Episode 413 – Think like God Thinks

As we consider our annual New Year Resolutions this year remember the message of the Gospel. “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” The first message of the Gospel according to Saint Mark is the message of repentance. This year, change the way you think about life. Make everything about your salvation.

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My brothers and sisters, we just heard in this morning’s gospel according to St. Mark. He begins his gospel story, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God.” And he goes on to talk about St. John the Baptist. It says, “Who was coming to baptize and preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Repentance, my brothers and sisters, is the very first message we receive in the gospel according to St. mark, and it is what we must pay attention to. Repentance as the Greek word, metania, means is to change the way we think. Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. How many of you have already made your New Year’s resolutions for this year? Anybody make them this year? Three people have made New Year’s resolutions. Four. Boy. It’s going to be a banner year here in Tarpon Springs. Now, I suspect, now see, this is, I was not expecting to say, I suspect most of us have not made them because most New Year resolutions only last until January third or fourth. But we have a new opportunity this year.

The message of the gospel is one of repentance, of one of changing the way we think. Let’s change the way we think about our life this year. Instead of focusing on our businesses for the sake of business, Let’s focus our businesses for the sake of our salvation. Let’s make everything we do this coming year about our salvation, whether we’re on a diet, whether we have pledged to find a new job, whether we’re going to make amends with the person we’ve been fighting for, for 27 years. Let’s make it this year about our salvation. Because this is all that matters. John the Baptist talks about the repentance and preparing the way of the Lord. If we choose to walk his way, my brothers and sisters, life will be different. That is for sure. We are surrounded by our friends and even family members and strangers and co-workers and neighbors, who have priorities in their life that are different than our priorities. That’s one of the joys of living in a pluralistic society. Not everyone that we encounter thinks like we think. But that doesn’t mean we have to think like they think.

Instead, the time has come for us to think like God thinks. Everything we do in life is about salvation. What we read, what we watch on television, when we’re clicking through the internet. Everything we do affects our salvation. And so that’s my challenge for us, my brothers and sisters, for this new year that starts tomorrow. Before you do anything, wake up every morning and ask, “How will this affect my salvation?” If it is going to draw you closer to God, may it be blessed. If it is going to draw us further away from God, then let’s run away from that decision, and let’s trust that the way of the Lord will guide us into his kingdom. In a few days, we will host approximately 25,000 of our closest friends. The whole world will be looking at us, watching on national television, watching in other countries, watching us celebrate the baptism of Christ.

This will be the year, or this can be the year, that we show them that our celebration of epiphany has changed our lives and brought us closer to Christ. Let that be our challenge. Let that be our new year resolution, to draw ourselves and others to Christ, to allow every decision we make to focus on our salvation. And repentance, my brothers and sisters, it starts right here and right now. We simply change the way we think of life, and then our actions will follow. That will get us to heaven. May God bless us, may he continue to express his grace on our community in this new coming year, and may we live a life worthy to be called His disciples, worthy to be called Christians, so that we can find ourselves one day truly at the Lord’s throne in His kingdom. Glory to God for all things.

Episode 413 – Think like God Thinks

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