It's that time of year again. We're going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, save for
the future and spend more time with family. We make resolutions because we want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. And the top resolutions, for most people, tend to revolve around the same three subjects: money, health and family.
But what would a set of New Year's resolutions look like for you from the church, for your role as a faith leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a more Spirit filled life? Here are several ideas to consider for your New Year’s Resolutions from First Presbyterian Church.
I'm nothing, but the creaking of a rusty gate.”
(I Corinthians 13:1, Message). God has given you special people in your life. This may be your family, but it also may be a very special group of friends. This is your community. It is precious. Take time to build those relationships. Make them even stronger. Create a new memory together. It will last a lifetime.
5. Stay focused on the vision. “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe giving to each other as each had a need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV). Having a glad and sincere heart is the vision of daily living our church has for you.
May you have a blessed New Year!
Rev. Trey Hegar
Advent begins on Sunday, December 3. The coming birth of Jesus will be announced. In the advent sermon series we will talk about what it means to wait, watch, and prepare in hope for the Christ’s coming. Then we will celebrate the Messiah’s arrival with praise Christmas Eve.
We will explore each of these themes of waiting, watching, and preparing, as they relate to the first coming of the messiah and what it means to hope for him to come again.
For me this is a strange question because Jesus has come. We know him through the scriptures. We know how he lived, what he taught, and what he wanted for us. So what does it mean to wait, watch and hope for Jesus to come AGAIN?
Are you watching for signs about Jesus coming back? We have all heard about the rumors of war, earthquakes and floods this year. But what about the other signs of peace, hope, love and joy? Are you watching for those? More importantly where are seeing Jesus now in those signs? Do you see peace, hope, love and joy or signs of his pending arrival? Where?
Finally, are you preparing your heart for his return? I couldn’t be more ready for him to come back, because to me it means there will be no more tears, no more wars, no more hunger or racism, or hate, only true love. Are you preparing for that kind of return? What are you doing to get your life ready to be full of abundant blessings so that you can be a blessing to everyone?
Waiting, watching and preparing for Jesus—those are the themes we will explore this advent. We will end with praise because we already know what it is like to have Jesus enter our lives. I pray you may enjoy the memories of Christmases that have passed and live fully into the one to come.
Rev. Trey Hegar
In the spring, Granny Smith finally got her four-year old granddaughter to play in the garden. They planted seeds and watered the soil. In the fall, the granddaughter came back for a visit. She screamed with delight at the orange pumpkins, green squash, yellow corn and purple eggplants.
“Mommy, Daddy look what we made!”
“Oh, dear one,” said Granny, “We planted, but God gave the growth. Neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. --1 Corinthians 3:6-7
I love the harvest season with the combines out in the fields. I walked through East Lake Park amidst the tall corn and held a cob in my hand. I wondered with “a-maize-ment” at the miracle of the stalk and seeds. The fall reminds me, that although the farmers grow the harvest by carefully preparing the soil, planting in spring and then nourishing them all summer, it’s God’s design that produces fruit from seeds. I don’t know how that works at all. The plants would grow and produce fruit and vegetables in the wild. Their yield would not be as plentiful without the attention, but still we cannot take any credit for the final products. Farmers manage God’s seeds and fruits, but God created the first fruits and seeds and how they work. However, we do get to add to the abundance.
Rev. Robert Blezard writes an article for the Stewardship of Life that fall harvest provides a wonderful metaphor for how we are stewards of all the blessings that God gives us. We know that God has given us wonderful, amazing gifts, such as family, community, church, health, intelligence, time,
and relationships. And we also know that we are responsible for caring for them and working hard to provide the ideal conditions under which they will benefit ourselves, our families and our communities.
Blezard shares these gifts that we can tend in the garden of our lives:
● Maintaining the gift of our bodies by eating right, exercising
and getting plenty of sleep, we increase the likelihood we
will live longer, healthier, robust and resilient lives.
● Nourishing our gifts of intelligence and wisdom through
education, reading, exploring, curiosity and continually
learning, we will be best able to understand and improve
the world around us.
● Cultivating our gift of faith through prayer, worship,
scripture, generosity, love and service, our lives bear fruits
of the spirit -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
● Loving and tending to our spouses, children, parents,
siblings and other relatives, we build strong, healthy
families and develop caring, purposeful individuals who
can make a difference.
Our farmers are stewards of the earth, not only under-standing how to make the most of God’s gift of plant life, but also working tirelessly to achieve it. They are partners with God to create a bounty of blessings for our dinner table.
We are stewards of our lives, not only understanding how to best use our gifts of time and talent and treasure, but also faithfully striving to make the most of all with which we have been entrusted. We are partners with God to create a bounty of blessings for ourselves, our communities and our world.
May we be good stewards of God’s blessings to us.
Rev. Trey Hegar
August is like starting a new year for pastors and churches. Fall programming kicks off. Families return from summer vacations. It is an exciting time. Here a few things I am excited about for the fall.