Crest means becoming a part of our family and joining in growing closer to Christ and showing His love to the world.
Joining a Grow Group? Part of our mission at Park Crest is to help people GROW in their relationship with Christ. We believe that the best way to grow is together. We regularly meet in Grow Groups, which are communities designed to encourage your relationship with Christ and support you in your current stage of life.
You are blessed by God so that you can be a blessing. Have you made this commitment to give back faithfully to the Lord because He has given to you? The new year, 2021, is a perfect starting point to begin giving to the mission of the church.
Part of our mission at Park Crest is to SHOW the love of Christ so that people ultimately come to KNOW Christ as their savior. We have many different opportunities for you to be involved in SHOWing the love of Christ to people inside and outside of our walls.
Whatever this looks like for you, our desire is that you would start the new year by taking this next step.
If you have any questions about taking the next step please fill out our online connection card and one of our pastors will be glad to guide you.
Park Crest, we pray that you have a Happy New Year and a much better 2021.
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”