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Peace, faith and less potato chips

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Normally I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, not because I’m perfect, but because I know myself well enough to know that I probably won’t keep them. However, this year -- since I’m older and since I’m past 60 years of age! -- I really would like to lose some weight.

I’m not obese, and I exercise regularly. But my doctor would like to see me lose 5 or 10 pounds, and so would I! However, am I so dedicated to the idea that I might actually resolve to do it? Probably not; so far I’m only in the wishing stage and not really in the determined stage. I think St. Augustine had a prayer that said something like this: “Make me a captive, Lord .... but not yet!” So maybe that’s my personal prayer for the new year: “Make me as svelte as I can be, Lord ... but don’t let it involve any pain or effort on my part!” See why I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions? They are hard work and they require effort! Seriously, I wish all of you who read these words a very happy new year. Now pass the potato chips, please ... and don’t forget that chocolate doughnut!

THE REV. C.L. “SKIP”

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LINDEMAN

Congregational Church

of the Lighted Window,

United Church of Christ

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La Cañada Flintridge

Our resolutions are to be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity.

To be worthy of the trust of our neighbors, fair in our judgments, guarded in our speech and conduct ourselves with honesty, sincerity and trustworthiness as we balance our material pursuits and to leave time for worship and reflection.

May each of us work diligently to remove our prejudices and to consort with all of our neighbors in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.

BARBARA CRAMER

Secretary

Baha’i Faith

Glendale

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As I understand it, a resolution is a promise, pledge, oath or even a vow. And as such it’s serious business.

Unfortunately, the standard joke is that we make resolutions on Jan. 1 and break half of them by Jan. 2. I have been guilty of that, as possibly others reading this have been. But before God, New Year’s resolutions are no more or less binding than any other promises we make.

Solomon warned: “When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it, for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). I remember those words every first of January and they always make me hesitant to make any resolution.

What would I like to do this next year? Know Jesus better. Become more like Him. Love others more. Sin less. Be a better husband, father and pastor.

And I probably will work at these things. But my ultimate hope is in what someone else has promised to do: “the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10).

PASTOR JON BARTA

Burbank

Lots of people, me included, look to the new year with anticipation; viewing its coming as a new start. That’s not entirely unbiblical.

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There are many things the Bible informs us concerning, and one such is that God’s love is so great that “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Did you get that? “New every morning!” Needless to elaborate, they are new every year, and my fervent resolution for 2006 is to be more Christ-like; to be a more successful “doer of the Word” (James 1:22-25) a more attentive pastor, and to grow more spiritually on a daily basis and by quantum leaps on a yearly one.

Pray that my congregation does likewise. If we sincerely want transformation, it ought to be obvious, and that, contagious. Let’s see how it goes.

Our church has resolved to get a firm understanding of one of the great books of the Bible in 2006: Revelation.

We are dedicating our entire 65th anniversary to the study of that enigmatic last episode in the pages of God’s holy Word, and we hope that in doing so we will not only grow in our understanding, but in our spiritual maturity and even in our number. Many in the surrounding community have heard and expressed interest in joining us for this project. Lord, bless it!

Last year our resolution was to read the entire Bible. It’s done! This new emphasis will take us from a vague understanding of the Apocalypse derived from cursory readings, fantastical end-times movie fare, and pop Christian novels, to a responsible grasp of what was being truly and divinely conveyed in first century A.D.

Sure, I resolve to eat better and workout at the Foothill Athletic Club, etc., but most of all, to be more godly. You?

THE REV. BRYAN GRIEM

Senior Pastor

Light On The Corner

Montrose

I like to keep my new year’s resolutions to myself, if I make any. I suppose uppermost in most people’s minds would be a resolution for being more peaceful, and affirming world peace. I certainly am in favor of that!

Anytime of the year is a good time to resolve to be a better person. The truth is, however, that the new year will bring us little different from what we have been experiencing unless we decide to be different. We cannot keep thinking and acting as we have in the past and expect to get different and more positive results.

If we want to be happier, we must know that this process, like all others, starts with a new mind set. If we want to be more prosperous or healthier, we must start with a new mind set.

Thinking always precedes actions.

Resolutions have no power unless we give them our attention, our determination to change, and our positive thoughts and actions. It helps immensely if we work with God to bring about the positive changes that we want in our lives.

THE REV. THOMAS

E. WITHERSPOON

Unity Church of the Valley

La Crescenta

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