Summary: As we’re heading into this New Season, God is calling us to go deep, grow strong, and bear fruit.
GO DEEP, GROW STRONG, AND BEAR FRUIT
INTRO TO TOPIC:
I love the New Year – there’s something great about being able to turn that calendar page and start new and fresh. It’s a great time to reflect on the past, and look forward to the new and exciting things the Lord wants to do in our lives in 2012…
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: What resolutions will you make for 2012?
The top 5 resolutions people make last year were:
• 5. stop smoking
• 4. make more money
• 3. improve relationships
• 2. exercise more
• 1. lose weight (the number one resolution!)
• Don’t get cynical about making resolutions! It’s a Biblical concept…
“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
• There may be floods and storms in this New Year, but the Lord is with you!
“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
• God is getting ready to do new things in our midst.
• He says: Choose to forget about the former / old things from last year!
• He wants to bring rivers into your desert experiences and bring you refreshing!
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14).
• What is the one thing we need to do at the beginning of this New Year?
• Forget the past, reach forward, and press on! PRAY!
VISION FOR 2012:
THE BIG IDEA: As we’re heading into this New Season, God is calling us to go deep, grow strong, and bear fruit.
1. GO DEEP:
“1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” (Luke 5:1-6).
• Too many Christians are content with a superficial, shallow Christianity.
• When we follow Jesus and launch out into the deep, God will bless us!
• If we want to be strong and bear fruit, we need roots that go deep. Deep into what?
A. GO DEEP INTO GOD’S LOVE:
“17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Eph. 3:17-19, NLT).
• We need to press in for a deeper relationship with Jesus. (worship/prayer)
• This is the most important thing we can do in this New Season!
• Paul said his greatest desire was: “That I may know Him.” (Phil. 3:10).
• Do you know and believe the love that God has for you? Do you know that He is for you and not against you, that you are loved by God, and accepted in the beloved?
• A simple message to start this New Year – God loves you, yes – even you!
B. GO DEEP INTO GOD’S WORD:
“The rocky soil represents those who hear the message with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. They believe for a while, but they wilt when the hot winds of testing blow.” (Luke 8:13, NLT).