Sermons

Summary: Encouragement for the new year

2008 is Gonna be GREAT!

December 30, 2007

A reporter covering a coal-mine disaster wrote a story that began: “God looked at the grief today in this little West Virginia mining town, and He wept.” The city editor emailed back: “Forget the mine cave-in. Interview God.”

Obviously, getting to know God in a personal way should be our greatest priority in life. If we plan on spending eternity with Him then it seems like a good idea to get acquainted with Him now. And it may be later than we think. You may have heard of this guy. He played the French Horn at age 12. By the time he was 15 he was playing professionally with some of the top jazz musicians of the day. He became the first black musician to break the Hollywood color barrier as a composer. He’s best known as the composer of the score for The Color Purple. But it hasn’t come easy. Quincy Jones has been married three times, survived two brain surgeries, and endured a complete emotional breakdown. Many years ago he faced surgery for an aneurysm that threatened to kill him. The doctors told him that his chances of recovery were 100 to 1. Miraculously, he survived.

Jones was asked, "What did you start doing differently after your operation?" Jones said, "The first thing I started doing was hugging a lot. When you get to be 50, you start dealing with the countdown, and you can deal with it in a positive or a negative way. I see this little life to be this great gift. You know that old cliché about your life passing in front of you? Well, it really does." —Ray Pritchard

I don’t know if Quincy Jones is a Christian or not, but hugging others isn’t a bad priority. I believe in hugging. And certainly realizing how quickly life goes by is a good priority to have. We are, in a sense, here today and gone tomorrow. WE MUST HAVE OUR PRIORITIES RIGHT. If YOUR life is to be great in 2008, you need to get your priorities right.

What are your priorities in life? And what are your priorities for any given day? What’s your first order of business besides getting out of bed and cleaning your body? Coffee? Breakfast? Read the paper? TV news? Or pray and read scripture or a devotional book? Here was the priority of Jesus for morning time.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

If Jesus needed to pray the first thing in the morning, what about us? The Bible says,

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Cor. 10:31

"Seek first the kingdom of God..." Matt. 6:33

If you always seek first in life to glorify and honor God you won’t go very wrong in life. There are three basic priorities that I believe every Christian should have in life. If 2008 is to be great – you need to have these priorities. Think about them and remember them. 1- worship 2- work 3- witness

I. WORSHIP

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Heb. 10:22

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Heb. 10:25

It should be obvious from scripture and common sense that we need to worship the Lord.

Did you hear about the church that suddenly stopped buying pencils from a certain office supply. The manager called the preacher to ask what the problem was. The preacher says, "We ordered some pencils from you to be used in the pews for visitors to sign their visitors’ card." "Well," the manager said, "Didn’t you receive them from us?" The preacher replied, "Oh, yeah, we received them all right, BUT YOU SENT US SOME PENCILS STAMPED WITH THE WORDS, ’PLAY GOLF NEXT SUNDAY’!"

The world calls to us all the time. The world calls us to worship it and we certainly don’t need to help it by advertising what it has to offer. Worship of the living God MUST be a priority in our lives. God is our creator, sustainer and savior. WE OWE HIM BIG TIME. He deserves our attendance and attention. He deserves our best worship in church and outside the church.

Some people are idol struck, meaning they get stuck on people. We see it in the world of entertainment and sometimes we see it, even in the church. Rick Warren, for example, is a very popular preacher. I suspect that some people go to his church for him, but if Rick Warren knew it he wouldn’t like it.

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