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Renewed in Christ, Brother Rob K., January 1, 2023

Updated: Feb 25

I am so happy for my cousin and their new baby Palmer! She is so cute! And I’m so pumped to be in my cousin’s ward too!! We grew up surfing together and getting into some trouble as well (not too much, but definitely some). And actually, I started surfing because of my cousin and Uncle. I would spend the night at their house and my uncle would take us surfing early. And yes, my cousin is a great surfer for sure. If you have been out with him you know. Love you Fronker!!

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today and my topic is being Renewed in Christ. As we learned in the Old Testament this year, David was a great example putting off his old ways and choosing to follow Christ. Psalms 51 is filled with his poetic plea for forgiveness. This was after he chose to commit adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. “Have mercy upon me, Oh God, according to your loving kindness; according unto the multitude of they tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalm 51:1) It is obvious that David was filled with remorse. How often do we look at our lives with Honesty? It is so easy to be like the little kid sent to time out. His mom forces him to say sorry, but he’s only mad that he got caught hitting his brother. David showed that he really wanted to put off his old ways and become new in Christ.

In my experience, you can be renewed in Christ by having a strong mind/positive self-talk, patience in your pursuit, and learning from Christ’s example.

In a talk given by Patricia T. Holland, entitled: “Be Renewed in the Spirit of your Mind”, she states, “Many of us create a civil war within ourselves by internalizing problems of fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, and worry—often over things we can do preciously little about. If we spend our time and energy worrying about being too tall or too short or about our freckles and warts and big noses, then I fear we are doomed to certain defeat. The person who is engaged in such a constant internal fight has little energy and power left to win the outside battles. To be successful in the many skirmishes of life, you cannot afford to be your own worst enemy. And taking the battles inside—firing mortal shells into your very soul—is potentially one of the most damaging of all human activities. Believe it or not, you can recover from poor grades or a missed date or a flat tire and dead battery on the car. But if you turn such outside matters into self-recrimination and self-criticism, letting them damage your spirit and your sense of self-worth and esteem, then you have begun a battle with a very high mortality rate indeed.”

I am guilty of negative self- talk and I think we all are at times in our lives. Satan will always be waiting in the background to capitalize on your weakness and negative thoughts. As a man thinketh so is he. Our thoughts tend to become our actions. To resist the spiritual weapons of the adversary we need to first have our hearts centered on Christ. That way we can merciful to ourselves. If we lose focus on Christ, we become self- centered and think we have to do everything on our won. This is part of the pride cycle that we see in the book of Mormon. When they are focused on Christ they prosper. But as soon as they start acting like they don’t need God it all goes down-hill. There have been times in my life where I have been prideful thinking that the work I have done was my blood sweat and tears and hard to humble myself to give god credit for that success. Life tends to become real complicated and harder than it needs to be when I am trying to do it all on my own without the savior.

A major hurdle my whole life is insomnia. There are some weeks that I just can’t sleep. I try sleeping medicine, running 6 or more miles, working out for hours and still I can’t sleep for days. And It definitely affects my thoughts and my whole attitude for the day. I have a harder time being Christlike to others and it’s not good. Then there are days I actually sleep and its way easier to be Christlike. When I take care of my body, my mind is at peace and I don’t snap at my kids. And taking the time to do scripture study, family home evening or just play with my kids becomes easier. I still haven’t figured out the solution to this problem, but I am working on it. And if you have any suggestions, I am all ears.

Sister Holland also emphasizes having patience in the pursuit. She stated, “If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of personal disappointment and weakness, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter.” This brings to mind some very influential experiences of my own. My whole childhood was dominated by Baseball. I loved it with my whole soul, but it often became the first priority above all else. I missed a lot of youth conferences, activities, and some family vacations. So, when I graduated high school, it wasn’t really on my radar to serve a mission. I had a scholarship to a D1 school in Louisiana and I was set on playing Baseball for the next 4 years and possibly more, if I got lucky. I took a spot on a Summer ball team in Seaside Oregon, where “Goonies” was filmed, by the way! Something about the beautiful green trees, the misty fog, and just awesome nature, allowed me to look deeply into my life without distractions. I realized that I did have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I wanted to sacrifice and serve a mission. I started to get the ball rolling, and even left my summer ball team early to put my papers in. My Dad actually shed tears of sadness when I decided to serve a mission. He wanted me to keep playing! I definitely had to have patience in the pursuit with suddenly switching gears in my life with or without the support of my loved ones. I was called to Boise, Idaho and was anxious and somewhat surprised, but I went in faith and humility. Holland states, “When you dwell on your limitations excessively, to the point that they affect your inner view and strength, you mock God and His very creation. You deny the divinity within you. You resist the gift of Christ on the cross. So be patient in your pursuit of perfection.” In the middle of dark Winter in Idaho, scheduling appointments then riding far distances in the freezing cold, on my bike, just to show up and no one is home……it was very frustrating. Dark thoughts crept in…wondering, “why did I give up my Baseball dream?” I could be in warm weather, dating, playing baseball, having fun, eating crawfish!!! To pull myself out of those moments, I would remember my love for the Savior and His sacrifice for me. Why did I need to have a pity party?! I knew my Savior loved me. But when I served in the small town of Marsing/Homedale, I met some of the best people I have ever met in my entire life. I am still friends with them to this day. It was there that I met Ross Sevy. He was dating a girl that went to our church. He was interested in the church and had even had several discussions with other missionaries. They all made him feel like he was just a number and not really caring about him personally. We would meet him to play Basketball, jump on the trampoline, and just be his friend! That is how it should be! We also helped him do farm work. Him and I connected because he felt that I was sincerely invested in him. He ended up finally getting baptized and he married his girlfriend. My wife and I visited them last year and they are still active in the church with 4 kids. Ross showed patience in the pursuit when he was searching for the truth and his girlfriend, Amber patiently waited for his conversion. This experience renewed me in Christ. It was the reward for giving up so much to come. Our lives are a struggle every day, but we must remember experiences like these to draw upon strength. I realized that I became an instrument in the Lord’s hands on my mission. This made me feel good about myself.

The best way to be renewed in Christ is by learning from His example! One of my favorite stories about Christ is when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’s sister Martha and Mary send for Jesus to come. They tell him that their brother is sick. And this is after he had already been laying in the grave for 4 days. Martha is basically telling Jesus “you know if you would have been here my brother would not be dead.” And then Jesus asks her about her faith. He asks her if she really believes he can raise Lazarus from the dead? He also asks her if she really believes he is the Christ. So, we know that Jesus Christ needs us to have faith for miracles to happen. Once Martha said she believed, Jesus thanked his father in heaven for hearing his prayer and then Yells for Lazarus to arise and come forth and he arises and gets up and is healed!! Lazarus was completely renewed in Christ. To be almost dead and then come back to life! Sometimes, we are like Martha...ready to give up, as the Lord is about to bless us. This year, maybe we should resolve to have a strong mind and patience in our pursuit. Then maybe it will become easier to learn from Christ’s example.

I have a testimony of my savior. I know that Jesus is real! I know that he did perform countless miracles. I know that this new year we can all be renewed in Christ as we study the New Testament and as we partake of the sacrament every Sunday. I am so grateful for my savior and his sacrifice and it’s my testimony than we can strive to follow his example even more this New Year!! In the name of Jesus Christ Amen!!



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