A few weeks ago, I gave a message to our middle school students entitled "How to Have the Best School Year Ever." For students, I see the beginning of a new school year the way most people see January 1st. It’s an opportunity to start fresh and do the things this year that you didn’t do last year. So I gave three things that I believe must happen in their lives to ensure that this year is better than last year and though this is a message I gave to our students, I feel like it's also something that many of us adults need to hear also. These three things not only come straight out of scripture but also from Brevard Community Church’s mission statement.
First things first, we can't just go to church, we must be a part of church.
"I... urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:1-3
We need community with other believers which comes from serving and being in small groups, not just showing up and being spoon-fed God’s word and then going home. If you and I are going to live differently this year we need one another. We must be actively pursuing community to be spiritually healthy. And we have to stop viewing church as a place were I come and get my needs met, but rather start seeing it as a place where I go and meet the needs of others.
Secondly, sacrifice equals success. Which means that this year there are some things that we must be willing to sacrifice in our life to grow spiritually.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2a. There are some things in your life that are holding you back; maybe it’s a relationship, sports, job, addiction, or the way you manage your time. Whatever it is, God is saying that this year if you want to see true change take place, you must lay down what it is that holding you back.
Thirdly, is that we cannot know God's will for our life apart from His word.
"My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh." - Proverbs 4:20-22
So often, we want to know God's will and we end up looking everywhere for it except in the Bible. The truth is, you will never know God's will in your life if you're not in His Word. If you want this year to be different, the time you spend in God's Word must be different.
I truly believe that these three things can change your life if you sincerely invest time and energy into them. Now you may ask, "Where does the church's mission statement come in?" Well, I believe that it's not just about going to church and being a part of church but about having intentional community with people inside the church. And sacrifice and being in God's Word is pursuing intimacy with God. And when those things truly begin to happen, I guarantee you will begin to influence the world outside the church. When you begin to serve other believers and experience true community, when you begin to sacrifice the things in your life that have held you back from really experiencing God, and when you begin to view God's word as a vital part of your everyday life, the world around you will notice and you will begin to influence those who don’t know God in an incredible way.
So let me ask you a question: Do you really want this year to be better than last year? How much? Because if you truly want change to take place, it's only going to begin to happen when you have intimacy with God, community with other believers, and when you begin to influence people outside the church.
SO are you ready to do what it takes?
BCC Middle School Pastor