Summary: HOw will we approach the new year? What if this is the year the Lord returns?

What are our goals for 2014?

1 Thess 5:1ff

Remember those videos of returning heroes? The ones where a loved one was deployed away from home and returns unexpectedly to their family? Some of my favorites are one called “The Poppies.” The girls are a British group and sing their hearts out. The youngest one has a father who is serving in the Indian Ocean and could not be there for the concert. At the end of the song the announcer tells the story of her father, and then to everyone’s amazement and joy the father comes down the stairs to the stage, the girl sees him and screams for joy and tears as she runs to her father.

Another is on a baseball field, the daughter of a soldier is chosen to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. She does not know that the catcher is really her dad, and when she throws the pitch, everyone applauds, as the catcher stands up and reveals to her who he is, she runs jumping into his arms.

The Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, like these girls, it is totally unexpected. What if 2014 is the year Jesus returns?

1. Totally unexpected to the world but the children of the light will be looking for it.

a. Being sober minded, clear minded

b. Dressed in Faith and in Love

c. Hope of Salvation covers our head

d. Encourage one another and build each other up.

Goals for 2014

1. Reach 5 new families

2. Engage and reach 5 new teenagers

3. Serve the Lord in every capacity.

How will we accomplish this?

1. Love God with all our hearts

2. Love our neighbors as ourselves.

a. The Gospel may get them in the door

b. Love will keep them coming.

3. Forgive as we want to be forgiven

How will approach His return?

1. Will we be caught up with Him in the air? 91 Thess 4:17

2. Will cry out for the rocks and hills to cover us (Rev 6:16)

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off! MORAL : Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up. Remember the six simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive. 2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens. 3. Live simply and appreciate what you have. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less from people but more from yourself. 6. Love God deeply and love your neighbor as yourself.