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Summary: How to face the future. Last message of the year or first message of new year, preparing for the coming year.

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INTRO> It was one of the famous lines from “Gone With the Wind”: Scarlett O’Hara was the speaker. The line: “Oh, I don’t want to think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow, because after all...tomorrow is another day!”

-->Another person expressed the same idea at the end of last year, declaring his New Year’s resolution was to stop procrastinating, but he decided to postpone implementing until after the first of the year instead of at the beginning.

<>Well, it’s that time again...another year is closing up, and it’s natural to turn our attention to the immediate future of the new year...and beyond.

<>I’ve learned NOT to engage in making predictions, because even the so-called “experts” can get it really wrong.

-->In 1926, Lee DeForest, the inventor of the cathode ray tube was quoted as saying, “Theoretically television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility...a development which we should waste little time dreaming about.”

-->In 1943, Thomas Watson, Chairman of the Board at IBM, said, “I think there is a world market for about five computers.”

-->In 1962, a recording company executive, said, “We don’t think the Beatles will do anything in their market. Guitar groups are on their way out.”

<>No, we don’t want to engage in predictions, but we do need to know how rightly face the future.

-->So today I want to look at some examples from Scripture, and recognize two wrong ways to face the future, and the one right way...as we ponder the future.

--I invite you to open a Bible and turn to Luke 12:19-20.

-->Tomorrow night we’ll spend some time looking back and reflecting on what God taught us in 2007, and we’ll spend some time looking around at where God has led us to this point, and we’ll look ahead to the challenges of 2008.

-->But today I want us to focus our attention on how we should enter into 2008.

<>THERE ARE THREE OPTIONS PEOPLE CHOOSE.

-->The first two are bad options, the third is how God would have us face the year ahead.

1) WE CAN FACE THE FUTURE IN FOOLISHNESS OR FOLLY.

-->The word “fool” is a very strong word in Scripture.

-->In the Old Testament, in Psalm 14:1 were told that “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

-->The idea, the definition of foolishness according to Scripture is acting in such a way that we LEAVE GOD OUT...as if everything depends upon ourselves alone.

-->This is where and why the well-meant New Year’s resolutions of previous years lie in ruins all around us.

-->In the Christmas story this foolish attitude is seen in King Herod.

---Matthew 2:16 tells us “...Herod...became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the magi.”

---It was foolish of him to think he could, by his own plans, somehow stymie or stop the work of God.

<>REMEMBER THESE TRUTHS ABOUT FOOLISHNESS...

--a) Foolish thinking starts and leads to the false notion of self-reliance.

---Let’s read Luke 12:19-20.

---The man was a fool because he felt “safe” in relying on his own efforts, his own wealth.

---ILL>In April of 1988, the evening news reported on a skydiving photographer. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. The film was amazing for as long as it lasted. But once the film showed the final skydiver opening his chute, the picture went berserk. The reporter announced that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of plane without his parachute. It wasn’t until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump really seemed exciting and fun. But tragically he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on.

---APP> Faith in anything but our all-sufficient God is equally foolish on our part, and can lead to tragic results.

----However, with faith in Jesus, we can step in the dangerous but glorious excitement of life.

--b) Foolish, self-reliant thinking can sound logical.

---The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:8 -- “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

---QUOTE: Ben Franklin expressed it this way: “The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still ‘tis nonsense.”

-->Man’s thinking: The greatest among us is the most prominent.

----No, God says, the greatest among you will be a servant.

-->Man’s thinking: The goal should be to acquire things, he who has the most toys wins.

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