03 Jan New Year, New Series: Fresh
Despite the fact that twice today I have dated a document as “December,” a new year has, in fact, begun. I spent part of my New Year’s Day taking down the Christmas decorations and storing the paper and bows, wreaths and angels, ornaments and nutcrackers for another year. Some members of my household absolutely hate this process because of how “bare” the house looks when all the lights and glitter have been removed. I, on the other hand, enjoy the festive look for a month, but I am always glad to get back to a simpler, less cluttered setting.
Plus, I like new beginnings. A new calendar, new journal, new reading list! This weekend I am starting a new sermon series, as well, aptly named Fresh.
The series will launch with A Fresh Start, because don’t we all know what it feels like to long for a clean slate, a “redo”, an opportunity to start over? Don’t we all know what it is to need forgiveness, mercy, or redemption? It is part of our human condition that we often learn by making mistakes, but our learning process can leave collateral damage in its wake. We inadvertently hurt others as we grow into wiser, more mature people. The hurts we inflict can range from the emotional equivalent of a paper cut to traumatic pain inflicted out of fear, insecurity, or illness. The spiritual practice of confession is one way we name the hurt we cause (one definition of “sin”), and repentance follows, which means we make amends and start over.
After a Fresh Start, in upcoming sermons we will look at Fresh Worship, A Fresh Word, Fresh Courage, A Fresh Mission, A Fresh Perspective, Fresh Church and finally, A Fresh Grasp of the Gospel. I am excited to jump into 2020 by focusing on these topics. Some will invite us to reflect on our own lives and spiritual journeys with an eye toward discovering where we might be stale or stagnant. We might realize we want to tweak a habit or two, or let go of something, or begin a new practice. While I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, I do believe there is great value in setting aside time to carefully evaluate our faith, relationships, work, self-care, community, and commitments. It’s all too easy to be swept along by the tide of events, with little or no thought about where the tide is taking us—and if it’s somewhere we actually want to go. My hope is that week by week, Fresh will encourage us to pause, reflect, and prayerfully consider how we might find deeper communion with one another and with God.
If you’re local, we’d love to have you join us Sunday mornings at 10:00 for Fresh. Or, you can follow the series via our weekly sermon postings.
Yours for the Kingdom,
The Fresh Series Schedule