By Ted Bourke

Well, here we are. In a flash, 2016 has come and gone like so many others and now we start afresh with 2017. With the start of a new year comes the desire for newness in a multitude of avenues. Resolutions about diets, exercising, reading, and other personal goals are set and attempted. The phrase "New year, new me" becomes a frequent mantra for people. People use the new year as a chance to start over, to make a change, to become new.

So how does this concept of newness coincide with our relationship with Christ? The answer is relatively straightforward. Ephesians 4:23-24 promises us that, in Christ, “ you (will) be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

We are made new in Him. He changes us, molds us, transforms us. The old is out, the new is in. Is it easy? Of course not - change is hard in whatever form it takes. But making a change and becoming new in Christ? It is so worth it. And we should never think that this only applies to young Christians who are newly on their journey with Christ. Everyone, no matter where they are, can find newness in Him - we should constantly be looking for ways to change and freshen our walk with Him.

Another way I look at this concept of newness is that when we commit ourselves to Christ, we are adopted into the great big family of God, thus beginning a new relationship with Him and with the people who have chosen to follow Him. Adoption is something very personal to my family - all four of my siblings are adopted from China. With each adoption, there came a sense of newness - new family, new environment, new life. There is this incredible feeling as I watched each one of my siblings experience that newness - a curiosity of what this new family would be like, an excitement over the possibilities, an apprehension of the unexpected. There was a chance to be made new with a new family, a family who loved and cared for them, a family who was ready to make that change alongside of them and be made new together as one.

This is how we are when we become new in Christ. We experience the same feelings as my siblings did - curiosity, excitement, apprehension. In my mind, God experiences the same incredible feelings I did each time I met my siblings whenever we give ourselves over to him and ask to be made new. It is so refreshing to know that He is in the business of second chances, of desiring us to make changes in our lives. Yes, it is exciting and, yes, it can fill us with apprehension. But, much the way my siblings had to rely on their new family to take care of them, we should find comfort in the fact that we have a God who will always be there for us

May this year be one of newness for all of us in whatever way you find it. I, for one, am excited about the the change happening for our church family. With our new building, we can reach and bring in so many more people. I firmly believe that, with the ground work that has already been laid, we can bring about a whole wave of newness in 2017 in this city.