2012

A YEAR FOR THE LORD!

 

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

 

This year, I am going to make it a habit to pray to my God at least _________ times a day. Daniel made it a habit to pray to God three times a day (Dan. 6:10).

 

This year, I am going to try and read _________ chapters of my Bible per day. Daily Bible reading is essential to spiritual growth. There are 929 chapters in the O.T. and 260 chapters in the N.T. If a person reads 10 chapters per day he or she could read the entire Bible 3 times in one year. If a person read 5 chapters per day he or she could read the O.T. once and the N.T. 3 times in a year.

 

This year, I am going to try and make it to _________ services per week. This includes worship service and Bible class. Can we really say we are putting the kingdom of God first (Mt. 6:33) when we neglect the worship services and Bible classes when we could be there? Assembling with the saints is beneficial to our spiritual growth and it is commanded (Heb. 10:24-25).

 

This year, I am going to invite ________ friends, ________ family members, and _______ strangers to our services. One of the greatest invitations you can ever give is an invitation to know the Lord (Jn. 1:46).

 

This year, I am going to try and give __________ each week of the money that God has blessed me with. Giving is something we are to purpose in our heart and lay up and store for the Lordís work each week (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7).

 

Other areas we should try and grow in this year:

 

  • Serving others
  • Volunteering to help with building maintenance
  • Visiting the wayward and sick
  • Bringing food for various works
  • Being a godly example
  • Being a godly husband, wife and child
  • Looking for opportunities to serve

 

ďNow therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him

in sincerity and in truthĒ (Joshua 24:14)

 

2012

A YEAR FOR THE LORD

 

At the beginning of any New Year, many have a tendency to make New Year resolutions. Many have great intentions of keeping these resolutions, but unfortunately many times these new resolutions that are made end being broken sometimes within days of them being made. Whether successful or unsuccessful, I love the idea of renewing yourself each year to make your life better by being a better person because you just do not hear of people pledging each year that they are going to become better a being bad or a worse person.

 

While the New Year is fresh, I would like use this idea of making New Years resolutions and suggest that every Christian should consider staring out each year with renewed commitment to serving our Lord better than they have in the past. As Joshua said in:

 

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

 

Every year belongs to the Lord, therefore we should do our best to serve Him with whole heart, mind, and soul. Hopefully, everyone has the sheet I handed out. I have given this to you as a simply guideline for this lesson and for you to think on for the rest of this year. This is purely voluntary and as we go through this sheet, you will get set your own goals for this New Year. Every possible thing is not covered on this one sheet, so I encourage you to use the back of the sheet to write down any additional goals you would like to accomplish for the Lord this year.

 

I hope you will keep this paper somewhere you can easily pull it out from time to time to see how you are doing with the commitments you have made. If you take this paper and just through it in the trash after this lesson, then that speaks volumes to what you think about all this. Again, do whatever you want, it is up to you.

 

The first thing on our sheet is prayer. If there is one area that is easy for us to lose site of, it is prayer. Prayer is our opportunity to speak to our God and to know that He is listening. Just listen to the confidence of David:

 

Psalm 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me.17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.

 

Also this writer says:

 

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.20 The LORD preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.

 

We need to remind ourselves that our God listens to us and wants to hear from us. If that wasnít enough, prayer helps us to overcome discouragement:

 

Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.3 "Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.'4 "And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man,5 'yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' "6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said.7 "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?††

 

Whether we are being oppressed by our enemies or just having a bad day or a bad year, praying to God can give us hope and lift us up know that God is near. We certainly know that prayer was very important to Jesus because He spent much His free time in prayer to His Father. Sometimes He prayed all night.

 

Of course, Jesus made it possible for every Christian to have open access to the Father through prayer:

 

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Paul tells us that we prayer should be a high priority on our list:

 

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

Research shows that it takes 21 days to form a habit whether it is good or bad. If you will look at your sheet, you will see a blank for you to fill in of how many times a day you will try and pray to God. I give Daniel as an example because the Scripture teach us that his habit our custom was to do it 3 times a day. Maybe that will be a good number for you, but the idea is for you to choose your own number and make it a habit.

 

If you start today praying letís say three times a day for the next 21 days, perhaps when you wake up, in the afternoon and before you go to bed then it should start becoming a habit and it is great habit to have. Please understand I am not talking about some mindless habit like chewing your finger nails or popping your fingers, I am talking about a habit that you repeat daily with meaning. Our prayers should not be some empty ritual where we just say some canned words. No, we must never forget that we are speaking to God almighty and He is listening to us. We should use our time of prayer to praise God, thank Him, pray for others and use it to turn our problems over to Him.

