Updated: May 18
January 3, 2021
Pastor David gives many examples from the bible of those who were able to begin again after years of struggle, devastation, and sickness.
In fact, the whole story of the bible is a thousand interwoven threads of redemptions, restorations, and renovations where God is speaking into every part of His creation to say the whole universe is written into a single principle... you can begin again.
"To progress is always to begin always to begin again"
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I want to welcome you back into this moment where we turn to the Word of God that just speaks into our lives. And so, we're starting this brand-new series for this year. And it is that you can, yes, you can begin again. And so, the last year has been hard for all of us, maybe for all of us. It's hard because it has interrupted our lives. It’s not an inconvenient interruption, not an irritating interruption, it interrupted how we live our lives. Maybe for you, you were pursuing this life important thing that you were doing, but it just slowly, ground to a halt. And it's hard for you to imagine where the energy, where the momentum is going to come from in order to restart that important thing that you were pursuing. This last year has affected our relationships. I mean, fundamentally, how we do relationships, it's changed in this last year. It has created loss for a lot of us, maybe for you, you lost precious time in your education. Or maybe you lost your job or lost momentum in your career. Or for you, maybe you lost someone. We need this teaching, at this moment. Here's my conviction. It's written, I think this conviction is written into the design of the universe; that you can begin again. It's written into the seasons around us. Every spring, it happens every single year, every spring, you can begin again. It’s written into our physical makeup. When your body is injured, it quickly moves to heal itself, it begins again; it's written into our souls. When relationships break, when we experience a setback, when we fail, if we're fully alive, we have this instinct in us. And the instinct is for starting over, we can begin again. I think it's written into the design of the universe. So, there's a bottom-line reality in our spiritual journey; if you’re on a spiritual journey.. Here’s the secret to all forward motion, spiritually. I think it’s embedded in a little thing that Martin Luther, the great reformer said. I think he wrote it in his commentary on Romans. And it's going to feel maybe a little obscure, a little clumsy. And so, when you bring the graphic up, I'm going to ask us to hold it there for a while, so that you can just sort of absorb it. But here's the secret to all forward progress spiritually, that in your life, Martin Luther said, “ To progress is to always to begin, always, to begin again There's an actual truth in that. I think this day represents a begin -again, moment for you and me. If you're a follower of Jesus, if you call the principles of the Word of God, your faith, then I can tell you that the foundation of your faith is you can begin again. It's written all over the story of your faith, if the Bible is the Word of God. And if the Word of God is the story of your faith, then that story of your faith, the foundation of the story of your faith is you can begin again, always to begin, always to begin again.
So, this first message, it has a goal, it has a function. The function is this: it’s an introduction. The series is going to go on for some weeks and so today is just one thing, it’s an introduction. But there's a goal. And I'm just sort of showing my hand so that you're, you know, following along with the goal. The goal of this message is just one thing: It is that you would come to believe, no matter how much your circumstances may say you can't, no matter how many people around you say you can't, that you can began again, and that you will take the risk to believe that. So, there are skeptics and there are cynics. And you know, the definition of a skeptic is, , “I'm not going to believe the truth until you can show me the evidence.” And the cynic is, “It doesn’t matter how much truth you show me, I’m never going to believe it.” I want you to get rid of the cynicism inside of you for a moment, I want to ask you to set it aside that thing in your life, that thing that you've just given up on, that thing that God was doing in your life, and you just you know, you failed or it was taken away from you, or there was a setback, and you just sort of sighed over it and said, I can't do this again.
