January 2023 Pastor’s Perspective

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  The year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three:  2023!   

How is the New Year? We began the church New Year, on November 27th with the First Sunday of Advent. We prepared, waited, looked and celebrated the coming of God to us (Emmanuel) in Jesus our Lord. The world around us is looking for change with shows, parties, and summaries of what happened in 2022. “What is new or different?” The question a departed saint would often ask is similar to what the world seeks.

Whether we see it or not, God is doing new things!

I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them. (Isaiah 42:8-9) Wanting to know what will happen in the future is a common desire; but we see “fresh sin” as we seek our own visions instead of embracing the God who reveals himself.

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! (Isaiah 43:18-22) God has chosen to offer us forgiveness, new life, all that is necessary for salvation, even while we are wandering away, turning to our own way.

Glory and praise, thanks be to God, he offers us healing and forgiveness in Jesus Christ!

And he (Jesus) took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28)

Make no mistake, God has taken the initiative in coming to us! The centuries of dispute, questioning, interpretation, all take a backseat to the truth that God acts to make himself known to us, so we might know his love, respond in faith, receive his salvation, and be born into new life that is abundant and eternal. We are given new opportunities to embrace new life in Christ.

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:16-21)

Distracted by the troubles of this world, blinded to the truth of God’s love and grace, we need the Church, the body of Christ, reminding us to receive the gift of love Jesus offers through his Holy Spirit.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

God is doing new things! God promises new life, even as we walk through the old, into the new!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

What is new or different? Jesus offers hope, joy of forgiveness, new life, peace and power of his Holy Spirit, the gifting and renewal of the presence of God’s Spirit each day! He empowers us to face “fresh sin” with the assurance, God is a perfect, just, holy, loving God! Many have never heard the truth of God’s love for them, and the fact they can be rescued and redeemed! Jesus is God’s miracle of salvation and transformed life! We may humbly ask Jesus to give the miracle of new life, receive His new birth, and the indwelling of Christ’s Holy Spirit.

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying.
In Jesus,
Paul and Nancy Wier

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