Blog - Mount Vernon Grace Community Church

Service and Worship Times

18350 Hopewell Road
Mount Venon, OH 43050

  • Sunday Morning Prayer
    10:00 a.m. Prayer time prior to Sundays service
  • Sunday Morning Service
    10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Nursery is available and Sunday School classes are held for children preschool age through 12 during the sermon
  • Wednesday Night 
    Bible Study 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Teen Bible Study 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 pm

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How to Make New Year's Resolutions a Success

It is a time for change; a fresh start; a new beginning. It is a season when we say goodbye to old bad habits and hello to new good ones. It is a time when yada, yada, yada; blah, blah, blah, blah… what a load of stuff that comes out of the hind end of a donkey. Don’t quit reading. I think this will get better. 

We put dates on and give time limits to things we know we should change but we really don’t want to. I’ll quit _____________ after the first of the year, (you fill the blank). I will start ________________ after the first of the year, (you fill the blank). Some of us don’t even talk about New Year’s resolutions anymore because we know we probably won’t keep them. You know the old saying, “resolutions are made to be broken.”

Just for your reading pleasure here are some of the origins of New Year resolutions:  The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.  In the Medieval era, the knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.  At watch night services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions.  There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism's New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one's wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility; in fact the practice of New Year's resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually. (Incidentally I know of a guy that will give up drinking adult beverages for Lent and take vacation over that period because in his mind his Lent vow is null and void during vacation. That’s what I mean about the load of stuff from a donkeys hind end.)  (Some of you might be thinking “what’s your point Mr. Sunshine?” Bear with me and I’ll come up with one by the end of the article.)

A study was conducted by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people. The study showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions don’t keep them. (That means 12% do, so not all was lost. Maybe you and I could be part of that 12%) Fifty-two percent of the study's participants were confident they would succeed when they made the resolution. Men were 22% more effective in keeping their resolutions when they set goals for themselves such as I will lose x amount of pounds in x amount of time. Women, on the other hand succeeded 10% more when they told someone about their goals and got support from their friends. (By the way, I got some of my info from Wikipedia so take it for what it’s worth.)

Any way you look at it, resolutions are tough to keep. It sounds like goals and accountability are, at least, part of the key to success. It is probably part of the problem, too. Accountability will only go as far as your willingness to be open, honest, and vulnerable to someone or a group of someones. We just don’t trust each other anymore. Don’t worry - your secret won’t go any farther than Facebook or Twitter.  I wonder if another reason we struggle with life changes is our motive. If my motive is weak my chance of success is going to be weak. Maybe it all boils down to why we want to make a change and who we want to make the change for. Change to please someone else or for my own well-being will break down somewhere in our sinful nature. We are naturally selfish and will often end up doing what feels good in the moment.

When God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, he told them life would go well if they obeyed them but the motive he gave Israel to keep them was much deeper than self-fulfillment. Moses writes in Deut. 6:1-2, Now these are the commandments…which the LORD your God commanded to teach you… That you might fear the LORD your God…Now, isn’t that a novel concept: fear God? But I thought he was my celestial buddy. Actually, he’s your celestial daddy. We like to keep the thought that that means he is always there with open arms to hold and hug his wayward children. This is true, but the writer to the Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 12:6, Daddy disciplines and scourges his children when they disobey. (My paraphrase.) The word "scourge" sounds especially harsh to a society that has deemed spanking as child abuse. How’s that working for us? (Another article for another time.)

Someone is thinking, “fear is an Old Testament trait. We have Jesus now and nothing to fear.” So what you’re thinking is “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” doesn’t apply anymore.  (Psa.111:10; prov.1:7; 1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 14:26-27; 15:16,33; 16:6; 19:23; Acts 9:31) Did you read ‘em? It applies.  Fear means respect, reverence and even terror. Jesus should cause us to have a lot of respect for God. Do you remember what he did? If you read those passages, and there are plenty more, you can’t help but see the power the fear of the LORD gives us.  It kind of breaks down the "do it for yourself" theory that only 12% of the resolution makers succeed at. Maybe for New Year's we should resolve to know and fear God.

