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"What is important is to realize that we are a family... and that the reason we are at church is not to be entertained but to worship God, increase our relationship with God, increase our recognition of God’s worth in our lives..."

 

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  Pastor Michael's Musings

 

 

New year’s resolutions? Resolve to be gracious!

 

Welcome to 2018!  It’s a new year, so a new you!  Time for resolutions. We’re going to make big changes… changes like: stop smoking, exercise more, eat more vegetables, not each so much fried food, read our Bibles daily so that we complete all of it in 2018, along with doing one hour of meditation, every day! Are you ready?

 

Well, I’m not. Not really. I hate all of the pressure of having to make BIG changes NOW!  Why do I have to do it now? Just because it’s a new year? If we’re going to make changes and better ourselves, why is there pressure to do it on January 1st? It’s psychological!  We have bought into an idea that since we’ve ended one year and begun another, that we must re-start NOW! Fine. Re-start. Make resolutions. And what’s likely to happen? Statistically, a majority of people who make New Year’s resolutions have “failed” by February 14th. And once we “fail,” we simply give up and “go back to the way it was before.” It’s like it was all for nothing.

 

You’d think we’d learn from failing a New Year’s resolutions each year, but unfortunately, it seems like we never learn “the real lesson.”  What’s that lesson? GRACE!  If you’re going to read that Bible every day and meditate (or do any other of those “resolutions,”) the only way to do it is with a foundation of grace.  Grace is what allows us to fail and re-start, again and again and again. You see, the new year has nothing to do with a new you. The new you happens continuously! In regard to whatever “resolution” you make - in fact regarding everything you that you do and everything that you are – success (however you choose to define that) is completely based on the gift of grace. You are perfect already in the eyes of God. The “resolution” we make, is our learning to be better. Or to want to be better. Kind of sounds like being a Christian. That effort to always be better than we were before. It’s real and it worthy…and it has nothing to do with the new year.

 

Resolutions at the new year are great, but resolutions can be made all year long – and they actually are. Each time we over eat, break down and smoke a cigarette or fall off our Bible reading schedule, we simply need to be gracious with ourselves, as God is, and re-start. Forgive yourself and begin again as if it were a new year. When we remove the pressure and fallacy that we can only “restart” or “make resolutions” once a year, we can then embrace the grace exemplified by our loving God. Yes, it’s a new year – so go ahead and make those resolutions. And keep re-making them, all year long - God and Jesus have got your back!

 

 

 

Pastor Greg’s Gandering     

 

 

A Great Way to Start the New Year

 

Every year the first celebration of the church is Epiphany.  Epiphany always falls on January 6, following the 12 days of Christmas, and it is the celebration of epiphany or revelation of God’s love to all the world as seen in the story of the Magi.   The presence of the Magi from the east is a sign that God’s love is meant for all the world.  And the gifts the Magi bring are just small tokens compared to the gift that God gives us.   That gift is God’s grace as revealed in Jesus.  That grace is a gift, it is undeserved, unearned and just given.  It starts with life, that we receive with no action on our part.  Life would be the greatest gift if it wasn’t for the gift of God’s love that makes life worth living.  We, of course, hope that life and love will continue on in some form beyond this life, but let’s be sure not to turn our noses up at the wonderful gift we have already received.

 

Happy Epiphany

 

 

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