Summary: A New Year Sermon, but can be used any time to challenge people to CHOOSE to change actions or activities in their lives that keep us from God’s will.
2005: Change – Chances – Choices
Last Monday a Survey Appeared in the Online Version of the Daily Oklahoman. The optional answers to the simple question “How was 2004 for you?” were these:
3. Just Another Year
I’ve been thinking about that subject a lot this week. Not only because it is the start of another “NEW” year … but also because I recently had another birthday.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THAT QUESTION TODAY?
Perhaps it has been a good year – even a great year for you. Maybe your expectations for this year were far exceeded. You have reasonably good health, your family is prospering well, relationships are healthy, and your future looks secure and happy.
Or perhaps this wasn’t such a great year for you after all. You started out the year with much greater expectations. Life seems to have dealt you some substantial blows – : maybe you have health concerns today that weren’t there a year ago. Maybe things that were nagging aches and pains have turned into chronic and even debilitating illness. Maybe your job situation has changed – and not necessarily a move up the ladder.
[Someone recently remarked to me … “I’d have to get a raise to be able to afford to go looking for sympathy” ]
Maybe your family has had difficulty of one sort or another … maybe your relationships, or those of some of your family or friends are experiencing trouble.
Maybe your future looks uncertain … full of fearful expectations.
Or maybe this year was just another year to you … another mile along the super highway of life. You are cruising along, you just want to mind your own business and not get run over or have any difficulties … and life seems pretty smooth for you right now
Or maybe you are just stuck in a rut …. And you have just accepted your fate and whatever it is life is throwing your way … you don’t really care one way or another .. and so this past year was “just another year” for you.
Well, the reality is, whatever 2004 was for you, you can’t undo it, redo it, or not do it. It is a done deal………
So, the more important question perhaps for all of us this year is : How will we fare in 2005?
Will we find ourselves six months from now wondering what happened to January?
What will we do with the 365 days allotted to 2005—how will we fill the 8,760 hours that make up the next year?
When 2005 draws to a close will we look back with joy or regret?
Will we look forward with anticipation or fear?
Let’s pause for a moment and remember the only time we have to live is the present. Just as we cannot go back and relive the mistakes of yesterday, we cannot jump forward into the future to see what tomorrow holds. THIS IS THE TIME! What will we do with the time given to us day by day in 2005?
Well, today’s message is fairly simple … it speaks about time from God’s Word – it makes some recommendations to us about our time in the present.
Eph 5:15 - Eph 5:17 (NKJV) 15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
• Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
• (The Message Bible)
 So watch your step. Use your head.  Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!  Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
I read that from 3 different translations this morning, because it is important that we understand the message of God’s Word – that we hear the emphasis of what the Holy Spirit was trying to say to us though His Apostle….
I want to speak to you today about three things you can do differently this year: three things that will make a difference in 2005 – so that at the start of 2006 (next year at this time) you can look back and you can answer the question “How was 2005?” … with a very affirmative “IT WAS A GREAT YEAR!”
I Want to speak to you today about Change … Chances … and Choices…
I. The first thing that will effect the outcome of 2005 for you is to make some Changes.
1. We normally determine to do that anyway – how many of you made some “new” resolutions this year … probably a lot of those weren’t really new … they are related to things you resolved to do previously …. But now they take on a new urgency, perhaps.