Kenny's Korner- Plan Now for 2022

by Kenny Rader

A new year

It's a new year, and many view it as an excellent time to correct a bad habit, a bad lifestyle, or begin something new. Many call it a New Year's resolution, but how many New Year's resolutions make it past a few months – and even that's stretching it. Most don’t last more than a couple of weeks or even a few days. So, forget the worthless first-of-the-year promises (as you likely don’t even mess with them anymore), and let's talk about life.

How’s your life going?

In this case, we're not talking only about 2021. We're talking about life in general. Most of us are doing well, but don't we all have areas of life we wish were better? For example, I've heard some say they want to lose weight. Others say they need a better job. Many wish they could get in shape. As a minister, the most frequent comment I hear is that people wish they knew their Bibles better. All of us want to improve something in our lives, so what area of your life would you like to improve? Go ahead and name it. I’ll wait.  

The million-dollar question

So, are you ready for the million-dollar question? Here's the question no one wants asked about making their life better, "What are you doing about it?” What have you done today that will improve your life? What did you do about it yesterday? Last week? Whatever area of your life you want to improve, what are you currently doing about it? Do you want to lose weight? Are you presently counting calories and cutting back? Are you getting in your skinny clothes (naked) and stepping on the scale at least once a day? Warning, it's maybe wise not to look in the mirror in your skinny (or perhaps that's motivation). Weighing yourself twice a day is better, so you can monitor both your morning and bedtime weight. If you want a better job with a better work environment or better pay, are you looking? How many job applications have you filled out? What have you done today to get or stay in healthy physical shape? And the Bible, what book and chapter did you read today? Did you study it? Did you memorize anything from the Bible?


Let’s talk

Getting started on improving your life is difficult, but do you know the problem most of us make when starting something new? We begin too big! Imagine an old steam locomotive on a western show. Can you see the locomotive beginning to pull the train behind it? It often spins its huge iron wheels. What happens when the wheels start spinning? The engineer cuts back on the power so the wheels can get a grip, and then the engineer slowly increases the power as the train inches out of the station. What would have happened if the engineer had kept the power poured on when the locomotive began spinning? He would have wasted a lot of energy, and the train would likely not have moved out of the station. The key is starting slowly.

Our problem

The analogy compares to us when starting toward a new goal. Sadly, we get all excited, and that excitement creates energy. We dive into the diet, job search, workout, or Bible study with lots of passion and enthusiasm. But what soon happens? WE BURN OUT. Ugh! We start at a pace that we cannot keep. We start the diet, and we starve ourselves. There’s failure in the brew because hunger soon overpowers our will. We apply to a few new jobs we dream about, but we have no previous experience. That makes for lots of rejections in your job search. We join a health club and work out three hours a day. There’s burnout soon realized because we can’t sustain that program. We start reading twenty chapters of the Bible each day or begin trying to memorize too many verses. There's a blown mind on the horizon. Do you understand the problem? We start something of which we cannot keep pace. We start too big.

The solution

Start slow, just like that old steam locomotive. Whatever change you plan to make in your life, start slowly. Start too irrationally on a diet, and your hunger pains soon drive you to abandonment. The same is true for every new life journey you begin. How do you avoid burnout? Start slowly and work up to what you can do with daily consistency.


If you’re not exercising at home now, what makes you think you can sustain a gym membership where you have to get dressed, drive your cold car out in the freezing winter air, exercise, go back out into the fridged winter air, drive home in your cold car, and then shower? It's so much easier to stay at home or even remain in bed. You're going to fail. The only person who wins is the health club owner. If you're not doing simple daily calisthenics at home, you'll never keep exercising at the gym. Whatever your goal, begin with a small routine you can continue day after day, after day, after day. It’s all about simple daily repetition.

The turtle beats the rabbit

Ever watch a rabbit run? It zigzags here and there and often stops. God designed the rabbit's running pattern to avoid predators with its quick bursts of energy with repeated stops. The turtle, however, is the plugger. It keeps going ever so slowly, but it keeps going. We need to learn the method of the turtle. Keep going slowly and consistently. 

Let's specifically talk spiritual growth

As stated earlier, many Christians tell me they wish they had more knowledge of the Bible, but when I talk with them, they are not currently doing much about it. So, here are some suggestions.


