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The Wisdom of Looking Forward – 2021

Recorded on January 3rd, 2021

  • Video Version
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  • Sunday Full Service

Planning for a great 2021: What can we do differently that will assist us in creating a better world, and situating ourselves for God’s blessings?

Transcript of Sermon:

today we are going to do the second part of our beginning and ending the new year well we do this every year we end the year looking back and we begin the year pray prayerfully and looking forward next week so that today we have a series of questions we’re going to go through together and they’ll be on your screen for you i forgot to remind you to get a piece of paper at the beginning of the sermon again i totally did so right now you have a minute to get a piece of paper and a pen and have it ready for our sermon today because you will definitely need that i encourage you to write them down because our answer answers when we write them down they actually scientists have shown that when we write something down it attaches more to who we are attaches more to our brain so write it down if you can um but next week we’re going to start a journey into the book of mark we are going to work our way through the entirety of the book of mark and i thought we haven’t done a gospel yet and so i thought that we would start with mark and see how that works for us i look forward to that i think it’s going to be a great journey together so we are going to be looking at proverbs 16 1-9 let us read the scripture together two humans belong the plans of the heart but from the lord comes the proper answer of the tongue all a person’s ways seem pure to them but motives are weighed by the lord commit to the lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans the lord works out everything to its proper end even the wicked for a day of disaster the lord detests all the proud of heart be sure of this they will not go unpunished through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for through the fear of the lord evil is avoided when the lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way he causes their enemies to make peace with them better a little righteousness than much gain with injustice and in their hearts humans plan their course but the lord establishes their steps this is the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god let me get our papers so this week we are going to be looking at praying through this next year what god might have for us in this next year now when we did this last year none of us guessed or even had a thought that 2020 would look the way that it did but as we look at 2021 we’re not trying to guess what the events will hold or what major things will happen for us we’re trying to re-center our lives on the one who actually has any control over the things that are going to happen for us and that is god and our hope is that by looking at these questions by thinking through these questions we can help focus our thoughts focus our mind towards god and towards god’s place in our life now we read proverbs 16 1 through 9 from the new international version but there is a new translation now it’s similar to the message it’s called the passion translation you can get it um for free on the youversion app or on the youversion um which you can get on online on your computer um or you can buy it but this passion translation is just a more current translation it doesn’t change the words so much it’s just a more using today’s language to talk about the same scripture and i thought it was really interesting the way that they translated the same part of scripture and i wanted to read it to you again and i want you to listen carefully as we read this piece of scripture as we lead into the ways that we’re going to ask ourselves questions about where god is going to be leading us and how we can connect to that it says go ahead and make the plans all the plans you want but it it’s the lord who will ultimately direct your steps we are all in love with our own opinions aren’t we and we’re convinced that our opinions are correct but the lord is in the midst of us testing and probing every motive before you do anything put your trust totally in god and not in yourself then everything you plan then every plan you make will succeed see the goal is not not to have any plans the goal of life is not to have no intentions the goal of life is not to go out there and just live willy-nilly hoping that god will somehow guide you we can have plans and it’s good to be a planner and it’s good to be intentional about our living but the goal is to first put god first the goal is to allow god to lead us in our planning allow god to direct our planning allow god to direct our steps and then in doing that the things that we plan for will succeed so often we want to think that the things that we have planned that the goals that we have planned for our own lives are god’s goals for us but more often than not they’re not god’s goal for us they’re our own hopes and dreams for our lives that might be far apart what god hopes for us so today we want to think about god putting god center so let us start by thinking by centering the first question we have today is what is the most humanly impossible thing that you will ask god to do this year let’s think about that for a minute [Music] so [Music] next question prompts us to think about our family life now we all have different family lives some of you are empty nesters where your kids have just left home some of you are grandparents or great-grandparents some of you are single and it’s just you at home but you still have a family of sorts whether it’s your friends that are your family your children that are still at home whatever your family is this is the question we ask of that what is the single most important thing that you can do to improve the quality of your life your family life not just your life but your family life this year now remember we’re seeking god’s plan in this what is the single most important thing that you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] our next question moves into our prayer lives what is the single most important thing you do to improve your prayer life this year maybe you need to think about what your prayer life looked like last year what can you do to make it more robust this year [Music] [Music] for me praying is something that i do at least twice a day for in