My wife and I just closed on our first home, and we are so excited to start the new year in a new space. The problem is before we can move into that new space we have to begin the arduous process of sorting through all our stuff. Basically, we have to look at everything we own and ask these three questions: 1) What things we are taking with us? 2) What things we are leaving behind? and 3) What old things are either getting replaced with new things or repaired? It’s a daunting task, and I dread it, but it is necessary. If we are ever going to go from the old to the new then we necessarily have to prioritize and determine what is most important in our home.
In many ways we have to do the same sort of thing in our personal relationship with God. We have to allow Him to look into our lives and determine what we should keep, what we should rid ourselves of, and what we should replace or repair. The apostle Paul reminded the church at Ephesus of this same truth. He admonished them to keep those gifts they had received from the Spirit of God, remove from their lives those things which were characteristic of their life before Christ, and replace their “deceitful desires” with the “righteousness and purity of truth” associated with God’s likeness. He told them to stop lying and only speak the truth to one another (Eph. 4:25). He said, “Be angry and do not sin,” and “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph. 4:26). He instructed them to stop stealing and instead use their hands to do honest work which could be shared with others (Eph. 4:28). He told them to use their words to build up one another rather than to curse and tear others down (Eph. 4:29). He taught them to replace their anger, bitterness, and wrath with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness (Eph. 4:31-32).
Not only do you and I need to allow God to speak these truths in our lives, but we as a local body of believers need to do the same. Rose of Sharon Baptist Church is supposed to be “a place where you can grow,” but any growth or movement requires us to keep what is good, discard what is poor, and replace or repair those things which need to be renewed. If we are ever to move forward to new heights and new growth then our move must begin with these questions.
So, as we begin a new year and we attempt some new things at Rose of Sharon Baptist, let each of us continually evaluate our actions and decisions by returning again and again to these questions. As a result, may we hold fast to those doctrines which are foundational to our faith, may we be willing to depart from attitudes or actions which are counter to the kingdom purposes, and, finally, may we be renewed by his Spirit so that each of us has the mind of Christ and we enjoy the unity that comes from the bond we share in Him.
NEWS AND NOTES:
New Worship Times Starting February 4th – Morning worship will begin at 9:45am and Life-Groups will start at 11:00am. In addition, we will be adding a new class for those in the 20-30 age group. We are excited about this change and hope it will encourage more involvement in the fellowship and discipleship that comes from being a part of Life Groups.
Kid’s Praise and Vocal Team – Regular Wed. night rehearsals will begin again on January 17th – Kid’s Praise at 6:15pm and Vocal Team at 7:30pm. Come out and be a part of our worship team!
Kingdom Celebration – The next Kingdom Celebration service will be at Durham Memorial on Sunday, January 28th at 5pm. If you missed the last one, make sure and mark your calendar for this one. This multi-cultural worship service is a wonderful time of celebration and serves to remind us just how big the Kingdom of God is!
On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone who sent my family and I cards, gifts, and demonstrations of love during the Christmas season. Your support and encouragement mean a lot to us, and we are blessed to serve each of you.
In His Service,