new year

Believe in Your Future

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 23:18 Happy New Year! I pray that you have joyful anticipation and excitement for this year! We serve a great and loving God, and in this new year, I want to encourage you that life gets better when you get better. When a seed is planted, it grows down before it grows up. The roots must grow to anchor the seed before it sprouts. We must respect this universal principle: “You must grow deep before you grow wide.” This is the treasure you should seek, developing the personality, attitude, skills, methods, and rhythms of life that build into who you want to become. You must believe you can be transformed into the kind of person you envision!   Interestingly, you actually don’t have to believe in yourself to get better. In fact, that

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Two Kinds of Treasures

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19,20 As 2022 comes to a close, we are reminded that each and every year we experience is a beautiful gift from God. In the following series, we will explore what Jesus said in his teachings about treasures. He said there’s not just one kind of treasure, there are two kinds. The first type described in the above Bible verse is earthly treasure. The attitude of some religious people is that earthly treasures don’t matter to God, but they do. They are important to God and He tells us plainly, “Ask for what you need, and I’ll give it to you.”  Various earthly

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New Year, New Lessons

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.“ – 2 Peter 1:3 Happy New Year! This particular time, with all the optimism, possibilities, and potential we are faced with at the start of another year, excites me every year. As we progress forward in the wonderful things God has called us to, I like to think of it as an opportunity to reset, shake off the old, and establish new goals for ourselves. Each year will undoubtedly bring new problems and tribulations, but I encourage you to approach each day with optimism and anticipation, and to commit to be a person of action rather than fear. Now, because today is a vacation and many of you are likely to be doing something relaxing, such as watching sports or watching a movie,

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Choose For Yourself!

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-16 For a lot of us, a new year means getting a brand new calendar to fill with all the things we hope to accomplish. The idea of resolutions is that we take on a few huge goals, and working towards them typically proves to be a lofty task. All too often, circumstances get in the way, the unexpected happens, and we come to realize that we won’t

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Stand on His Promises

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” – Psalm 18:32 Well, 2021 has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. As the COVID pandemic continues to rage and political strife runs rampant, it’s important to remember and consistently focus on the source of our strength. The events of this troubling time can be an energy drain since it seems as if everything is more difficult than it used to be. It’s easy to get bogged down and pulled under by the “bad news” of the day, but thankfully, Jesus offers us a much better alternative! In fact, the Bible says that He arms us with strength. That’s an interesting way of saying it because it infers that our spiritual toughness is a weapon, which further implies that our spirits are under attack. We are not our own worst enemies — Satan is,

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Invest in the Key Things

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 As we embrace a new year, it’s important to focus on building a meaningful life and to remember how the Lord crafts and shapes us into who and what we’re supposed to be. With that in mind, today, I want to talk about choosing to invest in what really matters. This is an especially good reminder after the holidays, which often center around obtaining a multitude of material things. While it’s nice to get gifts at Christmas, stuff will not ultimately fulfill us. Jesus fulfills us. If we need evidence of this, we can learn from the stories of famous athletes, writers, and musicians who — at some point in their careers — had all the money, glory, and awards in the world but would tell us

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Build a Meaningful Life

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1 As we welcome the second week of 2021, we continue to look ahead to the possibilities that a new year brings. Like Peter, we can become rock-solid in faith, because we were taken from the quarry of Jesus Christ. He is unshakable, powerful, and secure, and so are we when we build our lives on the foundation of His truth. Though many of us have experienced major challenges and setbacks in the past year, it’s imperative to remember that these very challenges are what the Lord uses to craft and chisel us into the masterpieces we’re to become. If we look at people like Moses, Abraham, and David,

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Just Do It!

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 To build upon the goal of making 2021 a year of grace, today, I want to offer another thought to ponder. What if healing actually comes through stepping out in faith and serving the Lord? Years ago, I knew a guy who was an awesome bass player, and for some reason, he really wanted to play in our church worship band. However, he was outspokenly not a Christian. While this might have been cause for rejection in a different congregation, I took his enthusiasm to mean that the Lord was

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Perfection Isn’t Required

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 To be more effective for God in the coming year, it’s important to remember that we don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. When I was in high school, I decided I was going to start sharing my faith with anyone and everyone who would listen. That said, I went straight to the campus drug dealer and told Him about Jesus. Much to my surprise, He received the message with great enthusiasm and prayed with me to accept Christ. After that, he began sharing his newfound hope with others, and I was blown away as He embraced the things of God. However, a while later, I saw him standing in the school parking lot dealing crystal meth to another student. This troubled me, and I began

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God’s Construction Project

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9 Yesterday, we talked about how God’s temple is in us. To further expound on this thought, today, I want to share another analogy. Our experience last year may have made us a bit “trigger shy” when it comes to fully embracing what’s ahead. After all, none of us could have seen what was coming, and if we could have, we might not have set our expectations so high. However, as Christians, I don’t think there’s any compelling reason to pull back our hopes and dreams for 2021. Even if the coming months bring disappointment or loss, we can adopt an attitude of courageous faith which trusts that everything that happens is part of the Lord’s construction project in our lives. I love C.S. Lewis’ analogy in Mere Christianity in which he explains that

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