He doesn’t stop there. Failure to succeed at resolutions is not only a fear issue but it is a love issue. (This isn’t an argument about how much God loves us. His love for me is incomprehensible. Eph.3:17-19? That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.)  Moses goes on in Deut.6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. It is about our love for him.

This is a fact; you can’t really love yourself unless you love the one that created you in his own likeness. That’s why resolutions made simply on the premise of pleasing someone else or doing it for yourself  simply won’t work. The motive must be out of fear and love for our creator.

That’s my point; whether it is a new year, a new day, or just a new hour we should continually resolve to walk in the fear of the LORD learning to love him with our whole heart. I’ll bet we might be surprised how much power we have to keep those resolutions if our motive is right. They won’t be just fertilizer.

As Dr. Lora used to say, “Now go take on the day.”

Thank You From Pastor Roger

Thank you and a short trip into the mind of pastor

      Where do you start? Sunday October 27, 2013, was an exceptional day. It spoke volumes about the health and state of Grace Community Church of Mt. Vernon Ohio. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be the pastor of this church. It is people like you, not me, that will keep the momentum going. You put the 80-20 theory on its back and proved it wrong, at least for GCC. (80-20 is the theory that 80% of the people set in a chair on Sunday morning while 20% do all the work.)


Who's Your Hero?

We like to put men on pedestals. We need a hero to save the day. I grew up with Superman and Batman. There was the Lone Ranger and Roy Rodgers.


What’s Piling Up in Your Life?

     I am at the end of a very tiring vacation. It was tiring because of a well-oiled gift I have. I have perfected this gift to a tee over the years. It’s not one I am proud of; none the less I am good at it. It is called being disorganized.
     One of the goals of my vacation was to begin to clean up some of my messes. I wanted to eradicate the “piles” I had let accumulate in my garage, basement and yard. (For the record, my wife is free and clear of any charges here. She is a better house keeper than I am; besides I want to eat dinner tonight.) I like to say it all piled up because I am so busy with my “pastoral duties.” While that might sound spiritual it is just an excuse I use to continue to perfect my gift. (It is partially true…)


Frustration: Satan’s Tool for Defeat

Frustration: That is the best word I can use to describe the feeling I get when I listen to the news. We have an administration over their head in scandals, but there doesn’t seem to be any accountability. We are watching the US Supreme Court overstepping their boundaries of interpreting our Constitution and they are making laws that fly in the face of anything our founding fathers intended. (Just so you understand, our government has three distinct branches; executive, legislative and judicial. One branch doesn’t have complete authoritative rule. It was designed to have checks and balances. The US Supreme Court is the lowest branch with the least authority. This is why they are appointed rather than elected. They weren’t designed to rule or legislate, which is what they are doing. Unelected judges are making law. If this isn’t the case, why were they the final word in Roe v. Wade; why were they able to go against the will of the people and congress and overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, [DOMA]?)


Busy: An American way of life. But is it God’s way?

As I sit here this morning my head is swimming with all the things I need to do. Sometimes it is difficult to fit everything into the day. Melodee and I just had a conversation about what we should cut out to fit something else in. Our life isn’t much different than anybody else’s. We all prioritize our day so we can do the things that are important to us.    Work, family, food, friends, television, the electronic world, even church seems to demand all our time. Do you ever wish you could just run off somewhere and hide from it all?      The problem is no matter where you go the “busy” will follow you because we are a society that is addicted to activity. It is hard for most of us to just sit down and relax in the quiet. We train our children from an early age to be uncomfortable with just sitting still. We involve them in every activity we can so they don’t miss their childhood dreams. Unwittingly we train them, and our self, to grab hold of busy and don’t let go.      I’m not so sure this is what God intended for us.