New Year...New Start

New Year...New Start

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with some friends and the usual question for this time of the year was asked “What are your New Year resolutions?”

Adina Lupu

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with some friends and the usual question for this time of the year was asked “What are your New Year resolutions?” The majority replied that they would like to live healthier lives, perhaps incorporate more exercise in their daily routine or eat healthier reducing the amount of sugary foods and increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

As I reflected on that discussion, I thought about wanting to improve my lifestyle habits in alignment with the health principles our church promotes and encourages, however, I also found myself pondering on what significance physical well-being holds without a corresponding emphasis on spiritual health.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce to you the Back to the Altar initiative launched at the 2022 Annual Council of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Back to the Altar is a landmark global appeal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, calling all people into a daily personal worship time with God. Amid our busy, media-saturated lives, many of us are neglecting the essential communion with God that our hearts are desperately craving. (…) Back to the Altar is God’s call to emulate His Son: To begin each day with Him, to walk each moment of the day with Him, and to end each day in Him. Wherever we answer this call, that place is our altar! To put it more simply, we must “Live at the altar” (Ellen G. White, 1T 169). Back to the Altar is for anyone who wants to know God, walk with Him, prepare for the soon return of His Son, and prepare others to do so as well! “(

Back to the Altar empowers us to experience an amazing relationship with Jesus and to enjoy the practical results of communion with God. It invites us to take back control of our spiritual life as individuals, families, and churches by daily implementing in our worship experience the following 7 principles:

The Way Back to the Altar booklet provides a study guide with practical examples on how to introduce these principles in our daily experience. In the same booklet the authors also provide the following tips for improving our health as disciples of Jesus.

1. Come To Jesus As You Are

Health Tip 1 - Get Your Rest

  • Get 8 hours of sleep at night if possible.
  • The sleep you get before midnight is most beneficial.
  • Take time throughout the day to pause, rest and relax.
  • Rest in Jesus, no matter your circumstances.

2. Honor Jesus As Lord

Health Tip 2 - Be Temperate 

  • Surrender your lifestyle and health habits to Jesus.
  • Exercise moderation and temperance in all good things and denial of all harmful things.
  • Surrender any addictions to Jesus.
  • Surrender bitterness and unforgiveness to Jesus.

3. Discover Jesus in the Word and Prayer

Health Tip 3 - Get Good Nutrition and Fresh Air

  • Eat a variety of nutritious whole, plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains)
  • Great rule to follow breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, supper like a pauper (if you eat supper at all)
  • Avoid overeating and snacking.
  • Avoid eating right before bedtime.
  • Breathe deeply and get lots of pure, fresh air.
  • Whenever possible, open the windows in your home for fresh air.
  • The Word is our spiritual bread, and prayer is the breath of the soul-don’t neglect eating and breathing!

4. Receive a Fresh Baptism of the Holy Spirit Daily

Health Tip 4 - Drink Adequate Water Daily

  • Drink 8-10 cups of water a day.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to remind you to drink.
  • Avoid sodas and soft drinks, which dehydrate.
  • Bathe daily and practice cleanliness.
  • Use simple hydrotherapy treatments as needed to boost your immune system (hot/cold showers. Etc.)
  • Drink what cleanses the body and ask for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to reveal what needs to be cleansed from the soul.

5. Love Your Family Sacrificially

Health Tip 5 - Enjoy the Sunshine

  • Wake up with the sunshine.
  • Avoid getting sunburned.
  • Be sunshine to your family and loved ones, reflecting the love of Jesus everywhere you go.

​​​​​​​6. Disciple Others to Jesus

Health Tip 6 - Stay Active Physically

  • Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.
  • Keep active throughout the day.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
  • Actively live the Word in daily life.
  • Stay active in sharing your faith and discipling others.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​7. Follow your God-Given Mission

Health Tip 7 - Trust in God

  • Trust your life with God - completely!
  • Trust even your unanswered life questions to God.
  • Give Him your heart and will each day.
  • Abide in Him and ask Him to abide in you.
  • Live for His glory!

It is my heartfelt desire for us all that 2024 will be a year where we would experience daily uninterrupted and meaningful time with Jesus in His Word and in prayer and by doing so we would rebuild our personal altars, that our families would experience a fresh worship experience morning and evening, and that our churches would become places of healing, nurturing, and growth for us all.

“Communion with God will ennoble the character and the life. Men will take knowledge of us, as of the first disciples, that we have been with Jesus.”—MH 512

For references, The Way Back to the Altar booklet and additional resources visit​​​​​​​.  

Adina Lupu | Scottish Mission Prayer Ministries Sponsor | Glasgow Health Ministries Leader