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New Year's Resolutions

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
"New Year's Resolutions"

Objective

That young people will begin to realize that resolutions are not just made once a year but during every day and every minute we should be resolving to live our lives closer to Christ. Through living a Christ centered life, we never try to accomplish anything without turning first to God.

Materials Needed
  • Puzzles of Matthew 6 passage
  • Bible
  • Orthodox Prayer Book

Opening Prayer - Prayer for Enlightenment

Shine within my heart, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of my mind that I may understand Your teachings.

Instill in me also reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that having conquered sinful desires I may pursue a spiritual way of life, thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to You.

For You, Christ my God, are my light, and to You I give glory, together with Your Father and Your Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen

Discussion Questions  (Accept all answers and reflect back)

  • What is a resolution?
  • When do people make resolution?
  • How successful are they?
  • Why do they fail?

Activity

Type the Mathew 6 25:34 passage, blow it up as big as possible and matte on poster board. Then, cut it into small and intricate puzzle pieces (Use more pieces the older the youth are.) You want the puzzle to take them longer than 5 minutes. Remove all of the pieces that have the words (or part of the word) “Heavenly Father” or “God” on them. Break the young people into groups with 3 to 5 people per group. You will need to make a puzzle for each of the groups that you have. Give them the puzzle pieces to put together (remember leave out the pieces you have removed). They won’t be able to do it without the “Heavenly Father” or “God” pieces. Do not give them these pieces until they tell you some pieces are missing.

Discussion Questions (Accept all answers and reflect back)

  • Was this hard? (Hopefully the answer is yes - so make sure you make the puzzle hard to put together)
  • Why was it hard? (We did not have everything we needed. This is where they blame you for not giving them all of the pieces.)
  • What specifically was missing? (All references to God. They might not have realized it until you point it out.)
  • Could you finish the puzzle without these?  (You could try to finish it but with out God you could not finish it.)
  • Why did we have them missing? (This is where you get into the discussion of how our goals and resolutions in life are not attainable without God.)

Scriptural Reference – Read Matthew 6:25-34

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; the neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like on of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven will He not much more clothe you O you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we ware?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Wrap up and Challenge

Have them write down a resolution that they will try to work on everyday, hour, and minute by asking God to guide and help them.  Have them seal their resolutions in an envelope and address the envelope to themselves. Keep them for 6 months then mail them out.

Closing Prayer - The Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

Lord, I know not what to ask of You.
You alone know what my true needs are.
You love me more than I myself know how to love.
Help me to see my real needs which may be hidden from me.
I dare not ask for either a cross or a consolation.
I can only wait upon You; my heart is open to You.
Visit and help me in Your steadfast love.
Strike me and heal me; cast me down and raise me up.
I worship in silence Your holy will.
I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice.
I put all my trust in You.
I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will.
Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me. Amen.