Summary: Part one in a two part series on a vision for the future for the church. This particular sermon deals with those who long for the "good old days" for some reason or another.
I hope that all of you have had a happy new year. And I hope that you’ve all made your New Year’s Resolutions, and that you’ve all kept them up to this point.
She may have missed the point of New Year’s Resolutions. With an eagerness to make some changes in the area of financial habits, the lady called her credit card company and said, "I’d like to pay off my Master Card. Do you take Visa?"
Do you know what some of the popular New Year’s Resolutions are?
1) Get a [better] job.
2) Get into shape.
3) Spend less or pay down debt.
4) Give up a habit (smoking, drinking, etc.)
5) Get a(n) [better] education.
6) Find a mate.
7) Take a trip.
8) Be more organized.
9) Find a hobby.
10) Buy a house or move.
I checked the wonderful resource called the internet for someone’s New Year’s Resolutions regarding losing weight, and here’s one I found that encompassed seven years.
Year 1: I will get my weight down below 180.
Year 2: I will watch my calories until I get below 190.
Year 3: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200.
Year 4: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.
Year 5: I will work out 5 days a week.
Year 6: I will work out 3 days a week.
Year 7: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.
Here are some more realistic resolutions:
1. Get further in debt.
3. Read less. Makes you think.
4. Watch more TV. You’ve been missing some good stuff.
5. Stop exercising. Waste of time
6. Stop bringing lunch from home: Eat out more.
7. Get in a whole NEW rut!
8. Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.
11. Get more toys.
12. Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.
13. Don’t believe politicians..
14. Break at least one traffic law.
15. Avoid airplanes that spontaneously drop 1000 feet.
16. Don’t swim with piranhas or sharks.
18. Spread out priorities beyond ability to keep track of them.
19. Wait around for opportunity.
20. Focus on the faults of others.
22. Never make New Year’s resolutions again.
But here’s a New Year’s Tradition that most people take part in. They sing the song, Auld Lang Syne. Do you know what that means?
AULD LANG SYNE
The song, "Auld Lang Syne," is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scotch tune, "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days."
Ah, the good old days. Do you remember them? What was so good about the good old days, anyway? Why do we relish any opportunity to reflect on the good old days?
Let me tell you what the problem is; if you spend your time in the past, you’ll miss the present. Too many Christians are fighting for the good old days, and they are missing the present days where the fight needs to be.
Today, we are going to start to look at the future of this church. However, in order to do that, we need to start by making sure we are not stuck in the past. Do you remember the good old days of the past? When there were 200 people in Sunday School? When the church was packed out? Wouldn’t you like to go back to the past? The problem is, the times have changed, and so have the people. And the past? Well, it might have been so great, anyway.
Personally, some of you might want to stay in the past, because then, you wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of the present. You remember relationships before they were broken. You remember what it was like before the loss of a loved one. You remember when things were footloose and fancy-free, but now the money is tight and the bills are due.
And sometimes we lie awake at night, thinking, dreaming, wishing of days that had gone by—the good old days. And we so desperately desire to go back to them and relive them.
Well, today, we are going to get ourselves out of the past. And to do that, I want you to turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 43. And if you are not familiar with this chapter, I want to challenge you this morning: become familiar with it. There’s about 27 days left in this month; read this chapter every day for the rest of this month. Let me give you a brief outline of this chapter, so you know what’s going on, and then we will focus in on two verses this morning.