How did you start 2013? I started my year with a paintbrush. Our girls decided that this year for Christmas they wanted their bedrooms redecorated. This meant new colorful comforters, some fun decorations and a fresh coat of paint. My daughters picked bright colors for the walls of their rooms. My fun loving seven-year-old chose cotton candy pink. She also wanted to help paint. It took everything within me to let her paint in her own spunky way even though it meant she would be covered with paint and so would lots of others things. It turned out to be pretty fun–even with the carpet getting a bit of paint job too. When we finished, their rooms looked great. There is something about a fresh coat of paint that really makes a difference.
Its a new year. I love the new year. I know its only another day on the calendar, but for whatever reason it feels like a fresh coat of paint in my life. It motivates me to think about the possibilities of a new year. So, though I know its kind of all in my head, I harness the momentum of a new year in order to strive to be a more effective leader, a healthier person and a more devoted follower of Christ.
Ultimately, the idea of a fresh start is a biblical idea. Paul said, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In another place Paul said, “Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old has gone the new has come.” Finally, Paul says, “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.” Jesus Christ took away our sin, guilt and shame. His sacrificial death on the cross brought grace, mercy and new beginnings. Our God is about fresh starts and second chances, so harness that truth this new year. Leave the past in the past and let God give you the strength to develop new habits in the future that will help you to grow.
Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Listen and Memorize. At Community Church we are going through the book of Philippians. For the next ten weeks, listen to Philippians every week. It will take only about 15 minutes on http://www.youversion.com. Philippians is chock full of great memory verses. Memorize a verse each week. Here is the first one of our series. “He who began a good work in you will carry it one to completion in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6
2. Get around other believers. This week we talked about gospel partnerships. These are relationships that share the same perspective about people (our common brokeness), passion for each other and priorities for life. Join a small group of believers where you can grow in devotion to Christ. At Community Church small groups sign ups begin next week.