Are you one of those people who participate in the annual ritual of resolution making and resolution breaking? Will you be interested if I tell you that this year could be different. It can, and the apostle Paul tells us how: "If anyone is IN CHRIST, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel better, but most resolutions address the symptoms of the problem and not the source. We try to fix what is wrong with us on the outside because we can't fix the more fundamental problem on the inside. There in lies our greatest challenge in life. It is not overcoming bad habits. It is overcoming our sinful nature. And as the saying goes, old sinful habits die hard. We may be able to get rid of those extra pounds, but we will never be able to get rid of our sins. No matter how sincere or strong the resolve, sin has a tight grip on our hearts and won't let go.
None of us has it in us to overcome our sinfulness, but "IN CHRIST" everything changes. In fact, those two words change everything. In the cross of Christ we have the forgiveness of all our sins. And in the power and promises of Jesus we have the strength to crucify our sinful nature with its evil deeds and desires. "IN CHRIST" we are new creatures.
But that is not all we have. "IN CHRIST" we also have hope for the future. Even if we don't know what 2015 will hold for you and me, we know that our eternal future is undeniably secure. We look forward to the day when the Lord will make good on his promise to make everything new. Then we will go to live in a new heaven and a new earth and receive the crown of eternal life.
Our sure hope of eternal life changes our perspective on this life. Each new day presents each of us with new opportunities to live for our Savior, to be the new creations God made us. We want to glorify God in everything we do. Even when we resolve to do things that we hope will make us look and feel better, our motives are no longer self serving. Instead we give glory to our Creator by taking care of the bodies/lives he has given us.
In addition to being a time for making resolutions, New Year's is also a time for celebrations. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, Christians have the best and most reasons to celebrate. Give thanks for the free, full, forever forgiveness that is yours and mine "IN CHRIST". Rejoice in the fantastic new life that is ours "IN CHRIST".
Celebrate the new you in the new year.
When do you decorate for Christmas? Maybe you're one of those people who wait until the week after Thanksgiving. Personally I like to put them up early and leave them up well into January. Decorating a tree, hanging tinsel, putting up lights, and maybe even having a little nativity scene. Preparing our houses for Christmas is something that most Christian households enjoy doing to get ready for the celebration of Christ's birth. Add to that the buying of presents, visiting family and friends, and whatever else your family Christmas traditions are, it can make for a very hectic season. While we are getting all of those external things ready, let's not forget to prepare ourselves spiritually. After all, those Christmas decorations are really to celebrate Jesus' arrival in the flesh and also reminding us to look forward to his return. Are you ready? This advent season let's take the time to get our families ready to receive Christ. That child born 2,000 years ago to a young virgin in a lowly stable is the same eternal and powerful Lord we worship daily. As we get our homes ready to entertain friends, neighbors, and coworkers let's make sure we spend time getting ourselves and our families spiritually
ready: read the Bible every day, spend time doing devotions together, pray that his kingdom comes quickly and that we are eager for his arrival, and worship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. After all this is the season of preparation. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end." (Isaiah 9:6-7a)
Friday & Saturday, March 20 & 21
Wintergreen Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Cost is: Lodging $79/$89 (make choice below) | Meals: $36 | Honorarium: $50
ALL COSTS (Lodging, meals and Honorarium) payable to St. Paul’s—give to Dan Schoeffel
Call Wintergreen Resort direct at 800-648-4765 to reserve your room. A credit card is required to HOLD the room but you still pay St. Paul’s for the room.
J.A.M. stands for Jesus in the Afternoon for Me. J.A.M. is a Wednesday after-school program for children in grades 1-5. All are welcome to attend especially those who do not have a church home or Sunday school.
Children gather in St. Paul's fellowship hall after arriving from their school (they can get shuttled by bus from their school to St. Paul’s--Ask your child’s bus driver for details). The sessions begin with a snack, free time (games), a Bible lesson (beginning around 3:50), singing and craft. Children are to be picked up at 5:00 p.m. You can register your child when you bring them or by clicking the link below to our online registration form.
J.A.M. is FREE and a fun way for your child to learn valuable lessons for life and bring them closer to God.
For more information click on the link below to the J.A.M. handbook or call St. Paul's church and school office 783-2552 extension 0.