One Word 2017

[This appeared first at]

January 2, 2017

What is your ONE Word for 2017?

This was the focus of our conversation on January 1, 2017 as we kicked-off the New Year together during our ONE consolidated morning worship gathering. You can listen to the message HERE.

The beginning of a New Year marks the time when many people make goals (or resolutions) for areas of their lives they would like to see or experience change.  According to Barna Research Group, nearly two-thirds of American’s make New Year’s resolutions, but only 20% report any significant, long-term change in their lives as a result.  No wonder New Year’s Resolutions get such a bad rap.

This certainly explains why many approach the New Year with excitement, some with indifference, and perhaps many more with hesitation, anxiety or even discouragement – because the New Year is a reminder of all the things in the past we’ve tried to change but have never happened.

While lists of goals or resolutions can sometimes be helpful (and given the reasons why we so often fail to see these things through, which were mentioned during the message on January 1), it seems clear we need to take a different approach – one that simplifies and narrows our focus.

Instead of starting with what needs to change in my life, we need to start with a different question:

Who does God want me to become?

Instead of being motivated by guilt and regret, we need the sustaining motivation of God’s vision for our lives – a vision which is unhindered by our past mistakes, regrets and shortcomings; a vision that can take us from where we are to where we want to be.

To experience this kind of change, we need to keep three things in mind, all centered on the promises of God and His intention for our lives:

  1. Change is Possible (and expected): God has not only made change possible, for followers of Jesus, it is expected.  Your transformation (sanctification) is God’s plan, through the work of His Holy Spirit, to change you from the inside-out, to conform you into the image of the likeness of His Son Jesus, and to recreate you into who you were meant to be.  It’s a life-long process, which means it will take time; and we are co-participants in this process. (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 3:18)
  2. Focus is Required: This is where your ONE Word for the year comes in.  As pastor and author, Mike Ashcraft points out, “It is better to do something about one thing than nothing about everything.”  See below on recommendations for how to choose your ONE word.
  3. Dependence on God is absolutely Essential: The power of the Gospel is that God is all about helping those who absolutely cannot help themselves and who have found themselves depending on Him for everything.  He alone is the power and the force behind any meaningful, significant and lasting change in our lives. (Philippians 2:13)

Join us for the My One Word movement in 2017

With these things in mind, we would like to invite you to join our Life Church family as we participate together in the My One Word movement 2017.  You can find some great tools and resources from the website.  Here’s our recommendation for getting started:

  1. Consider your goals (or resolutions), whether immediate or long-term.
  2. Make a list of some words that sum-up some of these goals in ONE word.  
  3. Narrow down your list to ONE word, starting with the words that most resonate with and stir your heart. Use tools like a thesaurus or dictionary to deepen your understanding of a narrow list of words you’ve made.
  4. Find a verse or verses of Scripture (in proper context) to reinforce your word.
  5. Filter this word through the question: How does this word impact the kind of person God wants me to become?

Share it with us!

Once you’ve decided on your word, share it with us!  Starting Sunday, January 8th, we will have a space set-up in our lobby where our words will be posted as a visible reminder of the change we are trusting God for in 2017.

A couple more things to keep in mind as you pick your ONE Word:

  1. Don’t overthink it. This isn’t about perfection; it’s about progress.
  2. Don’t shy away from difficult words. Our greatest growth happens in the face of challenges, not in absence of them.
  3. Don’t keep it to yourself. You need community and relationships to keep you encouraged and hold you accountable. That’s the beauty of the Church.

What do you have to lose?  Give it a try and see what God can do when we narrow our focus and trust Him to do big things through small beginnings.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

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