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August 1, 2008

·new·al,  n. revival; restoration; regeneration.

There are times when we are desperate for renewal.  In the rush of our daily lives.  When life at home is toxic.  As work becomes a test of endurance. When hope seems non-existent.  Resolution is impossible.  The finish line is out of reach.  When we go to bed tired and wake up exhausted.

Let’s be honest.  We all have times when we need to be revived, restored, regenerated, renewed.

We continually seek after righteousness - the sense of being right.  Isn’t this why we are continually trying to justify ourselves?  We seek after peace - the sense of well-being inside.  And yet, how often have we found real peace?  We seek after joy - a sense of gladness and happiness about life.  But, in the day to day reality of our lives do we have abiding joy?

The Bible reveals the inadequacy of man without God and the adequacy of man with God.  God reveals that what we crave is not found in the physical or material, but in what is spiritual.  When we are in fellowship with God we begin to know the true righteousness, peace, and joy that we crave. 

We can either travel by rowboat or by sailboat.  Rowboats depend on human effort to go forward.  Sailboats use the power of the wind.  When the sails are raised the wind moves the boat.  Spiritually speaking, it is much better to be a sailboat.  When we live by faith the undying power of the wind (God the Holy Spirit) moves the “boat.”  (John 3:8; Acts 1:8)

What I’ve been learning about life, renewal, and my relationship with God is that what I seek and crave in life can only be found as I open myself up to God.

John the Baptist explained that the only way to receive what God offers us is that, “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Jesus taught, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25).

Paul compared our physical lives to seeds.  Seeds are the product of death.  The beautiful flowers of spring that decay and fall to the ground as rotting fruit.  But, from that death comes new life - a new plant with great potential for life.  Paul writes that, spiritually, we are like that new plant.  Through death comes life.  (1 Corinthians 15:36-49)

It may sound strange, but renewal is the product of death.  When we are willing to die to our efforts at life (rowing along by our own effort) and to trust God fully with our lives (open up our sails) God Himself gives us what we need to move through life.  That indwelling presence of God really is the bottom line of what we need for renewal.

The weekend of September 4th through 7th is an opportunity for us to do those things which will help us individually and as a congregation to be where we can experience God’s renewing presence in our lives.

Prayer is essential to renewal.  Dialogue and openness to God.  We will begin on Thursday, September 4th with our monthly time of prayer.  Followed on September 5th by 36 hours of prayer and fasting which will conclude during the Sunday Service of Worship (09/07).

Consecration is essential to renewal.  Setting ourselves apart for God - reaffirming our trust and commitment to Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  During our Sunday Service of Worship we will be sharing communion.

Worship is essential to renewal.  Individually and corporately we need to exalt God.  To affirm who He is and who we are before Him.

Time with God is essential to renewal.  Reading God’s word and listening as He speaks to us.  While we’ll be exploring His word during the Sunday Service of Worship we want to encourage everyone to regularly open the Bible to read and to listen to God.

May you know His renewing power in your life.