Summary: Seven things to improve on for the coming new year.

"T. E. S. T. I. F. Y.” December 27, 2009

ILL. 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."

How many of you feel that way about New Years resolutions?

We have a tendency to let things we want to do or need to do sort of slip our minds.

Now I have stated this in past sermons that I don’t know if any of you make New Years resolutions but if you do this is the week people start thinking about them.

Last week when Cal was passing out the staff gifts, one thing he said was that there are times when I challenge the flock.

Well, I am going to start of 2010 off with a challenge and I hope that it will be accepted and put into action by everyone.

You will notice that the letters spell testify but I want to look at each letter and suggest six things to concentrate on in the coming year.

First of all there is the T which stands for trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (TRUST)

How much trust do we really have in God? It takes a lot of faith to put trust into something you can’t even see doesn’t it? But when we do then and only then will we be able to see it.

Illustration: Legend of a Cherokee Indian Youth’s Rite of Passage?

A father takes his son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. The youth is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe some human might do him harm.

The wind blows the grass and earth, and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically, never removing the blindfold. It is the only way he can become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appears and he removes his blindfold.

It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him.

He has been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.

When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on.

If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Moral of the story:

Just because you can’t see God,

Doesn’t mean He is not there.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

God is there for us we just need to trust in Him completely.

The second letter is E and it stands for establish.

Matthew 6:6 (Establish prayer time)

How much time do you spend in prayer to God daily? Or maybe the only time you talk to Him is during communion on Sunday morning.

I talk to God while I am driving, sitting at my desk, walking, and many other places and even though I am talking I am still concentrating on what I am doing also.

Jesus says here that we need to go into the closet and close the door. In other words go somewhere quiet where you can be alone.

This way you can clear your mind of the outside world and concentrate fully on talking to God.

Illustration: Sometimes it is easy to concentrate.

So this week plan on establishing a better prayer time with God for the coming year.

The third letter is S and it stands for study.

John 17:17 (Study God’s Word)

The Bible has often been referred to as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. If you were learning something new you would prepare by reading instructions.

Some of you may read the newspaper everyday. Some may enjoy reading a book in the evening or thumbing through a magazine.

As we enter 2010 plan on setting time aside to read and study the Bible. Attend a Bible Study. I would like to see everyone set aside Wednesday night for Bible Study.

I would like to see it grow to the point that we have several classes to offer.

The forth letter is another T and this one stands for tell.

Romans 10:13-14 (Telling others about Jesus)

It is our responsibility as Christian disciples to share to others about Jesus.

Illustration: We love to talk about movies and sports.

This next letter is very important because the I stands for involve.

Hebrews 10:25 (Involve yourself in church activities)

When the writer of Hebrews wrote this I don’t believe it referred to just Sunday morning worship. I believe we strengthen ourselves every time we come together, whether it be a program, a study, a concert, a party, or any reason we come together in the name of the Lord.

Look at verse 26. Paul knew that being together anytime was good for our soul.

Philippians 3:13-14 (FORGET)

Paul says we need to forget our past. There isn’t anything we can do to change the things we’ve done in the past.

For many of us our failures are painful memories.

Maybe for you it is a memory of how you failed in a relationship. You made the wrong decisions, said and did the wrong things and the relationship ended.

Some of you parents may feel that you failed your children in some way, or that you failed your parents.

I’m sure there were times when we all felt like we failed ourselves in some ways.

What Paul is saying in God’s Word is that we must not allow ourselves to be bogged down by our past failures. That we have not dwell on our past so that it stops us from moving forward into the future that God has for us.

When something bad happens in some ones life depression usually sets in and the first thing they do is give up.

I can’t go on without my parent, child, or spouse. I knew someday, unless I died first, that I would have to face loosing one or both my parents.

And the first thing that crosses your mind is, how am I going to make it. I have good friends that have lost their child and I think, how can they possibly go on. BUT YOU DO!

You don’t put them from your memory but if you dwell on it you will give up and do nothing.

God wants you to forget about your past and concentrate on living His Way in the future.

And finally we come to the Y which stands for you.

John 3:16 (God loves you)

Do you realize in God’s eyes it is all about you. Do we really understand agape love?

It is unconditional. You have heard me say this many times that it doesn’t matter what you have done good or bad it doesn’t affect the love God has for you.

Invitation Stand and read John 3:16.