Devotional

“Renewal” | 2021 Theme

For the first half of the year our Theme for the Southern CT Church of Christ is “Renewal”. Each month we will look to be renewed in some very important way. In January, we focused on “Renewed Faith” and in February we are focusing on “Renewed Love”.

As we go through these themes remember that renewal, true renewal, does not come without the presence of God. Sometimes we think renewal comes from a good movie, a vacation, some time to scroll our social media feeds, a break from the kids, ect. While those things are not bad and may give us an emotional momentary retreat, true renewal comes from a connection with God and this often involves work. I know what you are thinking: “How are you going to talk about renewal and work in the same sentence?!” Stay with me:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus never says that following him will not involve work. What Jesus says is that he has the equipment (His yoke) to make the journey in this world one full of rest for our souls!  In fact if we “work” with the yoke (a piece of equipment for work) of Christ, we are promised rest for our souls! This is what we mean when we talk about renewal. I hope you notice that Jesus does not say “take off all yokes and never work again” he essentially is saying “take off the yoke you have right now and put on mine”.

Have you put on the yoke of Jesus? Have you decided to deal with the pressures and stresses of the world with the yoke of Christ?

It is the right kind of “work” that brings about renewal and a connection to God. Throughout history these have been referred to as “spiritual disciplines”. Spiritual disciplines bring soul quenching spiritual renewal that no movie, vacation, or scrolling can!

We are going to focus on 3 of these spiritual disciplines:

1. Discipling Relationships

Through these relationships we can help each other stay connected to God, encourage each other to repent of sins that separate us from the renewal God offers, and hold each other accountable as we fight to have the soul refreshing equipment.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Hebrews 3:13

Are you letting your job suck the life out of you? Struggling to dream? Constantly stressed and exhausted? Discipling relationships or one another relationships are relationships where we can let each other know what whats going on and where can work on applying the easy yoke of Christ with help from others. Let each other know what you need help with, where you need accountability, and where you need prayer!

2. Sharing the Good News

There is an incredible Biblical promise that we have when we share our faith with others.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus will be with us! That is such a refreshing promise because it can be pretty daunting at times to share our faith. We don’t need to do this alone! Let’s foster this kind of culture in our community groups as so many are already doing in some really creative and special ways!

3. Contribution

There is the old adage “money is funny” and indeed we can all get a little funny when it comes to talking about money, especially amidst a pandemic (I still need my stimulus check! ha-ha). Although it can be funny, it is still important for us to talk about. Money allows us to have more resources which allows the work and burden to be spread and opens up more opportunities to give back. If the Bible talks about it, we must talk about it as well.

Okay, “so what does this have to do with being renewed?!” you may ask. Hear me out: is not our pursuit of money, success, and advancement a grind on our souls? Doesn’t our western workaholism keep us crazy busy? Giving to God is a constant reminder to ourselves that we are here only temporarily and treasure in heaven is better than treasure on earth!

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

1 Timothy 6:6-8

You can also give back in other ways by connection with our Hope Worldwide Southern CT chapter. You can see the great work the non profit arm of our church is doing by clicking HERE.

We look forward to an incredible year of renewal as we prioritize the things that really matter and get back to some crucial spiritual disciplines!

Join us and be Renewed this Year!

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