Prayer is great area for us to improve in and enjoy, so I hope you will make this New Year a year that you pray more than you ever have before. I did not mention prayer time over our food because that should be given, but if you have slacking in this area try your best to thank God for every meal.

 

Another area we can always improve in is the time we spend in the Word of God. It so easy for us to say, I will read my Bible tomorrow. Before we know it tomorrow never comes and the only Bible reading we get is when we come to our services. I understand, it is tough to squeeze in Bible reading every day especially when we have so many other things competing for our time.

 

It is kind of like exercise, many of us need it, including me, but there never seems to be time for it. However, when it comes to watching our favorite TV show or doing our favorite hobby we somehow make the time for it even if it means setting aside 3 or 4 hours to do it. Even though we may enjoy doing things that good for us once we start doing them, we seem struggle more with doing these kinds of activities that are good for us, but we never seem to have much trouble doing those things that have little or no benefit to our lives.

 

Let take exercise for example. Once someone gets started on exercise routine, they usually begin to like it as long as they are not doing something insane. They certainly love the way their bodies feel from the continued exercise. However, physical exercise takes a commitment. For some it might be 30 min a day for more hard core people it might be 2hrs a day. Maintaining a good physical exercise can be difficult to do because I said there are many things that are competing for our attention, so many times physical exercise goes to way side. While physical exercise is certainly important for physical and mental health the Bible tells us there is something more important:

 

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. ††

 

Godliness is far greater than physical exercise. How do we obtain godliness? We obtain in from the Word of God. When it comes to Godís Word we should have the attitude of Job:

 

Job 23:12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.

 

I am afraid if some of us ate physical food as often as we eat spiritual food we would be nothing but skin and bones. We need to remind ourselves just how important it is that we make daily Bible reading part of lives. Listen to what the following Scriptures have to say about the Word of God:

 

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

 

Psalm 119:127 Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!

 

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

 

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

 

1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

 

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

 

James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

All these Scriptures speak of the importance and joy that Godís Word brings to our lives. It makes us spiritual fit and wise. It teaches us what we need to know to be saved and to have confidence in our Lord. Godís Word combats the negative and sinful ways of the world. No wonder Paul told Timothy:

 

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

Peter tells us always be ready to give an answer to those who encounter:

 

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

 

If we want to have stronger faith and be able to combat the temptations of this world and to be able to defend Godís truth to those who ask, we must be students of Godís Word, which is why I am asking you to commit to a number of chapters to read in the handout. If you will look at your handout I give you some guidelines that will help you to determine a number of chapters to read each day. Notice what I wrote:

 

Daily Bible reading is essential to spiritual growth. There are 929 chapters in the O.T. and 260 chapters in the N.T. If a person reads 10 chapters per day he or she could read the entire Bible 3 times in one year. If a person read 5 chapters per day he or she could read the O.T. once and the N.T. 3 times in a year.

 

Let met give you an example of how long it will take you to read 10 chapters or 5 chapters per day. First, of all some chapter are short and some long. Some people can read fast some slow. So, I used Mathew 21 as a sample. This is fairly long chapter with 46 verses. While there are some chapters that are longer than this, the majority are much shorter. Now I can read fairly fast. I read this chapter in 2 min and 23 sec. If you are a fast reader like me or faster this means you could read 5 chapters in about 11 minutes and 10 chapters in about 22 minutes. I also read this chapter word for word out loud and took me 4 min 50 sec. This should be pretty close to the time of a slower reader who mouths every word as they read. For you it would take you around 22 minutes to read 5 chapters and around 45 min to read 10 chapters.

 

So, think about it, it only takes 11 to 22 min to read 5 chapters per day or 22 min to 45 min to read 10 chapters today. Even if a slow reader only spent 15 min a day reading their Bible, they would be able to read the entire Bible through in one year. Surely, we can all give 15 to 20 minutes a day to read the precious words of our Lord. I hope you will make some kind of commitment on your paper and do your best to keep it. Even if you miss a day or two it no reason to stop reading because what is important is that you are reading it. Remember, as I said it only takes 21 days to form a new habit, so make reading your Bible daily one of your new habits this year.

 

One more thing I want to mention that will help you grow even more is when you are reading, write down those things that you do not fully understand or things that catch your eye. Then go back later and study those things you wrote down so that you can gain a deeper understand of the Scriptures. Reading is certainly important, but studying the Scriptures is even more rewarding. When combine reading and studying will reap great benefits from it.

