New Year’s Sermon 2021
At Forsyth Friends Meeting
Winston-Salem North Carolina
Pastor Tim G Carter
So, we are starting a new year. We are starting a new relationship together as a meeting, to do God’s work. So it seems that there Could not be a better time or better reason for a New Year’s Sermon and message about newness. The thinking and ideas for this message literally “fell in place.” I was not looking for them and they seemed to come at me from every angle and fit together. So I am hoping, praying and believing that will be the case for our labor together here, In Christ. That God has started something new. That God will provide the direction. And somehow over and above our understanding it will flow and fit together. Both the delivery of this message & the effectiveness of our work as a Meeting of Believers!
I could not find out exactly how many times NEW appears in the Bible. But I do know that In the King James version
* The word new is mentioned 150 or more times *
In the same way that blocks and mortar are foundational to a house and that the house can not be built without them. NEWNESS is foundational to the Christian message. We can not properly lay hold of the claims and life of Christ, without it!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (New Living Translation)
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
KEY POINTS OF NEW DIRECTION
>1- The idea of the New Year’s Resolution actually comes from a critical Biblical Concept. The concept of Decision. Without New Decisions, one can not truly be a follower of Christ. Godly Decisions are a Bedrock of Christian Commitment. Sadly, decisions are also a part of lives gone astray; as the prophet Joel observed.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14 KJV
But what decision should and must mean for us as Believers, is seeing and obeying the will of God. Our highest dream should be to fulfilling God’s highest plan for our lives! We should resolutely commit ourselves to making Decisions that bring Gods will to pass! These should be the matter and substance of our Godly Dreams & Decisions.
New Year’s Resolutions, Godly Dreams & Deterrents to Fulfilling them.
1A. Many don’t achieve Godly dreams because:
a-They give up to quickly
b-They forget to learn & apply new lessons along the way
c-They don’t re-aim on their dreams after failure
d-They don’t take realistic & definite steps to get there & last but not least
e-They forget 2 seek God 1st!
1B. Update goals, Really!
This could be the best time of your life! Our highest AIM should continuously be: Intimacy with Jesus. Yesterday’s goals are not good enough. Now is the day of salvation! For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2nd Corinthians 6:2
2> Planning with your significant other must be a part of New Direction. A man or woman who is joined in Christ should not make decisions without regard for His / Her mate.
11 But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. 12 For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God. 1 Cor. 11:11&12 NLT
1 John 4:7 ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
A man and a woman should seek what God wants together. To have any hope of real success in God’s will for my life; I must move in the context of my wife and I moving together. As I consider the future. A key question must be: Dawn and I? What’s the best, she and I hope for with the rest of our life? What mountains are WE wanting to ask God to move for us? Where is OUR Hope? Where is OURE vision? What do WE hope to achieve? Knowing that you miss a hundred percent of the goals that WE don’t make. What do Dawn and I hope to achieve together with the rest of our lives?
3> Live as if GOD IS HERE here with us in the right now. Because He is. New decisions must be made in the Light of God’s Leadership.
Romans 14:7&8 7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
3a> Decide next steps with projects in writing.
3b> New vision for 2021 – Let’s face it, all are Seniors in our midst. It would “behoove” us as Christians and Quakers to: Finish Life Strong On purpose…
BEHOOVE: It is a duty or responsibility for someone to do something; it is incumbent on.
4 > To be New demands Renewal. There is no way to become NEW on the Outside without change from the Inside. Christian Growth means changing from the Inside out. To change on the outside we must change on the Inside first. We must experience Renewal. ReNEWal is Indispensable & Important. What is it & how do we do it?
4A> Let God Transform You [into something New!]. How? ((Mental Renewal))
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2, (KJV)
4B> Centering in the process of
Mental renewal & spiritual growth!
#1- We can not move ahead in our spiritual life until truly we admit where we are.
#2- First things First is a good philosophy.
#3- A spiritual needs inventory is necessary, to reveal and come to terms with any habits for practices that displease God, as you understand Him.
#4- Theatre of your mind. Would you or God be pleased with a
public screening of my thoughts?
#5- ((SABBATICAL!!!)) just too busy??? cannot see what we need to do because we are frantic ? /We need to see things that stop
us from doing God’s will as a terminal illness. ((More later/See point 8))
4C> Persistence Pays!
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
Luke 11:9 NLT
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life” Rev. 2:7 KJV
Daily Winning in Life: Part of finding the answers, is learning to ask the right questions in the first place. Is winning really the right goal for a day? For certainty; Whether we win or not during the day is less important, than the more basic task, of doing our best with the circumstances presented to us.
