Good morning. I am so glad you are here today. Last week was a lot of fun as we took a look back at all God did in and through Hub City in 2012. But I want us to head in a new direction this morning by talking about how to make 2013 your best year ever.

And I’ll be really honest with you. Over the next three weeks I’m going to share with you what it is that I want for you in 2013. Like, if I knew I had 1 month to live, this is what I would share with you. Now, even though some of you might have gotten your hopes up, I’m not planning on kicking the bucket in a month. But, as your friend and pastor, I want to share some things from my heart that I want for you in 2013. And I am fully confident that not only are these things that I want for you, they are things that are good for you and will help you make 2013 your best year ever.

And it all starts with making Jesus the central priority in your life. I want Jesus to be the central priority in your life. Now I know that that is what you would expect a pastor to say, but I didn’t make this stuff up. This is actually Jesus’ desire for you too.

Jesus says it like this in Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

C.S. Lewis says it this way: You cant get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first.

Well, in order to put first things first, in order to make Jesus the central priority in your life, you need to do something. Basically, it boils down to developing the right habits. Your life is the sum of your habits. For many of us, we’re not where we want to be or where we know we should be because the bad habits or useless habits in our lives keep us from doing what we’re supposed to do and being who we’re supposed to be.

But if you want to change your life, change your habits. If you want to improve your life, then you need to develop some habits that will get you to where you want to go. If you want 2013 to be the best year ever then you’re going to have to develop some habits that will make that possible.

I want to share with you six habits that fit with the acronym H.A.B.I.T.S. that, if you incorporate them in your daily life, will help you to prioritize Jesus in your life in 2013. I’m got to explain each habit and then we’ll come back and figure out one thing you can do in each area starting this week.

H.A.B.I.T.S.

Hang time with God. This is a prayer habit. It is all about spending time with God. I can’t tell you how important it is that you develop the habit of spending time with God. It’s a pretty radical thought that the God who created the universe wants to spend time with you. He really does. You need to carve out time every day to hang out with God. And Jesus set an example for us about how important this is.

Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Jesus, the Son of God, carved out time to hang out with God, his heavenly father. If Jesus needed this, then we most definitely need it.

Paul takes it one step further in the letter he wrote to the Thessalonian church when he said, Pray continually. You and I must develop the habit of being in constant communication with God. And let me tell you, when you do this, it will change your life. I want for you to learn how to pray and to pray more in 2013.

Accountability. This is a relationship habit. But it’s more than just friendship. It’s about being in intentional relationships with others where we can help one another grow and develop as disciples of Jesus. We all need people in our lives who will hold us to our commitments and get in our face when we fall short. The writer of Hebrews says it this way.

Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherand all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If you want 2013 to be your best year ever then you need to develop the habit of accountability. This happens best in a small group.

Bible reading. I dont know of any other habit that you could develop that would have more benefit for you over the long run. You need to do whatever it takes to develop a plan for reading God’s word on a daily basis. God wants to speak to you, and the primary way he speaks is through is Word.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

In other words, the way we figure out what we are supposed to do, how we are to act, where we are to go is from God’s Word.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I don’t know about you, but I need God breathing his wisdom, help and instruction into my life on a consistent basis. But this habit isn’t just about putting more Bible into your head. It’s about doing what it says. I want you to know what God’s word says so that you can do what he wants you to do. Read your Bible.

Invest and invite. This is a relationship habit as well. But it’s about intentionally being in relationships with people who are far away from God. See, if we’re not careful and intentional, we’ll end up having friendships and relationships only with people who are just like us, who believe like us, who are Christians like us. We need to develop the habit of investing in relationships with people who are far away from God. Jesus modeled this when he said of himself.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

The incredible thing about Jesus is that those who were nothing like him liked him. And he liked those who were nothing like him. As his followers we should follow his example. I want for you to have relationships with people who are far from God.

Tithing. This is a financial stewardship habit. Developing the habit of generosity is essential for Jesus followers in our materialistic and consumerist culture. Jesus said, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. God doesn’t want your money. He wants your heart, but what is knows is that the best way to your heart is through your money. Develop the habit of giving this year. The habit of tithing will do more for your priorities and spiritual growth than anything else on this list because it teaches you to trust God. I want for you to experience the joy and blessing that comes from being obedient to the tithe.

Serving. This is a habit that involves putting others first. All of us have a bent towards self and selfishness. When you serve others it changes you. I want you to learn to think of others first and put others before yourself.

There you go. Habits that can make 2013 the best year ever. But here’s what I know. For most of you, 2013 isn’t going to be the best year ever. It’s not going to be your best year ever because you’re not going to do what needs to be done so that 2013 can be the best year ever. You’re going to keep doing what you’ve always done. But you do know that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. And my hope is that some of you are just so dissatisfied with the way things are that you’ll do whatever it takes to incorporate these habits into your life.

So here’s my question: What commitment can you make in each of these areas that could help you grow? You won’t develop these habits if you don’t start by making a commitment to develop them today. So, let’s talk through them again and discuss some ways for you to start developing these habits today. As we talk through each habit I want you to think of one thing you can do to begin to develop that habit or to take that habit to the next level, and I want you to write it down on your sheet. Now, let me be clear, I don’t want you to write down something you could do. I want you to write down something that you are going to do.

Hang time with God – How are you going to spend time with God this year? There are two books I want to recommend. The Circle Maker and Draw the Circle. They will most definitely challenge you in how you pray, which is what most of us need, because we don’t know how to pray. But the key is to start praying. Talk with God out loud as you are driving in the car.

Accountability – The only thing I want to ask you to do here is to commit to consistently be a part of a hub group.

Bible Reading – Start reading your Bible. Find a Bible reading plan and do it. In fact, who here has a smart phone, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle? Get it out and hold it up. Ok, now go to your app store. Search “youversion.” Download it right now. There are hundreds of Bible reading plans on there for you to use. I used it to do something I’ve never done before. It helped me read through the Bible twice in one year last year. Liz is using one of their read through the Bible in a year plans that gives her some readings from the Old and New Testament each day. But you don’t need a smart phone or iPad to do this. We have Bibles if you need a readable version with plans. I’m emailing out a short passage each day that goes along with the sermon. Good morning girls.

Now, I know that some of you don’t have time to read the Bible, or that’s the excuse you keep telling yourself. I’ve got some help for you. How many of you poop sitting down? Read the Bible while you are on the toilet. Why not? We make time for what is most important.

Invest and invite – Take one of your unchurched coworkers out for coffee to get to know them better. Invite a neighbor to our next series. Do a cookout or progressive dinner for your neighbors.

Tithing – Move from being a random giver to a percentage giver. I am such a believer that this one habit can transform your life that we’re offering a Giving guarantee. Look at the sheet. Up the percentage that you give. Read a book on managing finances or giving or generosity.

Serving – If you see a need, meet it. Look around you. Start serving on Sundays. Start serving more consistently or more often. What you really need to do is go to Haiti with us. March 16-23 or August 3-10. I firmly believe that the best thing many, if not all, of you could do to make 2013 your best year ever is to go to Haiti and serve with Alex’s House. I want for each of you to go to Haiti this year. We are meeting right after church with anyone who is interested.

I am confident that the best thing you can do to make 2013 the best year ever is to develop these habits. They will help you keep first things first. And when you prioritize what’s most important then everything else will get taken care of. Remember what we read in Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Let’s read that verse again together. That’s what I want for you in 2013.

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