J A N U A R Y

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Exemplify ‘Zine
All Things New

The

2 Corinthians 5:17

All Things New
I started writing in my Mother’s womb. Okay, that may be an exaggeration but I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a crayon. I wrote the family newsletter for my family as a child – The Johnston Journal. I also wrote, directed, starred in and filmed KPE News. That would be the family newscast. Oh yes, we were technical. There were weather reports, family news, Christmas parties to cover and interviews with Great-Grandma. My whole life has been recorded in words. As I listen to the trees sway or watch snow quietly fall something inside of me stirs, aching to put what I experience to paper. So here we are. The first Exemplify E-Zine. I could not be more thrilled. This has been a dream of mine since that first newscast of KPE News. A dream, then, that couldn’t have been prepared for the dream, now. Because this dream is one that hungers for us to know Christ more through written resources and the study of His powerful, active Word. I pray you will get acquainted with the writers who are on board this crazy ship and submit your own pieces to be featured. We would love to have you. This month’s theme is All Things New. May our Savior King do just that for you this month. May He make you new: white as snow yet set on fire for His renown. --Kristen Schiffman

(Including this!)

“ Therefore if
anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have

come.”

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ALL THINGS NEW

JANUARY 2009

Pah-Corn & Snow Angels
Written by Andrea Mitchell of Under Grace & Over Coffee
One of the greatest joys I have as a parent is seeing familiar things become new through my children’s eyes. One of my favorite memories is of my son Ethan when he was about a year and a half. It was his second winter, but the first one where he was truly aware of what was happening around him. One evening we had the pleasure of viewing one of the most beautiful snowfalls of the season. It was early evening, and the snowflakes were the big, fat, fluffy kind that fall softly to the ground. The whiteness of these downy flakes was stunning against the darkening sky. My husband decided to get a better look at the gorgeous scene, so he opened up our front door and stood out on the porch (thankfully it wasn’t a very cold evening!). Ethan popped his little head out the door, took one look at the snow and declared, “Look, Mama! Pah-corn!” Through his fresh and innocent eyes, those fluffy flakes look just like his favorite cuddle-up-with-mom-to-avoidgoing-to-sleep snack, popcorn! Just as it’s good to periodically look at the things around us through our children’s eyes, it’s important to take at look at things from God’s perspective. Sometimes it is so easy to take what life is handing us and look at it at face value and miss what God really has in store for us. We can look at the snow, and see all the shoveling and icy streets that come with it, and forget the fun of making snowmen and snow angels that comes with it, too. I went through this a couple of years ago. I was feeling that my life was lacking purpose being “just” a stay-athome-mom. I wanted my life to count for something more than “just” changing diapers and making lunches. I returned to working, but after two years, realized that that wasn’t where God had called me to be. I loved my job. It was very fulfilling and purpose filled. But ironically, my heart longed to be back at home. Thankfully, my husband was promoted and lost some of his flexibility in his schedule that had allowed me to work while he was off. So I promptly handed in my notice, and happily went home to be with my kids. A few weeks into my returning role as stay-at-home-mom, I began to feel those pangs of lacking purpose. Until God sat me down (okay, I sat myself down. He got my attention, first, though!) and showed me that being with my family fulltime was His purpose for me. He had called me from a teenager to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It was His desire for me to be home with my children, to give them the security and peace of knowing where I was, and to fill-in those time gaps of my busy husband’s schedule. It is tempting to look at what I do through the world’s eyes and feel like it is insignificant. But when I look at it through God’s eyes, it breathes new life and purpose into my actions daily. Even to the point of making a few snow angels.
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ALL THINGS NEW

JANUARY 2009

Fresh. New. Hopeful.
Written by Kara Cox of Kara With A K
I am an unashamed devotee of the New Year’s resolution. I’m not saying that I actually keep them, but I never forget to make them. This year I announced mine at the dinner table on Christmas day. I was that excited about it. My sister stared back at me blankly. My mom had a bemused look. All that I could think was it was insane that they hadn’t considered any resolutions yet. What can I say; I am giddy over the prospect of big change in the New Year. When it comes to resolutions I go through all the standard ones: become more organized, lose weight, save more money, and so on. Recently I’ve begun adding more personal resolutions like being more thoughtful, writing more often, stopping procrastination and moisturizing more (I’m in my 30’s now, so it’s definitely a new important resolution). I make a big deal of writing them all down in a nice long list. I look them over several times and sometimes make additions over a couple of days. All the hope and optimism I can muster goes into figuring out which changes are to be tackled once and for all. I’ll go out and buy things essential for making these resolutions stick. Sometimes they do. Sometimes, well you know. I know of some ambitious people who scoff at the New Year’s resolution. These are the people who start their diets on a Thursday; because that’s the day they decided to make a change (come to think of it, they don’t go on diets, they make lifestyle changes), the ones who would never wait for a Monday or the 1st of the year. When they determine to save more money, June is as good as January. I’m certain these people don’t wait until April 15th to do their taxes either. Whatever. I already told you I’m a procrastinator. For me, January 1st is the way to go. I love the new in a new year. I love a fresh start, a second (or 31st) chance, a clean slate. Not to dog the go-getters who got it together mid-year, but who doesn’t love fresh, new and hopeful? That’s how I prefer to enter a new year. Hope, for me, is what puts the spin on a new year. When I look at the Bible, I realize that this love of all things fresh, new and hopeful truly comes from God. He after all, told us in Revelation 21:5 that He is making all things new. Outside of Heaven, I don’t know if there is anything I long for more. All things new. Fresh starts that don’t have to wait on a New Year or a Monday. Old, tired, neglected things (like last year’s well-intentioned resolutions) made fresh, clean, new. God’s people had a way of celebrating the New Year as well. One of my favorite parts of Rosh Hashanah that I read about involved reciting prayers near a river and then symbolically casting your sins into the water where they are then washed down river. What an amazing image, the kind I like to think of as I enter another new year. My sins are washed away, and my Savior is making all things new. That’s better than any resolution I could ever make.