We cannot always control what happens to us.. But when we look at those circumstances in the best possible light and make the most that we can of these situations, in the honest service of God and man. Then we truly win! Even if circumstances or the world’s definition of winning, don’t seem to indicate that we have prevailed.
So I guess what I mean by winning in the phrase “daily winning”, is not what the average person might think…. This most important kind of Winning, does not mean that we always come out on top. But the real deep knowing that 1- we confronted the situation with the light of truth and principles of honor. And 2- Did the best we could do in the situation with the help of God. This knowing is what “daily winning means, for me.
We should start each day in the light of pursuing this goal, as just the right thing to do. And continue the day pursuing this healthy task. Then finish our day with an honest review of how we did. Giving thanks for the strength and goodness we found during the day.
When this kind of truly giving our best becomes our normal habit. Then we can know we are daily winning and finding Mental Renewal. Regardless, of what other’s scorecards may say!
5> The Urgency in putting Christ first. If there was ever a day, in which it is critically urgent for believers to be about the business of the Master. This is the day!!!
Romans 13:11-12 New Living Translation
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.
5a> HOW MUCH TIME DO WE HAVE!?
Doctor: I’m sorry but you suffer from a terminal illness and you only have 10 to live.
Patient: What do you mean 10? 10 what? Months? Weeks?!
5b> What is a holding us back???
We cannot really progress in spiritual things. Until we get to the root of what we are putting in front of Jesus.
6> It is the responsibility of the Christian to make Major Course Corrections, when it becomes clear they are needed, as part of our NEW life!
Sad state of affairs in the lives of many, in our day. Consumed by desires. They have lost freedom completely & are enslaved to the choices they once made freely that have now turned from pleasure givers, to slave taskmasters.
6a>– If we discover thoughts or actions in our life that are inconsistent with the model of Jesus, then we need to make major life Direction (paradigm) shifts.
Matthew 5:30 New Living Translation
30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand[a]—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
6b>- deeper than casual times of soul searching
6c>- Mental renewal demands absolute honesty. We cannot really move on in a deeper spiritual life, until we have become genuinely truthful with ourselves, God and others!
7> If you are not already start immediately having a daily Focus time.
– A time when the subject of your own spiritual advancement and mental renewal is your primary topic of concern. A daily appointment of high priority with God and yourself. Not maybe, not sometimes, not possibly, but definitely everyday have this time of mental focusing. A daily Focus time = That is a much a part of your life as eating or hygiene, and you will absolutely begin to see mental transformation!
7a> Daily Prayer: -What Jesus Said and Did
Jesus taught us the importance of daily prayer. He said, “Always pray, never lose heart” (Luke 18:1). He also said to converse with God day and night (Luke 18:7). When He taught His disciples to pray, He told them to ask God for their daily needs (Luke 11:3).
Jesus set an example of daily prayer by praying during all kinds of circumstances:
He prayed at His baptism (John 3:21).
He prayed as He faced His passion (Matthew 26:39) and on the cross (Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:34, 46).
Jesus prayed while in agony, He prayed all the more earnestly (Luke 22:44).
He prayed during sad times, like at the tomb of His friend Lazarus.
He prayed all night before He chose His disciples (Luke 6:12).
He prayed when He broke bread & gave it to others to eat (John 6:11).
Jesus made it a priority to pray. “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16), or He sent the crowds away & “went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23). We also read that Jesus rose “very early in the morning” & “went off to a solitary place where He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
7b> Daily Prayer: What Else the Bible Says about it!
The Bible tells us to pray on all occasions, making our requests known to God (Ephesians 6:18). Scripture tells us to pray without stopping (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It tells us never to worry about anything, and to thank God for what He has already provided (Philippians 4:6). and in Matthew 6:11 Jesus tells us to ask the Father for our daily bread. Psalm 5:3 tells us to start our day in the morning praying.. in Psalms 14 2 talks about offering our evening sacrifice of Prayer.
Bottom line period a dynamic prayer life will lead to our mental renewal and Spiritual fellowship with Christ.
If you are a spiritual novice or rookie, I guarantee you if you will spend 10 to 15 minutes a day, for 30 days in consistent prayer on your knees, there will be changes in your life beyond anything you can imagine.
Reference: Ecclesiastes 3:10 & Col. 3:23
Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,
I hate it when people assign me to do better and then don’t give me a means to do it. Sometimes life’s most difficult issues are made difficult, Only because we don’t know what to do. We suffer from a lack of knowledge.
