Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This message actually is about setting goals rather than making resolutions. What do you need to change?

This is the last Sunday in 2008. That’s hard to believe isn’t it? It seems like the years are flying by faster than ever...

Around this time every year we start thinking about changes and many of you start thinking through resolutions. Believe it or not, this year, I don’t have a huge list of resolutions. In the past, I have always made a list - and like everyone else, by about February my list is looking pretty bad, so this year, I’ve been thinking, “should I do a list, or not?” I’ve always been a pretty big proponent of lists and goals and resolutions, but I think I’ve had a bit of a change of heart on the topic lately.

This year, I haven’t made any resolutions. Instead, I decided to focus on a different kind of list - This year I’ve targeted some ares of my life that need to see some change. Instead of focusing on the specific changes that need to occur, I’ve decided to focus on a goal and do whatever it takes to reach that goal.

I remember watching something about world class sprinters - people who were trying to become the fastest people on the planet - and what they were focusing on was not their top speed or their muscle development, but the first 4 steps. I remember thinking how simple and basic that sounded. These people are really, really fast and yet to be the best, they had to re-work their first few steps out of the blocks. ...I remember the coach saying that if those first 4 steps aren’t working then there is no way you can win. You have to decide early on, what’s the goal, the goal is to be first across the line, and then build to achieve that goal.

This year, I’ve set some goals. They are for me, big goals. In the past, I think I focused on the steps, and small things - but this year, I’ve decided that I want to win, and so what steps do I need to work on to accomplish those goals.

Let me give you mine. In 2009 I want to see three things happen. My goals fall into these three categories: Family, Health, and Spirituality. Family: I want to be a better dad. As a matter of fact, I want to be a dad that leaves a legacy in his kids... Health: I want to get fit in 2009. I don’t want to just lose some weight, or go on a diet - I want to really get fit this year. Spiritually: I want to be alive to God, and alive in Christ. I don’t want to just make it by spiritually, I want to experience Christ’s power and presence more powerfully than ever before!

So how do I accomplish those goals? Well, I think in the past I focused on those steps and made resolutions - like I’ll spend more time with my kids, or I’ll not eat sweets... In the past I focused on the little things, and when those little things failed, it all just feel apart. How many of you have made a resolution to read the Bible in a year, and then in march when you are way behind, you give up...

I was watching the TV on a saturday afternoon a few weeks ago and watched the Ironman Triathlon competition in Hawaii. Have you seen these people? The Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run all in the same race! And as I am watching these people finish, it dawns on me, these people are really fit! Well, I want to get fit in 2009, so why not begin to train to do a triathlon. I won’t do one quite as crazy as that, but I could do a small one... My goal is to become fit - so if I begin to train to do a few triathlons then I should get fit along the way...

What about spiritually? For me, my goal spiritually comes from a verse in Romans 8. In verse 5, Paul says this... (Read Romans 8:5-8)

My goal spiritually this year is to be fully alive in Christ. I grow weary of dead faith. I want to see Christ alive in me this year... so how do I go about doing that? Well there are a few clues here in this passage.

Who is in control? If satan, or my flesh is in control then that will lead only to death... But if the spirit is in control that leads to life! So much of our lives

What am I thinking about? What do I spend my time thinking about? You know - this is one of the best arguments for spending time early in the day with God. If you have your quiet time alone with God and you read his word and pray, then it sets the focus of the day and allows you to meditate on him...

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