 

The third thing our sheet that would be good for us to work on this year is our attendance to the service that we have to offer. This is an area where the world can compete for our time. The school systems and other secular activities could care less if what they are doing conflicts Sunday or Wednesday church services. Now this was not always the case. Since the majority of churches assembly on Sunday and have Bible class on Wednesday those in the secular world would plan their activities around those days if at all possible because more Christians used to make Bible class and worship a high priority, but like I said this is no longer the case.

 

It becomes very easy to skip Bible class or worship because of a secular activity and I am not talking about once in a blue moon either, I talking about frequently. If more Christians started saying no we cannot attend such and such event because that is our time for the Lord, more of the secular places would begin to revert back to making their schedules more friendly to Christians. Now do not get me wrong I understand that there are some events and things like work that cannot be avoided, but there are many times that Christians simply allow any event to take precedence over worship and Bible class.

 

We have to be careful of where we put our loyalty as Jesus said:

 

Matthew 6:24 " No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. ††

 

If we try and juggle between worldly demands and serving our living God, we are going to find ourselves in conflict on who to give our time to. Like I said sometimes it cannot be avoided, but if it could would you make the sacrifice and not just go with the flow of everyone else and assemble with the saints instead?

 

We must never forget that Jesus died for us so that we could become part of His body, which is the church. When we come together is it a time of edification, praise to God, worship, and a time to learn about Him and what we can do to glorify Him. We only have Sunday and Wednesday as designated times that we meet for worship and Bible study. That is 2 days out of the week to be encouraged and uplifted after spending a lot of time in the world. When you think about it, that is really not that much time. In the first century, we learn that they would sometimes meet with each other daily:

 

Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

 

Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

 

Notice what Jesus tells us:

 

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

Seeking the kingdom first would certainly include assembling with the saints for worship and for Bible study donít you think. Let us not forget what the writer of Hebrew says:

 

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

If you have not been attending the services as you should, I hope you will make it your goal to attend as many services as you can. When you make the time to be with your brothers and sisters in Christ, it will make you have a great year and help you grow spiritually. The worse thing you can do is develop the attitude that church and Bible class really does not matter that much because then it sets you up to drift away from the Lord. As the writer of Hebrews says;

 

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

 

We have only talked about 3 things on paper this morning: prayer, reading the Word of God daily, and attending all the services that we can. I hope you will join me in making these 3 things part of this New Year and hope that you will stick to it. There are more suggestions I would like to make that are on your handout and will talk about the rest of them tonight. So, if there is nothing preventing you from being here tonight, I hope that you will come assemble with the saints at 6 p.m. as we consider more areas we can focus in this New Year as we focus on giving it all for God.

2012

A YEAR FOR THE LORD

PART 2

 

This morning we began talking about using the beginning of the year to renew our commitment to God and to do our best to give our best to Lord in this New Year. I gave everyone a handout so that you could set goals for yourself this year. This morning we looked at first three areas I wanted you to examine in your life and they were: prayer, reading your Bible, and attending all the services that you can.

 

Tonight I want to begin with point number four, which has to do with being more evangelistic. Notice what it says:

 

This year, I am going to invite ________ friends, ________ family members, and _______ strangers to our services.

 

I have read many different articles and books on the topic of evangelism and the recurring theme is that more souls are won to Christ by those who invited their friends and family members. We have got to stop allowing fear and the possibility of rejection to keep us from inviting our friends and family. We are their best hope at reaching them. Sometimes, I think we put too much stress on ourselves of what they will think about us, when in reality is not really that big of a deal. If our friends and family members love us, they might become a little annoyed if we keep asking them to come to services, but they are not going to turn their backs on you for simply asking them to come. If they do, then they have issues they need to work out.

 

To put things in perspective, lets say that you learned about a pill that has no side effects, but this pill has been proven to keep away all sickness and disease and as a bonus it reverses the signs of aging. I think we would all love to have such a pill. If we found out about this new pill, what would do? Well first, we would get it for ourselves. If we see that it lives up to its claims, we are going to go tell family and friends all about it so they can know about his wonderful pill. Would we not?

 

If we were watching the news and we heart about a tornado or even wild fire that was near our friends or family house, what would do? We would call them and warn them about the danger so they would not be caught unaware of the danger. Would we not?

 

While these I have mentioned are certainly worthy reaching out to our friends and family over, there is nothing more pressing than inviting them to know the Lord because without the Lord, they will suffer a much greater travesty than just physical death, they will spend eternity in the horrible place called hell, which is why Paul said:

 

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.11  Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

 

Now we cannot go Medieval on them and force them to know the Lord. However, we can do our best to persuade them to come to services or to have a Bible study. We can take opportunities to say little things that will help open their eyes.

