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Summary: As we look to a new year, we must reflect and learn from the past.

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A Look Back and a Look Forward

Michael Wiley

November 23, 2008

Mark 12:28b-33

Introduction:

When I was a young child, maybe seven or eight, my family and I went to Beach Bend Amusement park in Bowling Green KY, not too far from our home. I love amusement parks. Especially then when mom and dad were paying for everything. The day turned out to be a day that would shape my life for the next eight years or so. My sister talked me into getting on a roller-coaster with her. Now, I listened to her encouragement. I looked the coaster over—not a large one, small cars that seat only two people, and, I looked at the name, “Wild Mouse.” I knew mice weren’t very ferocious, the ones I had seen were the ones dad removed from under the hot-water-heater in traps, their heads all smashed, eyes bugged out… So, a roller-coaster named Mouse wouldn’t be scary, or so I thought. I latter found out in my adult years, that the “Wild Mouse” is a style of roller coaster developed by a German, Franz Mack, in the early 60s.

What separates the Mouse from other roller coasters, is it’s small car size—two to four people, and it’s style of turns. Most of the turns on the Mouse are 90 to 180 degree turns with no cant. Cant is the difference in elevation of the two tracks. When you drop the elevation of one tack, it results in a banked turn.

On a regular roller coaster with banked turns, you see the track in front of you in the turn. On a Wild Mouse with no cant, you see the rest of the theme park in front of you, giving you the feeling your going off the track! Now I said it shaped my life for the next eight years because it was that long before I ever got on another roller-coaster. The Wild Mouse scared me to death!

Transition:

Toward the end of each year I spend a week or two talking about where we have been as a church and we are going in the coming year. I began this talk last week and will finish it up today.

In my preparation I reviewed what I said to you last year at this time. Last year I described 2006 as a roller-coaster year. I was referring to the ups-and downs, twists and turns of the year. That caught my attention, because that is how I would explain 2007. Today, I want to finish up what we started last week. We began to look at we’re we’ve been and we’re we are going in 2009 as The Vine Church. Don’t forget that we will have our annual carry-in celebration dinner tonight at 6:00 pm. The church will supply the meat and drinks.

Last week I gave you our Mission and Vision.

Our mission is to “Make Disciples” Period

Our Vision is to be as “SAFE PLACE to discover and express your faith.”

If you were unable to be here last week I encourage you to pick up a CD copy at the welcome center or listen on line on our website.

Today I want to remind you of our theme, our goal, and talk about where we’ve been and we’re we are going.

Our Theme here at The Vine is this:

Mark 12:28b-33 – Love God! Love People! TURN AND READ

What do I say about that? It’s crystal clear. How do I expound? The word love (in Greek) used toward God is Agape – was the least common in the Hellenistic world. The other two words to describe love were eros, which meant sexual love, and philos, which meant friendship. Agape, was used in the NT to designate the unmerited love God shows to humankind in sending his son as suffering redeemer.

You could say that, “loving God with Agape love is loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Now what word did Jesus use to describe loving one’s neighbor? You would think, philos – Brotherly love, but He didn’t --- Agape --- When used of human love, it means selfless and self-giving love.

The Vine started Easter Sunday 2006, because we “Love God and loved people.”

Since then 2006 was a roller coaster. 2007 was a rollercoaster, and 2008 was a roller coaster

Every year our finances are a roller-coaster.

And we have been hit with the downturn in the economy as well. We live on tithes and offerings of our people so when you hurt, we hurt. Part of our finance problem has been from down attendance. Our analysis is Apathy rather than a mass exodus…

Every year since the launch our staff has been a roller-coaster.

Youth minister, Todd Walker, Chandler – Ryan Insprucker came, Tom Engelhardt left, Jerry Simandl came, Ryan Insprucker left.

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