Starting the New Year Right
January 10th, 2016 - Romans 12:2, "Renewal of the Mind"
Pastor Pierce concluded our RENEWED sermon series. Our minds get worn out and filled with junk after seeing and experiencing the sin, suffering, and death that characterize this world (the patterns of this world), so we need to be transformed by God. We can't transform ourselves; only God has the power to transform us. We open ourselves up to God's transforming work when we renew our minds (make them new again). Some practical ways that we renew our minds are through things like prayer, studying God's word, worship, and meditating on the things of God. These activities fill our minds with the things of God and drown out the sin, suffering, and death that are all around us, making our minds new again. Being “transformed by the renewing of [our] minds” is the opposite of “conform[ing] to the pattern of this world," - through this renewal we keep from conforming to the world, we stay focused on God, and we allow God to transform us. As we renew our minds we are better able to discern what God's will is for our lives, our families, our communities, and our world. Once we've discerned what God's will is, we are not to hesitate but to live it out. His big ideas was, "God transforms us as we renew our minds."
January 3, 2016 – Psalm 51:1-12, "Renewal of the Heart"
Continuing in our series entitled RENEWED, Pastor John walked us through the first twelve verses of Psalm 51. He explained that King David had just kissed another man's wife (out of respect for the youth in the room he left it at that) and as a result felt ashamed and felt as though his heart was dirty and heavy. He asked if we had ever felt like that after we had done something wrong? From there, Pastor John explained that King David owned up to his sin and threw himself at the feet of God asking for mercy. He noted that King David didn't doubt, but believed fully that God alone could truly make his stained heart whiter than snow. Pastor John also explained that there was nothing that King David could do to make his heart clean on his own. There was no deal that he could cut with God. His only chance of making his heart clean was to trust in God's unfailing love and to invite God's presence to do it. His big idea was, "Your heart gets renewed when you invite the Holy Spirit to do it."
December 27th, 2015 - Psalm 103, "Renewal of the Soul"
Before returning to our Gospel of Luke series, Pastor John introduced a mini-series meant to equip the church with practical ways to find renewal throughout the upcoming year. This week, he preached through Psalm 103 and asked the question, What do you do to get renewed when in your soul you feel downcast? Taking King David as an example, Pastor John explained how at the time that he wrote Psalm 103, he was on the run with very few friends and some people trying to kill him. He noted that King David spoke to his soul and reminded himself to praise God even though things were hard. As the passage continued, Pastor John explained that King David was able to praise God by reminding himself of God's character and God's love towards him. His big idea was, "Remembering who God is and who God loves allows your soul to praise Him and get renewed."