Summary: This sermon uses the true story of how the famous Mayo Clinic was started to prompt us to look forward to a new year with optimism.
SERVE THE LORD IN THE COMING YEAR
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
In the spring of 1883,
2 young men graduated from medical school.
The two differed from one another…
in both appearance and ambition.
Dr. Ben was short and stocky.
Dr. Will was tall and thin.
Dr. Ben dreamed of practicing medicine on the East Coast.
Dr Will wanted to work in a rural community.
Dr. Ben begged his friend to go to New York…
where they could both make a fortune.
But Dr. Will refused.
He wanted to go back to his hometown in Rochester, Minnesota.
Dr. Ben called Dr. Will foolish.
But Dr. Will said,
"I want first of all to be a great surgeon...the very best, if I have the ability."
Perhaps we look at our lives…
and wonder if we have done our best.
Maybe we are carrying around some regrets.
Maybe we believe we could have,
should have done better.
But I say, “Don’t look back with regret!”
As we start a brand new year…
Make a firm decision to look ahead with enthusiasm,
and make your mind up to move forward.
If you want to be a useful a Christian in 2002,
here are some suggestions:
IDENTIFY CLEAR AND GODLY PURPOSES:
Look at Verses 11-16 again:
A. Paul knew his purpose and states it here:
1. Verse 11: To set up the Christians in Rome…
by imparting (pass on) some spiritual gifts.
2. Verse 12: To be encouraged by them,
And to encourage them, in the faith.
3. Verses 13-16: To gain a harvest among them…
in terms of souls saved
by the preaching of the gospel.
Those were Paul’s purposes!
Now…what are your purposes?
Do you have any?
O.K. Let me help you!
Here are some guidelines to make them godly and worthy:
#1 Make your purposes realistic:
Something that is possible to accomplish.
EXAMPLE: to read the Bible through in a year,
not in one week.
#2 Make your purposes challenging:
something that will stretch you,
move you out of your comfort zones,
and demand some regulation.
EXAMPLE: pick out a job that needs to be done regularly…
Something that will require some of your precious time.
Something that will help someone you know.
Or…Something that will make Gospel Chapel a better church.
Do something to keep this building looking nice.
Do something to make our services better!
#3 Make your purposes specific.
Not, "I want to be a better Christian!"
"I will be a better Christian by spending 5 minutes in prayer daily."
#4 Make your purposes personal.
Don’t make them things for others to accomplish.
EXAMPLE: “I want to see Gospel Chapel’s attendance increase.”
Instead: “I will attend every service when I’m not sick.”
#5 Make your purposes unselfish.
Consider what’s good for others.
EXAMPLE: Not. “I’m going to save more money this year.”
Instead, “I’m going to give more to the church.”
#6 Make your purposes aimed at eternity.
Not just this world and material things.
EXAMPLE: to name 1 unsaved person you know…
And begin to witness to him or her.
Go visit that person…call on the phone…
Do something to show them that Jesus loves them! Let them see Jesus in YOU! Lead them to Jesus!
#7 Make your purposes glorify and bring honor to God.
To know Jesus more intimately.
To love Jesus more dearly.
To obey Jesus more fully.
4. In relationship to others: