January 9, 2014
Dear Eastridge Family,
There are a lot of things you could do this year. You could get out of debt, get married, buy a house, save up for vacation, or pursue some other dream. While there are a lot of things you could do, what is the one thing you have to do that would literally change your life?
Paul urges us to live with that kind of focus and intentionality. In Philippians 3:7-14 he says, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul clearly lived with purpose.
God hasn’t called us to wander aimlessly, unaware of where we’re headed. We’re not supposed to be spiritual tumbleweeds drifting wherever the wind blows. Instead, God has invited us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, to focus in the direction where He’s leading.
What is the one thing you need to focus on this year to follow God’s plan for your life? What’s the one thing that you know in your heart you need to do? Perhaps you need to. . .
· Break a habit
· Accomplish a goal you have been putting off
· Restore a broken relationship
· Admit an addiction you have and get help
· Pay off your debts and become financially free
· Begin to live and walk by faith
· Get involved in a ministry at your church family
· End a relationship
· Get serious about your relationship with God
What’s your one thing you need to focus on this year that could change your life?
This Sunday we are going to have a Covenant Renewal service. John Wesley designed the Covenant Service as a time, not for New Year’s resolutions, but for spiritual renewal and a fresh awakening of our minds and hearts. Wesley encouraged his followers in the 18th Century to take advantage of this opportunity. I want to encourage us to do the same.
What is a covenant? It is an agreement between two people or two nations or between God and His people. God always keeps God’s end of the bargain: I will be your God, and you will be my people. But we oftentimes fall short. God sets the bar high; we fail to measure up, time and again. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that God is always ready and willing for us to make a fresh start in our walk with him. God is always ready and willing to forgive our sins, shortcomings and our past mistakes. God is always ready to let us begin again. In fact, God takes the initiative! In Isaiah, God proclaims, “Behold, I am about to do a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
God is ready for us make a new covenant, to commit ourselves for the first time or to renew our commitment to follow his leading for our lives. God is ready to move in bold new directions in this coming year. God can heal the brokenness that keeps family members and church members estranged from one another. God can make a way where we think there is no way. Do we believe it? Are we ready to commit our lives to the God who is making all things new?
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- State of the Church