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Summary: How to keep your resolutions to overcome the monster inside. Not by strength or by willpower, but by falling in love with Christ’s vision for you. Student Ministry PowerPoint format.

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[New Year Resolutions – Killing the monsters]

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13b-14)

This material was originally presented in Microsoft PowerPoint format to a Student Ministry. All verses are taken from the NIV translation unless otherwise noted. If you have questions or would like a copy of the original PowerPoint (less the video, which is too large to email), just drop me a line at Robert.fox@alltel.com

[New Year’s Resolutions – Putting the Past Behind Us]

Slide Graphic: baby new year, with hat and sash, from the back (hence “behind”)

Slide Text:

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13b-14)

How many of you made New Year’s resolutions?

Only about 40% of Americans make any New Year’s Resolution at all any more, according to one poll (http://www.welchmedia.com/news/article_385.shtml), down from over 80% in years past. Less than half. Of those polled who did make resolutions last year:

- 47% related to their head, i.e. a self-improvement type goal

- 38% related to their waistline

- 34% related to their wallet

- 31% related to their heart, i.e. a relationship or dating goal.

Statistics also tell us that even if you did make a resolution, by February, over 90% will have failed (http://www.more-selfesteem.com/newyearresolutions.htm)

Why have people stopped making resolutions? Why do so many people have trouble keeping them? I mean, these are theoretically goals that are very important to you – important enough to make a resolution for the year to accomplish this thing. If it’s that important to you, why can’t you make yourself do whatever it is?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Bible said something about that? Wouldn’t that be the kind of information you could really use? Guess what? The Bible is all about making and keeping resolutions. Lots of REALLY interesting stuff in here.

What’s more, the Bible goes on to tell us about what God himself wants us to have on our New Year’s Resolution list.

In Philippians, Paul said that he was resolved to do one thing – press onward to win the prize set before him by Christ. King David was resolved “to serve God’s purpose in his generation” (Acts 13:36). What are you resolved to do with your life this year? How does it compare with what God wants you do? Whatever it is about yourself you are resolving to change, how are you going to make sure you don’t fail?

[Monsters in the Mirror]

Slide Video – Clip from “Incredible Hulk” – dream sequence where Hulk comes out of mirror to attack Bruce Banner (DVD approximately 1:49:00-1:50:00)

I don’t care who you are, you have something about yourself you need to change this year. Some monster inside. Maybe no one knows about it but you. But you know. When you look in the mirror, you know what the monster looks like.

(show clip)

Maybe that monster is pride, anger, lust, or fear. Maybe you have an addiction – pornography, sex, drugs or alcohol. Maybe you are addicted to chocolate and your monster is a lack of self-control. I have a monster. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will stand before you and admit that I have things I struggle with – monsters inside that I struggle against, but that occasionally take over.

[The monster takes over]

Slide Video – Clip from “Incredible Hulk” – Bruce becomes the Hulk (DVD approximately 57:10-59:50) beginning with “Betty’s in trouble” and ending with Hulk close-up, leaning in to couch

OK, so this was not the best of the recent flood of super-hero blockbusters. If we looked for cool movies then tried to build a lesson around them, this movie would not have been at the top of the list. But we don’t do that – we are here to talk about how to live your life, how to be a Christ-follower. Today we want to talk about resolving to change your life this year, overcoming your private monster, no matter how powerful it is. We want to talk what God wants you to be, and how you can get there.

In that context, I think this movie is an excellent illustration. Think about this. How many of you have something inside you that you are ashamed of, something that you wish wasn’t there, but occasionally takes over? I bet all of you.

Bruce Banner had an anger problem. He could not allow himself to get angry, or he turned into the Hulk. Maybe some of you have anger management issues. Maybe your issue is somewhere else, but it’s still something you struggle to keep from gaining control, right?

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