Join us today for an episode about the need for New Beginnings...
Today's episode is focused on John 1: 1-18...
In today’s spiritual foundation episode about investing in yourself, I talk with you about New Beginnings and the new year. I preached this sermon on January 2nd but wanted to share it with you. I talk about what the one true new beginning is.
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Episode 1037: Sermon on New Beginnings
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1037 of the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:00:07] Taylor Stevens: I'm Taylor Stevens, AKA Mr. Phi guy. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent and your treasures to live out your. Having the ability to focus on what's really important and to find your route to independence is key.
[00:00:28] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer.
[00:00:36] Scott Maderer: now for a lot of us, that new year is a chance of new. And it's a highly anticipated time. And I don't know about you, but I think after the last couple of years with COVID and presidential elections and politics and natural disasters and tornadoes and riots and all of the other [00:01:00] litany of things, Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcasts.
[00:01:07] If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling in the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.
[00:01:28] And today's spiritual foundation episode about investing in yourself. I talk with you about new beginnings and the new year. This is a sermon that I preached on January the second, but I wanted to share it with you. I talk about what the one true new beginning really is. So since we don't have communion, I can pray.
[00:01:52] I can do the sermon for two and a half hours, I think is what. No. Okay. I guess that's not right. [00:02:00] This has gotta be hard for me, cause I normally like to pace during sermons and go all the way out there and come all the way back here. And with the camera, I've gotta be in one place. Y'all bear with me as it's untethered to a place that's unusual for me.
[00:02:15] So happy new year we had a celebration and I was joking with serenity. I know if some of y'all may have animals like. Winter who hates fireworks and just trembles all night long. And our goddaughters come out because serenity hates fireworks and just trembles all night long. And she has a support animal that comes out with her and the S R we have a support dog that tries to take care of the other dog.
[00:02:43] It's very interesting. She goes over to the other dogs I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I know you don't like this, so it's an interesting experience when you think about. The celebration of new years, the fireworks and there's people that [00:03:00] party and stay up all night. But what is it about the turning of the calendar from a couple of days ago to January 1st?
[00:03:12] That makes us think about new beginnings. Anyway. We began to think about new journeys, new resolutions. And all of the ways we're going to change our life this year. This is going to be a totally new year, completely different than all of the years that have come before. And by the way, a lot of times we do that whenever we're four and whatever, we're 44 and whenever we're 84, it doesn't matter.
[00:03:37] We still have that feeling of a new beginning as the new year comes. We often see the new year as an opportunity to improve ourselves. To expand on what we've done before and what we have, and this can be a healthy practice and it is something that can [00:04:00] be beneficial, but it's also beneficial to some times to stop and recognize and reflect on the blessings that we already have.
[00:04:13] Maybe the ones that we've forgotten about. Maybe we'll talk about things like we're going to finally get healthy this year. I'm going to eat right. And exercise more and cut out the BA. Okay. Nevermind. That would be a lie. I'm not going to cut out the bacon. We're going to be more active this year. And the truth is that at this time of the year, there's also a theme that you're going to hear over the next few Sundays.
[00:04:41] About the God who can come to our rescue. In fact, if you think about the passage that I just read from John, it talks a little bit about that. It talks about the God who's come as well as he was there at the beginning. It talks [00:05:00] about how we're gifted by a relationship with. And in a very real way. I think that's what the new year brings.
[00:05:11] It brings another year that we can be in relationship with God. Now for a lot of us, that new year is a chance at new beginnings and it's a highly anticipated time. And I don't know about you, but I think after the last couple of years with COVID and presidential elections and politics and natural disasters and tornadoes and riots and all of the other litany of things, I'm hopeful as well, that 2022 has a great chance for being a new beginning that does see some change in our lives.
[00:05:55] I mean let's face it. The last few new years have not been what I would call typical in any [00:06:00] way, shape or form. I don't know about anybody else. The truth is though there's no magic in the turning of the calendar. It's not January. First of whatever year is not any more special than January 2nd or December 31st.
[00:06:22] They're all just days of the year. And yet somehow in our brain, we have this sort of mystical connection that the changing of the calendar means a new beginning. And I think deep down in our hearts, God has created us to crave new beginnings chances to start over. God craves us and wires us to want a reset or do over button.
[00:06:55] I don't know about you, but I've wished many a time that I had a [00:07:00] button I could hit that would rewind time about two and a half minutes so that my mouth would not get ahead of my brain. Oh, good. It's not just me. And there's something inside of us that is attracted to the idea of having a fresh start a do over.
[00:07:16] Think about it sometimes. That's why we move even physically move. We go to a new place so we can have a new beginning when or you go to a new school as a child. Sometimes it's a. To be different than you were before at the old place. And we crave that. And I think in part, because in truth, we all know that no matter where we are in the journey of life, we all have a need to be remade.
[00:07:52] I think we all know that we need new beginning.
[00:07:57] So it wouldn't be me. If I didn't go [00:08:00] into a little history, let's go back to the beginning and the early church, let's go back to that time. There were a lot of challenges towards the end of the second century. Lord life for the Christian community was challenging. The church in Jerusalem had been scattered because.
[00:08:22] The holy city had been burned to the ground by the Romans Jewish leaders were scattered and spread out. Most of the 12 apostles that had followed Jesus at this point had been martyred and had reason to fear. The few that were surviving had reason to fear that their time was next. Christianity as a movement was catching fire.
[00:08:50] In the Gentile world, not in the Jewish world. And then there were disagreements between the Jewish Christians and [00:09:00] the non-Jewish Christians and fights about what it meant to be a follower of Christ that was enfolding in the church and creating division and divisiveness and fighting. People were arguing about what it meant to be a follower of God.
