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The Wisdom of Reflection 2020

Recorded on December 27th, 2020

  • Video Version
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  • Sunday Full Service

Reflections on 2020: What went right, what went wrong, and what are your plans for 2021?

Transcript of Sermon:

Tom is going to stay right where he is because he’s going to help me out today as we go through our questions he’s going to be playing some reflective music for us whatever reflective music is so as a reminder if you didn’t catch the beginning of our ser our service you need to have a piece of paper and a pen or a pencil or i highly encourage you to um for the rest of the service okay i’m going to read our scripture which is going to set us off today or bookmark our day it’s isaiah 46 3 to 10. listen to me you descendants of jacob all the remnant of the people of israel you whom i have upheld since your birth and have carried since you were born even your old age and your gray hairs i am he i am he who will sustain you i have made you and i will carry you i will stay sustain you and i will rescue you with whom will you compare me or count me equal to whom will you liken me that i may be compared some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god and they bow down and worship it they lift it to their shoulders and carry it they set it up in its place and there it stands and from that spot it cannot move even though someone cries onto cries onto it it cannot answer it cannot save them from their troubles remember this keep it in mind take it to heart you rebels remember the former things those of long ago i am god and there is no other i am god and there is none like me i make known the end from the beginning from the ancient times what is still to come i say my purpose will stand and i will do what i please this is the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god in this verse from isaiah we see something that is incredibly typical for the world then and the world today in our lives we tend to make idols we tend to seek out answers from the things in the world around us and we let our tears fall on those things as we seek answers from those things in the world whether it’s the newest weight loss fad or the newest a depression fix or the newest anything we think that all of the answers of the world come from the world we don’t mean to it just happens that way sometimes by accident sometimes just by being lazy and not staying connected in our relationship with god and so one of the things that we try to do as a church here at bogart umc is to build in some spiritually forming times where we are forced to look back or asked not forced i’m not forcing you i’m asking you to look back at the year behind us and to look at how we’ve looked at our lives how we’ve spent this past year and where god has been in this past year this scripture even tells the israelites it says remember it says remember those times remember the former things those of long ago because in remembering and looking back we can see where god has been where maybe we didn’t see god before we can see where god has been providing or maybe we didn’t notice it before and we can mark those moments we can take notice and then go into the new year understanding god’s presence better and then next week we look forward we we try and understand what god wants for us in this next year and in fact this year i believe in this so much this year we’re going to take a break in the middle of the year in june and we’re going to do a mid-year check-in because i think we kind of go too long in between these i think we forget about what we’ve talked about in december so in june we’re going to take a mid-year recap check in see how we’re doing because the most important thing we can do with our lives is tie our lives to god’s will for our life and in order to do that we have to stay in tune with what god wants for us and who god wants us to be we just have to stay in tune with our creator god says here i created you with whom can you compare me nothing in this world can do for you what i can do for you so let us look at our questions keeping in mind who god is and this year is going to be a little bit different than all the other years that we’ve reflected together because it’s a year that none of us could have ever expected so much was unexpected and i want to pray for us as we get started god i ask you to open up our hearts and our minds god i pray that you show us each individually the things that you want us to see about this past year about how we spent our time about the things that we gave our time to or our devotion to about the things that we saw answers from god show us those places where we need to grow show us those places where we need to have seen your presence god help us to reflect so that we can better understand you better understand ourselves and better understand who and how we need to change coming in the future it’s in the name of jesus we pray amen okay so joe will put up the questions as we ask but i’m going to start by just saying what were you just to orient ourselves to help us remember because it’s hard to remember so we’re going to start last new year’s eve who were you with what were you hoping for in the year ahead what challenges were before you and what was going on in the lives of the people around you that’s our question go ahead [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] foreign [Music] [Music] so [Music] okay for these next set of questions one of the easiest ways to start answering them or to figure out how to answer them is to think through this year using birthdays and anniversaries vacations if you got to take one um and holidays as prompters to kind of mark the year even as i think back you know um i prepare this event but even as i think back it’s hard for me i knew who i was with last year’s eve my family just the five of us that’s pretty typical at a new year’s eve with parents with young kids um and i know what i was hoping for in the year ahead and i know a lot of people were like yay 2020 goodbye 2019. i bet you a lot of people were thinking come back 2019. um so as we look towards 2021 we really have to look at what was good and what was bad about 2020. so let’s look the first question i want you to really think about and to write down is what was the hardest part of 2020 and what surprised you the most perhaps besides the coronavirus i think that surprised us all but what was the hardest and what