 

If a risen Savior who died for us and has made eternity in heaven a reality for us cannot motivate us more than a magic pill or a tornado or fire, then we something is wrong because there is no greater news than what Jesus offers us.

 

Though I have focused on friends and family, you will also notice that have place for you to fill in a number for how many strangers you will invite to our services. They we do not know them, we should care for them and give them the same opportunities as our family and friends. Jesus asked:

 

Matthew 5:46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

 

So, I hope you will focus on being evangelistic this year because you might be the only person that has the connection and the opportunity to win that soul for Christ.

 

Our fifth point on the paper has to do with giving. There are many areas that we can give in and some of those are listed toward the bottom of the handout, but this fifth point is specifically dealing with how much money you are planning to give each week for the Lord. We are taught in Scripture to give what we have purposed in our hearts. In fact, lets look a few Scriptures that talk about giving.

 

1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

 

2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.9 As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever."

 

What you give is entirely up to you and is between you and the Lord. He knows your heart and He knows what you can give. However, the idea given the Scripture is that we give with forethought. We do not give God our leftovers or the least that we can. We certainly do not what be like the joke I heard once about these boys talking about their fathers who were preachers in different denominations.

 

They were bragging about how much money their dads made. One said, my dad gets 10% of the collection. The other boy said, well my dad has your dad beat because he takes the collection outside and draws two circles. One small one for God, and one big one for him. Whatever lands in the big circle he takes and whatever lands in the small circle goes to God. Well, the third boy said my dad wins because he throws the collection up in the air and say whatever God wants He will keep but everything that lands on the ground is mine.

 

The reason jokes like this exist is because some in the religious world take advantage of people so they can line their pockets with money, instead of using the money for good. We should never have this kind of mentality. It also because of this kind of abuse in the religious world that we sometimes shy away about talking about how important it is that we give our money for the work of the church.

 

The cost of living has increased a lot of the last several years. Gas prices have almost tripled, the cost of food, insurance, electricity, water, gas and so on has all gone up. When this happens, it puts a strain on our budgets especially if our salary stays the same.

 

One thing we must keep in mind is that the work of the church is also affected by the cost of living increase. It cost more to maintain our meeting place, it cost more to be able to help others with food and other needs. However, if we do not adjust our giving then we have less money to work with in the church and its work will be limited more than it ever has been before.

 

So, the beginning of the year is great time for us to sit down and look at our budget to see what we are going to give to Lord each week this year, while keeping in mind that it cost more now to carry out the work of the church than it used to just like it cost more now on just about everything.

 

Another thing you might consider is that even when you are gone on vacation or you miss because of sickness donít skip out on giving your weekly contribution. Again, this is total up to you, but a one week of missed contribution makes a big difference in a small congregation like ours. Some Christians when they go on vacation will give their contribution to a church they visit and there is certainly nothing wrong with doing that, but also know other Christians who simply wait and give their contribution to their local congregation when they get back. Again, this is a personal choice, one is not more right than other. However, in a small congregation like ours, that lost contribution does affect the work here. When you keep your contribution in your local congregation you will know that it will benefit it and you can be confident that it will be used to help support the work here.††

 

So, I hope you will sit down and look at what you are giving and consider that the cost of doing the Lordís work has went up with everything else and make a commitment and try your best to give each week what you have purposed in your heart to the Lord.

 

On the bottom part of your page, I have listed some other areas we could think about as we enter into this New Year. Many of the things listed have to do with serving. Jesus said:

 

Matthew 20:27"And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave --28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

 

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

 

Whenever we became a Christian, we were liberated from sin, and as we study Godís Word, we understand that there is something more than just ourselves and our immediate family. One area that we always increase in is serving others. Notice, this service to others is done out of love.

 

Notice what Jesus says about this in:

 

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

 

Jesus makes it clear for us, if we are a Christian and we want to be pleasing to God, then we must love one another just a Christ loved us. When you read through the 4 gospels and you study Jesusí short work on the earth, you learn about the great love and compassion He had for those around Him. Many people during that time wouldnít have anything to do with the poor, sick, or the maimed, but Jesus was the kind of man that would put His arm around them and eat with them.

 

He had such a deep love for those around Him that He would even shed tears for them when they suffered. This is the same kind of love that we are to have for one another. When we love each other and those around us, we will stand out and be different from those in the world. Some today only care about themselves and their immediate family, but when you see Christians who sincerely care for one another and have compassion on those out in the world, people will know that they are disciples of Jesus.

 

So, I would suggest that you think about how you might be able to serve others this year more than you have in the past. While it might seems like an inconvenience at first, when you see fruit of your labor you will be glad that you did it.