>When a business is trying to assess their current state. And discover how to go forward profitably. The first order of business is an inventory. This is a prerequisite, 2 refined business goals. In our personal, professional and spiritual lives. It is often the same way. In order to move forward in our spiritual life, we need a spiritual needs inventory.
>Until we know what to do, we cannot move forward. There is obviously something amiss, when we feel that our lives are out of whack. But what is it? And this is the big dilemma that most of us face at different points in our life.
>Our waterloo’s are not meant to be stopping points. But points that help us to reframe the perspective that we have on living. To see our current circumstances correctly, we have to step back and gain some objectivity. The old saying is that we can’t see the forest for the trees. And this is often true.
>We need to step back from our situation. And look for a fresh perspective. In this way God helps us to find improved approaches to the situation. Often it is not the situation that needs changing but our perspective of the situation. How we look at it. The same circumstance can be looked at as a horrible demise. Or as an opportunity for growth and development. /// Our best inventory is done through steeped times and seasons of soul-searching prayer.
8> SABBATICALs: are a seldom practice but extremely effective Major life correction tool.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Covid-19 has forced many of us to have an abundance of secluded time. But have we done what we could have with it?
8a>Needed: A different lens.. It’s not a different set of eyes that we need. But a different lens that we need.
8b> But it takes time and an intentionally different approach to see with a different lens. But if we want to get out of a rut and experience a healthier life approach. We have to deliberately do a personal inventory. We have to slam on the brakes with the intention of changing direction. And so, I think we literally have to take sabbaticals.
8c> Admitting failure as a step forward!
Sabbatical’s are Times that we stop and take a deeper look at where we’re going, versus where we want to go. We cannot keep on at the same Reckless pace that is causing us to fail, and hope to succeed. It has been often said; that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. This is so true and easy to see about others but hard to admit about ourselves!
Admitting failure is not always defeat. As a matter of fact it is often the springboard, that leads to a vital and new season of possibility. Perhaps you do not know what I mean by this term sabbatical. It has often historically been considered important for people to take one, in re-energizing a profession. To intentionally have a season of travel, reprieve and enlightened study and devoted re-education towards rejuvenation, in the field Ministry or other life callings.
8d> Reframing the picture of life.
Mentoring: often a really nice picture deserves if not Demands a really nice frame! Otherwise the picture will not look right!
We often need to assess and design our own means of healthy well-being. And this often leads to a discussion around the idea of the need for variations of sabbatical, to achieve life reframing.
>A form of this might be exactly what you need. The prescription for your personal and spiritual growth from this point exists!, as a promise of God! John 10:10. LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY. And it likely resides within your own heart and mind. But you may have to stop what you’re doing and have a season of deep reflection, pondering and searching; to find these meaningful answers that you need.
>The point I’m making is that your answers are there. God will show them to you. But there’s no Small Wonder in His instruction to “seek and you shall find.” The deepest Avenues of life will not come to us flippantly. They only show themselves, when we deeply resolve to seek earnestly, as our Master Jesus has instructed.
8 verses Showing the importance of Deep Soul Searching
1. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
2. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
8 vs.’s Showing the importance of Deep Soul Searching- CONTINUED
3. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
4. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
5. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
6. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” – Psalm 46:1-3
7. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3
8. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary,but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
>So I assign you my friends, to accept no less than your best in this life! But with the assignment, I prescribe the means for you to achieve it. And that is to deliberately and wholeheartedly, have your own season or seasons, of soul searching and redirection. Call them sabbaticals. Call them whatever you want. But don’t accidentally think you will find God’s will in your life. Let it be your very own purpose and deliberate decision; that you seek to find your call and Direction in life! So help you, God!
9> Hang Tight – Do Right!
Sometimes the new thing that we need is to Double Down and more clearly Focus on the path that God has already put us on!
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 KJV
Give Up The Shortcuts – GUTS #35 Posted on July 24, 2013
9>1. ShortCuts are often dangerous – I have had an abundance of proof texts in my life to make me aware of this fact.
In my twenties, I used to go on fishing and camping canoe trips. On one of these trips on the New River, I ignored my father’s advice to wait till he could get the boat empty of water, from the rapids to get to me and decided to cross the river in an unsafe place. I fought with every thing I had. I threw away my favorite fishing rod. I kicked off my shoes. I used every ounce of energy in me. I repeatedly yelled for help, as I saw that I was in increasing trouble. I gave it all I had but it was clear that I would not make it to the bank and my father would not make it to me. I thought it strange that I would die, at such a young age and gave up to die. At that very moment, My father miraculously showed up and fished me from the water, when there was no way he could get there and it seemed that I would surely drown. I am glad my father was there. My shortcut almost cost me my life.
