Summary: A sermon that looks at new beginnings and starting over. Really a new year message

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New Year -

As we travelled around on holiday we saw these signs here and there = You are now entering Southland district - Lakes district and so on.

On the journey there came a point where we had left one district behind and had entered another.

January is the month when it is drawn to our attention that we are now entering a new era in our lives - 2001 is in the rear view mirror of our lives and 2002 has already begun and takes on more and more meaning as we journey through January into February.

As christians we might well learn from the attitude reflected in Philipians chapter 3 verse 13

13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Such a scripture may well draw us to want to make fresh resolutions and vows about the year ahead as we face up to the glorious gift of another year.

There are of course some fairly fickle vows made in january that actually have very little meaning I am reminded of a story: told by -


Have you heard about the man who moved into a retirement

community to spend the rest of his life there? It wasn’t long until he had

made a number of friends among the other residents. There was one lady

he was especially attracted to, & she was attracted to him, also. So they

spent a lot of time together. Finally one evening he proposed, asking her

to marry him.

The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn’t

remember her answer. So he went to her & said, "I’m really embarrassed.

I proposed to you last night but I can’t remember if you said `Yes’ or `No."’

"Oh, thank goodness!" she replied. "I remembered saying `Yes’ but I

couldn’t remember who asked me."

The point is some of the vows and promises we make can be shallow and have very little meaning.

But the beginning of a new year can be a profound opportunity to consider the direction our lives will take over the Next Year and also to look in the rear view mirror of our lives and to decide what things God would require us to leave behind in the year ahead.

The verse I would like to do some reflection around is found in the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.

7 Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. 8 See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers--to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--and to their descendants after them."

At this time frame in history the people of Israel were in a safe place - God had rescued them from a life of slavery and humiliation - he had rescued them by miraculous deliverance through the red sea and now they were parked as it were at the foot of the Holy Mountain -

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