By Jay Risner, Lead Pastor
The often pithy Mark Twain once said in a newspaper column that ran on New Year’s Day: “Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual resolutions. Next week you can begin paving the road to hell them as usual.” Ouch! But only because I feel like he’s describing me. Though the new year offers the opportunity to refocus and remake certain areas of our lives I’ve never been real good at the resolution thing. Maybe you can relate.
As your relatively new pastor (who’s also your old pastor…) I’m pleased to inform you that I have no NEW thing for Faith Bible Church in 2017. I don’t have seven steps to some lofty goal for us, or a Bible reading plan that we can finally keep in step with, or some keen insight that will unlock our potential. The hope I would like to offer us this new year is not found in a resolution and that’s mostly because our hope never lies in the fresh start of a new year. Turning the page of the calendar does not make all things new. What I have is something we already know. It’s a truth we all cling to. It’s that, as believers in Jesus, fresh starts and new beginnings have a single point of origin, which is the cross of Christ. Hope has been purchased on the cross for us and so all of our hopes for 2017 are found where all life is found—at the cross. Isn’t that good news? That the truth of the gospel contains the answer to all of our striving, self-effort, and frustrating failure. Thank God for the cross!
Some of you have made resolutions, some of you have not. Some of you are succeeding in those resolutions. Many of you have already thrown in the towel. But as we get into this new year together I look forward to seeing how God might give us fresh eyes to see the truths we already know. That the old, old story would continue its renewing work in our hearts and with that renewal we would experience deeper fellowship, more meaningful service and surprising gospel advancement.