I am looking forward to the new year. Not looking forward to getting older though. I was for many years. When I was younger I always seemed to have this conviction that getting older meant that the only thing that changed was I just got smarter. Another year of learning under my belt. Another year of experience behind me. If this keeps going maybe by the time I reach old age I will have some real knowledge and wisdom to offer the world. I am finding out now that getting old includes a few things I hadn’t planned on. All of a sudden getting up is not quite as easy as it was a few years ago. I need glasses to read. Things hurt a lot more. I can’t work in the yard as long as I used to—and when I do it hurts. I can’t eat anything I want anytime I want without gaining something more than just wisdom! Of course the new year means a time to make resolutions! Resolutions that we often keep for at least a few days! Why is it that we fail to keep our resolutions? I think one of the main reasons is because we don’t see the value in them quickly enough. Losing weight and getting in shape sounds like a great plan. But after a few days we see no noticeable difference. Guess it aint working! We don’t really like the gym after all. And we really miss the cookies. So, we stop. (Bummer that $25 I just spent on the gym membership would have gotten me a pizza, a gallon of cookie-dough ice cream, and some of toppings!) But at least we tried. So, I thought I would throw out some ideas. Things we might want to resolve to do in 2016; along with a new perspective that might help us understand their real value. I am going to get my list from Acts 2:42. Luke says that the early church devoted themselves to “the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” Let’s start with the last item on this list: prayer. PRAYER. This one seems easy. But let’s be honest. It is hard to stop and pray consistently. But if we really believe that Jesus Christ is Lord then why would we not lift ourselves to Him daily? I am not talking about spending time telling God all our wants. This sort of prayer just makes God a perpetual Santa Claus. “Hmm, I want a new job, health for grandma, my neighbor to stop irritating me. . . .” No wonder we don’t pray enough. Is that all prayer amount to: a time for giving God our shopping list? This approach doesn’t lead to a long-term prayer life, because we soon realize that we don’t seem to get from God all the things on our shopping list very quickly. So, we determine that it is useless and we stop praying. But what if we spent a few minutes in prayer each day just surrendering ourselves to God? Nothing fancy. No special incantations that must be memorized. Just honestly asking God to use us today. Asking God to manifest Himself today. Then we spend the rest of day looking for answers to our prayers. I bet that after a few days of watching God work we will suddenly have a vigorous prayer life! (If you don’t seem to see God working after a few days, then look harder!) The first three items on the list in Acts 2:42—the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread—can all be accomplished through the regular church attendance. To dedicate ourselves to the apostle’s teaching would be for us to study the Word. I think a lot of Christians burn out on this one because they simply don’t understand what they are reading. The other two items on this list (fellowship and breaking of bread) are both things that happen in Church. The breaking of bread is a reference to communion. So, what if we accomplish all three of these items by regular church attendance? WEEKLY CHURCH ATTENDANCE (not weakly; but weekly). I think we fail on this one because we again don’t see the value. First, if our churches can provide good, sound teaching the average person in the Church will become more excited about the Word. I think the Scriptures are incredible. The message is exciting. But I totally get the fact that for many years it was just a dry, drab book with some nice things about loving people and how to get to heaven. Then I found some good teachers and some good resources that have helped the Scriptures come alive. What an incredible story. So, maybe we can get better on this one if we spend some time learning. The ideal time for this begins with Sunday mornings. Another problem with regular church attendance is that most people go home and think: well that was okay, but I just lost 3 hours of my time and I don’t know how I am going to get everything done. If we are thinking that church attendance is just something that will help ourselves and then we get home and realize that it actually made life more difficult, then of course we will be more careful about how often we attend. As a result, I think many people believe that “I am okay, therefore, I don’t need to go this week.” But what if church was a time where we went to help someone else?; which would include others coming alongside us and helping us. What if this Sunday others actually needed us but we didn’t show? First Corinthians is clear that the Church is a body that is made up of many members. And all these members have different gifts. Some are eyes, others are hands, some are feet. The goal is we are to use our gifts to help one another—the whole body. So, if some of us choose to attend church only occasionally, could it be that the church couldn’t move last week because the feet didn’t come. And nothing got done the week before because the hands didn’t show. And what if we are struggling with something and God wanted to show us His will but the eyes didn’t show and no one saw what God was doing? And what if the next week God spoke to the church, but the ears didn’t show and no one heard Him? So, what if we commit to faithful attendance at Church each week in order to be used by God? What if we went to church and asked: “okay God show me how I am being used by you today.” After a few weeks of seeing God work in and through us, I suspect we might get a better perspective of just why it is essential that we are faithful in regular church attendance. And we might get more excited about coming. Bottom line: we need you just as much as you need us.