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Thirsty for Change? January 1st

December 31, 2017

What will you start doing in 2018?

Today is the day we make resolutions of things that we should start doing to improve our lives. Some of us will resolve to do exercise, others to change our diet. I don’t know about you but I need some added motivations and power to bring about significant changes in my life.

We are looking this week through the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 17-20) of how to unleash the power of God to bring times of refreshing and significant, lasting change in our lives and community. The story I believe gives us some principles/guidelines to follow. So today the key principle is to do what Elijah started to do! Which was to repair the altar of the Lord that had come into disrepair. And if we are to unleash God’s power into our lives we need to do the same which for us is to believe and marvel in the power of the cross of Jesus.

Today’s principle is to boast in the cross of Jesus as the place the power of God is unleashed in our lives. It is not due to any thing in us –  not our goodness, reasoning, up bringing…- that God chooses to work his power in us but due to the death of Jesus on the cross. So we boast in that.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ and again in Galatians 6:14 ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ and Peter declares 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed .” For “you were like sheep going astray ,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.’

In our time the message of the cross has fallen into disrepair and maybe in your life as well – today resolve to repair it and put your belief afresh in the cross of Christ to know forgiveness and the power of God to change you. Do you need new spiritual life and power – repair your belief in the power of the cross of Jesus. Does your family or community – repair your belief in the power of the cross of Jesus.

But how can we know it has power? What was the second thing Elijah did? He drowned the altar in water. Have you ever considered where the water came from in a drought? Perhaps they descended the mountain three times to go the Mediterranean to get some salt water or perhaps there was a spring on the mountain. But three times they repeated the action to show the true power of the miracle. That is how we know that the cross of Jesus has power because for three days Jesus laid in a grave – he had died – but on the third day he rose again. The cross of Jesus has power – the fire of the resurrection proves it. So boast in that.

If the people had given up precious supplies of water to know the power of the sacrifice it reveals the biblical principle of boasting in the cross is by giving up all our others rights and priviliges that get in the way.  Surrendering and trusting in the cross alone for the power and favour of God. As Paul says in Philippians 3 he has lost all things for the sake of Christ – but he considers them rubbish that he might gain Christ. Tomorrow we will reflect on some of those things that prevent us boasting in Christ that we may have to stop doing in 2018.

By the way – Happy New Year and what better way to celebrate the New Year by boasting in the cross as your source of hope for 2018.

I felt I should add some practical resolutions to show how we ‘boast in the cross’.

1. Give thanks for it – we do this every Sunday in worship and especially when we share communion together. Make this a priority.

2. Use it – how? We use the power of the cross whenever we pray ‘in the name of Jesus’ – so make prayer a first thought rather than an after thought.

3. Share it. When you have the opportunity tell others how the cross of Jesus brought the power of God into your life.

So today resolve this year to make Church a priority (especially communion), to pray in all situations and to tell someone each week about Jesus.

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