Summary: How to face the challenges of a new year

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I. A new year revives many mixed feelings.

A. to some, there is sadness that the holidays are over.

B. To some it is a relief that the holidays are over.

C. Some feel a new sense of obligation since tax returns are due.

D. Some find this a time of resolution.

II. It would be good if we could all share a new sense of reality.

A. With 1996 gone, we have one less year to live.

B. We have one more year to add to our record of stewardship.

C. We are all one year closer to the end of our lives.

III. Many do not want to face this reality.

A. I think this is one year for the rabid celebration of some at the end of the year.

1. Some want to forget or evade this responsibility.

B. Facing this reality is vital.

1. Scott Peck says that good mental health is an ongoing facing of reality.

2. This is quite Biblical. Reality involves examining ourselves.

a. 1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:1

C. Some use the beginning of a new year to resolve to change.

1. A willingness to change without a willingness to face reality is doomed to failure.

a. Man responded, "I want to confess my faults, if I have any."

b. The only sin of which we can find no forgiveness is a sin that denies we have any sin.

D. Some realities we need to face.



A. Jesus promised the church at Philadelphia, "I set before you an open door." Revelation 3:8

1. This is the blessing of a new year.

B. No people are more richly blessed with the power to choose.

1. As Americans, we are free to travel, change jobs, choose educational opportunities.

2. As humans, God has granted us free will.

3. He also has granted us the ability to choose our attitudes. We say, "That person makes me so mad." In reality we should say, "I choose to be angry at the actions of that person."

C. The open door presents us an opportunity to change.

1. If we do not believe this, we should cut out of our Bibles every verse that speaks of repentance.

2. God is gracious to give us this opportunity.

"I came to the teacher with trembling lips, my task undone.

’Have you a new sheet for me, teacher, I’ve soiled this one"

She took the old sheet, stained and blotted and gave me a new one all unspotted.

And looking into my eyes she sighed, ’Do better this time, my child.’"

"I came the Master with trembling lips, my task undone,

’Have you a new year me Master, I have soiled this one.’

He took the old year, stained and blotted and gave me a new one, all unspotted

And looking into my heart he cried, "Do better this time, My child."


A. To enter a new opportunity requires us to have a vision of what is on the other side.

1. Thomas Edison received over 3,000 patents in his lifetime.

2. He always saw the finished invention before he ever started.

B. An open door requires a new vision of self.

1. We must seek to gain the same vision the Lord has of us. He not only sees us as we are but also for what we can become.

a. John 1:41-42. Jesus saw Cephas and renamed him Peter because He saw Him as a rock.

C. We need a new vision for the church

1. What would like the church to be?

a. Comfortable?

b. A place of friendship

c. A place of fellowship and caring

d. A place of stability. A building that is available for weddings, etc.

2. The church needs to be all of these. Yet, it should be so much more.

a. All the above can be found in a country club. We can see why some call the church the "poor man’s country club."

b. If this is the only reason for the existence ofd this church, we are redundant since many other groups offer the same as we do. Some do a better job.

3 We need a greater vision that this.

a. We need to see the curch as a place of acceptance. It cannot be a place where sin is condoned but a place where sinners are accepted.

b. The church should be a place of healing and wholeness. It should be the place where one can find a new life. It should be a place of support, prayer and encouragement. It should provide the missing piece to the puzzle of life.

3. We need for the church to fulfill this vision since many see us as being this.

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