Fresh Starts Happen by Saying Yes

1377457_71238299On Sunday we began our series looking at how God can give us a fresh start. The beautiful thing about God is that he cares about us so deeply that he wants to wipe the slate clean. This idea though of God forgiving us is so familiar to us, that it’s lost some of its radical power. The God who created the spinning galaxies and molecules, hope, life, birth, and birds and trees sees all the hurt we do to ourselves and one another and still offers us forgiveness. This is really radical. Just think about it, we don’t do that with our family, friends, or ourselves. We hold onto hurts for years, our guilt traps us. And yet the perfect and holy God above and within, says grace, forgiveness, have a fresh start. This is wonderful. Just listen to this verse from 2 Corinthians:

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him. 2 Cor 5:17

So if this is what God is about, and wants to do – how do we experience it? That’s the question isn’t it. How do we live this fresh start, find it, and experience it?

That’s what we spent the rest of the time on, on Sunday. We looked at a parable of Jesus in Matthew 13 that explains how we experience this Good News. And what we learned was our experience of this Good News is dependent on our hearts. Jesus shares that when the Good News is spread, it’s like seed and soil. And when the seed is spread it lands in different soils, or hearts. Some of our hearts are hard and rocky, and this Good News doesn’t penetrate or transform. Some of our hearts though are shallow and we love the idea of a fresh start, but when things get tough we give up. Others of us have this Good News go deep, but then greed, consumerism, and self-centeredness choke out the growth within us. But some hearts, some soil, is ready and it goes deep and lasts.

So on Sunday we asked a really important question: What is the soil of your heart like? Is it rocky or receptive, hard or soft, weedy or clean?

Because the state of our hearts is often the defining factor in experiencing a fresh start or not. God’s clear – he wants to give us a clean start. The question is are we ready to receive it?

The difference between different soils, and different hearts is often one word: yes. Hearts that are receptive, soil that is good, are hearts that say yes to Jesus. That keep saying yes to Jesus. That don’t stop saying yes to Jesus.

That’s how you experience a new beginning; you don’t stop saying yes to Jesus.

Today you can have a fresh start in your faith, and it begins by saying yes.

We ended with giving everyone a simple, but lifelong challenge: say yes to everything Jesus asks you this week. Just keep saying yes, and he will lead you not only to experience a new start, but a new future. Can you imagine how different your marriage would be if you just said yes to Jesus every time he asked you to apologize? Can you imagine how different your family would be if you said yes to Jesus every time he asked you to show grace? Can you imagine how different your community and even world might be if we just say yes to him consistently?

So that’s my challenge, a hard one, but a worthy one. If we want to have a fresh start this year, it begins with Jesus, and it begins by saying yes.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Today you can have a fresh start in your faith, and it begins by saying yes.

Teaching Points:

  • When you have a new beginning you have new possibilities
  • God is into fresh starts and new beginnings
  • We have become so familiar with the idea of God forgiving us, that it’s lost its power
  • Gardening takes good soil and patience
  • What is the soil of your heart like?
  • Keep saying yes to Jesus.
  • This week whenever Jesus asks you to do something: say yes.

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? Has God’s promises of forgiveness lost any of its “shock” for you? What is the soil of your heart like? How do you think saying yes might keep your heart soft? What is he asking you to say yes to today?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Talk to your kids about soil, and how things need good soil to grow. Maybe even plant a few plants. Talk about how our hearts are like soil – and that they stay good by saying yes to Jesus. Ask your kids what Jesus might be asking of them, and then help them to say yes.

Challenge for the Week: This week whenever Jesus asks you to do something: say yes.