[00:09:19] And was this the right way or was that the right way? Nothing like it is today.
[00:09:23] Okay. And it's in that moment, that time that the apostle John pinned his gospel, listen to the beginning. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God. And the word was God. He was with God in the beginning, through him, all things were made without him. Nothing was made that has been made in him.
[00:09:59] [00:10:00] Was life. And that life was the light of all humanity. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light. So that through him all might believe he himself was not the light. He came only as a witness to.
[00:10:28] The true light that gives light to everyone who was coming into the world.
[00:10:33] That's how it begins. And the word is, God, that's really what keeps showing up in this passage. And it's also reflecting this idea of a new beginning. But it's also calling back and saying, wait a minute, the new beginning that we're talking about [00:11:00] started long before any of us were even a glimmer in anybody's eyes in the beginning was the word.
[00:11:07] And the word was with God. It's calling all the way back to the first moments of creation. John is echoing that new beginning. That was the creation. John is calling back to Genesis and actually giving the light that God brought into the world, a name and saying it is Jesus Christ.
[00:11:31] That's part of that craving that we have for new beginnings. I think there's a connection and a relationship between our beliefs. And our connection to the eternal, our connection to something that we just know is bigger and goes beyond us. And it's going to last way longer than us. Something that's [00:12:00] deeper than us.
[00:12:02] And we can see our connection to creation as an act of relationship.
[00:12:10] We can see new beginnings as a chance to connect with each other, but even more to connect with God. The truth is I think in good times and bad, we all need to be reminded from time to time that there's something bigger than us.
[00:12:33] That we have a connection to the eternal. We have a connection to a God that is way bigger than you are I or anything we can.
[00:12:47] And I think that's what this passage from John is trying to call out. John is distinguishing that this connection we have is a connection to the word of [00:13:00] creation, that the good news and the gospel is bigger than anything we can imagine. That it's bigger than the law. It's bigger than the covenant. It's bigger than anything that we do or do not do it's bigger than us.
[00:13:18] And that God is embodied in that relationship between us and Christ. So the truth is we all need a recognition of new beginning. We all need a chance to see ourselves and see ourselves in relation with the light, moving out of darkness, we all need a fresh start. And the truth is that the fresh starts that we're talking about.
[00:13:53] Don't happen with the turning of the calendar. They don't happen because we set some new year's resolution. [00:14:00] They don't come because we set some fireworks up into the sky on new year's day. But rather those new beginnings come from a relationship with Christ. Jesus looking at the next nine verses starts.
[00:14:18] He was in the world and through the world was may. And though the world was made through him. The world did not recognize. He came to that, which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yeah. To all who did receive him to those who believed in his name. He gave the right to become children of God, children born, not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God, the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
[00:14:55] We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son [00:15:00] who came from the father full of grace and truth. John testified concerning him. He cried out saying, this is the one I spoke about when I said he, who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me, out of his fullness. We have all received grace in place of grace already.
[00:15:24] For the law was given through Moses gate, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only son who is himself, God, as an enclosed, this relationship with the father has made him known. I think it's clear that to John, at least it's clear that Jesus is the beginning of everything.
[00:15:49] Jesus is the truth of all. And I think this passage from John is calling for us to recognize [00:16:00] that despite any challenges, despite the craziness of this last few years and probably the craziest newness of the year, that is to come if we're honest, and by the way, the crazy started long before the last two years.
[00:16:14] Despite any of that, despite any darkness at all. The light is brought by connection and a deep understanding and relationship with Christ. And instead, I think sometimes what we're in danger of doing is trying to replace that connection with Christ, with a celebration of the world, we celebrate the turning of the cow.
[00:16:47] Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's wrong to celebrate new years. I'm not saying that there's something wrong with that. It's important that we recognize and celebrate. Hey, we got one more year under [00:17:00] our belt and the planet just made it eat another big circle around the sun. And it is a China chance and a time that we can look to ourselves and say, we've got a chance at a do over and a new.
[00:17:13] But we should recognize that the truth is that nude beginning is bigger than anything we do. We need to be humble. And to acknowledge that the desires that we have for this new year may not be in perfect alignment with the desires that God has for us for this new year. And instead of saying, this is what we want.
[00:17:40] Maybe we can ask for God to restart our relationship yet again with God and restore us by helping us restore that relationship. The good news is I've been told that you're supposed to put the good news in every sermon. [00:18:00] The good news is that Jesus is the light. And Jesus can aluminate any path through any darkness.
[00:18:11] The truth is that's not a superficial new beginning. That's not just a chance to set a resolution that you probably won't be following by February 14th. Anyway, if you haven't figured you're seeing the stats 88% of new year's resolutions, aren't being followed by February 14th. Valentine's. Okay. That's why, if you go to a gym in January, you can't get in, but if you go in March, there's lots of room.
[00:18:42] Okay. That's not the kind of new beginning that Christ is bringing. Now, this is a chance for something deeper than that, to recognize that no matter where you are in your walk with Christ today, [00:19:00] No matter where you are in this journey, today is a chance to go deeper, to start over, to walk again, a fresh in our relationship with God, God wants for us to be in that connection with the light God wants for us to see a chance at new beginning.
[00:19:27] And then out of those new beginnings can come a deepening relationship with Christ and with God,
[00:19:35] because as it says every day is a new beginning and a fresh start with Christ. The name of the father and the son and the holy spirit. Amen.
[00:19:50] thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back [00:20:00] and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoy this episode, do me a favor. Go over to facebook.com/inspired.
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In today's episode, I talk with you about:
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. - John 1: 6-7