SERMON TITLE: “Starting the New Year Well: Spiritually”
SERMON TEXT: Hebrews 12:1-13
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: January 22, 2017, at First UMC
The other day I ran across a United Methodist podcast program called “Get Your Spirit in Shape.” That free 30-minute podcast is produced monthly by United Methodist Communications and is paid for by our “Tithe-Plus for Mission” dollars. The United Methodist Communications webpage indicates that, just like we need to take good care of our physical bodies, so we also need to take care of our spiritual needs. They suggest that one way to care for our spirits could be to listen to their “Get Your Spirit in Shape” podcast which features “conversations with leaders, authors, and others who offer spiritual nutrition and exercises for our everyday lives.”1
Curious about this spiritual resource, I listened to their most recent episode, which featured author and popular speaker Mike Hargue who grew up as a very confident fundamentalist Christian, later exper-ienced increasing doubt and became an atheist, and then, through a series of events, came to a different kind of Christian faith. Mike Hargue, who is known on the speaking and podcast circuit as “Science Mike,” told how he learned to embrace wonder and strength in the nuances of doubt as well as assurance. He is now finding and expressing his spiritual wellness in and through the United Methodist Church.2
Our spiritual health and wellness is important. That may seem like a pretty obvious thing for a preacher to say during a worship service. But our lives are so hectic with jobs, school, family, civic involvement, athletic events, grocery shopping, laundry, shoveling snow, volunteer activities, and doctor appointments, that sometimes we just have to pause and remember. Yes, we human beings do have a spirit: a spirit that needs to be nurtured and developed; a spirit that needs to be protected, challenged, and encouraged; a spirit that needs to be exercised and fed nutrients every bit as much as our brains, bodies, and emotions do.
So, let’s take some time this morning to investigate Hebrews chapter 12. Let’s see what these first 13 verses can tell us about starting the New Year well spiritually.