Summary: No matter what the pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators claim, no one can accurately predict all that is going to happen in the next 365 days.
SERMONIC / WORSHIP THEME
Opening Statement: No matter what the pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators claim, no one can accurately predict all that is going to happen in the next 365 days. I have the latest copy of US News and World Report that tries to do just that. But our best forecasts are just educated guesses. Changes in our society have not only increased in speed and intensity, but also in their unpredictability.
Quotation: Doing business in this environment is what Michael Annison calls "Managing the Whirlwind." Life and change are like a whirlwind. At times, we cannot manage life like a business or a schedule. Life changes just happen and we’re left holding what’s left, wondering what the meaning of it all is really about.
Transition: How can anyone – including Christians - succeed when the future is so uncertain?
Title: Managing the Whirlwind - How to face your future
Quotation: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom.
Opening Statement: At this time of the New Year, many people make goals centering on weight-loss, spending less, earning more, or slowing down, and the list could go on and on. Most of the time people establish some great and noble goals that are admirable and commendable. Today, I am assuming that you have some goals; some things that you would like to see accomplished this year. With your goals fresh in mind and your attention focused on the future, let’s look at…
Text: Jeremiah 29:10-14
Exposition: Jeremiah was called “the weeping prophet.” He faithfully called upon the nation of Judah to repent for 40 years, all the while facing imprisonment, beatings, and opposition. Someone has referred to this book as Judah’s divorce papers (Jeremiah 3:8). If so, it would explain the extreme sadness that one feels when reading this book. The leadership of Judah hated Jeremiah for always being “so negative.” They imprisoned him (ch.37), burned his writings (ch.36), and confined him in a deep, muddy cistern (ch.38).
They would not heed his words and the book ended when Jerusalem went into captivity in 586 BC. According to many then, Jeremiah was a failure. He never succeeded in his task. But, he was faithful at a great personal cost and therein lays his success. His faithfulness positioned Him to write about God’s promise of a better tomorrow. At times, we’re called to be faithful, not successful. Jeremiah was faithful. He consistently did what God asked him to do even though it did not always translate into blessings or victories for himself. After many of them had gone into captivity into Babylon, losing their homes and fortunes and all that was familiar, faithful Jeremiah wrote them a letter of hope. Our theme passage is an excerpt from this letter.
Recitation: "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans … to give you a future and a hope … You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest." Jer. 29:11,13 (LB)
Key Word: This passage does THREE THINGS for us at the start of this New Year and with our goals in mind.