Summary: Here are some suggestions to help us be all that we can be in the new year. (PowerPoint available - #248)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #248.)
ILL. There is an old story about a happy little boy who went out into the field wearing a baseball cap. In one hand he carried a baseball, & in the other a baseball bat. His face bore a look of tremendous confidence.
Cocking his bat, he tossed the ball into the air, saying, "I’m the greatest batter in the world!" Then he swung & missed. "Strike one," he said.
He picked up the ball, examined it, & then threw it into the air again. As he swung, he repeated, "I’m the greatest batter in the world." Once again he missed. "Strike two," he said.
This time, he stopped to examine his bat to make sure there wasn’t a hole in it. Then he picked up the ball, adjusted his cap, & tossed the ball into the air for the 3rd time.
He repeated again, "I’m the greatest batter in the world," & swung with all his might & missed for the 3rd straight time. "Wow" he cried, "What a pitcher. I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!"
A. Today is the 1st Sunday of a new year, & as we look back over the last 12 months, I’m not sure whether most of us would be considered pitchers or batters. One thing for sure, at times we have all struck out.
So I guess it’s good to be able to start over afresh. This week most boys & girls will have returned to their school classrooms. A lot of young people will be heading off to college. And most of us are recovering from the activities of the Christmas season & are well into doing our jobs & the activities of the new year.
What do you anticipate for this year? Are you full of enthusiasm, looking forward eagerly to what each day will bring? Or are you filled with a sense of dread, worried that this year will be worse than last year was for you?
B. Like the little boy with the bat, may I suggest that your attitude, your frame of mind, your reaction to its events will largely determine whether this year is a year of victory or a year of defeat.
The Apostle Paul was never one to let circumstances conquer him. Rather, with the help of God, he was determined to win the victor’s crown. Listen as his attitude, dedication, determination shine through in these words found in Philippians 3:12 (quickview)  14.
"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 & 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."
PROP. With Paul’s words fresh in our minds, here are some suggestions to help us be all that we can be this year.
I. RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF TIME
A. First of all, recognize the value of time.
ILL How do we value ONE YEAR? Ask a student who failed a grade.
How do we value ONE MONTH? Ask a Mother whose baby arrived prematurely.
How do we value ONE WEEK? Editors of weekly newspapers know.
How do we value ONE HOUR? Ask someone who lies terminally ill waiting for a loved one who is late.