New Year's Eve Comments

This message was delivered at the New Year's Eve service.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 starts off with "for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." On this night we take time to look back at what has happened in our lives. We all have experienced joys and losses.

In our cultural world we see a baby entering the world as Father Time leaves it. That shows you how much we age or wear out over the course of a year. For example, look at a president's picture at the beginning of his administration and at the conclusion of their time in serving.

You are no different during the year. You too have had great joy and probably great sorrows during this past year. This pattern has continued since Adam & Eve were thrown out of the garden by God due to their sins.

As we end the year 2013 take time to reflect backwards.

What family and friends has God taken home? What new life has God brought into your path? New Births? New Friendships established? Because of the nature of change we all have to reach out to new people. That is God's plan.

Ask yourself:

  • How have the relationships I have changed?
  • Have they grown or deteriorated?
  • Have I grown in my relationship with God?
  • Am I being faithful in prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures?
  • Am I allowing God to be in all my relationships?
  • Do I enter into situations that Jesus would be comfortable with?
  • Do I allow Jesus' teachings and life reflect favorably upon my life and my decisions?

In Matthew 25, We hear the familiar parable from Jesus. The King (God) is separating the goats from the sheep. How does he do this? It is based on how they (you) have responded in your daily life to those with whom you have crossed paths! The hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, and those in prison you see daily. Yes, there are those who do lack food and drink in our community world. Overall this problem hasn't shrunk, the need to help continues.

Remember not just physical hunger and thirst but spiritual hunger and thirst. We live in a nation and a community that many are well fed, but are starving for a vital and lively relationship with Jesus! They still attempt to live without his forgiveness and his love. Those who are in prison are often not in an actual physical prison but in a spiritually one, which has been self created. We are afraid to let others in so we build up walls to protect us from hurt, so we refuse to allow the love of God and others to knock down those walls.

How has your witness been spiritually? Do you share Jesus? His love and his forgiveness?

As you partake of Holy Communion this evening and again on the first Sunday of the New Year, accept the forgiveness Jesus makes possible so that you can forgive others as you have been forgiven. As you accept Jesus' love into your life and into your heart, then you are capable of loving others. Jesus shows us what true love is.

He loved people not for what they can do for him. That is the love of this world—conditional. He loved those who were not always loving or kind to him. He loved those who did not always think the way he thought, or acted the way that would please God. He laid his life down for sinners—people who are not perfect.

Take a good look in the mirror this New Year. See yourself as God sees you. He created you special, no one exactly like you on heaven or earth!

Yes we are not perfect—we sin daily, we sin often. But Jesus has the power and desire to forgive. When God forgives by the sacrifice of his Son, the slate is wiped clean. You have a new beginning. This is why we have joy and a hope. We can't work out our salvation; Jesus has already done it. This is what Christmas/Easter are all about!

As we begin this New Year, accept that gift: His love and His forgiveness! "This is a day of New Beginnings!" Jesus came to change you, allow yourself to be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit within your life, given to you at your Baptism. Don't allow the Holy Spirit to lay dormant within your heart! That choice is up to you.

Amen.

Happy New Year!
In the year of our Lord 2014

May God Bless You and Keep you faithful as His Disciples

— Pastor Rob
January 1, 2014