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Summary: Message about going into the New Year with a commitment to deepening your relationship with Christ.

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Just the Same Ol’ Same Ol’ Again?

Luke 1:37; Proverbs 16:3

December 30, 2007

NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."

Me: Jeanette Case, from Erie, PA, sent this in to Reader’s Digest:

Last year when I called my parents to wish them a happy New Year, my dad answered the phone. "Well, Dad, what’s your New Year’s resolution?" I asked him. "To make your mother as happy as I can all year," he answered proudly. Then mom got on, and I said, "What’s your resolution, Mom?" "To see that your dad keeps his New Year’s resolution." (SermonCentral PRO)

Like many of you, I had some goals for this year that ends tomorrow.

And like many of you, I hit some of them and missed on others.

One of the goals I missed this last year was to memorize 12 verses of passages of Scripture.

Just one a month. You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard, wouldn’t you?

It’s not as easy for me as it once was. But that’s no excuse, either. And so I’m going to make that a goal for this coming year, also.

And you’re welcome to ask me how I’m coming on it.

We: But a lot of people will look back on the last year, and see nothing they can celebrate in their lives.

Maybe it’s missing a goal like reading through the New Testament or the Bible in the year.

Hint: if you haven’t started yet, it’s a little late now…

Maybe it was a goal at your job or business to get promoted or get a raise or otherwise make more money to better provide for your family.

Maybe it was a personal growth goal like trying to have devotions on a more regular basis or reading for your personal benefit.

Maybe it was to finally get rid of your pet rocks and leisure suits, to the everlasting relief of your wife and kids.

And by the way, replacing those things with “Chia Pets” isn’t a smart thing to do.

Folks, what I’m trying to say here is that we can all look back on things we wish would have done and could have done in 2007, but now it’s too late, and we’re disappointed.

And it could be that you’re looking back and thinking, “It always this way. The same ol’ same ol’. I’ll never get any better at this, and so I might as well give up.

Today I want to look at two very small verses of Scripture that I hope you’ll grab onto for this year.

These verses are my rallying cry for this new year, and chances are that you’ll hear them from time to time throughout the year as we move forward as a church to seek to do more for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.

And while I want you to focus on these verses today, I also want you to keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3, when he said…

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

I pray that you will allow God’s Holy Spirit to fill you with a new sense of courage and determination as we look at these two passages.

God: The first of these verses is Luke 1:37

37 “For nothing is impossible with God."

The context of this verse is the conversation the angel Gabriel had with Mary when he announced to her that she would be the mother of the Messiah.

Mary is asking about this, and Gabriel says that not only will she have a baby in spite of being a virgin, but her older cousin, Elizabeth, who had been barren, was also going to have a baby, “For nothing is impossible with God."

Now think for a moment:

Which of us can make a virgin pregnant? Which of us can make an older woman suddenly able to bear children? Which of us can create something out of nothing and make it able to sustain life? Which of us can make provision for sin so that we can be forgiven and have a home in heaven?

None of us. But God can.

And I’m convinced that one of the reasons so many of us fail in our resolutions and plans for the new year is that we think we can do it alone.

We decide we’re going to have a quiet time every morning. And for the first day or two, we’re good to go.

And then soon the alarm goes off, and it’s all we can do just swing our legs out of bed and spend time with God.

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