A Fresh Start

Key Texts: Romans 8:1-8

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Pastors, Life Coaches, Mentors, and Counselors hear it all the time…

  • If I could only start over…
  • If I could just find forgiveness…
  • If I could take it back, or at least, make it right somehow…
  • If I could somehow have a fresh start…

These are the words of wounded people, and the words of those who have wounded others.

Thankfully, there is hope.

It isn’t easy.  It doesn’t absolve you of responsibility.  It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to our actions.

But there is hope – and it is found in the gospel.

Paul wrote about it but more importantly Paul experienced it first-hand.

Struck down by the power of God, literally blinded, then led to new life by the risen Christ, Paul found hope and we can too.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation…”

Those are the words of the gospel and they are as true and relevant to life now as they were when Paul wrote about it two thousand years ago.

Need a fresh start?

You can have it.

It’s found in the life of the Spirit.  It’s found in a relationship with the risen Christ.

It’s yours for the asking.

It’s yours for the offering.

It’s yours to experience.

It can set you free.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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