 

A few of these are mentioned in the list on your paper such as visiting the wayward and sick and brining food for various works such as funerals or food to our youth gatherings. If you look for the opportunities to serve others, I promise you find it.

 

Every person can find a place they can serve. You can certainly help with the maintenance of the building. There is grass to be mowed, things to be cleaned, and things to be fixed. We are already have people who volunteer to clean the building on various months, but I guarantee you they will not care at all if you come up and help them clean some during their month.

 

I cannot even begin to mention all the areas that we can serve in, but I can say that if you see opportunity to serve and glorify God, then do it. One area I do want to mention is serving at our assembly.

 

First I want to talk to those that are teaching. Those that teach the adult Bible class and those that teach our kids are doing a great service for God and for us. I hope each teacher knows how much they are appreciated even though they may not hear it verbalized very often. I also hope you will use this New Year to remind yourself how important your service is and that you will be thinking about how you can impact your listeners even more than you have before. I hope you never lose your zeal for teaching and challenging your listeners to grow.

 

For those of you who have never taught, I hope that you will consider trying it. You could start out as co-teacher in one of the kidsí classes. I am sure any of our teachers would be happy to help you learn how to teach and allow you to help with the teaching. If some of you guys are willing to take on role of teaching the adult Bible class I or the elders can help give you material teach if you need it. I know that teaching the adult class is not for everyone, but I feel confident that we have some men in the congregation that could serve in this capacity if they would only try. I can promise you, it is a rewarding experience because you learn so much more from Godís Word when have to prepare to teach it.

 

We have four deacons in our congregations and the term deacon means servant. I am very thankful that we have men that are willing to serve as deacons. I also hope that our deacons will use this New Year to look for new ways they might serve our God by heading up new programs that might help our congregation grow spiritual and numerically.

 

For those men that have never served as a deacon, if you are qualified as per 1 Tim. 3 maybe you will consider serving as a deacon in the church. It is not a position to take lightly because you will become a special servant for the Lord one who is a good example and is willing to serve. When asked to do something, you are the kind of person that will do it if at all possible. Remember Paul says this about the deacons:

 

1 Timothy 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

 

To our two elders, whom I love and appreciate. I hope that you will also take this new year to consider how you might oversee the flock and influence them in godly way that will cause them to draw closer to God this year. I am so thankful that we have elders because that is how God wants a congregation set up. While a congregation can continue to do good for the Lord without elders it never works as good as could with good elders like we have.

 

With that being said, I would like for our men in this congregation who are qualified to be an elder according 1 Tim. 3 that you would consider this year about becoming one of elders. We have some good men in congregation that as I far as I know are qualified to serve as elder. Of course, one has to have the desire to serve in this position, but if you love the Lord and His church then that is usually enough to give a man the desire serve in the position if he is qualified.

 

Having two elders certainly qualifies as having a plurality of elders, but if something happens to of them then we will not have any elders until another man steps up to the position. While serving as elder can be difficult at times it is also joy as:

 

Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

 

I hope all of you consider serving more and serving in other areas that you have not before this year.

 

Also on my list is being a godly example. Everyone of us no matter good of an example we have been in the past can always improve in this area. So, hope that each of us make a commitment to do our best this year to be a Christ-like example to those around us. I preaching entire sermons on this topic, so you should know how important it is for us to be a good example to others.

 

As Paul told Timothy:

 

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

 

Last but not least, I hope that husbands, wives, and children will all do their best to make their home a godly one and they will treat each other in Christ-like manner. This is another area that we can all improve in no matter how well we have done in the past. There is always room for improvement.

 

As I was thinking about this topic, I was thinking about how some go into marriage thinking that everything is going to be grand. I was thinking about how some men use their pick up lines to find that potential mate for life. I have heard the one where a man ask a women if she had tripped because she must be angel that fell out of heaven, but after getting married and living with her there may be time that he tells himself she didnít trip, she got kicked or shoved.

 

I have heard women say before, he hung the moon, but after being married to him for awhile, sometimes she might say I wish he was hanging on the moon.

 

I have heard parents say about the baby this is bundle of joy, but as the baby get older there are times when the parents might think this is a bundle alright, but not a bundle of joy.

 

Family life can be very challenging at times, but overall our family should be something we enjoy, so I hope this new year you will make a commitment to making your family more Christ centered and work on ways to make less conflict to happen. When it comes to our marriages we would do good to heed what Paul said in:

 

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

 

Children will do well to heed what Paul said as well:

 

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."

 

There are a lot of areas we could always improve in, and I hope that you will seriously consider some of the ones I have presented in this lesson today because anything we do better than we have before will mean that we are growing and do more for the Lord.