Sermons

Summary: Encouraging Christians to make New Year’s Resolutions that result in life-change.

New Year Tree Planting

Sunday AM – Lynn Haven – 12/30/07

FOCUS:

• Making New Year’s Resolutions that result in life-change.

FUNCTION:

• Encouraging Christians to make resolutions

• Educating Christians about what kinds of resolutions Scripture endorses.

A. Pleasantries

B. ILLUSTRATION: I remember growing up going to church… going BOTH Sunday morning & Sunday night.

1. Always wondered, “Why do we have to go Sunday night? I punched my ticket Sunday morning!”

a. How little I understood back then…

b. It’s not about punching a ticket; it’s about giving your best.

2. Anyway, I remember that on some of those Sunday nights, you may remember some of your own, where the crowd thought like I did & the crowd was sparse.

3. And the song leader would get up there, see the sparse crowd, and say something like, “We’re real spread out tonight; let’s all move to the front.”

4. And some people would sit in their pews with their arms folded as if to say, “How dare you ask me to move out of my pew!”

5. Do you remember that?

C. We are so resistant to change.

1. We try to figure out why…

a. Books are written about it.

b. Studies are dedicated to it.

c. Some people even make money teaching people how to do it, from self-help guru’s to business consultants.

2. But change is hard.

a. It’s easy to get in a rut

b. It’s hard to break out of those ruts

D. But change is necessary.

1. At its core, growth is change.

a. When you grow, you shed something old (a habit, a lifestyle) so you can put on something new.

b. You can’t grow & not change. It’s impossible.

2. And so, here at the precipice of a new year, we’re going to think about change.

E. It’s a new year

1. A chance to start over

a. A clean slate

b. A fresh start

2. And given our culture’s tradition, I think that it’s an excellent time to think about where we need to grow & what we need to resolve to change in the New Year.

F. But the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that we don’t keep them, right?

1. That’s why so many of us have given up making them.

a. We’re jaded by our own human nature.

b. We know ourselves…

1) We know we like our habits

2) We know that we like our ruts & that we don’t like change

3) We’ve never been good at change in the however many years we’ve been on this Earth.

4) What’s going to make 2008 any different???

1. What has to make this year different is caring.

c. The reason we don’t change is that we don’t care.

1) We’re apathetic.

2) We grow complacent with the way we are & the way things are around us.

d. We have to develop a holy discontent with where we are

e. AND we have to develop a true hunger & thirst for something better.

f. AND THAT is exactly what separates people who are going to Heaven & people who are going to Hell.

1) People who are going to Heaven want something better – we aren’t satisfied with this life.

2) People who are going to Hell find their satisfaction here on Earth

a) Whether its booze or drugs or sex or something else, people find some vice that gives them pleasure here.

b) And they feel no need for a Savior, or for anything better.

3) That’s why Christ says “Blessed are the poor in spirit” – they feel their need & they will seek & find God, and things will turn out well for them in the end.

g. We have to become DISCONTENT with the things in our life that are substandard and we have to GROW A DESIRE for a better life.

2. The other thing we need to do to make this year different is realizing what a resolution is.

a. A New Year’s Resolution is NOT a hope

1) It’s not a want

2) It’s not a wish

3) It’s not a whim

b. It is a DECISION

1) A New Year’s Resolution is a deliberate choice to change your life.

2) When we make these, what we need to realize is that we’re not hoping for better – we’re DECIDING to do better!

c. ILLUSTRATION: When I think of this, I think about our desires to do great things.

1) We could go to a concert where a world-renowned musician plays a tune on a piano for 30 minutes straight.

2) It’s beautiful. It’s heavenly. It’s euphoric.

3) And what do we all say after an experience like that?

4) “Boy, I wish I could play the piano like that…”

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