Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011

Well it’s almost 2011. That means it’s time to celebrate the passing of one year and welcome in another. I spoke to my kids tonight at church about this very thing. I thought I would share with you some of the things that I shared with them. These are things that we should be thinking about as we look forward to the year ahead of us.

When you think about New Years and the celebration that goes along with it there are a few things that come to mind. This time of year we have the symbols of the baby representing the birth of a new year. There is the symbol of the old man representing the old, outgoing year. Many of you will eat black eyed peas hoping that it will bring you good fortune or luck next year. (I like the Danish tradition better which is to eat doughnuts on New Year’s Day.)
As many of us do, we will watch the ball drop in Times Square and countdown to a new year. (I asked the kids tonight how many of them had ever watched Dick Clark count down the New Year and they looked at me like I was crazy. So, I had to ask how many of them had watched Ryan Seacrest count down the New Year.)

The biggest tradition of the New Year however is the “New Year’s resolution.” The number one resolution made by American’s every year is to lose weight; the second is to stop smoking. Those of us that are Christians should resolve some things for this year as well. We should resolve to read our Bible more, to pray more, to be a better witness for Christ. We should resolve to be more loving, compassionate, and patient. In essence we should resolve to be more like Christ.

In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul tells the church that he is pressing forward in his walk with Christ. In so doing he will be forgetting the things of the past and focusing all of his attention on the future. I wish this year we would learn to let go of the past and look to the future. Many of us cannot move forward for Christ because we are looking over our shoulder at the past. The past is the past and there is nothing that can be done to change it. I suggest that you do as Paul did, and forget those past things that are weighing you down. You may say, “You don’t know what I’ve been through.” This may be true. I may not know what you have been through, but I do know the only way you can move forward is to forget it. Forget your past stupidity, past sorrow, past sin, past suffering, and move forward.

The problem with resolutions is that we do not follow through with them most of the time. Someone will resolve to lose weight so in January they will spend time at the gym and eat plain baked potatoes. In February however they will spend time watching American Idol and eating potato chips. Paul knowing that this would be a problem gives us three pieces of advice in the following verses.

  1. Help each other (verse 17) - As much as we like to think we can do things on our own, we truly need the help of others. If I am encouraging you, and you are encouraging me then together we will be helped.
  2. Keep away from those that will distract you (verses 18, 19) - If there is something that is inhibiting your walk with Christ then stay away from it. It may be a person, a thing, a place. What ever it is, stay away.
  3. Keep your eyes on God (verse 20) - If we keep our eyes on the Lord then He will always lead us in the right direction.

I hope this is the best year you have ever had.

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