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Summary: New Years Eve Sermon for a Historic Watch Night Service dealing with the past year and some hard questions on the concept of God as only a Good God.

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December 31, 2013

(Watch Night/New Year's Eve/New Year’s Day)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 “Whatever was, is, Whatever will be is”

Psalm 8 (UMH 743) Revelation 21:1-6a

From time to time, God tests us—as Abraham was tested—to see just how much we trust God and how much we can be trusted with God’s future plans and blessings for humankind. God tests us to see if, like Martin King and Mandela, Sojourner and Bethune, we will make ourselves available to God’s deeper calling on our lives. You may very well be tested to see just how faithful you are to God and God’s mission for your life and the lives of others.

Our lives are punctuated by sacrifices—sacrifices of our time, sacrifices of our energies, sacrifices that affect our families, sacrifices now, with the hope of a better future. God shows us where God wants us to be, what God wants us to do.

1) We really don't have control of anything. We could stop breathing in the next moment if that is God's will, and real faith is surrender. Real faith is KNOWING that it's all in God's hands, and he's GOT IT. It's kind of cliché, but he really does have the whole world in his hands, and there is a time for everything under heaven. Solomon in Ecclesiastes begins by looking at the two extremes of life a time to be born and a time to die. These are the bookends of our earthly existence. There is a time when you are born and there is a time when you die and everything else takes place between these two times.

We should note that nearly every other time mentioned in this chapter involves a choice. We can decide when to plant or when to uproot or when to kill or when to heal or when to weep or when to laugh or when to mourn or when to dance. But there are two things we don't decide. We don't decide when to be born. And as God has ordained, we don't decide when we will die. This is really the heart of the entire teaching. You're here, my friends, because God said so, and when it's time to exit, that's up to God too. There have been those who have thought they could play God, and decide the end life on their own timetable. But in their failed attempts, many have conceded that it's God, not man who decides when it's time to go. You have little control over anything, if you cant control your fait then you are but a part of the story.

As we, like Abraham, look up and see God’s possibilities, even in the depths of our trials and tribulations, our sufferings and shames, we will be able to respond with hope, like Abraham, knowing that the worship of God will sustain us in the test. Even to the point of our own child on the chopping block we hold to our faith and worship.

And so, we continue in readiness to sacrifice.

Sometimes we work two and three jobs so that our young’uns can get an education.

Sometimes we burn the midnight oil so that our dreams and the dreams of others will come to pass.

Sometimes we position ourselves to give up the very thing we love, so that God can do far more with that love than we ever dreamed of.


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