Summary: First of a 6 part series encouraging believers to do "whatever it takes" to deepen their walk with Jesus.

A recent study showed 40 to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year.

Among the top new years resolutions are resolutions about weight loss, exercise, and stopping to smoke. Also popular are resolutions dealing with better money management / debt reduction.

The following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

- past the first week: 75%

- past 2 weeks: 71%

- after one month: 64%

- after 6 months: 46%

Maybe that’s why someone once said:

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

Jay Leno made this comment about New Years’ resolutions:

"I think women get more excited about New Year¹s Eve than men. If you think about it, you can see why. What do you do on New Year¹s Eve? You get drunk and make a lot of promises you don¹t keep. You see, men do that all the time, it¹s called dating."

If you’re one of those people who make resolutions each year, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, studies show that people who make resolutions are much more successful in making changes in their lives than people who don’t. But I want to suggest to you this morning that what we really need to make is not a bunch of resolutions, but a commitment – a commitment to do whatever it takes to grow in our relationship with God and to pass on the good news to others. I think a commitment implies a higher degree of importance and dedication than just a resolution.

For the next six weeks, I’m going to talk to you about how you can do whatever it takes to grow in your relationship with God. In fact, the phrase “Whatever it Takes” is going to be our motto for this coming year. It’s my prayer that that phrase will characterize both our individual lives as well as this collective body of believers that makes up Thornydale Family Church.

This morning we’ll kind of set the stage with some general principles and then over the next five weeks we discover how to apply those principles in the areas of:

- Discipleship

- Worship

- Fellowship

- Ministry

- Evangelism

We’ll begin this morning by reading the account of five young men who certainly understood the meaning of doing whatever it takes.

Read Mark 2:1-12


1. It does not hold to convention

Mark doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the paralytic man in this passage. We don’t really know for sure what kinds of medical treatment he had sought to treat his condition. But one would think that he would have at least been to the doctors of his day. Perhaps, like the man in John 5, he had gone to one of the pools that offered healing. But none of the conventional forms of healing had done any good.

So when these men heard that Jesus, who had been healing people in the area, had returned to town, they figured it was time to move beyond the conventional means of medicine and bring their friend to Jesus. By doing so, they were taking a tremendous risk. They had never seen Jesus heal anyone with their own eyes – they had just heard what others had told them. What if he really couldn’t heal? What if he wouldn’t even see them? Or what if he just sent them away?

A “whatever it takes” kind of commitment requires us to take that same kind of risk. We’ve never seen Jesus with our own eyes. We’re relying upon the eyewitness of others in order to put our eternal destiny in the hands of Jesus. What if he’s not who he said he was? What if his death on the cross wasn’t sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins? What if he didn’t really rise from the dead? What if he’s not coming back again?

Nicole Nordeman expressed those very same thoughts in her current hit song – What If:

What if you’re right?

And he was just another nice guy

What if you’re right?

What if it’s true?

They say the cross will only make a fool of you

And what if it’s true?

What if he takes his place in history

With all the prophets and the kings

Who taught us love and came in peace

But then the story ends

What then?

Then in the chorus she gives us the flip side of those questions:

But what if you’re wrong?

What if there’s more?

What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?

What if you jump?

And just close your eyes?

What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?

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