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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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I have come that you may have life, life abundantly�

We've just celebrated Christ's coming into the world as our Savior. Jesus came that we might have life, life to the fullest, abundant life. What does that mean?

When our lives are balanced and centered in Christ, we are well. Balance is the key in a world that bombards us with demands on our time, talent and selves. We are confronted daily with choices: what to eat; how many hours we spend for sleep, prayer or nurturing of family and friends; whether our purchases will be environmentally friendly or made in sweatshops; whether and how much we exercise our bodies and stimulate our minds. As a whole person of God, how well are we? Core and central to our well-being is our relationship with God.

The ELCA Board of Pensions and the Division for Ministry kicked off the initiative “Healthy Leaders Enhance Lives.” The model for enhancing lives begins with you. So how are you? Are you well? Is your life balanced and centered on God? Or is life spinning out of control, finding you out of breath?

More importantly, do you want to be well? Jesus asked that of the man waiting beside the pool at Bethesda, waiting 38 years for healing (John 5:2-9). He had one excuse after another for why he hadn't entered the healing waters. You, my friends, have entered the healing waters through your baptism. You have been marked with the cross of Christ, named and claimed. You are forgiven.

Often we start the new year with resolutions and best intentions. It doesn't take long before we've fallen short of our goals — and with a sense of failure, we often give up on our resolutions.

This year instead of forfeiting your goals for personal well-being, recommit to your first call: your baptism. Notice the Wholeness Wheel and its center: "In baptism – a new creation in Christ." Make the sign of the cross on your forehead each morning. Forgive yourself as Christ forgave you. Celebrate that each day. Live out of your baptism, sharing the gifts that God has given you — yourself (take care of you), your time (use it wisely) and your talents (be bold for the Lord).

As you begin the new year, we encourage you to take the Health Risk Assessment (if you're in the ELCA health plan), offered Jan. 6 through March 13 at www.elcawellness.org. We hope this tool will help shed some light on your well-being as you begin the new year and daily a new creation. If you aren't in the ELCA plan, don't worry. Use the Wholeness Wheel to plan your new year of health and abundant life. That it may be well with you.


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