like specific spaces but then i pray throughout the day so when i was thinking about that i i thought maybe stillness was the thing i could add to my prayer life some quietness some space where god can respond to me where i’m not chattering at god but god can be responding to me and i can be receiving so that’s that’s something i thought i would add to my prayer life now this question is hard i remember what my answer was last year the question was what is the single biggest time waster in your life and what will you do about it this year last year it was um playing games what was it scrabble or some word game on my phone um probably still the same thing so for you what is your biggest time waster and what are you gonna do about it this year and how are you gonna maybe reclaim some of that time [Music] [Music] one of the goals that we should have throughout the year throughout every day is seeking a vibrant relationship with god one of the ways that we can make sure that we are on track with god is having that bi-directional live relationship with god so the question we want to ask ourselves now is what is the thing that stands between you and a more vibrant relationship with god is it something like tv or you know phone games or is it something more like fear or unresolved feelings what is it for you what stands between you in a more vibrant relationship with god [Music] because we believe as a church that our relationship with god isn’t just all about us our relationship with god actually grows the most when we are focusing on somebody other than us so one of the questions that we should be asking ourselves as we look at our relationship with this god is how we’re interacting with the world around us and how god wants us to be interacting with the world around us so the first way i want to think about that or ask us to think about that is to ask you to consider what is the most helpful new way that you could strengthen your church and you’re going to have to be creative because we’re not always together right now and you have been strengthening your church by participating in our missions maybe you can do more of our mission work or maybe you can help come up with mission ideas or i don’t know what it is but god will show you but what is a way that you can help strengthen this church that you are a part of [Music] so [Music] along those same lines we want to look outside of the walls of this building and we want to be looking at the community around us and we want to be asking ourselves what we can do to invest in our community because our goal as a church is to love god and to love people for the transformation of our community so how can you participate in your community this year what can you do to help your community that’s our question [Music] [Music] one of the things that we commit to each other actually the first thing that i ask you to commit to the church when you sign a commitment command and we’re going to be doing that this year even though we aren’t here together we will have new commitment cards for 2021 but the first thing on that card is committing to pray for somebody who has yet to receive salvation and one of the reasons why that’s the first thing that we put on our commitment card is because we believe that if you make prayer for somebody else first in your journey it aligns us correctly with god’s call in our life to love god and to love our neighbor that’s the first command it’s the most important thing not only that but it it helps us to participate truly in the work of god’s prevenient grace in somebody else’s life and so the question we have before us this year is whose salvation are you going to be praying most fervently for this year now i my list as i’ve been doing this for the past few years is just growing longer sometimes the person that you’re praying for doesn’t get saved in that year or the next year or the next year sometimes it might take five ten years but they stay on your list and so you just add somebody each year and i’m going to add one person to my list this year so i have four people that i’m praying for for salvation this year so who are you going to be adding to your list or praying for this year that’s the question that we [Music] have [Music] i encourage you to take your bibles the bible that you use the most and write on the inside cover of your bible just the names of those people so that you have a record of the people that you’ve been praying for and over the years over the decades you’ll get to see how god has worked in the lives of these people and how god is trying to work in the lives of these people and how you’ve participated in that work our last question for today this is a tough one it’s a tough one because i think it’s something that we need to keep at the forefront of our minds we’ve talked a lot about things today things that we can do to participate in our community to participate in our church to participate in the lives of others ways that we can better connect in our spiritual life with god but the thing that we are left with is a question that really makes us think i hope and the question is what is the single thing that you plan to do this year that will matter the most in ten years or matter the most it throughout eternity what impact are you going to make this year that will matter in 10 years think about that for a minute and write down your answer [Music] [Music] now that we’ve answered all of these questions you have some work to do you really need to think about and pray through the thought processes that we’ve gone through today i’m going to ask you to seek god in this and to ask god to let these questions direct some of your planning for this next year to ask god to show you where it is you need to be investing your time because if we look at the things that will make a difference in 10 years more often than not it’s going to be those places where we invested time those people that we invested time in whether that’s praying for them spending time with them volunteering at certain places whatever it is it’s usually a time-based thing with somebody else because that’s where your legacy is going to be left very rarely is it left in a workplace more often than not it’s left in people so pray after we’re done pray this next week seeking god to show you where it is that you’re supposed to be investing time and how to make a plan for that how to be intentional about that time both with god and with others that’s our goal to love god and to love others