On Sunday we are starting a brand new series here at church called Strong Start. We are going to be looking at how can we start off the year well? How can we have a strong start to this year? So often we get behind and struggle we want to look at 4 areas that we can invest in to have the best year possible. We are going to be starting with looking at faith on Sunday. Then we’ll be moving on to friendships, family, and finances. Hope you can join us!

Having a Fresh Start This New Year

On Sunday we are starting a brand new series called Fresh Start. This series is all about finding a new beginning, a new direction, and wiping the slate clean.

It seems that at this time of the year, everyone is talking about making better and different choices. About starting fresh. Whether that’s talk show hosts, to people trying to get you to sign up for a gym membership.

The point is that while it certainly is cultural, to talk about new beginnings, it’s most of all – biblical.

God, throughout the Scriptures, offers us a fresh start. Offers us a new beginning. He offers to wipe the slate clean and start again.

And this is so needed. So often in life we seem to just accumulate hurt, brokenness, mistakes, and baggage. And it can be almost impossible sometimes to work through it all. So instead of working through it all, God chose to deal with it all through the death of his son. Through this one act he gave us a fresh start and a new beginning.

So that’s what we are going to be looking at for the rest of the month of January and most of February. How we can find a fresh start in faith, friendships, family, futures, and finances. And most of all, how we find a fresh start today.

Fresh Start

Looking Back, to Look Forward: Searching For God’s Activity in 2014

759550_28993899On Sunday we sat and shared stories of what God has done in our lives. We essentially tried to practice this Psalm 77:11-12 corporately. We read this there:

Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.

That verse is such a powerful reminder for us. As I reflected over the past year I realized ways I hadn’t seen God moving. Because the truth is that sometimes we only see God moving in hindsight. During the midst of difficulty, the busyness of life, we can actually miss seeing God move. But as we pause, reflect, and remember we can see how God was moving. This is why this practice of pausing, remembering and sharing isn’t just a good idea – it’s a crucial idea. If we are going to be able to follow God into the next year, we should know of how he moved in the past year.

We ended the service with a simple but practical challenge: share a story of how God moved this past year. That’s it. Just share some of those loving acts. It didn’t need to be big – just real and honest.

For some of us the only thing we can share is that we are still here. That God got us through. For others we have reasons to celebrate – people have kicked addictions, found new hope, or seen miracles. The point is that sharing the things God has accomplished brings us hope and brings God into our present.

So I think the challenge is still a good one for all of us this week. Share with a friend, your kids, your spouse, your neighbor the good God has done. Spend time taking a long look at the loving things God has done, and then share it. Because who knows, this might be the way that God does something in your present, as you share how he moved in the past.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: We need to take a long loving look at God’s acts.

Teaching Points:

  • Sometimes we only see God’s hand in our lives in hindsight
  • How has God been active in your year?
  • Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts Psalm 77:11-12
  • Remember what God has done, and share what God has done.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? What was funny? What are some of the things God has done in your life in the past year? Do you believe it’s true that sometimes you only see God in hindsight? How come? Who should you share your story of God’s activity with?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Ask your kids one question and then really listen: what did God do for you in the past year? Spend time listening and sharing stories.

Challenge for the Week: Remember what God has done, and share what God has done.

A Long Look at Your Loving Acts

1434528_82656078This Sunday we are going to be having people share stories of what God has done in their life in the past year. This is a really important practice to have. Sharing stories transform people. It brings people into our lives, and share our lives with them.

And looking back and remembering what God has done is crucial to moving forward in faith. Without looking back, we can often miss what God has done, we can miss how he moved.

So we are going to take some intentional time and pause, remember, and share. In essence, we are going to try to practice Psalm 77:11-12 where we read this:

Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.

This is the perfect time of the year to give a long loving look at God’s acts. To actually sit and ponder all he accomplished this year. Before moving forward into next year, we need to remember and reflect on what God has done this year. But that is just the first step, the next step is to share with others what God has done. To actually lay out on the table what God is doing.

So that’s where we are going on Sunday, but whether or not you join us I think this practice has value. Why not sit and give a long loving look at the acts of God in your life this past year. And then best yet, share those with someone, because when we do that we not only remember how God moved in the past, but give him space to move in the present.

2011 Recap

Well 2012 is here. This was my first year trying blogging and I think its gone pretty well. And WordPress (the site that hosts this blog) has given me some stats over the past few months of blogging.

  • Evidently I’ve blogged 38 different posts
  • The site has been visited about 2900 times. Which means that more than my mom is reading them.
  • That most people reading are from Canada, followed by the U.S., U.K, and Asia after that. I had no idea I could even find that out.
  • That my most popular posts have been about my son Hudson. For a 2-year-old he is pretty popular.
It has been really great blogging and I’m going to keep it up in this year. But if you have any suggestions or ideas of what you’d like to see blogged on, or explored comment or send me a message.
And in case you missed it last week here is my sermon from Christmas day entitled “Following Jesus”. It was a great day where we ate cake in church, sang carols, and talked about Jesus. So if you’d like to hear it I’d suggest eating cake while you listen.

So thanks for reading and being a part of what’s happening. Happy New Year!