CALLED TO BE THE HEART OF GOD IN THE COMMUNITY

Sermons

New Year, New Life

Deacon Sam Marullo, December 31, 2017
Part of the Christmas 2017 series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
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‘Tis the season to be jolly. Check, done that!

Now, ‘tis the season to be . . . going on a diet, resolving to work out at least three times a week, etc. YIKES! How quickly our culture has moved on from the season of Christmas gatherings of loved ones to a time of examining the past year (top 10 movies list, most important political events of the year, etc.) and making New Year’s resolutions for the new year (I’ve GOT to lose 15 pounds!).

Ordinarily, I try to resist pop culture’s influence on my faith journey. But what if we adapt these two pop culture practices - looking back at the past year in review and making resolutions for the new year ahead - and apply them to our life of faith. Might it be helpful to review our journey in faith over the past year, to review the moments when we felt closest to God and see what we can learn from them? And likewise, what if we ask ourselves to review the moments when we felt most distant from God and examine what was happening in our lives that made us feel that way? In fact, this practice is really an ancient spiritual exercise, known since medieval times as the examan, and it has helped Christians to grow in their relationship with God by guiding us toward those things that draw us closer to God, directing us away from those things that separate us from God.

Likewise, setting goals for our faith journeys is also an ancient practice. We can take advantage of the new year by committing to some new year’s faith resolutions that will help us to grow closer to God. In this sermon, we hear the story of Jesus inviting Nicodemus into new life with God by being “born from above.” This is a wonderful invitation that Jesus offers to each of us - really at any time, not just at New Year’s Eve - to begin a new journey with Christ. With a little help from John Wesley, a founder of Methodism, we will explore in worship what it means to walk in faith, in hope, and in love - to grow closer to God. Join together at the end of this sermon as we pray together Wesley’s Covenant Prayer, through which we resolve to commit ourselves to walking with Christ.

We hope this sermon will help you spend some time examining your faith journey this past year and considering what faith resolutions you would like to make for the new year.

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