surprised you the most [Music] so [Music] so [Music] so i’m not sure what you all said but i think for me the hardest part was not getting to hug people regularly not not having that physical touch i have my family but i seeing people that i love and not being able i’m a hugger you know that’s been hard for me not seeing your faces has been just the hardest thing for me and what was surprising for me was really how unified this body state and i guess it’s not surprising because you’re so wonderful but you all have different opinions you’re not all of the same political party you don’t all believe the same way you don’t all agree about how and what we should be doing but you all stay unified in how we went ahead in things and that is the most beautiful display of a church of god that i’ve ever seen and i really think that that is just so beautiful those are some of the things that i wrote down our next question is where did you fail now this is an important thing because failing is important if you’re not failing you’re not trying you’re not risking you’re not out there trying to do something new it’s okay to fail so where did you fail and what has been disappointing to you about 2020 [Music] [Music] [Music] so [Music] [Music] so [Music] that’s ultimately a hard question to answer um for some of you the answer was right there not not easy to write down though for others you might have had to look for a place where there was some real failure or some real difficulty here’s a good one and this is one that i love where have you been stretched where have you grown and what have you learned where is a place in your life that you have been pulled out of your comfort zone and god has grown you and you’ve seen good stuff happen because of that stretching what does that look like let’s answer that question together [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] maybe like me you are stretched in your decision-making abilities or you’re forced to be making decisions that you knew were impossible for me every day i feel like i’m forced to make decisions where not everybody is going to be happy and i’m going to make somebody upset but i’m learning to become more comfortable with that and maybe you are too because there are no right decisions right now ever everything’s hard um and that’s definitely some place that i’ve been learning to grow our next question is one that i think calls to all of us because i know that we are all called to wait but as we wait we are allowed we are invited to look for god in the midst of waiting and so i ask you where have you seen blessings from those waiting moments in your life where have you seen blessings from the struggle in your life [Music] [Music] i encourage you to take note of those blessings maybe some of those blessings are ones you need to mark the moment with we’ve talked about having intentional periods throughout the year where you mark a moment where you share with your family the ways that god has done something big in your life where there has been blessing even though there is struggle because it’s in this way that we share our faith best with others marking those blessings sharing those blessings not letting them just pass the next question is important it’s one that we need to learn to be intentional about and not just let it happen by accident but the question is this who or what have you invested in this year [Music] i wrote down in the margin of my answer that next year or the middle of the year we’re going to add to that who haven’t you invested in that you should because as i wrote down those that i invested in i put a question mark next to some people that i’m pretty sure i should have invested more in some relationships that maybe we should invest more in because we need to be intentional about our relationships our marriage relationships our parenting relationships our extended family relationships our church relationships but then outside of that are you investing in your community are you invested in your community in a way that’s different than the way that you just come to church each week what does that look like and how can we do better next year our next question hopefully there’s a lot of answers to this what are you thankful for for 2020 [Music] [Music] [Music] that one was fun i could have gone on but i tried to really narrow it down to some big ones you all are high on that list of what i’m thankful for so are my cats but you’re in good company with my cats and my family and my kids and my husband what have you been encouraged by in 2020 now this might be hard but there are things to be encouraged by so what have you been encouraged by [Music] do [Music] we have just two questions left second to last one really important how have you seen god at work in your life in the lives of others and in this world in 2020 [Music] so [Music] [Music] now our last question [Music] is what have you learned about god i want you to write this out clearly and you’re going to take this with you into this week praying over what you understand better about god maybe it’s something you already knew but what do you know more deeply about god and the character of god because of the events of 2020. [Music] and we remember what the scripture says listen to me you descendants of jacob all the remnant of the people of israel you whom i have held since your birth and carried since you were born even to your old age and gray hairs i am he i will sustain you i have made you and i will carry you i will sustain you and i will rescue you god is who god says god is god has been present throughout all of 2020 its ups and its downs and god will continue to be present for us as we go into this next year let us put these papers at the feet of jesus and lift up a heart of prayer lord we give you our remembering we praise you for the ways that you have been everything that you say that you are the ways that you have been present the ways that you have healed the ways that you have comforted the ways that you have walked with us through the wilderness and now lord we ask that you help us to take and internalize these moments help us to grow from the things that we’ve learned our failures those places where we could have been more present help us to grow into a better light bearer and let us take these moments where we know that you have been with us and go and share it with the world that you are god that you are good that you our creator are our rescuer are our savior let us go and tell it from the mountains amen