Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2024? Let me ask you – how did the 2023 resolutions go? Maybe you were able to stick to some of them, and maybe not. The thing is…we keep making them! There’s something about the thought of a brand new year that turns our attention to the possibility of what could be. It symbolizes a fresh start, a turning of the page, and even a turning point in our thinking.
Many years ago, three magi (astrologers) saw a star that was like no other star. This star foretold the birth of the Savior, the Messiah. They had an epiphany, an illuminating discovery, a realization, a revelation that this was no ordinary star. This was the star of the Christ Child. So, what did they do? They followed the star, stopping in Jerusalem to inquire about the Child.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed His star in the east and have come to pay Him homage.”
As we continue reading in Matthew 2, we find that these wise men had another epiphany in Bethlehem, this time it was the manifestation of Divinity.
10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary, His mother, and they knelt down and paid Him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered Him gifts of
gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
On seeing the child, Jesus, the wise men worshipped Him! Grown men, bowing down to a child. These men had a revelation of the end, that this child was the One who would save His people from sin. The One who took on flesh in order to dwell among us. What an epiphany! To know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you’re in the presence of Divinity. So, they worshipped and gave gifts to the Lord.
Spiritual revelation gives you fresh eyes. You see, or you have a knowing of, what you should do in a situation. We need new revelation these days. We live in a world of deception, misinformation, and outright lies. The lines between true and false seem to be blurred. We need to have our eyes opened to the truth of the Word. We need a new perspective. Things may not be as they seem. Those magi weren’t worshipping because they saw a child, but because they saw the end from the beginning.
The Apostle John, also known as the Revelator, received a new revelation from the Lord. He saw a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem where God was making “all things new” (v5). John saw the end of things and in the end, he saw that God made all things new. Isaiah foretold of this new thing as well:
Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old.19 I am about to do a new thing;
Maybe that’s where we get the notion of making resolutions and doing a new thing at the beginning of every New Year. We can get bogged down in our past hurts and failures, and never see the new things that Jesus has in store for us. We need to remember the words of John that God makes all things new. Jesus is the God of new things. He had a way of showing people a new way to live, to love, and to give.
What if we immersed ourselves into whatever new thing Jesus has for us in 2024? What if we opened ourselves up to receive new revelation, new mercy, new life, and a new commitment in this new year? It just may cause us to do what the magi did as they went home.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Revelation gives us direction for our lives. When you reach those forks in the road, and you really don’t know what to do, you need a Word from the Lord. You need an epiphany, a new revelation!
I hope you can be with us this Sunday when we celebrate Epiphany Sunday, which commemorates the magi being the first Gentiles to have a revelation of Christ. A new revelation!
Charge Conference will be held on Saturday, January 6 at 10am via Zoom. The annual Charge Conference is set by the District Superintendent (DS), Rev. Robin Bell, and will be officiated by the DS. The reports of the Charge Conference include pastoral compensation, slate of officers, membership report, retired clergy reports, and a trustee report on the valuation of the property. They have been approved by the Leadership Board and previously turned in to the DS. The Charge Conference is the formal submission and approval of these reports by the Leadership Board to the DS. Any member is welcome to join the Zoom session which will consist of a cluster of churches. This year there will not be a message from the DS, only the accepting of reports. The zoom link went out in the mid-week email.
Vision for 2024: A House United! Strong Faith, Strong Families, Strong Future. You will hear more about this in the weeks to come and my prayer is that we will live it out in the year to come! Amen & Amen!
Officer Installation will be this Sunday, January 7. We will celebrate Leadership Board and NLDT officers who are rolling off, and welcome those who are coming on to serve in 2024. Praise God for our leaders!
Dr. Martin Luther King Sunday will be celebrated on January 14. Our service goal this year, as in past years, is to partner with Union Memorial UMC to collect as many books as we can and donate them to Pierre Laclede School! The books we collect should either be written by or written for African American students. The students are elementary and middle schoolers, and they especially need books for the older boys. The collection will start with MLK Sunday and continue to the end of February.
Bach Concert will be on Sunday, January 14, 3pm. This concert always draws huge crowds, so get there early! There is no admission cost. A free will offering will be received. Come hear the wonderful musical artistry of musicians from all over St. Louis in honor of Bach!
Leadership Training for the Leadership Board and NLDT will be on Saturday, January 27, from 10am-2pm, in the MPR. We will once again do it jointly with Union Memorial UMC. Lunch will be provided.
State of the Church will be on Saturday, February 3, 10am. This will give the year-end updates on ministry and finance and look ahead to goals for 2024.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being.
2 Corinthians 5:17
May you walk into the newness God has for you in 2024!