Your Hearts Desire. Part 1: Happy New You!
On Sunday 6th January we started our new series.
In this blog you will find a summary of the talk.
There was no talk recorded this week.
Over the next few months up to Easter we will be exploring some keys to spiritual growth. Our over-arching theme of Keys To Growth (KTG) will encompass four series –
1) Your Heart’s Desire
2) Responsible Driving
3) Consistency is King
4) True Grit
All of these use the idea of relating physical fitness to spiritual fitness (or our relationship with God) as we explore how some keys to improving things in the physical realm may also apply in our walk with God. Enjoy the series!
At the turn of the yearI was reflecting that it’s been 10 years since I went through a really painful season. I know better these days than to dwell on it but
I remembered how sad I felt in my soul at that time but ten years on, I’m astonished by what new things God has done in my life and the way he has paved the way for me in so many areas.
So as we begin this series I just ask you to keep an open mind about what God might have in store for you this yearand in the years ahead. The whole purpose of the series “Keys to Growth” is to draw us closer to God. To grow spiritually – that is to say grow our relationship with God.
When I used to do fitness programmes for people, there was a particularly important way to start things off and that was by thinking about “WHY”. What was their reason, their motivation for trying to get fitter physically? I’m not talking a 5 minute conversation either – typically we’d spend about an hour and a half on this, just talking.
So I encourage you to do some serious thinking. Why do you want to get closer to God? When it comes right down to it, what’s your heart’s desire – as it relates to your relationship with God?
What changes could happen in your life if your relationship with God blossomed and flourished? Never mind what’s happened in the past – what might God have for you in the future? What if you put behind you the events of the past and put your hand in the hand of God as you step out into a new year and new adventures? What’s about to happen? The things that have happened may still be painful, may have healed, or maybe they’ve healed but left some scars. But what’s about to happen? What adventures might lie ahead?
I sigh when I hear people have no New Year’s resolutions and especially if it’s because they failed in the past. So what if you’ve failed before? That’s a necessary part of growth. Failure is a necessary part of growth. Try again!
Thomas Edison was asked why he didn’t give up on the light bulb after 10,000 attempts to make it work. He replied “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” He’s also quoted as saying “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” So don’t give up – and especially don’t give up on your relationship with God. He doesn’t give up on us!
In the Old Testament part of the bible we read about a man named Isaiah who brought word from God to a troubled nation besieged by enemies. God reminded them of who He was (and is) and of the incredible miracles He had done to rescue them in the past. He asked why they did not turn to Him. Then he told them to put the past behind them and keep their eyes fixed on Him – He was about to do something new! You can read about this by clicking here
In the midst of times when it feels difficult, or we want to give up, God reminds us who He is and tells us to watch for Him doing a new thing. It will amaze us as it springs up! He is making a way for us in the wilderness - not that there won’t be a wilderness but He is giving us streams of living water in times we are in the wastelands physically, mentally, emotionally… and spiritually.
The “new thing” that God would do involved delivering his people but also looked ahead to Jesus coming from heaven to rescue and redeem the world.
For those willing to trust God and invite Jesus into their life, there is the assurance that we will be re-born, renewed, and can live in the light of that thanks to Jesus, through whom all things are created and will be re-created.
We can choose to believe it and walk in that truth, or we can deny the power of God and His power to change even the deadest of hearts into hearts softened with love. He is making all things new – that’s incredibly exciting whether you are just setting out on an exercise plan or maybe for the first time stepping out in faith with God!
What will you do with this idea of being made new? What new thing might God have for you in 2019? What’s about to happen? Listen to God! He speaks to us in many different ways – sometimes we call these spiritual disciplines or exercises, and maybe the idea of prayer or bible reading or talking about God doesn’t excite you. But they’re just exercises – they’re not the point. The point is a new, growing spiritual health – a new, growing relationship with God, who wants to do new things with you and for you and through you!
We need to distinguish between activities that may or may not excite us, and outcomes that surely must. Just imagine the possibilities of a growing, deepening relationship between EBC (that is, us!) and God. Imagine him working in our lives in new and amazing ways as individuals and as church – imagine what we might achieve and who we might become. Imagine becoming everything God wants us to be – now that’s exciting!
The power and excitement of novelty doesn’t last forever, so in the weeks ahead we’ll explore how we can keep going when that first excitement of a new thing feels like it’s ebbing away. But that’s for the future. For today – and for your homework – get excited about the possibilities of a new and growing relationship with God. A new and healthier life, physically and spiritually! Dare to dream, dare to imagine the type of life that could be in God’s plans for you as he does a new thing with you.
So make a start - take a few walks this week. And even as you’re walking, be talking with God, who has new things for you in 2019, and who will make a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland.
As we step out into this adventure together, as we look forward to what’s about to happen, I wish a very happy new you!
1. Think about your relationship with God. Take some time to reflect on how would you describe it. What happens? How are the lines of communication?
2. Would you like to know God more and feel more connected to Him? What are your reasons for that? WHY would you like things to be different? What dare you hope for – what would an amazing relationship with God look and feel like?
3. If you feel distant from God, how does that make you feel? What does the future look like if you remain distant from God?
4. What is there that you can see around you that you could begin praising God for? What things have to be thankful for?
5. Are there any areas of your life that you could use some of God’s help with?
6. Aside from coming to church, what things can you do – and do consistently well – to improve your relationship with God?
7. What will you thank God for and for whom or what will you will you pray today? Why not talk to him right now?