Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for New Year’s Message; January 1, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday, January 1, 2017: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Philippians 2:5-11

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010 and ESV}

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Time marches on. All of the accomplishments, triumphs, frustrations, and errors of 2016 are in the past. 2016 is history, it is a part of who we are both individually and as a community and it is a done deal. We cannot change anything about 2016 anymore.

Today is January 1, 2017; the first day of the new year. Happy New Year! 2017 is a new journal with clean pages; it is yet to be written.

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I do not think that God is either temporal or spatial.

{Illustration}

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God who created the universe, God who is neither temporal or spatial, has given us the gift of time and created a place for us once called the Garden of Eden, where things happen in time and in cycles. Spring is followed by summer, summer followed by fall, fall is followed by winter and winter is followed by spring. There is certain rhythm and cyclicality to our lives. That rhythm and cyclicality make time God’s gift to all of us.

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Allow me to explain. Time is a gift from God because, ideally, experience comes with time, and experience is a teacher and a mentor. When we know what we want to accomplish, time is a patient teacher that presents us teachable moments and invitations. Every season of the year teaches us certain lessons and challenges us to find different answers and solutions.

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{Illustration}

Why am I telling you this story? Because New Year is the fodder for blogs, magazine articles, TV shows, and way too many tweets;

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I think that a new commandment should be “Tweet unto Others…” New Year is the time for the annual ritual of New Year’s resolutions, and New Year’s resolutions are rooted in the impossible and unattainable desire of immediate and significant personal life change without serious investment of emotions and energy.

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  • Few smokers can quit because of a single moment of resolve,

  • Even fewer overweight people have become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment,

  • I do not know anyone who was deeply in debt and was able to change their financial habits because of a New Year’s resolution,

  • I have never met a happily married couple who told me that a New Year’s resolution turned their marriage from misery to joy in an instant.

{Illustration}

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Meaningful changes in life take commitment, perseverance and reflection. Meaningful changes in life take time and patience. The calendar New Year naturally lends itself to taking stock of where we are on our life’s journeys. Although we cannot direct the Holy Spirit of our God, it is within our abilities to “trim the sails and adjust the rudder.” Paul described this as, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

Today I want to suggest a few question for all of us to think about as relates to our lives and our community of Kingswood:

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1. When did the Holy Spirit tug on your soul in 2016 and how did you respond?

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2. What is the main theme that defined 2016 for you? What is the second main theme that defined 2016 for you? What did you learn?

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3. What are the highlights in your life in 2016? What did you accomplish?

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4. How did you grow and change spiritually, relationally, emotionally, financially, physically, recreationally in 2016?

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5. What are you inspired to work on that is meaningful for 2017 and beyond? What are your hopes? How do you envision the future? What do you think will happen to this world in 60 or 100 years?

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6. How are you going to make the world a better place for future generations?

Time is a gift from God because ideally time is meant to be a teacher and a mentor. When we are with God, when we listen to God, when we are consciously aware of God’s presence with us, that is when time becomes gift.

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In verses Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 we hear:

“12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”

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Nehemiah echoes that when he said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

{Transition to the Sacrament of the Holy Communion}

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