Summary: A Message of encouragement for entering a new year or can be edited for a new season.

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First things First

January 4, 2004

Pastor Mike Logan

Welcome Saints……it is wonderful to be here with you this morning.

Can you believe it’s already 2004?

It’s amazing how fast time creeps up on us isn’t it?

Being the first of the year, there are many things that start fresh…New beginnings for things like corporate budgets, new tax reporting periods and of course those famous “New Year’s Resolutions.”

I was surprised but not shocked when I saw the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions that people make.

According to one survey here’s the list:

10. Get Organized

9. Help Others

8. Learn Something New

7. Get Out of Debt

6. Quit Drinking

5. Enjoy Life More

4. Quit Smoking

3. Tame the Bulge

2. Fit in Fitness

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends

At least the #1 Resolution is admirable…I wished more people would spend more quality time with their families.

What I found disturbing in all these resolutions although, was that they focused on one concept.

Can you see what it is?

What strikes you as the common theme?

I would like to share Scripture with you today that troubles my heart only because so many fail to see its truth.

This was written by the Apostle Paul to Timothy and also for all Christians everywhere to be instructed in.

Paul here discusses the “Season” by which will be upon us in the last days.

I will read this from the “Message Bible” as it is up close and personal in our modern language.

 Let’s pray before we read from God’s Word.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 MSG

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”

Powerful Scripture in a desperate time.

In the top 10 Resolutions I read to you, the common theme is summed up in one word…“Self.”

Now you may say that some of them where honorable resolutions.

How bad is, “wanting to help others?” and sure to stop drinking or stop smoking are no doubt bad habits that should be stopped.

But it seems that many have lost sight of where our focus should be.

This leads me into the topic of today’s message, “First things First.”

As we start the New Year, we should think about our priorities and what the First thing on our agenda’s should be.

It’s great to have a itemized list of “Things to Do”, but how effective will this list be without Jesus in your life.

I was watching a News Report just yesterday that talked about how the majority of people who make these “Resolutions” within a few weeks and in some cases only a few short days after New Year’s Day they have fallen from their plan for change.

I watched as a young woman was in tears over her failure after only 3 days of failing her resolution to maintain a diet to lose weight.

The question I had to ask was, “What was their motivation for change in the first place?”

Was it only thinking about themselves?

We can learn a lot about what we should do “First” in our lives from many of the Patriarchs of the Bible.

 When we look at Noah, what was the first thing he did after the Ark landed after all that time adrift?

 How about Moses and the Nation of Israel after being saved from the Egyptians at the Red Sea?

 Or maybe even Paul after he was healed of his blindness after his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus.

The common denominator is that they all praised God and gave worship to Him first before anything else.

 Noah built an Alter atop Mt. Ararat where the Ark finally came to rest and gave praise and worship to God First before anything else. It would have been easy to just take a break from God; look what God had just put Noah and his family through. (Genesis 8)

 Moses and the Nation of Israel sang praises to God for his Grace and Love in their deliverance from the army of Pharaoh of Egypt First before anything else. (Exodus 15)

 And Paul there in the house of Judas was Baptized and worshiped God First before dealing with his own needs. (Acts 9)

This is a great example for us all, that our first priority must be to put God first in our lives and allow Jesus to work in and through us.

When people try all these things in life saying, “I’ll try it on my own first”, this is where they fail.

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