Reading time: two minutes. “Behold, I am making all things new!” (Rev 21:5). “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (1 Cor 5:17). New in Christ is good news because each of us is in need of renewal every day; multiple times every day. The wonder of grace is the complete, absolute, accomplished and thoroughgoing renewal as sins are forgiven and a new creature, the butterfly from the cocoon, comes forth, leaving the old caterpillar behind. The sad news is that so many of the Lord’s people live the old nature caterpillar life, neglecting the call to refreshment Dr. Luther issued when he taught us, “…that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die… and that a new man should daily emerge and arise…” (Small Catechism) Where could you use some refreshment, a new beginning? The thing about our blind spots is that we don’t readily recognize them. (That’s kind of why we call them blind spots). It’s usually only after stumbling into the same pothole over and over again that we start to recognize, “I have a blind spot there! I didn’t see that coming!” I have a natural (old nature) tendency toward sarcasm. Most people are polite enough not to point it out, but I thank God for my wife and children who have admonished me (repeatedly) “Now, don’t get sarcastic” as I was about to speak. My natural (old nature) reaction was to blurt (often only internally) “I’m not being sarcastic,” but once I’d heard the voice of rebuke often enough (cf. “You are the man”), I paused for some deeper reflection on my attitude and my words. They were right. I get sarcastic. I’ve been working on it, but the old caterpillar dies pretty slowly. I haven’t learned to never slip into sarcasm. I’m slowly learning to recognize it while I’m doing it, pause for a “Lord, have mercy” prayer, and begin over again. I refresh my baptismal identity: “That’s how Darrell talks. Speak like Jesus instead.” As the end of the church year draws closer, our thoughts turn to renewal. The Advent season is a season for new beginnings. Over the next few weeks, we’ll work our way around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel with thoughts on new beginnings. That’s why Jesus came. Where can His love refresh you today? Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!