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Summary: God wants to do a new thing in all of our lives as we head into this New Year. New Beginnings start when we realize that we are powerless to change ourselves, but we look to God for an encounter with Jesus that can change us forever.

NEW BEGINNINGS FOR A NEW YEAR

INTRODUCING VISION 2008:

2007 was TRANSITIONS; 2008 is NEW BEGINNINGS.

OPENING TEXT: “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

I. IT’S HABITATION TIME:

• “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your habitation.” (Psalm 91:9).

• Speaks of: the PRESENCE of God. The call to abide in the secret place.

II. IT’S HARVEST TIME:

• “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38).

• Speaks of: the PURPOSE of God. The call to win the lost.

III. IT’S HEALING TIME:

• “And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature… And these signs will follow those who believe…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18).

• Speaks of: the POWER of God. The call to see lives radically transformed.

ILLUSTRATION: New Year – New Year’s Resolutions?

No – new beginnings!

• Read on the internet: "Lose 9 pounds every 11 days with these 10 easy rules of diet and fat loss." Rubbish!

THE BIG IDEA: God wants to do a new thing in all of our lives as we head into this New Year. New Beginnings start when we realize that we are powerless to change ourselves, but we look to God for an encounter with Jesus that can change us forever.

BIBLE STORY – NEW BEGINNINGS:

“1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, (house of mercy) having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” (John 5:1-9).

A LOOK AT THIS STORY:

• v. 2 – The sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed were at the house of mercy.

• Sick Sam, Blind Betty, Lame Larry and Paralyzed Pete. This wasn’t a party!

• v. 5 – There was a man there who had been sick 38 years.

• On Numbers: 3 = God; 8 = New Beginnings. Encounter God, new beginnings!

• v. 6 – three things we learn about Jesus:

1. He SAW him lying there – Jesus is the God who sees – He sees you!

2. He KNEW how long He had been in that condition – He knows & understands

3. He SPOKE to Him: “Do you want a new beginning?” - When Jesus speaks to your situation, everything changes.

• v. 7 – the sick man made excuses. He had been powerless to change Himself.

• v. 8 – Jesus said, “Get up!” (v.9 – immediately the man became well).

“Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14).

• v. 14 – Jesus said, “Go and sin no more!” New Beginnings start with an encounter with Jesus, but then we need to choose to change as well.

• Remember the story of the rich young ruler? He came to Jesus, but wasn’t changed because He wasn’t willing to do the one thing Jesus asked Him.

HOW TO GET READY FOR NEW BEGINNINGS:

“8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead! 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:8-14).

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