Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fireworks and Slips of Paper

The holiday season has officially "ended" here in the Czech Republic with the celebration of Three Kings Day yesterday. Everyone is stepping into the new year of 2018 "plným proudem," as we say in Czech (i.e. "in full stream")! 

We are precisely one week into this year, and I am still wide eyed at what this year will shape up to be.  It will be my first year living in Czech again, and my first year stepping into this role with the JV Kids. It's going to be a big year. 

Our church has somewhat of a tradition that every year you pick a verse "out of a hat" and ask the Lord how he'd like to teach you through that passage in the next year. Our pastor made it very clear that this was not something prophetic, and that the Lord may or may not choose to use this particular verse to speak into the coming year. Yet, our pastor also called us to pray and ask God to bring a verse to our attention, in order that our eyes may be fixed on Jesus. 

The basket went around and I sifted through the slips of paper and randomly chose one that had a verse from Colossians printed on it. It was strangely applicable to my heart. (I see you, Lord!)

In context, it reads:

"And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. ...

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.  

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins." - Colossians 2:6-7, 12-13

(Those are the Ellenwoods and my parents - we've been celebrating New Years together for years now here in Czech!)

This whole concept of the "old" and "new" life has been on my mind often in these past months. I have talked about it with friends and church family. We have talked about what it means to claim our baptism, to repent and believe again, yet with the security that we have already died to sin and been made alive in Christ. We have already been saved when we repented and put our faith in Jesus, but now we learn to walk. To let our roots grow deep. 

And this is my prayer for this coming year then: that you and I would let our lives be built upon Christ, and that we would live every day in the reality that we have already been raised to new life by the power of our mighty God.  


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