Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

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GENESIS 35:1-2 – GETTING A NEW START IN LIFE – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sometimes I wonder if I had the opportunity to get a new start and live anywhere in the world, where I would want to be?

Genesis 35 is about getting a new start in life, but it involves much more than simply getting away and moving house. It is a fitting story for the new year.

Who is this Old Testament Character? You may know him. Let me give you some clues…

WHO AM I?

  • I grew up in a dysfunctional family, getting by with my deceptions.
  • My Father favoured my brother but didn’t like me much, but I’ll get over it.
  • My mother encouraged me to get away with being dishonest and deceptive against my own brother to the point where he threatened to kill me.
  • I had to get out of there quick and run away from home because it would have been dangerous to stay.
  • I began living with my uncle who wanted only to get rich and tricked me into working for him for free for almost 14 years.
  • I was tricked into marrying a person I didn’t get along with.
  • I got together with the woman I loved and married her also. I loved her and tolerated the other one.  
  • I got away with having a number of illegitimate children with other women
  • Despite all this dysfunctional lifestyle, I was told directly by God to get away and move to a specific place back in my home country.
  • I ignored God, however, and instead got together with some people who lived immoral lives, trading and mixing with them, and even allowing their religious idols into my household.
  • The Mayor’s (kings) son raped my daughter and took her into his home and I let him get away with it.
  • My sons took action, however, and got even by retaliating against the terrible crime committed against their sister. My sons behaved like a terrorist group, getting out of control and going on a rampage, killing every male, and taking women and children captive and plundering the town.
  • In the midst of all this stress, sin and horror, when I just didn’t get it, God spoke to me directly again, and gave me a promise of protection and a new destiny?

Who am I?

Jacob

This is a story about getting a new start. No matter what you have done. No matter how dysfunctional your life is. No matter what mistakes you have made. No matter what kind of a parent, son or daughter you have been. How can you get a new start? How can you get back to God?

What would you do if you were the head of a totally dysfunctional family who is getting nowhere in life and you wanted to get a fresh start?

Fortunately for Jacob, God tells him what to do, because Jacob is a wimp. I know, he is chosen but he’s also a wimp. I know he’s a father of the faith, but I don’t really like him. God disagrees with me however. He’s sees in him something that I don’t and he encourages him to get up and go.

“Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau. 

1. GET READY

God says, get ready to make a new start. Get ready to become the person you were created to be. Get ready to start understanding your purpose in life.

If it was me, I’d probably say, Stop being so foolish and take some initiative in getting your life right with God and helping your family do the same. You’ve had plenty of opportunity.

God says, GET READY and secondly He says,

2. GET MOVING

  • Move to the place where you can hear from God.
  • Move to the place where you are least tempted by your sin.
  • Move away from the world’s values and towards God’s values.

But the main message is get moving. Get out of there and get going. Take action. Don’t just sit there and do nothing. Make a decision to act.

So God says GET READY, GET MOVING and then He says

3. GET BUILDING

Build an altar. In other words build a place of worship, something that shows your wholehearted devotion to God. Build an atmosphere of faith that will enable your family to find healing for their dysfunctional lifestyles. Build something of value that will last as a legacy and an example for you and your family.

And finally Jacob got it. He knew what he had to do in order to GET READY, GET MOVING, and GET BUILDING and it would mean burying things he needed to…

4. GET RID OF

Get rid of anything that would hinder you obeying God.

So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols,

How do I get a new start? Remove or get rid of your idols. What is it that gets in the way of you worshiping and serving God alone. Get rid of it.

If you are going to get a new start you have to make deliberate decisions to get tough and get rid of all the hindrances of your past life.

GET READY, GET MOVING, GET BUILDING, GET RID OF and Jacob says to his family,

5. GET CLEAN

 “PURIFY yourselves, and put on clean clothing.”  

Get clean inside and out. Repent of your sins. Get rid of the world’s influence and let God purify you from the inside out. Get right with God. Find forgiveness and get a new start in Christ

 Romans 13:14 (NLT) says, “… clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”  

Clean clothes and hands to symbolise clean lives.

James 4:8 (NLT) says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” 

5 things to do for a new start…

  • GET READY by making a Choice
  • GET MOVING by taking definite action
  • GET BUILDING by developing a culture of worship
  • GET RID OF anything that would hinder you from worshiping and serving God
  • GET CLEAN by confessing your sins to God and finding forgiveness that comes from believing in Christ alone.

If God can forgive and purify Jacob and his family, then anyone can come to Him to find forgiveness and get a new start. Any heart can be made clean.  

THE NEW YEAR IS COMING UP.