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ALL THINGS NEW

JANUARY 2009

Titus 2 Corner
With Christine

First things first…
Exemplify is thrilled to welcome Christine to our team as our resident “Titus 2” go-to-girl. She writes the advice column for the ‘zine and welcomes your questions! Feel free to send an email to titus2corner@exemplifyonline.com to ask her questions on the Christian life. Anything goes!

One reader asked…
"I'm a new Christian who is looking for some good bible studies? Are there any you can recommend? Or a teacher I should look for?"

Christine Chats…
Dear New Believer, I would like to begin by thanking God for your newfound faith. I pray that your new journey will bring you closer and closer to the Father through the Son. I would definitely look for bible studies that cater to new believers. At your local Christian book store there should be a section just for new believers. They would be great start and offer a firm foundation. I would also recommend a few good teachers to you for you to begin with and as you grow you will find what best suits you and your style. Beth Moore comes to mind because not only does she provide strong studies grounded in the word of God she also has many online courses that are affordable. Another name that comes to mind is Max Lucado. His style is very down to earth and encourages the reader to apply God’s Word to their everyday life. I hope this answered your questions!

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ALL THINGS NEW

JANUARY 2009

A New Tomb
Written by Kristen Schiffman
Matthew 27:59-61 “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.” they laid Jesus there.” (See John 19) Joseph gave Jesus a new tomb. His own tomb. A tomb he had carved out of the rock with his own-blistered hands. After placing Christ into the new tomb Joseph rolled a large stone over the opening and went away. Let’s not miss what the Word is speaking to us even on this day. Joseph gave to Jesus the place where he was to be buried. I have to wonder what Joseph thought about as he worked on the construction of his family tomb. How could one not help but wonder about their life and what would follow in their death? Did Joseph, at the time of his rock cutting, wonder where the promised Messiah was? If he would see Him in his lifetime? Can you imagine? Joseph giving to Jesus his own new tomb. A place reserved for death. Finality. A home of mourning. A grave built for Joseph’s own personal loss. And yet he gave it over to Christ. So that our Jesus might have a place to be rightfully, according to Jewish custom, buried. I wonder what new tombs we carved for ourselves over the last year. With our own hands what places set up for death have we created? What thoughts or hurts have we carried to caves? What rocks have we been cutting with finality in mind? You tell me, where have you resigned to collapse? Matthew 27:60 tells us Joseph situated Christ in the new tomb, rolled a stone over it and went away. Verse 61 goes on to say Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat across from the tomb. Because of religious regulation the women were forced to leave the tomb for one day but the moment they could the women returned.

I wonder what Christ thinks about our need for newness and our drive to accomplish more and more with every passing year. While He was here on earth he didn’t have much in the way of new possessions. Right up until His death, Jesus was making gardens his living room and hillsides his classroom. The one nice thing Jesus did have - a garment woven in one piece from top to bottom- was gambled over as He was redeeming humanity upon the Cross. Enter Joseph: ‘Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.’ Joseph chooses an interesting time to make his allegiance to Christ known- at His death. “With Pilate's permission, Joseph came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby,

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ALL THINGS NEW

JANUARY 2009

Do you know what they found? The women went with mourning in their hearts and left rejoicing! They brought with them devastation and were met with heavenly restoration. Christ had risen! He had gone on ahead of them and He gloriously revealed Himself. I wonder where Joseph was. What would his reaction have been had he stayed as the women? What if he had not let fear rule his heart? I believe he would have been consumed with the praise of beholding Christ’s death-defying glory. But no matter Joseph’s location on this Easter day - we can be sure one truth rang aloud to him once he heard the news: His new tomb was the first to see New Life. Let us this year hand over to Christ any new tombs we have carved and let us wait at the foot of the cave. Let us mourn. Cry out. And ask for Christ’s resurrection power to be known. We have this promise of New Life - give Christ your newly carved places reserved for death and I assure you He will restore and revive to the point of Glorious Revelation; to the point of worshipped filled adoration. Let’s give Him what we have this year…ever last bit of us, right down to the very depths of who we are. I challenge us this year to take our new tombs, before climbing into them ourselves, and hand them over to Christ. This is the power of His death: the promise of Righteous Life! Embrace it and wait as the women. We will not be disappointed.

Happy January!
ExemplifyOnline.com

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