Do you know the foundation of your faith is that you can begin again? And so, I want you to know what's written all over your faith story. And so, for the next few minutes, I'm going to take the risk of just surveying your faith story. Just to convince us again, yes, that you can begin again because it's at the foundation of how God designed His faith for you. So, for instance, consider Abraham. God said to him, “Go to a new land that I will show you, I'm going to do a new thing in your life.”, Abraham said to God, “Where, God?” And God said, “I'll show you”. And Abraham said “In which direction, God? God said, “I'll show you.” And Abraham said, “Where will I end up God?” And God said, “I'll show you, because look what I'm doing. I'm going to start, you on a whole new journey in your life. If you trust me you will follow me. And you can, Abraham you can begin again. It's written for you, in your faith story.” Think about Jacob. Jacob made a lot of bad life decisions. He manipulated some people, he used some other people. The consequences began to build up, pile up and he had to run for his life. And so in the middle of the night, in the middle of a desert, he laid down to rest, he put his head on a rock to rest and God came to him in the night and said, “Jacob, I can bring you back. I can help you make things right; you can begin again.” And you can, too. It's written into your faith story. Think about Job. Job, on the other hand, did everything right, he was successful in business, he loved his family, he was morally blameless, but still, he lost all his wealth i n one cataclysmic event. He lost his children; they all lost their lives, he lost his health. And, and even though he questioned God, and didn't fully understand his suffering, he acknowledged God's power and sovereignty over his life. And when he humbled himself, but for the purposes of God, God blessed his latter days by doubling everything in his life; he blessed the latter days more than the beginning. He restored him after loss in every way to show you that just like Job, you can begin again. It's written in your faith story. Or Moses, who was privileged; he had position and power and wealth, and yet he acted too impulsively. And the consequences came crashing down on him. And so, he was exiled from his home, he was separated from his family, isolated for 40 years. But then, God met him at a burning bush and said, “I'll be your voice, and I'll be your strength. And yes, Moses, you can begin again. I'll make you the liberator of a slave nation”. It's written, you can begin again, it's written into your faith story. Or King David, who was a good and faithful man, but he got lazy. And he made a huge moral mistake, which tumbled into one horrible self- serving decision after another until he was responsible for the death of one of his closest and loyal friends and then when God confronted him through Nathan the prophet, David just broke, he was just broken. And through Psalm 51 he got so honest with himself, he got so transparent with God, and he deeply repented and the Lord forgave him and rebuilt something in him. According to Psalm 51, He rebuilt in him a sincere and steadfast spirit, and he restored his joy. And he brought him back. And He showed him, “Yes, David, you can begin again.” And so, can you; it's written in your faith story. Or consider the prophet Elijah, who did great feats for God. But he just got really emotionally depleted, he got physically depleted, and then just one idle threat from Queen Jezebel scared him to death, and he ran for his life. He isolated himself and he tumbled into depression, and he lost all hope. And he just asked God under that broom tree, he asked God, “ Just let me die, okay?” But God comes to him and first says, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” God didn't need to know that. He knew where Elijah was, but he needed Elijah to admit it. And then he said, “First, rest in me. Second, get nourished in me.” And then he said, “Get up and go back with courage and confidence in me. Elijah, you can begin again.” And to you and me “Yes, we can begin again. Because it's written into our faith story.” Like Naomi, you can go home again. Like Ezra, you can go home again. Like Nehemiah, you can rebuild from the rubble, and you can begin again.
Do you know in the Old Testament, there is a provision in the Old Testament law that undergirds this? There's an Old Testament law, that was a reset law. It was a begin again law, the whole society was built on it; it was called the favorable year of the Lord. Jesus called it the favorable year of the Lord. It was also called the year of Jubilee. And it was an entire year of reset, redemption, renewal, and restoration. It was built into God's society, his called out people of the Old Testament, and it was to happen every 50 years. Here's what, on the 50th year reset, all property in the land legally reverted back to its original family owners. All slaves were set free. All debts were cancelled. It was a year of reset. It was meant to reset everything, no matter what had happened to you or your family in the last 50 years, it was undone. If you had fallen into hard times and had to sell your land, it came back to you in the favorable year of the Lord. If terrible things happen to you and you accumulated more debt than you could possibly repay, it was canceled in the favorable year of the Lord. If things had grown so bad that you had to sell yourself into slavery, you were set free in the favorable year of the Lord. All of life was reset, the whole culture was to live and breathe, due to there being is a favorable year of the Lord. And yes, you can begin again; that is written into your story of faith.
In the message of Isaiah 43 God says, “I am doing a new thing.” He says “Do not remember the former things.” That's different from forgetting the former things. Do not remember the former things, don't dredge them up, don't go through them and don't live them in your mind over and over. Actually, don't remember them; because why? Here's why: “Because I'm doing a new thing. I'm making a brand- new path in the wilderness. I'm causing rivers to flow into the desert. And here's what I'm doing. You can say I'm creating a circumstance or creating a life where you can begin again, it's written into the story of your faith.” The message of Jeremiah is “after all your sin and all your rebellion of going your own way; I still love you and I rejoice to do good over you. You can begin again.” The message of Hosea: Hosea’s wife was unfaithful. More than that, she had an unfaithful spirit. So, she left him, she abandoned the relationship over and over for other lovers. And finally in that state of being she was taken captive into the sex trade. And Hosea, like God, searches for her and finds her and purchases her out of slavery and brings her back into a marriage relationship with him. And God is saying through Hosea; God is saying through Hosea to you and me, no matter how unfaithful you've been to your commitments, no matter how unfaithful, you've been to your promises, no matter how unfaithful you have been to me, you can come back and you can begin again, because it's written into the story of your faith. The message of Joel, the prophet Joel is about locust swarms. He just writes repetitively, chapter after chapter about swarming locusts, about creeping locusts, about stripping locusts, about gnawing locusts. You can hear the buzz in your ears before you finish reading it. And, so we just described it, they're destroying your crops, they're destroying the grazing fields for your livestock, your livestock is starving to death, there's going to be famine and suffering. And what he's telling us, there's coming this promise, this promise is about to come, when the locusts have swarmed over your work, or over your wealth or over your well- being, God makes this promise in Joel 2: 25, that ‘I will make up to you for the years that the locusts have eaten. He's telling us, I can restore.” And you can begin again, it's written in the story of your faith, the message of Malachi. Malachi, the very last prophet of the Old Testament, it's the last writing of the Old Testament, and in the last chapter of the last writing of the Old Testament, in the last verse of the last chapter of the last writing of the Old Testament, is a promise from God to restore. He says there “I can restore, I will restore the hearts of the children, to the hearts of the fathers. And I will restore the hearts of the fathers to the hearts of the children. He just says return to me, just return to me, just return to me. And I can restore, I can restore the torn relationships and your life.” And you can begin again, it's written all over the story of your faith.