The new year often gives us opportunity for A NEW START. So the first lesson for the new year from this story is an invitation about getting right with God and getting rid anything that might get in the way of your relationship with God.

Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT) says “… if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find Him.”  

Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

God is saying to you like He did with Jacob, “GET READY to take some initiative and GET MOVING toward Me rather than away from Me. GET BUILDING the altar of worship in your life. GET RID OF the old way of life and embrace a new way by believing in Jesus. Jesus laid down His life for you so that you could GET BACK to God and find forgiveness.”

Hope you GET IT (the invitation of God), GET AFTER IT (salvation), GET ON WITH IT (your God-given purpose) and GET BACK (into a relationship with Christ), GET OVER IT (your past) by GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND IT (Forgiveness) and finally GET AHEAD IN LIFE by GETTING SOMEWHERE with your GOD. (Couldn’t resist more GETS, but I am serious about wanting you to GET THE MESSAGE). 

HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Pastor Ross

Matthew 16:20 – COUNTING IN A NEW YEAR

Counting in a New Year

Counting in a New Year

In Luke 2:10-11 (NLT) an angel appears to shepherds and says “Don’t be afraid … “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The SAVIOUR—yes, the MESSIAH, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, …!”

These men are the Shepherds who look after the unblemished sheep sacrificed at the Temple in Jerusalem morning and evening. They are aware of what the angel is talking about – the Messiah is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The angel is declaring in effect that Jesus is the culmination of over one hundred prophetic expectations written ages before His birth, all very clear, referring to the Messiah; the Anointed One, the Deliverer, Prophet, Priest, Ruler and Judge. Jesus fulfils these predictions entirely. Uncanny! Unsettling! … especially to the Romans and the Religious leaders.

To the High Priests the message of Jesus as the Messiah (the antidote to certain judgment; the only vessel of salvation), is a toxic prescription. Before His influence goes viral, they decide to kill Him. They’ll ridicule, abuse and bring Jesus to trial as One who blasphemed God. A contaminating message demands extreme countermeasures. Too many countries are still applying such methods. But although Jesus accepts a borrowed manger, He refuses a borrowed grave and rises from the dead.

In Western countries Christianity is quashed in more acceptable ways; the news covers a story about some weirdo with a placards about the end of the world and creepy people with low IQ’s on the extreme fringe of a religious cult or with a mental illness. Jesus is not linked with my scientist friend who has a strong faith in Christ, or a business person or even a Prime Minister, and certainly not with the average person. The message is too toxic.

The message the angels brought has been a little distorted in today’s world. I wonder what they think of us as we react to John Lennon saying he is more popular than Christ but neglect to mention Jesus at Christmas to celebrate His birth (“Have a happy holiday” but not a “merry Christmas”). What do they think of a world where “In God we trust” is written on money, but not in people’s hearts? God bless America but not on His terms. In Australia – prayers in Parliament but not Christ in the classroom. Swear on the Bible in the courtroom but use Christ’s Name as a swearword in the street. Prayerword becomes swearword. Too toxic!

Is Jesus now the silent guest at every table because He makes conversation awkward? Is He the skeleton in the human closet; the One we never mention? Unpalatable to the general public. If only He would remain quiet and not rise from the dead. To a religious atheist; one of the High Priests of humanism, He is still public enemy number one. Judas wasn’t all that impressed with Jesus as the Messiah, either.

The great commission is a shock to our sensibilities. Suddenly Jesus gives us permission to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” The Good News is that Jesus is the only One who saves us from sin and judgment. The Messiah has come. 

The prophecies are super accurate as each historical event becomes a reckoning and we count off the seconds towards another celebration of a new year. The Messiah is to be a descendent of David; TICK! Born in Bethlehem; TICK! Born of a virgin; He is God with us. TICK! He is a teacher with great authority who will be rejected. TICK! He is to open the eyes of the blind, heal the sick, and raise the dead. TICK! He is to be despised and rejected by His own people, charged falsely, denied justice, and condemned to a violent death. TICK! He is to rise from the dead, ascend to the right hand of God, and be given power and authority. TICK! The predictions line up at a minute to midnight on history’s clock as the seconds count down to when His enemies will be judged and He establishes His own spiritual kingdom, which shall never end … TICK, TICK, TICK

Christmas says that the truth about Jesus makes sense and it is a message that relentlessly refuses to be quashed; “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31 (NLT). Good news that will bring great joy …” Wonderful message for a world where there is still no room in the Inn! The invitation is to make room. Let the back stable, complete with animal trough to which He has been relegated, be transformed; let your heart become His throne room. The Saviour was born that you would find new birth in Him! TICK! “Happy New Year!”

Pastor Ross