Summary: This year, make following Christ the central purpose of your life. Joshua’s ancient challenge to the Israelite families is a challenge to us today as Children of the living God, a challenge to embrace a changed life.

It’s the first day and the first Sunday of 2017 so Happy New Year to you.

2017... Where did 2016 go? Does it feel like the years are getting shorter?

Maybe it’s an age thing or maybe it’s because the world seems to move at a faster pace than it used to.

The Post Office is now referred to as snail mail, even email is considered too slow by some people.

Most people carry a smartphone that allows instant communication anywhere in the world. Information, thoughts, feelings, pictures, statuses, tweets - all instantly shared around the world.

We have come a long way from when the three fastest forms of communication were telephone, telegram and tell a woman.

Seriously, our days can pass by so quickly it’s difficult to remember what happened last week, let alone last month. I’m sure in each of our lives there are certain things that will stick in our memories of 2016. Some good, some bad, some happy, some sad.

Life is a journey for all of us, and that journey is not always easy. We have all experienced hard days and difficult nights and sometimes there are weeks and months and years where our journey seems to lead from one problem to another.

Memories of events, occurrences, situations, circumstances, celebrations, so many things to reflect on. At the start of this new year, what I want to do this morning is to simply encourage each of us to pause for a moment. 2016 has gone 2017 has begun, but before we rush into this new year it is important for us to pause and evaluate our priorities for 2017.

This year could be another year when we just continue doing exactly what we have done every other year, or it could be a year that is significant both in our lives and the lives of others.

This morning we need to pause and think and pray about what are our priorities for 2017 and what are God’s priorities for each and everyone of us. We could just rush into another year, carry on with our daily lives operating in the same way as they did last year.

But if we did that we would miss out on the opportunity to realign our plans and priorities with God’s plans and priorities for us. You know as well as I do, that God is meant to have first place in our daily lives.

Have you heard the saying a Dog is for life not just Christmas? Let me paraphrase that “God is for life not just Christmas and Sundays”

Each of us needs to pause and ask the question is God central to my life? Is it God first? In all things? Everyday?

When you reflect on 2016, did God have the central place, did you put His will and purposes above your own? Did you prioritize time with Him? Were you faithful in seeking Him in prayer?

Did you live 2016 as a doubtful follower or as a Dynamic Disciple?

It’s easy to get distracted, to get bogged down with the duties of the day. We have busy lives, family, home, work, school, hobbies and activities.

So many things demand our time and attention, so many things we plan our time to do - in 2016 did you plan and keep quality time with Jesus?

Will you plan to live this year for God? Are you determined to live for His honour and glory in 2017?

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-14, I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

2016 has gone, it’s a new day, a new year, In 2017, will you press on, will you move forward in your faith. Are you willing to make a stronger commitment to following Christ this year than you did last year? In your heart you know, being a disciple of Jesus requires real commitment, deep commitment to our Lord and Saviour, this year allow more of His life to infuse your own,

so that you can become more like Him. This year, make following Christ the central purpose of your life.

To become like Him we must be willing to follow His teaching. To follow Him we must be willing to submit ourselves to the truth of God’s Word, from beginning to end.

The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible teaches us that God is holy. The Bible teaches us His mercies endure forever. The Bible teaches us Jesus is our Lord and our Saviour.

Jesus blood cleanses us from our sin. He rose from the grave on the third day and is now enthroned in heaven. One day Jesus will return to the earth.

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