Sermon Reflection from January 1, 2023 | A New Word
Pastor Alex’s sermon to kick off our New Year was filled with challenge, chaos and change. Why is that? He was looking into God’s Word that is always ageless, alive and active. Are you looking for a new beginning this year? Are you hoping this year will be different than those of the past? If so, the answer lies within God’s Word.
God’s Word is timeless and can be applied to our 21st century lives. Amazing but true that the principles set forth in God’s Word are always true no matter the time period in which one lives. Not only God’s principles but the examples He provides in the lives of Abraham, Sarah, David, Peter, James, Paul…. show us how to live godly lives through their successes and failures. God includes His promises in His Word, many of which have been fulfilled especially in the life and death of Jesus, but also those we can claim for our lives today and ones that give us hope for the future. God’s Word challenges us to live our lives on His terms using His ways. It is contrary to our old nature but doable through the power of His Holy Spirit which indwells each believer. Take up the challenge to live by the Word this year seeking to use His truths to guide you each day.
God’s Word is also active and will cut deep into our lives to uplift, prune and aid in discernment which we desperately need to survive the chaos of our times. Hebrews 4:12b tells us what the Word of God can and will do, “penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. The Word of God gets right down to who we are and helps us see the errors of our ways, the errors in our thoughts and motives and it judges or convicts us of things were are doing that are not according to God’s standards. God’s Word holds us accountable, 4:13b “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”. God knows all things and will hold us accountable for what we say and do. God’s Word leads us to confession, hope and repentance. 1 John 1:9 reminds us of His way, “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God’s way turns the chaos of today’s living into hope and direction as we listen to His Word for our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 also speaks of God’s Word being active. “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword”, God’s Word will not be passive and non-interactive in our lives. The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to convict and transform us into the ones God can and will use to give out His Word to a hurting world. God’s Word leads to change in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. God’s Word has power and will move you into 2023 in a new way if you listen, seek and allow Him to penetrate your heart and soul with His Word.
Lastly, Pastor Alex challenged us to search God’s Word for a guiding word for the year. This is something I’ve done for the last 5 years and have found it profoundly helpful in seeing how God is moving in my life in tangible ways. Here are some thoughts from my blog today about choosing a guiding word.
Just like Pastor Alex, I would challenge you to pray about a Word from His Word as you read and study this week. Ask God what Word he would give you from His Word for this New Year. He may give you more than one word to pursue so do that and see where He leads you. The Word you have for your focus has others that are or will be related to it. Make a list of your main word and then 5-10 related words. God will guide you to hone and zero in on the Word He has for you. Now that you have your list, look to scripture for verses that use your word or words and see how God guides in choosing your focus verse for the year. I generally end up with 1-2 verses.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking and praying:
Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18, or James 1:2
Hope- Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10.
Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Proverbs 3:5-6, or Jeremiah 17:7
Grace- John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, @ Corinthians 12:9 or Ephesians 1:7.
Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27, or Philippians 4:7
Or you many choose to examine words like: unity, compassion, mercy, steadfastness, stability, generosity, service or enough. When examining words like these you need your list of 10 related words to aid you in your search for verses. Remember Pastor Alex said his word for last year was More than. Your Word may be conventional or unconventional word. Be open to His leading.
Have fun with this and make it an adventure in listening to God and hearing what He has to say to you about your New Year! When you are done, go to the free website www.wordart.com and make a graphic of your word and related words. Here is my graphic from last year to give you an idea. Enjoy God’s Word in a new way this week. Make your graphic and post it where you can refer to it all year!
A New You | A New Word
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Sermon series, "A New You" Today Alex Hardt share how God's Word is Eternal
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