Trail Blazer Ministries
Base Camp for Life: A Spiritual Journey...

TrailNotes Update: God's New Year

From the January issue of TrailNotes; I'm still in the process of compiling the newsletter, so if anyone has anything that they'd like to add (articles, news items, recipes(?), etc.), please email them to me at:

God's New Year

For many people, New Years’ is a time marked by contrasts. Often, we find ourselves making resolutions for the coming year while reflecting on the successes and failures of the year before. While New Years’ resolutions are often light-hearted (and rarely carried through to a satisfying conclusion), we find ourselves hungering for change and growth beyond that which we experienced in the previous year – we find ourselves, in fact, searching for new beginnings. While the New Years’ holiday is often a time of raucous celebration, behind the wild frenzy that characterizes the onset of the new year is a basic human yearning to cast away old, worn out ways of life and begin a new and exciting adventure. Yet rarely do we see, clearly marked before us, this path of new beginnings – and as a result, we take on various resolutions, in the hope that changing some minor characteristic, such as our weight or physical attractiveness, will give us the “fresh start” on life that we are searching for.

Much like the New Years’ holiday, true Christian faith is a celebration of new beginnings. The Christian story points us to the God who stepped down from Heaven and entered into the milieu of human history in order to begin the work of a new creation and inaugurate a new way of life for His people. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!” Our God is in the business of creating that which is new and exciting, and even a cursory look at creation should tell us that God delights in bringing forth things of beauty, majesty, and at times even whimsy. With the coming of Christ, God’s New Year begins, as the invitation of a new beginning is extended to humanity and something fresh, something new enters into the stream of human history.

Naturally, God’s New Year requires that we step out of the year that is drawing to a close, even as we step into the new year that He is bringing about – just as 2008 must end before we can step forward into 2009. We are called to take up a serious and binding resolution to check our baggage at the door, so to speak, and to come into God’s New Years’ celebration carrying nothing of the tired old ways we have left behind. God made this point vividly clear to the Prophet Jeremiah, when he challenged Jeremiah to go down and pay a visit to the local potter. There, at the potter’s house, Jeremiah saw the potter working on a clay bowl, which had become deformed and misshapen in the potter’s hands. Not willing to give up on his creation, the potter broke the misshapen vessel down and made it again – as an exquisite new vessel befitting the potter’s true intentions (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

Like a potter working with clay that has been marred, God desires to “remake” all of us, but in order for this “remaking” to take place, the old clay must first be broken down. In a famous passage from the third chapter of John’s Gospel, we find Jesus instructing the learned Nicodemus that only those who are “born again” may enter into God’s Kingdom (John 3:3). Sadly, the term “born again” has been much abused in our culture, but Jesus’ meaning remains clear – those who desire to enter into God’s new creation must become new creations themselves. We must be born a second time; not, this time, as physical children of corrupt and warring humanity, but as spiritual children of God and heirs of His Kingdom.
This, then, is the promise of Christianity - no matter how marred we may have become, no matter what our background or circumstances, God is ready and willing to give us a fresh start at life. But, as Paul tells us in Romans 6, this new beginning requires that we first put away the "old man" and embrace the new creative work that God is bringing into the world through Christ. God is not in the business of changing minor characteristics, and Christ didn't come to earth to offer fad diets or easy financial schemes. What God is after is the whole person, and in the final estimate, the whole of creation itself (see Isaiah 65:17). It is no surprise, then, that when John was given a glimpse of God's New Year's celebration in Revelation 21, he heard Jesus saying: “Behold! I am making everything new! (Rev. 21:4-5).”

There can be no doubt that we are living in uncertain times, as economies crumble and nations march towards war. Yet, in the midst of such striving, we can find peace in the assurance that even now, as human institutions fail and trusted paradigms falter, God is at work among us, "making all things new" right here in the Gallatin Valley and all over the world, as lives are touched by the gospel of Christ. There is still much work to be done, and we can truly confess with Peter that we look forward to the day when God’s new creation is fully and firmly established throughout all of creation (2 Peter 3:13).

Nevertheless, we can celebrate each day in the light of God’s New Year, for with the resurrection of Christ the cork has already been popped, the ball has already begun to drop, and, for those who have been born again to participate in the redemptive work of God, the party is already underway.

This is, ultimately, what we are called to celebrate each week, in whatever way we may gather. Far from being a somber and downcast occasion, true Christian fellowship should be marked by celebration and mirth. Now, more than ever, the world needs to hear the shouts of joy ringing from our churches (and perhaps even a firecracker or two), as we celebrate the new creation that God is bringing about right here among us, one life at a time.

I pray that this new year would be one of bright new beginnings for us all, and that God would use our humble ministry, and the ministries of our Christian friends throughout Gallatin Valley, to shine forth the magnificent truths of His redemptive grace as we celebrate and proclaim the fact that we serve a God who makes all things new. So let’s pop open a bottle of champagne (or sparkling cider, for us Southern Baptists) and celebrate – because in God’s Kingdom, every day is a new beginning!

In His Peace,
Pastor Michael

We only have 5-8 people in trailblazer ministries, don't you think the blog is enough? Also, can you do an RSS feed of this blog to the website. I can offer the code if you'd like.

Michael, the URL for the RSS feed for this site is:

One site with different codes or using Atom is located here:

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Recent Comments