Jesus constantly encountered people who needed to start over. And his activity in their life was always the supernatural power infused in them to begin again. And so when in John 4 he encounters a woman at a well near Sychar, in Samaria, and he engages her. I'm not sure that she had done anything initially to cause her circumstances. I mean, maybe she did. But there's a good chance that her first husband had died. And then everything spiraled downward from there for her. Because in the ancient culture, it was devastating for a woman to lose her husband, because she couldn't have a job, there was no way for her to make a living by herself. Most women in her situation were forced into really compromising circumstances if they just wanted to stay alive. And so bad things happened. But Jesus meets her at the well and says I can I can bring you out of that, I can bring you a kind of inner nourishment, I can bring you a kind of inner strength that can bring a source of inner life into you that can give you the strength to walk away from the devastation of five failed relationships. And to start all over, Jesus was telling her and he's telling you and me, I can help you begin again, it's written in the story of your faith. Jesus in John 5, seeks someone out actually in Jerusalem. There's this place called the pool of Bethesda is up in the northeast corner, you really never pass through the pool of Bethesda, you had to be going there to get there. And Jesus goes there because it says he was seeking this man out, a man who had been sick for 38 years. He was laying at the pool, he could not walk, possibly he hadn't walked in 38 years. And Jesus goes and he seeks him out and he finds him. He's nameless. he's nobody, nobody knows who he is. And Jesus, when Jesus finds him, he asked him the most penetrating question, do you want to get better? Turns out to be a crucial question to answer. The man's entire healing is dependent on how he answers that question, and Jesus is just speaking into him and he's offering him this this faith that that if you've lived in despair, and you feel like giving up, Jesus is saying to him, and he's saying to you, I can give you all you need to get back up. You can restart, you can begin again, it's written in the story of your faith.
The Apostle Peter was a leader, and he claimed leadership abilities. He made great claims regarding his courage and his loyalty. But in the crucial moment, near Jesus, at the trial of Jesus, the people around him again asked him if you're a follower, you're a follower, a follower of Jesus? Over and over three specific times. Peter says, No, no, no, I don't even know him. A catastrophic failure of courage, of loyalty, and of leadership. When the heat and pressure came, he chose his own skin. He sold out he, abandoned his commitments. And after such a great failure,, hen Jesus goes to the cross and, and he is put in the tomb. And, and Peter says to the other disciples, this really significant thing, he says to them, “I'm going fishing.”. He doesn't mean for the afternoon. It's written in a verbal tense to mean finality; “I'm going back to fishing.” And they all followed Him. Jesus found them on the Sea of Galilee, he's there on the shore, the sun is coming up, and he's just a silhouette to them out in the lake, and he's made breakfast for them. And he's done it all. He's done it all, in order for Peter to come to that shore come of the Sea of Galilee, for Jesus to ask him three questions. And those three questions corresponding to his three denials. “Peter, do you love me?” And Peter responds, ‘Yes, I do. I know you don't believe me, but yes, I do.’ Peter, number two second question. “Do you love me?” Peter is more urgent. ‘Yes. Or do you know that I do love you despite all of my unfaithfulness, I do love you.’ Jesus asked him a third time. “Peter, do you love me?” Peter is distraught and says, “You, you know that I love you.” And then Jesus says the most amazing thing that he said, he says, “Then do this Feed my lambs.” He's restoring him. He's restoring him to the role that he'd called him to. And so, as a leader, he's saying to Peter, look, you failed badly. But here, look I'm offering, you can redeem your failure. And you can begin again, it's written in your faith story. The apostle Paul was destroying Christians,. Timothy was too timid, JohnMark abandoned his task, are all restored.
