An opening thought...
A few weeks ago having struggled through a sermon before Christmas in our very well ventilated church, I was told that I could have an extra layer on to keep warm. I did wonder about having my Liverpool scarf on, but then not everyone’s into football so that might not be appropriate.
This scarf certainly wasn’t deemed to be appropriate in a shop I went into back in December. The guy behind the counter took one look at me and said ‘if that’s a Forest scarf you can get out right now.’ It was said tongue in cheek I hasten to add. I quickly pointed out that I’m a Liverpool fan so I was allowed to complete my purchase.
I’m not a Forest fan – although Dad is and I’ve got a soft spot for them, he says at the risk of losing some of you – but I am a fan of the forest. We used to live near one – Thetford Forest – and where there are trees, be they in a glade, wood, or forest, I am happy.
Today we’re thinking about a certain type of tree, and we’ll come on to that a bit later, but before that I have to speak to you about resolutions.
In my early years here, back in the mists of time, I used to stand up on the first Sunday in January and ask you what your new year’s resolutions were. A few of you perhaps ventured to say something because you felt sorry for me, but I soon gave up on that idea given that no one seemed to have any.
So today I’m proposing one of my own, not for myself, but for ourselves as a church family. But just as we saw back in December that the Lord is for life, not just for Christmas, so these are year-round resolutions, and they can all be found in Colossians chapter two, which is going to be our base for this morning:
Encouraged in heart
United in love
Rich in Understanding
I did wonder about having a fourth beginning with O to spell out the acronym EURO but it was no big deal.
You may be sitting there thinking this sounds ominously like a second sermon sneakily put into the programme, so I’ll keep it brief as these speak for themselves. It also has to be said before we go any further that these things are happening already. There’s much encouragement, love and understanding amongst us as a church family, so there’s nothing new about these year-round resolutions.
Our first church family year-round resolution is this: to be encouraged in heart. We all need encouraging and never more than the morning after the year before. If we can resolve to encourage each other in a meaningful way, that’ll be a good thing.
Our second resolution is that we’ll be united in love. Again this speaks for itself and there’s much of this demonstrated already. If we can resolve to continue to love one another that will be a good thing.
Our third resolution is that we’ll be rich in understanding. We might not be in rich in anything else just after Christmas but if we are rich in understanding then that will be enrich us indeed.
These resolutions will help us to keep warm, spiritually. We don’t want to be lukewarm Christians but looking to Christ Christians, and we’ll branch out into how we can do this shortly.
2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.