For those of you who don’t know anything about Chi Alpha (XA), this year is for you. For those of you who are involved, have been involved, or want to get involved, this year is for you. This year is going to be different. Big. Impactful. Introducing Set Apart 2017.
“Things are about to change,” XA Pastor Tim Wentz said. “For the last five years, I’ve been working on campus. This year, as of February 28, we are full time ministry! I am so excited. I won’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts when trying to meet with students.”
Wentz is looking forward to changes and being around campus in a different way.
XA Mankato is kicking off the year with a sermon series called Resolutions.
Good intentions. Poor executions. That sounds like New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions takes effort and we at XA believe that 2017 will be better if we adhere to these resolutions. But these aren’t your typical resolutions.
Maybe your story is different than some of ours. Often what we see in the Bible and what we live are different. Instead of Biblical black and white areas, Christians’ lives are gray. Divorce rates are just as high, sex is put on a pedestal, depression and suicide rates are similar. It’s as if the Christian lifestyle doesn’t offer any solace to the troubles that plague the human condition.
What we see and what we, as Christians, are living is the same it seems. But that shouldn’t be if we are following the living God.
“This is what I thought Christians should look like,” is what someone told Wentz of Chi Alpha students once. He says that is what people should always be saying, but it often isn’t true. How many of us are tired of seeing things that don’t line up in our lives, in our Christian friends’ lives?
So 2017 is all about change, but perfection is not our goal. We are not perfect; no one is. And we can’t be.
“Perfection is not our aim, but we are set apart. We are focusing on being set apart for 2017,” Wentz said.
In Joshua 3:5 Joshua says, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow God is going to do amazing things among you.” (NIV)
In this chapter God stops a river so the Israelites can cross on dry ground. Have you ever seen your river stop? Is there something in your life that you can’t move but God has to move it for you? Have you seen him move those obstacles? Or maybe your relationship with God feels disconnected? Maybe there once was a zeal, a passion there, but it’s gone now? Maybe you just don’t know where to start?
Joshua 3:5 Consecrate yourself, set yourself apart, prepare yourself. But what does that look like? There are two parts: God’s and ours. We’re in this together. But just like New Year’s resolutions, we don’t always follow through.
Scripture often says if we do this, God will do this. We have to live like it. Live differently. Live set apart.
Cheating in our classes, drinking, sleeping with our boyfriend or girlfriend, the music we listen to, the movies we watch. Are these areas of our lives lived like we are set apart? Or is it just something we do outside of church?
Set apart doesn’t mean set apart from others. It means being set apart to God.
Okay, so what if we do our part? If we consecrate ourselves, if we turn our hearts and minds to hear God, then what? If we do our part, he will speak to us, use us, and do amazing things among us.
The answer is clear in Romans 12:1-2. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)
Renew your mind. Get in His Word. Be accountable.
When your sin is exposed, it’s harder for it to grow. So come make friendships that will last beyond a lifetime, get an accountability partner, get real, and be ready to be changed.
Get ready to be Set Apart 2017.