Look, at the whole story of the Bible. Now listen very closely to this. The whole story of the Bible is 1000 inter woven threads of redemptions and restorations and live renovations. It is where God is speaking into every part of His creation, to say the whole universe is woven into a single principle, You can begin again. And so for you,, whether it's in your work, in your career, or maybe in your most important relationships, in your marriage, or with your kids, or whether it's in the unjust, unfair thing that things that have happened to you. Or maybe in the choices you made in the past that just have had, have just really badly affected your life since then. I want you to know something important. The best lives lived are not those who have never made mistakes and never had a failure. First of all, those people are liars who say that, or they become so proud in their hearts, they can't see their own failures. The best spiritual lives are those who admit their own insufficiency and admit that they fall short over and over. But every day, all progress is to begin again. Again, God has created the moral and spiritual universe around a singular principle, and that is in II Corinthians 5 ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he's a new creature, the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come.” In Philippians 3, “But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on to, the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. That is the gospel that Jesus brings. Jesus goes to the cross, to take your failures, to take your suffering, to take the injustice is to take everything that breaks you and to take them on himself in your place. It's a relationship with a completely perfect God, who loves you so much that when you fall short, when there is a setback, when you experience a loss, the relationship is completely wired into,, begin again, every day, every hour, every moment begin again. And the result is this. It's supernatural, it's this, you will become slowly, over time, you will become who God has designed you to be. And that's why you can begin again.
I'm going to ask us to bow together. And I'm going to ask you to take the risk of having an encounter, an encounter with God's Spirit in this next moment. There's this thing in your life. It ruined something, spoiled something, or you tried and tried and did not happen. And you've just said, I can't, I won't. And God is speaking into that thing saying you can begin again. Can you take the risk of believing that it's true? To progress is always to begin, always, to begin again. Could this be that moment for you?
I want to speak into the lives of those who've never asked Christ into their life. The ultimate begin again is to place your faith in Christ, to look to what he did on the cross for you to take what your sin and failure and for the unfair things that have happened to you and your suffering, your sickness. And ultimately, he took what death could do to you and he broke it. And when you embrace him in faith, you exchange all of your brokenness for all of his sufficiency. It's the strength to begin again. I want to I want to ask you to invite Christ into your life. If you've never placed your faith in Christ, or you're not sure that you have, why don't you pray with me right now? Turn to him right now. What if you pray something like this, I'll just give you some vocabulary, but you pray with your own heart. But here it is, Dear Father, God in heaven, thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ who died on the cross for me to take on my penalty for sin, to take on all of my brokenness, to take on all of my wounds in order for my life, ultimately, to begin again. And so, I ask you to forgive me of all of my sins. I ask you to come into my life. I ask you to give me eternal life. And I turn to you, I ask you to be the Lord and leader of my life, I commit myself to you.
Let me just say if you've prayed that, God keeps a huge promise and that promise is whosoever calls on his name will be saved, will be rescued. Life will come if you've just prayed that God has come into your life. Christ follower: This is the reset moment for you, Christ follower, this needs to be the favorable year of the Lord for you. Will you just surrender everything, everything to him? And you let him restore you, let him restart, you let him give you the strength to begin, again. Father, we thank you for that power. And we thank you. We thank you that it is the story of our faith. Always To begin, always to begin again. And we pray it in Christ's name. Amen.
Wrap Up: So, as we close this service, I want to say to those of you who are joining us online, if you'd like for someone to pray with you about a spiritual decision, you can just say that in the chat area, please pray for me. And one of our hosts, it's somebody who's just like you loves God, they'll engage you d you'll jump over to a private chat. And they'll pray for you. And so why don't you take advantage of that? And if you've prayed to receive Christ with me in just these last couple of moments, man, if you would text BC Hope to the number that you'll see on the screen, we'll send you a link, there's nothing to fill out. It's just a link for you to open and start reading and get started. Right. And so, whether you're here in the room, or you're joining us online, do that text BC Hope and, and get the link and start reading and growing in your faith toward God. If you're here in the room, and you have a spiritual decision you want to make you want to talk with somebody about a spiritual issue. That's what our next steps table is all about. Just go out as we exit stop by the next steps table, say to someone there would you pray with me about and just say it, and they would be so happy to spend moments with you.
We'll stand together. And let's pray. and let's ask God to give us a brand-new beginning. All right, let's, let's join together. Father, thank You that You love us. And we thank you for these moments in your presence. And God we asked you to help us that you would be the source, you would be the power, you would be the joy of always to begin, always to begin again. And we pray that in Christ's name. Amen. Amen. God bless you. Thank you so much for being here. Hope to see you next time.