Summary: Starting a new year, it's good to consider where we stand. Is it on solid ground - on Jesus, or is it on something that cannot last.

January 6, 2013 Sermon- Firsts and Foundations

It’s the first Sunday in January. I like firsts. I like beginnings. There’s always so much potential in a new start. There’s so much hope as a thing begins. Now the new thing doesn’t actually have to be brand spanking new.

Recently the car I drive here became more trouble than it was worth and right next door to the service station that was getting more and more money due to the fiscal black hole that was my old car, I found a new car.

Well, a 2002 Hyundai that looked new, ran great and was really, really cheap. To me it’s new. So, yes, ‘new’ is in the eye of the beholder.

“New” to God is something else yet again. The call to newness of life and to renewal is found mostly anywhere you look in the Bible.

And ‘new’ to God has little to do with New Years Resolutions. It has nothing to do with human resolve at all. It has to do with His love and His work.

Isaiah 43:18-21 says this: 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself, that they may proclaim my praise”.

Now this is awesome. Don’t get stuck in the past. Good advice...because all of us can do that if we’re not careful. Look at the new thing that God is doing. In the barren wilderness and wasteland God is making a way out.

Who doesn't need to hear this? Who doesn't need to hear that God is actively at work bringing us from despair to hope, from wilderness to a land of plenty. Who doesn't need to hear that there are streams in the wasteland?

That’s lovely, just lovely. But what makes it more than lovely is that it is rooted in something, it’s grounded in something real, it’s grounded in something a relationship with God.

Most things in life aren't really so grounded. Now Electricians appreciate the value of groundedness. That much is true. But so much of modern life is not grounded in reality, in anything substantial, in anything that holds water.

Most things about modern life are without foundation. A few years ago standing out front of this building, I heard a woman yell: "I have 323 friends on Facebook, but you think one of them would call me to go out for coffee?"

Newsflash: if a person who you 'friend' on Facebook isn't already a real, actual, flesh and blood friend, 'friending' them (Can you believe friending is now a word?); 'friending' them does not make them a friend.

Detached from the real world, social media, that absorbs so much of people's time and energy nowadays, builds faux 'communities' that are groundless, and 'friends' that cannot come through for you for one reason: They're not your actual friend...if you don't interact with them in real life. These are Communities without foundations.

The movie The Life of Pi {PPT] is visually stunning. It is also a study on one level of comparative religion. One thing about comparative religion is that it teaches people to be comparatively religious.

It has nothing to offer spiritually in my view and I wouldn't encourage anyone to draw any insights about what it means to follow the living God from it. Far too muddy.

But the movie is about many things. Much of the film takes place at sea where a 16 year old boy struggles against the elements: a hostile, unpredictable ocean, an unfortunately boat- mate…a hungry tiger, and his own fear. But the core issue is that the boy is lost at sea, without a firm footing on the ground.

All his problems are due to his inescapable reality of having no actual grounding, no solid foundation upon which to move forward in his life.

And without a foundation the boy at sea, and each and every one of us here can only try our best to do one thing: survive. is much more than trying to survive.

Les Miserables [Pic] -the play and now the movie is about many things. At one level, for 2 of its characters, it’s about the difference between having a firm footing in the law versus having a firm footing in grace.

The main character, Jean Valjean, after having been horribly wrong-done by the justice system is released from jail after nearly 20 years for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister and her child and resisting arrest.

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