"Happy New Year everybody, I love a New Year."
It means we have made it through another year and there is no controversy, you don’t offend anyone by saying Happy New Year, and you keep the politically corrent police off your back, and everyone wants a good year. This is the season of our life when we close the door on one year and open it up for another. As many of you know, 2011 represented for me a year of death, I lost friends that were close and dear to me, and we lost individuals that meant a lot to our faith family as well. I have told Kellie over the last few months, “If we could just make it to another year without anyone else dying. We need a new year.” Some of you reading this may be feeling the same way. You also may be longing for a new year, ready for a new start, and need to close the door on last year and begin again. So call it resolution, call it goals, call it dreams, call it fresh start, call it whatever word you want to put on it, but every one of us has inside of us a hope that says 2012 will be better than last year. I will make a bold statement. I believe that the coming year will be the best year ever for our faith community and I believe that next twelve months will be the very best year of our lives. I believe that. I believe that next year has the ability, the potential, and the power to be the greatest year in our whole existence. I believe that this year can be the best year ever for every aspect of our lives. (ok that was more than just one bold statement)
So how do we position ourselves to have the best New Year ever?
Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-14. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made my own, but this one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul says forget what was behind you, and press on to what is ahead. To have the best year ever Paul has it right. First of all we have to forget what was behind us. The interesting thing about Paul was he not only a person who had a lot of pain, persecution, and struggles in his life but he had many successes. Even in the midst of it all the highs and lows, Paul writes we must forget what is behind us. I think that as you and I turn over one year into the next, I think one of the greatest things we can do in our life is to forget what’s behind. For some of us it is regret. We look back on last year and we regret decisions we made, decisions that were made and forced upon us, or things we should or shouldn’t have done. For some of us, we look back and see mistakes. For some of us when we look back on last year we see pain, an illness that attacked us or our family member, we see a relationship that exploded or imploded, and when we look back on last year that is what we see pain and hurt and grief. For some of us when we look back we see mountain tops, we see experiences where we see tremendous success, tremendous accolades accomplishments, we see moments where we were at our best. In the midst of all that the Apostle Paul says forget it.
How do we do that? How do you and I followers of Jesus to press onto what God has in store for us in the next year. Here are five steps to position your self to have the best year ever.
1) Write the vision down. Whatever those dream are, whatever that vision is, there is something powerful about writing that vision down. We are 80% more likely to accomplish something if we write it down. Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord answered me and said; “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.” Habakkuk says write the vision down. For some of you the most courageous thing you will do is write the vision down. You got to write it down. For some of you just hearing me say that freaks you out. Listen as long as a dream, a vision, or goal lives in our mind it is less real. The minute we put it on paper, out of idea and out into our world it becomes more real. There is power in writing a vision, a dream or a goal down. Whatever you want out of your life, write it down. Whatever you want to accomplish write it down. Write the vision down today.
2) Don’t let anyone cut in on you. If we are going to accomplish everything our goals, if we want to see our vision come to completion, if we want to live out our dreams, then we cannot let anyone cut in on us.
The Apostle Paul writes of another church in Galati. Paul writes in Galatians 5:7 You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? We have to be careful to not allow others to cut in on us. Whatever that vision is, that dream is, and that goal is, that God has placed in your heart, don’t let anyone cut in on you. We all know dream killers. There are people who you share your dream with and they are poking holes in it as soon as the words come out of your mouth. You have to guard against them. They are going to cut off your dreams. And if we are going to become everything God wants us to become we cannot allow naysayers to cut us off.
3) We must be confident that Jesus will be faithful to complete it. Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Paul is saying that if this is a God vision, if this is a God goal, a God dream then it is Christ who brings it into our life. We have to stand confident. Any good thing that happens in our life, brings with it some insecurities and fears. Confidence will be extremely rare when moving forward.
4) Know it’s going to be a fight. Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith.
Look if we are going to have the best year ever, accomplish everything God has for us, it is going to be a fight. Anything good or from God in our life will always bring resistance. We can expect resistance. We are not living in a spiritual neutral world. We live in a world that desires to see us fail. We got a battle and the problem is for most of us, when we are faced with a battle, we just shut down. I have found that most of the time, when I have fear, I know its God wanting me to do it. Why is it that we only think that the easy stuff is what God wants us to do? Can we win this battle on our own? Absolutely not but we can with God’s strength. But with God all things are possible. We can do this.
5) Trust God. If we are going to have the best year ever, we must be willing to trust God. Trust God with the plan and the path. Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. I can’t think of one plan for my life that came out the exact way I planned. God wants us to plan but at the end of the day we must submit our plan to His path. That is when we move forward. Never has God taken me on the exact journey that I had planned for my life. Not once. God allows deviations to teach me stuff, what if God wants to do a work in us, greater than what He wants to do a work through us. Everyone paths n life are different, we can’t compare our journey with anyone else’s. When compare our path in life to someone else, one we are probably not getting the whole story from them, and two it builds up unhealthy jealousy, and resentment. Resentment causes us not to learn anything from our own trials and struggles. Resentment causes us not to learn. What I have learned in my life is the moment I stopped resenting my path in life, I started to learn in the midst of it, and I began to trust God. The moment we embrace our journey and learn from our journey, we will see that our journey can be a platform for healing others.
I think that this year has the potential to be the best year of every one of our lives. Without a doubt but we have to forget what is behind and press on to what is ahead. This leaves us with two questions. Questions #1 what do you need to forget? Question #2 What do you need to do to press on?
So what has God put in your heart, your goal, your dream, your vision, what has God placed in your heart for you to have the best year ever.?
Happy New Year,
Peace Love & Light,