1. Our children are not our own, but even more, our children are born in need. They are sinful, from conception and from birth.
  2. Christ has received the mark of law that we might be marked with the gospel, with the sign of his holy cross on our heads and hearts as redeemed children of God.
  3. While the world and other religions might be fine with considering him everything but, the foremost thing our Jesus came to be and still remains is Jesus, Savior.
  4. Buried deep in our human psyche, there seems to be more than a need—almost a necessity—to celebrate the arrival of a new year. It’s like an unspoken, unlegislated cultural demand, as instinctual as moving to music or smiling at a newborn. Why? What deep human need is at work here?
  5. Jesus knows you and everybody else come from a long line of life wasters going all the way back to Adam. Jesus died for life wasters! Let go of your bootstraps. Stand back up. Your Father loves you.
  6. God makes all things new. He refashions us from those turned in upon ourselves, turned to idols of our own choice and making, to experience the freedom He gives by pronouncing us His righteous children.
  7. Perhaps this past year has prompted the recognition that God is not the tame projection of our highest hopes and dreams. Instead, he is the one who uses even his foes to make a point.
  8. Christ has accomplished for us that which we could not do for ourselves – he has made us into his image by cleansing us of our sins and making us alive for eternity.
  9. As we prepare to begin this new year, it is helpful to remember three painfully honest truths, one of which is "You are not enough."
  10. As we close out an old year, Saint Silvester can remind us God is the Lord of history and He has used and is using even people whose lives sink largely or totally into obscurity to keep the confession of our faith in Jesus Christ alive.
  11. When we talk about bettering ourselves, we need to realize that a theology of the cross does not militate against this endeavor but that it places it squarely in the horizontal realm.
  12. God has closed the religious gym. We don't have to show up for church determined, this year, finally, to make a change for the better.
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