The quartet did us good by singing a couple of favorites in their usual good form, Heaven On My Mind and The Lighthouse. They led us in worship as well with several songs from the silver songbook.
Paula read to us from the Gospel of John 1:1-18, which includes so many great statements including, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen His glory..."
After a time of prayer Pastor Brad delivered the message.
It's A New Day
Brad began by citing a few memories from his school days. This soon led to the schoolyard practice of giving people nicknames, some of them being quite hurtful.
The point was soon made that we do not want the past to be what defines us. Many of us have painful memories of failure and mistakes made. Adultery, abortion, addictions, porn, a DUI, perhaps even jail time. "Your past can hack away at your soul like nothing else," he said.
Children have a good understanding of guilt. One seven year old said this: "Guilt is a pot inside you that burns when you're not good." Pretty insightful, and actually a good things when guilt leads to confession, repentance and restoration. But unresolved guilt is destructive.
In Psalm 51, King David declares that he's well aware of how bad he's been. David had not only committed adultery, but arranged the death of Bathsheba's husband in an attempt to cover it up. Secret sin is at odds with inner peace.
Modern psychology has observed that there is a direct connection between guilt and physical maladies. Not that all sickness is due to sin, but that sin does produce guilt which often manifests itself in sickness as one's energies become diverted from productive enterprises and end up devoted to cover ups. Proverbs 28:13 says it well. "He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."
Brad shared an acronym for guilt.
Guilt is actually good because it leads us toward restoration when we heed it's painful reminders. On the other hand, unresolved guilt morphs into its sinister, ugly cousin: Shame. The difference between the two is this... we feel guilty for things we do, and shame for what we are.
Shame is a dangerous enemy. Grace is shame's energy.
When we feel guilt it's time to get honest with God. But it's also important to know the power of getting honest with each other. I John 1:7 states, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from every sin."
The next couple weeks we will be discussing Ephesians 3:17-18
"...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ..."
Other Scriptures Brad noted before entering Communion included:
"My mercies are new every morning." God be praised.