Sermons

Summary: Here are three steps we can take to have a great life in 2009.

THREE STEPS TO A GREAT LIFE

First Christian Church 12-30-0

1. In a Charlie Brown cartoon, Lucy was talking to Linus. Pointing to a mountain, she said, “On the other side of that hill is happiness. When I get old enough to climb that hill, I will go all the way over to the other side where the sun always shines, there are no problems and there is only happiness.” Linus asked, “What happens if there’s another boy on the other side of that hill and he’s pointing to our side and he’s saying the same thing? What if he thinks happiness is on this side?” Lucy stared at him. Then she shouted across that hill, “Forget it kid!”

2. The January 17, 2005 issue of Time Magazine was titled: The Science of Happiness.

a) There were many solutions given for finding happiness.

b) Comedian Joan Rivers said “Happiness at my age means breathing.”

c) Charles Schultz said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

d) For 64 pages, in 25 articles, science offered a variety of bizarre and contradictory paths to happiness.

3. The Bible offers its own ideas about how we can be happy.

a) It gives us a different definition of happiness than the world gives.

b) God doesn’t want us to be average or to settle for good enough.

c) Here are three steps we can take to have a great life in 2008.

I. MAKE SURE YOUR LIFE IS HEADING IN A GOD-PLEASING DIRECTION

1. It is two days before January 1, the New Year.

a) January, takes its name from the Roman god Janus.

b) Janus was known as the god of good beginnings.

c) The Temple of Janus in Rome featured a two-faced statue. The young face of Janus looked east and the old face looked west—toward the sunset.

d) The old face was always looking behind remembering the past. The new face looked ahead, making plans, selecting new goals, and dreaming big.

e) Paul looked ahead in his own life. Paul says I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

2. Some people spend their lives looking back.

a) Their life is filled with regrets about their past.

b) They never get over past failures or rejection.

 Maybe their marriage didn’t work out.

 Maybe their finances are a disaster.

 They put so much effort into it, yet it didn’t go as planned.

 Now they’re defeated and not expecting much good in the future.

3. It reminds me of Lot’s wife.

a) God offered her a better future.

b) But, Lot’s wife turned and looked back at the old life she was leaving.

c) God was not pleased with her focus and turned her into a pillar of salt.

d) God offers to lead us to a brighter and better future if we are willing to leave our past behind us.

e) I know what I am planning for you," says the LORD. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Jeremiah 29:11 New Century Version (NCV)

4. If our lives are heading in a God-pleasing-direction, we will look forward to what’s coming ahead.

a) The vehicle you drive has a large windshield and a small rear view mirror.

 That reminds us that what has past is not nearly as important as what is coming.

 Where we are going is much more important than where we’ve been.

b) We cannot change the past, but we can do something about the future.

c) If we don’t quit looking back, we might turn into a pillar of salt!

d) If we are driving yet focused on what is behind us, we might turn into a telephone pole!

5. I heard a story about a dog that had been kept on a 20 foot leash for years.

a) This was the dog’s whole world.

b) The owner came out to feed him and play with him occasionally but the dog remained on the leash.

 He would see other dogs and he would run out to the end of his leash.

 He knew exactly how far he could go.

 He wanted to chase and play but he knew his limits.

 If he went too far, the chain jerked him back into his proper place.

 One day, the owner felt sorry for the dog, so he decided to let him off the chain.

 The owner unfastened the chain from the dog’s collar.

 The collar remained, but he wasn’t held back anymore.

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