Starting Again

The Importance of Remembering

By Karen Polich

A full life can flood the mind with memories, some so sweet we would re-live them again and again. Other memories might be best forgotten.

While bringing both joy and pain, the ups and downs shape us into who we are.

Pastor Michael M. Cook’s ongoing sermon series, Starting Again, has gripped my thoughts when it comes to new beginnings when circumstances don’t always allow for a clean start. The baggage of life can’t always be simply put down. Sometimes starting over means doing so while carrying a heavy burden. In confident faith, we can give those burdens to God, but issues must still be dealt with. The best way to move forward is to remember God is not only walking the path with us, but has shown His faithfulness before.

1 Samuel 7:12 (NLT) Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah.[a] He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

When the storms are raging, can you feel God’s presence? Do you remember all He has done?

The Lord has provided. Even when it may not look the way I’ve hoped, He has been there. Through grief, disappointment, unexpected events, and in those times when I was surprised with more than I could have hoped for. He has always been there.

Sometimes making a small change can begin the process of building something better. It can start a positive chain reaction. Simply writing down times when God has shown His steadfast love and faithfulness gives me the push of confidence I need to move forward and start again.

Even when it is hard we have the promise that His mercies are new each day. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV) Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Starting again? Begin by simply making your list today of what God has done in your life. Remembering can be the spark that starts a fire.

Our Finest and Best

By Karen Polich

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV) “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Have you ever felt that you were bringing your absolute best and it was not good enough? When our finest and best falls short, what do we do?

Disappointment is unavoidable in life. The result of unmet expectations, it comes and goes. Waves of sadness roll through our stories, but even in the midst of disappointment, we are able to move on and keep going. Discouragement goes beyond those moments and settles in. Stuck in discouragement, we lose hope, courage and confidence. It becomes difficult if not impossible to keep trying. Even when Disappointed or discouraged, God wants us to start again.

Pastor Michael M. Cook shared three concepts from Haggai 2 for us to remember when we are starting again. Listen to his sermon series, Starting Again, here.

  1. God’s presence in the present. We are not alone. But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:4
  2. God’s provision in the past. The Bible gives us story after story of God’s provision for His people. It is significant to remember all God has done in our lives. God is with us every step of the way.
  3. God’s plan for the future. Disappointment can block our view of God’s plan. He is constantly at work even when we stop seeing it.

When we find ourselves needing to start again, what choice will we make? Will we put it off? Make today the day. Set your heart on starting again. It may be a relationship, finances, rebuilding life or simply reconnecting with God right where we are. Begin with writing a short list of how God has provided in the past.

Even when things aren’t going well, God has a plan and purpose. Standing too close to the struggle, we not only lose sight of His bigger picture, but forget to even look for it. God will always use our faithfulness. It might be today, or it could be for another generation, but He is always at work. God’s plan is wide and long, we must be willing to trust Him even in moments of discouragement.

Keep bringing your best. God is faithful.


Initial Movement

By Karen Polich

“Has it occurred to you that the heart of God desires to come alongside of and behind those that desire new movement in their lives?” – Michael M. Cook

Life is full of “starting over” moments. We need to take the first step. Willingness to begin again after a failure, a broken relationship, setbacks and hurdles is crucial. It can be an enormous challenge we’d rather not tackle.

Haggai 1 tells the story of God’s people in the process of rebuilding after returning from years in exile. There were fields to cultivate and houses to repair, but what about God’s temple? The temple represented God’s presence on earth.

God sent a message through Haggai to rebuild His temple. The answer? “The time has not come”. (Haggai 1:2) Leadership didn’t say “NO”, they said “LATER”. There were so many important things to do. Not focused on God as the center of everything, the people experienced a drought.

God will do what is necessary to get our attention. We often forget God is not obligated to bless our lives regardless of our behavior. He is to be the center from which everything else we do stems.

How often do we say we’ll do something “later”? When we respond with ‘later’, we think we have said yes, but that’s the danger. Later is NOT a ‘yes’ response, but a ‘no’ in disguise.

Later I’ll…rebuild my life, start giving, develop that relationship, make things right. The list goes on and on. When will we take the critical step of ‘now’?

Just as God helped His people when they finally answered His call to repair the temple, He will be there to help and encourage us as we start again.

Are you ready to challenge yourself with a deeper look into the hard areas of life? Are there places you are avoiding with a ‘later’ response as God is whispering to you, “Start again”?

Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Starting Again, here.