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Summary: 2006 New Year’s Eve Sermon and Communion Meditation

(Slide 1) Well, this is the time of the year when many people decide to make and carry out resolutions for the New Year. Have you come up with one or two that you want to accomplish? I thought about some like, ‘doing a better job of picking up after myself at home,’ or ‘eating less chocolate,’ or ‘playing less Flight Simulator,’ or… but I know myself too well (and so does Susan).

At the website, poemsofquotes.com, I came across some very interesting (and printable) thoughts about New Year’s Eve, New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions.

Bill Vaughn was quoted as saying, “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” He also said, ‘An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.’ Finally, someone named anonymous said, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

I also encountered in my web search, the website qotquestions.org which had a web page that asked the question, ‘What sort of New Year’s Resolution should a Christian Make?’ (Slide 2) Then, in an article about New Year’s resolutions published almost two years ago, Rob Moll wrote, “New Year’s Day, as we know it on January 1, was only adopted in 1752. At that time, Puritans eschewed New Year’s celebrations. Rather, they encouraged their children to meditate on the year past and the one to come.” That probably seems foreign to our ears but I think that Communion is always a perfect time for personal reflection especially at the end of the year.

This morning we are going to take some time for a few moments in reflection and prayer. In your bulletins you will find a blank half-sheet of paper. In a moment, I am going to give you a series of questions to respond to that only you and the Lord will know the answer to as no one will be asked to share their answers.

(Now, some of you may wish to use the right side of your brain and draw some pictures in response to the questions. That’s fine… I think that we have crayons up front.)

As we spend time in reflection… let’s do so by beginning with prayer…

(Slide 3) Now here are some questions for your reflection, I will pause between each slide and allow you some time to respond…

(Slide 3a)

1. What has been the highpoint of your life this year?

2. What has been your greatest challenge or disappointment this past year?

(Slide 4)

3. What verse/passage of scripture has been the most helpful to you?

4. What verse/passage of scripture has challenged you?

(Slide 5)

5. Which of your relationships has grown the most this year?

6. Which of your relationships needs some work?

(Slide 6)

7. In what area(s) has your faith in and relationship with Christ grown this past year?

8. In what area(s) would you like to see your faith in and relationship with Christ grow this next year?

That half-sheet is for your reflection and safe-keeping. Let me share with you a response to that question, ‘What sort of New Year’s Resolution should a Christian Make?’ at qotquestions.org

“So, what sort of New Year’s Resolution should a Christian make? I cannot answer that question for you. My advice to you is this: (1) Pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make; (2) Pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) Rely on God’s strength to help you; (4) Find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) Don’t become discouraged with occasional failures, instead allow them to motivate you further; (6) Don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5-6, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

As we move closer to communion this morning, I want to have us turn to John 17 for a few moments and consider what is traditionally called ‘Jesus’ high priestly prayer,’ as Jesus’ resolution for the disciples and us who follow them in faith’s footsteps. We begin at verse 9.

(Slide 7)

My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. And all of them, since they are mine, belong to you; and you have given them back to me, so they are my glory!

(Slide 8)

Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them and care for them—all those you have given me—so that they will be united just as we are.

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