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Summary: A year’s end/New Year’s message adaptable to many occasions. BIG IDEA: "God’s got it, even though we don’t get it"

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“Turn Turn Turn”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-17

INTRODUCTION: "End of Year" Lists are everywhere in the media as a new year approaches: Most Newsworthy Events of the Year, Famous People Who Have Died This Year, Most Notable Sports Stories of the Year, Most Annoying People of the Year (Paris, Britney, and everyone running for President in ’08).

These lists can be fun to read, but they don’t give perspective on life—how to make sense of it or how to live it. As we reflect on 2007 and anticipate 2008, what do we most need to understand? What perspective do we need?

[READ 3:1-8]

This beautiful and mysterious Hebrew poetry tells us that God has given an order and plan to life. In other words, as we reflect on the year past & look forward to the future,

I. GOD’S GOT IT (1-8, 11a)

A. God has ordered a time for everything in life

1. We live in an ordered universe, not a universe of chaos. The Teacher lists 14 extremes, and

a. Each one has its time

b. Each one is “appropriate” in its time

c. God’s cosmic Blackberry

2. There’s an ebb and flow in these verses, a rhythm of life’s events that sounds pleasing, even reassuring to us.

Yet, there are ...

B. Two disturbing implications:

1. We dance to a tune not of our own making—we aren’t in control!

a. EX: President of USA can’t control his own family

b. EX: Military general in old age relying on nurses

c. APPLICATION: Stop trying to control what you can’t!

2. Nothing we pursue has any permanence—nothing lasts!

a. The text stresses brevity & impermanence of our activities

b. EX: My former church no longer exists. "A time to plant & a time to uproot"

c. APP: Is what you’re giving your life to going to last?

1) How secure is your job, if you work outside the home?

2) How secure is your job, if you work inside the home?

a) Kids turn 18 & leave, or worse … they don’t leave!

b) (Maybe some things are permanent!)

II. GOD’S GOT IT, BUT WE DON’T GET IT (9-11)

A. We can’t understand what God is up to “from beginning to end.” We can’t see the big picture and discern His plans or His patterns. His purposes are outside our control and outside our comprehension.

1. God’s got it, even if we don’t get it. Life’s events are unfolding according to God’s plan. Life is leading somewhere. That’s important to remember, because

a. Without God, life has no meaning & I have no signficance

b. With God, life has purpose & meaning.

2. EX: Watching TV without an antenna vs. with an antenna

3. EX: Viewing a tapestry from the back side--it doesn’t make sense

B. Since God’s got it, life and history are going someplace. Not just a series of disordered, random events going in circles—it’s unfolding according to God’s design.

1. We understand creation, fall, redemption, Jesus’ return

2. We understand there’s a destination, so life has meaning!

>> So God’s got it—what does that mean for us as we look ahead to 2008?

III. SINCE GOD’S GOT IT, WE CAN ENJOY IT (12-13)

A. Enjoyment of life is a gift of God. He wants you to find satisfaction in your work and enjoyment in your life.

1. Enjoy life more—ever hear that growing up in church?


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