Summary: Sometimes instead of chasing more, we need to focus in on less (and Christ) to get what we really want.

This week we start a new series called “A Contrarian’s Guide to finding the new you.” It’s built around the idea that we all want to change - we all have resolutions and things we want to do differently this year, but most of our stuff all sounds the same - (Get crowd response) Lose Weight, eat right, read more - maybe even read the Bible more, spend more time with your family, watch less TV. But how much of that will actually work? And even if we accomplish that stuff can it really make us new?

One of my favorite verses is 2 Cor. 5:17 - “...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has become.” So, in Christ we are made new - but how does that happen? Well, one of the ways it happens is that you begin to orient your life toward Christ. You have been going this way, but Christ says follow me...and as you learn to follow him, you begin to understand a new way.

How does this tie in to our new series? Well, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. How many of us do that with our attempts at change? We try the same stuff every year! ...and we think this year it will be different...

So what if this year, we went in a different direction? What if this year we went against the grain? What if this year we did what was contrary to popular opinion or normal beliefs? One of my favorite books is a little book by the President of USC, Steven Samples. His book is titled “A contrarian’s guide to leadership.” (I kind of stole his title for this series) READ QUOTE from introduction pg. 3 ...the key for us in this series is to begin to break free from conventional thinking in the area of spiritual growth and change...

The first of our attempts will be in the area of simplicity.

Most of us live in complexity rather than simplicity - Our goal in life is more - not less... But hear this: If your goal is more. If more is your God then you will never really get what you want... I believe the life you really want, the abundant life, the spiritual life, whatever you want to call it - maybe the life you’ve always wanted, is found in less instead of more.

Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 10:39 “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

Your life is what you value. Your life is the things that you strive for...

Your career

Your family

Your friends

Your youth

Success and wealth

I caught the tail end of the 60 Minutes’ piece on Tom Brady. At the very end of the interview, he made a comment that raised my eyebrows...

“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.”

The reporter asked him if he had any answers. Brady’s response:

“I wish I knew. I wish I knew...I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find."

( Here’s a guy who is on his way to shattering every single season record there is for a quarterback in the NFL, is the field general of what go down as the greatest NFL team of all time, already has 3 Super Bowl victories, dates whoever he wants, wears whatever he wants, has a contract worth $60 million, etc. and he admits that sometimes he looks at his life and wonders, "Is this all there is?"

History shows us that success and fame can be fleeting... ( In the 80’s Corey Feldman, who had shown great promise as an actor in successful films including "Stand By Me" and "The Goonies," was cast down to the pit of flop films. He says he had earned $1 million by the time he was 13 or 14. Then it was all gone.

"I’ve made great amounts of money in my lifetime, but I’ve made many mistakes," Feldman told Bankrate in July. "I took part in it, and my parents obviously did what they did, and the next five years was spent trying to build up the stockpile again. I ran into my problems, and due to those problems I lost it all. I went very far into debt, and then several years after that it became trying to catch up on debts. When you’re living behind the ball, so to speak, it makes it much harder to get out on top."

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