It’s finally over. 2016 has come to an end, and not a moment too soon. What a year. We lost musicians, actors, sports legends, Princesses (To me, she will always be royalty) and childhood heroes (even the one we didn’t realize was a hero. Will we miss him? Always). We have a new president and nation that seems to be more and more on edge. It seems like things are so different compared to when 2015 was ending.

So here we are. 2017 has begun, and we’re all watching football and trying to decide if our resolutions are realistic (you know, the same ones you’ve made the last 5 years or so). Prepare for the two billion “New Year-New Me!!” posts on Facebook. It seems like we always treat the beginning of a new year as a time to completely overhaul our lives. People start dieting and stay strong until the first holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) Some of us slap on a nicotine patch and try to quit smoking (for a week…maybe two). And my favorites, the resolutions attend church every week or to read the whole Bible in the coming year.

Those are the ones I find kind of amusing. Now I am all for more people diving into the word and fellowship with other believers, but why do we put these in the same categories as weight loss and quitting bad habits? Why do we approach reading the whole Bible like a bucket list item?

Look, these things are great and they can make a real change in your life and the lives of others through you, but only if you take them at MORE than face value. Don’t read the Bible just to “get through” it so you can say you’ve done it. Don’t go to church just so you can hold it over the heads of friends and neighbors who don’t. Really dig into the word, try to get something out of it and let it influence you. Treat church as a place where you can be refueled, where you can interact with other believers who can teach and sharpen you. We (the bloggers) are very critical of the church institution and want to see it change with the times, but that doesn’t mean we think it’s a waste of time. God is present in the church. And you can be changed for the better if you let yourself be. If you treat scripture and fellowship as more than a book and a weekly social event, you’ll become much more than a Bible reader and a churchgoer. You can become an agent for change in more than just your own life.

If we are going to treat 2017 as a year we make a change, why not try to change more than ourselves? Why not try to make life better for the people in our community? Why not try to change the way the world looks at Christianity?

Happy New Year!

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