The beginning of a new year always seems hopeful to me, but the flip to 2021 is different. We all know why. I was looking forward to opening up the new year at CLF because of this. It’s just felt like we need a fresh beginning. That’s part of the impetus for the series, “Children of God”. This past year, it seemed that lots of labels were being tossed around: mask/non-mask; vaccine/anti-vaccine; Democrat/Republican; conservative/liberal; fearful/cautious/reckless; scientific/common sense…and I know that I’ve missed some. So, our concern as an elder board, has been that we never lose sight of the wonder, amazement, and responsibility of being children of God. Our elders felt that a short series to begin the new year would serve our church well. And that’s my hope. I pray that Sunday was a sermon that encouraged you, challenged you, and caused your heart to worship your Heavenly Father.
With that said, here are some thoughts from this past sermon and from the Christmas series:
From “Cutting room floor”: Christmas series edition:
- Throughout that series, the idea of God using some that was seemingly insignificant to accomplish something exceedingly significant, kept coming up. A baby born in a barn, who was the King; Bethlehem being too small to be numbered among the tribes of Israel being the birth-place of the Messiah; Mary, an unknown virgin becoming the mother of the God-child…you get the point. One major application point about this is how this flies in the face of our “greater is better” or “bigger is better” or “make an impact with your life” mentalities. I’ve often wondered (and I’ve seen this in the Bible), how God calls His people to live faithful, quiet, and peaceful lives in this world. How He calls us to simply love our neighbors, give up our rights for the sake of the gospel, and not try to make a big scene. And that when Christians do that, God turns the world upside down. It’s always amazed me to read about normal, everyday people, who quietly served Christ and others, who Paul or other writers mention, as faithful Christians. I want to be one of those. Serve the Lord quietly and trust God with the results. I think the incarnation of Jesus points us to the fact that this is the way God does His normal work.
- I’ve often wondered how the Old Testament prophets saw their prophecies. Well, good thing for us, God answers this question. In 1 Peter, Peter wrote, in 1:10-11: “the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” In other words, the prophets knew that the things they prophesied about were a ways off. But their troubles, the sin of their people/nation, did not deter them from seeing, in faith, that God would fulfill His promise to send a Genesis 3:15 champion. And it did not keep them from looking forward to the day, when God fulfilled His promises to His people.
From “Cutting room floor”: Adoption
- Some things I left out about the Holy Spirit’s work in us:
- The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us, so He’s always with us.
- The Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we are God’s children and that we’re destined for eternal life.
- The Spirit controls us, sets us apart to God, and energizes us to obey God.
- He gives us assurance, peace, joy, and power to be God’s children on this earth.
- If you’re looking for a dose of amazement about being children of God, get the book Knowing God by J.I. Packer and read chapter 19. And if you want it to sound really holy and awesome, get the audio book and listen to the British reader…amazing.
Coming up next:
This coming Sunday, we will look at 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, and God’s call on us, as His children, to be His representatives in this world.
From the Cheap Seats:
- Welp…that was lame…I’ve been a Cowboys’ fan since birth. I cried in 1979, when tight end, Jackie Smith, dropped the winning touchdown pass from Roger Staubach. I was 9. It’s been a painful ride since 1995, when the Cowboys last won a Super Bowl (or been the the NFC Championship Game). But…as a true fan…can’t get me off the wagon.
- Very proud of the Texas Aggies…for those of you who know them by the Texas A&M Aggies, being from Texas, I should let you know that there’s only 1 University in Texas and that’s in College Station. So, the Texas Aggies proved that they are on the uptick and Jimbo Fisher has them on the rise. Not sure they will ever beat Alabama, but at least it feels closer.
- I’m really glad to hear that Spring Training is on schedule. Like so many things, I miss the crack of the bat and fans in the stands.
- Man City played really well against Chelsea. To see the defense playing as well as they have has been encouraging, especially after last year’s debacle. And to see that they’re better at counter-attacking is amazing to watch.
- The Padres??? Really?? Just a quick note of history: AJ Preller, the Padres GM, was the Rangers President for Player Development in the early 2000’s, until he took the Padres job in 2014. During his years with the Rangers, they had the most successful run of team history. Now, he’s doing the same with the Padres.
Enjoy the 1st week of the new year! I pray that it’s filled with grace, joy, and hope. Praying for you.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.