bits from bob....
God promises us that we are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul writes to the Romans, explaining that the old man dies when we are raised to new life in baptism (Rom. 6:4-6). Isaiah says God renews our strength so that we can soar as eagles (Isa. 40:28-31). We hear such promises of newness, but they are hard to accept. They are hard to believe because we often feel old and tired in the routines of life. They are hard to hear because when we try to begin again, we see that much is unchanged. They are hard to believe because our surroundings don't change.
Most of our new beginnings are artificial-on a birthday, parents are going to change how they treat their children; on an anniversary, a couple decides to stop fighting; at the New Year, resolutions abound. Many new beginnings quickly revert to old behaviors. Regardless of our doubts and past failures, in Christ we can confidently affirm that new beginnings are possible.
One of the new beginnings for a church is when a new minister arrives. The new minister has no preconceived ideas about your faithfulness or your involvement in the church-you can start over. The new minister has no doubts about your commitment-you can begin again. The new minister has no intention of holding you back, and every intention of helping you move forward in your spiritual walk-you can begin again. You can begin to attend classes and assemblies you formerly missed. You can become active, you can volunteer, you can pick up the ball and run with it, you can do a lot of new things. Although your brothers and sisters in Christ may be surprised, the new minister will not be surprised. He will be encouraged and he will encourage you to do even more.
Life in Christ always holds wonderful promises of new beginnings. We can dream and hope and pray and plan. We can begin again, renew commitments, return to our first love, and find new zeal. Will we seize God's plan for our continuing renewal and transformation, or will we let it slip by?