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When it comes to the types of resolutions people make, Americans not surprisingly focus on self-oriented changes. Among those planning to make resolutions, the top pledges for 2011 relate to weight, diet and health (30%); money, debt and finances (15%); personal improvement (13%); addiction (12%); job and career (5%); spiritual or church-related (5%); and educational (4%). Personal improvement responses included being a better person; giving more; having more personal or leisure time; organizing their life or home; and having a better life in general.

While people concentrate on themselves when making priorities for the New Year, it is telling that so few Americans say they want to improve relationships with others. There were virtually no mentions of volunteering or serving others; only a handful of comments about marriage or parenting; almost no responses focusing on being a better friend; and only a small fraction of people mentioned improving their connection with God.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, explained these findings: "Only 9 out of more than 1,000 survey respondents -- that's not quite one percent -- mentioned that one of their objectives for next year was getting closer to God in some way. Even in the rare instance when people mention spiritual goals, it is often about activity undertaken for God, rather than a personal pursuit of God or an experience with God."

As further proof of Americans' self-oriented concerns, Kinnaman pointed out that "virtually none of the survey respondents mentioned anything about becoming more green. Despite the significant attention environmental issues receive, virtually no one connects their New Year's resolutions with personal responsibility in this area."

Perspectives on Resolutions

Kinnaman put the findings in context: "Americans maintain a love-hate relationship with New Year's resolutions: millions of people make them, but they rarely report success as a result. This research underscores that most humans want to experience some sort of personal change in their lives, but achieving such objectives is both difficult and uncommon.

"Maybe most problematic, Americans hinge their efforts at personal change by focusing almost exclusively on themselves, rather than realizing that lasting change often comes by serving and sacrificing for others. Churches and faith communities have a significant opportunity to help people identify what makes for transformational change and how to best achieve those objectives -- especially by relying on goals and resources beyond their individualism."

As we are seeking -- calling upon God for a Breath of Heaven in 2011 we need to be committed to change the course of mediocre apathetic Christianity in America and it really starts with us here this morning. To receive this fresh wind of the Spirit from God I think requires us to pursue a right relationship with God. This relationship is the most important relationship we have as Christians. The truth everything in our life rises and falls on this vital intimate relationship with the Lord. Yet, few of us give it the proper attention and cultivation that is required in this relationship to keep it strong and vibrant.

(Latest Barna Report: New Year's Resolution from

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