Summary: We have the promise that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

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“Change – Who Said Anything About Change”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

The first of the year our focus is on change. How can I change to be a better person? How can I change to be a better Christian? How can I make changes to be a better father or husband?

Whether we like it or not change happens. We have changes in our health. Changes in our circumstances take place. Adversity may come our way. Friends may desert us. Life is in constant flux.

Someone has written:

“My body keeps adjusting

Under middle age attack

My waistline’s pushing forward

While my hairline’s falling back.

Hey diddle, diddle,

I’ve got a bulge in my middle

And hope to whittle it soon.

But eating’s such fun

That I won’t get it done

Till my dish runs away with my spoon.”

The Passenger Pigeon was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. They lived in enormous flocks and during migration it was possible to see flocks of them a mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long, taking several days to pass and containing up to a billion birds.

Some estimate that there were as many as five billion passenger pigeons in the United States at the time Europeans arrived in North America

During the 19th century, the species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction. At the time, passenger pigeons had one of the largest groups or flocks of any animal, second only to the desert locust.

Some reduction in numbers occurred as a result of loss of habitat when the Europeans started settling further inland. The primary factor emerged when pigeon meat was commercialized as a cheap food for slaves and the poor in the 19th century, resulting in hunting on a massive scale.

"Martha", thought to be the world’s last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Because people refused to change and conserve the Passenger Pigeon the pigeons are now extinct.

As we enter the New Year we must not forget that Jesus changed the way His followers engaged life. Jesus launched a movement that unleashed untapped potential in those who believed in him.

We have the promise that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

I. Jesus Has Been With You in the Past.

We can’t change the past, but we can reflect on the past and learn from the past. Scripture reminds us to remember the past. Remember how God has blessed you and provided for you. Remember to thank the Lord for His many blessings. From time to time it’s good to reflect on the past.

God instructed Moses to initiate special festivals to remember the past deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Harvest festivals reminded the children of Israel of how God provided his blessings with bountiful harvests.

As a local church we praise the Lord for the vision members of the church had in the past.

This congregation was first organized as the First Free Methodist Church on March 4, 1883 – 125 years ago. The church first met in a storefront mission and then moved to a church building on the corner of Ninth and St. John Streets. Barbara Crandall attended the Free Methodist Church downtown and later Ken Jones started attending the church.

Barbara Crandall and Ken Jones were in attendance with the church relocated to our present location in 1964. When the church relocated the members changed the name to Willow Vale Community Church.

The highest attendance for the church was achieved after the church relocated in 1965 to 1971 with a membership of 179 and Sunday school attendance of 207. Pastor Herb Newland was the pastor at that time.

Now with our three congregations our weekend average is approximately 270.

We can all learn from the past and by God’s grace use our past to help shape our future. The past is like a cancelled check. We can get in a time machine and go back and make some things right.

The Bible does teach that God can forgive our past failures. The New Year reminds us that God wants to give us a fresh start.

The Apostle Paul did not dwell on his past rebellion against the Lord, he pressed forward. He testified: “Not that I have already obtained all this (living in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ), but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 32:12-14

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