Bring on the New Year Plans
3 Jan 2004, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
Title "Bring on the New Year Plans"
Theme A Formula for Life in 2004
Scripture reading Jude 24-25
Last week we dealt with the Purpose and Meaning of life . Briefly, we noted that God is the only source of real purpose for life. He is the only one who can put real meaning into our living. We concluded that the real purpose was to "seek the Lord and live". In other words as Jesus Christ said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and to always love your neighbour as you love yourself. That is the way of purpose which guarantees genuine fulfilling meaning for life.
Today I wish to build on our last sermon and discuss a formula for New Year plans for our lives. Wow! Where to start? I propose to take a brief look at a recent interview between Kerry-Anne Walsh and the Prime Minister, John Howard, as recorded in the paper 21.12.03.
Mr. Howard claimed , "I have laid down my formula for the new year."
He listed three key items which described himself. "predictability", "reliability", and "experience." He continued, It is not age, size, gender or whatever, it is what you offer and what you deliver that counts.
So without any political inferences let us take a look at John's formula plus some other points he made and apply them to our lives as Christians and see if we can profit from them, in relation to the new year.
THE NEW YEAR IN RELATION TO US.
First of all let us take a look at the new year with relation to our environment- the world around us - life in general. May I suggest that it is going to be more of the same. I say, More of the same is the name of the game. Not all is going to be "Good Health and Prosperity " as the new Year cards suggest. That is a nice thought and wish but it is not reality. As John Howard said," It is going to be hard." We must be focused."
In Luke 23:8 and following Jesus outlined the "New Year" or the future and he identified with accurate predictability more and more of the same! Deception, wars, earthquakes, famines, and disease. However, with his normal assurance He instructed us, " not to be terrified," of predictability of the new year, verse 9. "All these things must take place before the end," of the world. Still more to come and it sounds like our day, "Men's hearts failing them for fear," for the instability coming upon the earth, verse 26. These things are also predictable, that the end, " the kingdom of God is near at hand," verse 31.
There are warnings against some other predictables, verse 34. Personally we must take control so that we do not overeat, get drunk or stressed with the "cares of this life." That's close to home! How did you fare through the festive season?
May I suggest that we are dealing with something we need to look for outside of self. We are not 100% totally reliable. My Mum always warned me, " George darling remember this in life, you cannot depend on or trust anybody totally not even yourself. She taught me that total reliability must be sought outside of self. Our creator God only. Only the God family can be trusted totally. Father, son and Holy Spirit. Mum always climaxed her lesson and instruction with, "However, strive to trust all you can remembering you source is Psalm 46:3-6." "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, (humanity), in whom there is nor help, his breath leaves him (eventually), he returns to the earth, and in that very day his thoughts and plans perish. Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: who made heaven and earth…". Total reliability and dependability is found only in our God. Again we have the assurance for the new year in Psalm 146:10, that in spite of all the predictable negatives we are assured, "The Lord shall reign forever." Now there is reliability. He, "takes pleasure in his people: he will crown them with salvation." God and His salvation is reliable in 2004 if we stay with Him.
Now we are dealing with ourselves personally . The inside of self. This is not the environment, this is us. John Howard's words for self are, "Be determined " and "go for victory." Pastor John in 1 John 5:10-21 makes it clear what we do "know." He makes it very clear that we experience fellowship with God the Father through the Son, 'We know we have eternal life." We have the quality of Christian living. We experience Christ's life and have "confidence" of reliable and predictable experience with the Godhead in 2004.
Here is a promise for a great experience with God in 2004, found in Jude 24 -25. Christ is, "able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power , both now and forever." Pastor Paul made it clear that we can experience the glory of God, "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." A predictable reliable experience with Christ our God in 2004. We must be determined and go for victory in Christ.
Mr. Howard suggests that there must be a "happy marriage between personal belief," and our vocation. May I suggest that we must make a happy marriage between our personal belief and spiritual opportunism in Christ during 2004. What we offer the world we must plan to "deliver effectively and with energy," as John admonishes, It is, "for your own good and the countries."
Jesus said it this way, "therefore plan and pray always , that you will be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, (in 2004), AND TO STAND BEFORE THE Son of man. Luke 21:36
Seek the Lord More in 2004.
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