1.    Did you read the Bible through in 2021? We provided a reading plan in the bulletin. If you read it through, great!!! If not, what stopped you? Likely the lack of time (or lack of discipline) to read it daily. You got busy. Life happened. Most everyone understands that. So, start slow. Maybe, plan on taking two years to read through the Bible. Go at a slower, sustainable pace that you can keep daily - consistently.


2.    Rather than reading through the entire Bible, how about reading only through the Old Testament this year? Or, if you still want to read at a fast pace, try reading the Old Testament through twice. Or, maybe read the New Testament through twice at a slower pace. Even at a slower reading schedule, you can read the New Testament through 2-3 times, or maybe even 4-5 times in a year if you pick up the pace. Can you imagine the knowledge you’ll gain if you read the Bible with that kind of repetition - consistently?


3.    How about only focusing on one book of the Bible at a time? Maybe forget reading through the entire Bible in a year; instead, read one book of the Bible several times. Stop and ask questions about what you’re reading. Do some Bible study. Look at maps of the area you’re reading. You won’t get far this year, but imagine the knowledge you’ll have in five or ten years? It’s amazing!


4.    How about studying specific aspects of the Bible? Not only study the maps, why not memorize the maps? When you read about Paul's missionary journeys or when you read his letters, do you know the location of those churches? You might also study a particular topic and work at attaining in-depth knowledge on that topic.


Here's the thing. When we read through the Bible in one year and we're pressed for time, we fail to pause and dig into the details that make the Bible come alive. When we overcommit to reading a large number of chapters each day, life gets in the way. So, ask yourself, what can you read with consistency? And once you have mastered that amount of reading, you can always add another chapter. Do you want to memorize a verse?  Start slowly. Meditate on what you've memorized for a few days or a week before going to another verse. If you're reading the Bible, maybe pause and study the geography. In other words, slow down, but stay consistent each day.


These same tactics apply to any area of your life you want to improve. It’s not only about Bible knowledge. It also works with diet, exercise, and job improvement. Your capabilities are endless.

The facts

Essential fact #1. Whatever your goal, make it attainable. Plan so that if you're too tired, distracted, or life happens, you can still reach your goal. Complete your goal without fail, even if you're on vacation. Make extreme emergencies or sickness your only reasons for missing your goal. Remember the turtle: consistency. 


Essential fact #2. If you start a new goal and realize you've over-extended yourself, reassess your plan. Set a lesser and more achievable goal that you can reach each and every day without fail. Remember, however, that you need to stretch yourself to grow, so don't set the bar too low, but do make it attainable.


Essential fact #3. Give yourself grace. If you fail (you will fail at times), it's not the end of the world. Twenty-seven years ago, when I had my first heart problem, my heart doctor put me on a strict diet, but he warned that I would occasionally fail. He said that was not a problem. "Don't kick yourself,” he said, “Get back on the diet immediately." His grace enabled me to fail yet accomplish the dietary discipline I have today. The same is true of all goals. You will occasionally fail. Give yourself grace. Shake the dust off, and move forward toward your goal.

Begin simple

Begin by setting an achievable daily goal. And once you see that you have mastered that goal every day, then add a little to it. Keep your plan sustainable. You can always add to what you are doing if you have more time and energy on less busy days. But stick with your primary goal every single day and refuse to give in to laziness or excuses.


 Reach your daily goal before you begin fun things for the day. Refuse to turn on the television until you've accomplished your daily goal.   If you're a morning person, complete your goal first thing soon after you get up. If you're an evening person, achieve your goal then. If possible, use the peak time of your natural life rhythm to complete your daily objective.

A suggestion for Bible study

If you want a Bible that gives you colored maps, commentary, and references within the chapters you are reading and studying, I highly recommend the latest NIV Study Bible. These new study Bibles are fascinating. Stop by the office and take a look. I have the standard size NIV Study Bible and the NIV large print NIV Study Bible.  

Age doesn’t matter

Every one of us can improve, no matter our age. Ask yourself what you can begin and continue throughout this new year. Make it attainable, yet do try to stretch yourself to some extent, and then after a few months, see if you can add a little something to your goal. But remember, spring and summer are coming. Don't add too much to your schedule in the slower winter season, and expect to continue it during the busy, warm seasons. Keep it sustainable.  

In this New Year, may . . .

24 "' "The LORD bless you

 and keep you;

25 the LORD make his face shine upon you

 and be gracious to you;

26 the LORD turn his face toward you

 and give you peace."'

 - Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)


Love you & God Bless,