Summary: Looking at a new year with a fresh start and trust in God
Looking at 2014
The presents are all bought. Most have been exchanged. The only thing left is the clean up.
Getting back to normal. What I call normal may not be what you call normal and vise-versa.
Every year we make resolutions that most won’t be able to keep.
Weight loss, budgets, breaking of habits, restoring of relationships- top on our lists, usually forgotten within 30 days.
What do you hope for in 2014?
Hard to believe will be in 2014 already.
It seems just yesterday, we were worrying if Y2K was going to destroy the world computer system.
What about this past year? You know a lot of things have happened that we forgot about already.
All the shootings, plane crashes, train accidents. We even had a meteorite injure 100’s in Russia.
Royal baby of Great Brittan, New Pope, and the Chinese land on the moon.
We had a city for the first time declare bankruptcy in Detroit, not to mention the scare that the US government shut down for over a week.
What do all these things have in common? We heard about them but we could do nothing about them. The outcomes could have affected our lives, but we could do nothing.
What has happened to you that you could of done something about?
What in 2014 will you do different than 2013?
Will you change the things that you are able to change?
New Year is always an opportunity to start fresh.
Start out well, but don’t usually finish well
We revert back to the way it was because it is the path of least resistance.
People think about where their life has taken them.
Think about what needs to be changed.
Think about goals. At the end, most just have a brain that hurts from all that thinking.
Optimist stays up all night to bring in the New Year
Pessimist stays up all night to make sure the old year goes out.
Which are you?
Text- Philippians 3:12-3:14
Apostle Paul compares life to a race- many places he uses athletic imagery to show us.
The first thing Paul tells us is to “take hold of the things that Christ has already taken hold of for us.”
Paul’s goals are Christ goals. He knows Christ will supply resources and strength to do what He is told to do. “press on toward the goal”
Taking hold of what God gives us and pressing forward when we are in a hard spot.
I believe there are some lessons we can learn from Paul to have a successful 2014
I. Each of us has a past (imperfect)
“Forgetting what is behind”
There is not one of us that cannot look at our past and find something that we are not proud of.
Something that we want to forget.
Some have walked with Jesus along time, but we must not forget where He has brought us from. We were not as good as we think we are.
Apostle Paul was no different!
Not many of us have to deal with persecuting the church of God. Killing believers and believing that God would be pleased with him.
He was a Pharisee, he quoted Scripture well.
He was religious.
His past was destructive. Truth was, he was religious, but God was not pleased with his actions. God tells us, Paul tells us- forget what is behind and move forward.
Forgetting doesn’t mean you lose memory of your past.
Your brain just doesn’t fall out of your head.
It means that you have given it over to the Lord and consider it “settled”.
Our sins laid on our savior.
Forgiven and you move on!
We all have something that makes our past imperfect, and we all need those sins forgiven so we can move forward.
II. We don’t have to be slaves to our past
Why is it that we can believe that God can forgive others but not us?
We repeatedly turn these things over and fear that God has not forgiven.
We become slaves when we offer it to God, and act like He has not forgiven us and we never move forward. We move backwards.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining at the oars”- feeling resistance and unless we keep going the resistance will overcome us.
Paul could look back and recognize that Christ had redeemed Him, and knew that it was the same Christ that would help him move forward.
He recognized his past, but was not going to be slave to it. I don’t know what 2013 was for you, but I know 2013 does not have to affect 2014.
Apostle Paul was an old man at this time looking back on his life.
He did not allow himself to dwell on his life before Christ. It is under the blood, but chose to see what he still could do for Christ.