Summary: In this message we see Paul’s philosophy of ministry and are challenged to adopt it as our own.

“Where I’m Coming From”

Today is the first Sunday of the year 2002. Happy New Year!

My guess is that you have probably heard those 3 words a lot recently… And I am also sure that you heard those very same words back at the beginning of 2001. Just a few days ago, millions of people gathered in Times square, they gathered in other cities and they gathered around their TV sets to count down the final seconds of the year 2001 and shout “Happy New Year!”

QUESTION – How many people who shouted “Happy New Year” - just 5 1/2 days ago – do you think will really have a happy one? For that matter - how many people do think actually had a happy “old” year?

Though it’s not what I want to talk about in detail today, I do want to share with you some things that will make most definitely increase your odds of having a happy 2002. UNDERSTAND - the key to a happy 2002 – can be summed up in three letters…G.O.D. LISTEN – for a happy 2002 you need to have God at the center of your life…

Last week Ryckie preached a powerful message about drifting away from God. Now I can guarantee you one thing in 2002 - if you ‘choose’ to drift away from God – your new year will be far from happy… BUT on the other hand, if you do the things that cause you to move closer to God… you can be certain that 2002 will be a good one… Like I said I’m not going to spend too much time on this – I just want to tell you 5 things that if you choose to do – will make 2002 an awesome year…

1) Spend more time in God’s word… On January 2nd in our Hang Time devotional guide we read Psalm 1

“Happy are those…who love the Lord’s teachings and they think about those teachings day and night. They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and it’s leaves don’t die. Everything they do will succeed.” (1-3 NCV)

2) Spend more time in prayer… Check out what Paul writes in Philippians 4;

“Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace , which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…” (6,7 NCV)

“When a believing person prays great things happen…” (James 5:16 NCV)

3) Spend more time with God’s people…

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching…” Heb 10:25

LISTEN – if bad company corrupts good character and it does (1 Cor 15:33) THEN – what do you think good company would do? Hang out with winners in 2002…

4) Spend more time in obedience (Joshua)

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you, do not turn to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go…” Joshua 1:7

“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you DO them” Jn 13:17

5) Spend less time in the world

“Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.” 1 Jn 2:15-17 (NLT)

Okay that’s really all I want to say about that – I encourage you to reflect of these 5 things during the next week or so - and decide on whether or not you want to have a good 2002…

LISTEN – when it comes to an awesome 2002 - the choice really is yours – the ball is in your court… (Get it?)

Like I said this is the first Sunday of 2002, It’s the first of about fifty times that I will stand before you and share the word of God. AND - I want you to know up front, that I do not take this responsibility lightly. NOW - since you will spending much of your time in church each Sunday listening to me… I thought it would be good for me to let you know where I’m coming from, to let you know what my approach, my attitude and my aim will be as I proclaim to you the word of God…

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