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Dec 30, 2018

Beginnings

Beginnings

Passage: Luke 2:22-40

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Category: Faith, Hope

Keywords: beginnings, new year

The God we worship is a God of new beginnings and a chance to start fresh.

Scripture:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
— Mark 1:35-39 (NIV) 

The new year is often a time that we focus on renewal. We can do it anytime, of course, but there is something about the calendar changing that jumpstarts that process for us.  

I’m often struck by the accounts in the Gospels of Jesus going off to pray by himself. He is God … and yet still needed quiet time in communion with the Father. Even He needed time for renewal before He went back out among His people to preach, to heal, to serve. 

How much more so must that be true for us? 

As we focus on renewal this week, I commend the Wesleyan covenant prayer that Pastor Chris used to close his sermon this week. It is a prayer of trust in the One who came to save us, echoing Paul’s words that he could “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Php 4:13, NKJV).

Wesleyan Covenant Prayer:

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you;
praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your hope and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
You are mine and I am Yours.
So be it.
Amen. 

Written by Jon McHenry. Jon leads our devotional team, is a council member, worship speaker and part of the men's ministry at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father. He owes a debt of gratitude to the devotional team for their many edits and improvements of this devotional.