Summary: You want "real" change this new year? Submit yourself to God.
34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen-- by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
“The Light Revealed as Servant”
How many of you made a New Year resolution this year? Every New Year presents a “new” chance to start everything over… have a clean slate… make a fresh go of being the people we want to be! If you read the top ten list of New Year’s resolutions… you will find that they are all very worthwhile endeavors and they are all probably something that every single one of us should do in our own lives. Let’s look at them quick:
10) Get Organized
9) Help Others
8) Learn Something New
7) Get out of debt
6) Quit Drinking
5) Enjoy Life More
4) Quit Smoking
3) Lose Weight
2) Get Fit (exercise)
1) Spend more time with family and friends
Many of us start out the year with the best of intentions to do some things better in our lives. We start out determined and enthusiastic, however… it doesn’t take long before our enthusiasm begins to wane. In fact, the statistics are extremely disheartening… did you know that 80% of people who make New Years resolutions fall off the wagon by Valentine’s Day! So why do we keep trying? Why do we keep persisting? Why don’t we just give up trying altogether?
Because we have the hope of real change, the hope of doing something to improve our lives.
This last week, something amazing happened in the media. A man by the name of Ted Williams who was an unknown homeless man just 7 days ago, is now a household name! He became an overnight sensation on youtube… and we are going to watch his “now famous” clip now:
[Show Ted Williams “Homeless Man with a Golden Voice” clip from youtube.]
Now, this hit the internet this last Tuesday… and his story is Amazing. It all starts out with a radio personality who has it all. He had the perfect job, he had the perfect wife, he had the perfect house, he had it “all” when drugs and alcohol changed his life. Eventually his dependency on drugs and alcohol led him to be fired from his job, divorced from his wife, bankrupt, kicked out of his home, and homeless… living on the streets… and HE WANTED A CHANGE!
He was eventually able to get himself cleaned up a bit, and become sober… going on two years when this famous video was taken. Can any of you guess what he credits his amazing life change to? God!
“I could not have done it without God,” he says, “now I’m just trying to get back. God has already changed me, now it’s time for me to change myself.”
Do any of you know the “rest of the story?” Keep in mind that this only happened on Tuesday… guess what has happened since then! While not only becoming an internet sensation, he has received dozens of job offers… the most illustrious of them… the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered him the job of being the voice of their team. They KNOW… a change has really happened. A change has happened… and it’s not the kind of change like we see with New Year’s resolutions. Even the 20% who manage to make it past Valentine’s Day are making tiny life improvements… they are simply overcoming bad habits. This story is about REAL change.
Oprah Winfrey once lost 140 pounds as part of one of her “New Year Challenges.” However… it didn’t take long before she gained it ALL back. She said, “I didn’t just fall off the wagon… the wagon FELL ON ME!” That is what happens when we try to go it alone. That’s what happens when we try to do it on our own steam. Even when we succeed, we discover the success is temporary. It’s not a “real” change.