9>2. Shortcuts are only good, when they are the right thing for the right reason.
Yes, I know that nearly every computer game has shortcuts. Secrets that improve your performance and speed in the game and that increase your likelihood of winning. But in this case, the shortcuts are actually just part of what you have to do, to do well. But in real life, shortcuts are not a game and should only be taken, when they are taken for the right reasons. ((story of Tim Taylor & civil war game))
Excellence is a task of mastery. Steps must be taken precisely, in order and with great finesse to develop great skill. Shortcuts often short-circuit the path to championship. Great champions will tell you, there is no way around much training and practice to develop the capacity for great accomplishment.
One way, to make sure your shortcuts aren’t actually pitfalls is to ask yourself the question; Is it the right thing? This is the acid test to determine the worth of a course of action.
9>3. Shortcuts are no good, if they do not lead to high quality.
One of the great foundations of this country that I am concerned is being forgotten is the sign your name to your work mindset.
Early in American history; a strong work ethic was born. People literally used to sign their name to their work. We need this signing our name to our work philosophy today! Maybe you have seen the World War II images of “Rosie, the Riveter” that showed just how important, each individual person was, to the war effort to stop Hitler. Notice those ads didn’t just show a Riveter. They showed: ROSIE, The Riveter. It helped other people see that their efforts were important; when they could relate to her personally.
Each one of us should have our own personal commitment to quality. This ought to be one of the fundamental bedrocks of the high estate of being human. We should each try our best, to be our best each day. This is not rocket-science. Yet, our world would literally be revolutionized overnight; if everyone would follow this simple axiom.
9>4. Greatness should not be a goal just for the famous and it is never won, only by shortcuts.
My favorite quote was spoken by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. He said the following and it can not be said better: >
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “
More than anything I have ever read, this quote demonstrates the life of value is not the path of shortcuts.
9>5. Shortcuts can be an excuse for laziness and sorriness.
I remember when I wrestled in high school. As I ran till I nearly passed out and worked until I thought I would expire that the coach would invariably say: “No pain, No gain.” – – – Life has borne out the wisdom of these words many times. We should not be mad at society, for the price we didn’t pay. We should not expect more from life than the value of the seeds we have sewn.
9>6. Some things are worth the full price and should not be shortcut..
Historically, Quaker’s stood for a life of simplicity and value. I aspire to do this today. I want NOT to shortcut being a man of conscience and worth.
It seems that people will do anything for a deal. Yet, when presented the opportunity to obtain value and real worth; there is no discount. . Whenever we do something to get what we want without paying the full and fair price for it; we can actually cheapen our soul.
We may get by with it at the time but it leaves mark on us. It defiles our conscience. We don’t really get by with things that aren’t right. We may get the thing we want but lose the peace we need.
I am not saying take the long way on everything we do. There are times, if there is a shorter, quicker way; it is ok; even smart. But there are also times when taking the short way is actually cheating us or someone else. In these occasions a shortcut hurts our internal sense of value. And the temporary benefit it provides is not worth the long term stain it leaves.
For God’s sake. For others sake. For your own sake.
G.U.T.S. #35 –
Give Up The Shortcuts.
>I thank God for the opportunity to serve this wonderful group of His servants. At this very special, place at Forsyth Friends Meeting. What a Joy to do what I love to do most [[Preach]], here at this place.
>I have told people that I like to preach like a bird likes to sing or a frog likes to jump. I certainly know, I have many flaws. But the grace of God helps me deal with them, and to become a better person each day, through His Holy Spirit and saving power.
>And that’s the very reason why I’m here. I have truly discovered the real, living presence of Christ. And I know that, what He has done for me, He has called me to share with others. And I am anxious to share this glorious news, with as many Friends as I can.
>So I Rejoice, that God has called me to preach at this church. Why preach here? Because, it’s who I am and what I was born to do! Because I love Him! And because I love God’s People! Please join us and spread the word for others to join us ,in the celebration of life, as we worship God together here, in Spirit and in truth! Pastor Tim-
10> 2021 Resolution! – – – A Prayer: As a NEW & ReNEWed direction: Dear God help me to keep my hand in Thine in 2021. So that Whatever this world throws at me this year, only result in a new and deeper testimony in my life, of faith in Thy Guiding Wisdom & Thy saving Power!
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
2021 Resolution! Peter asked Jesus to have him come to Him on the water. Peter was rash-impetuous & yet 1 good thing saved him. Keeping his eyes on Jesus. Flesh failed him but Faith saved him! We like Peter are little more than vain fleshpots; who still make it if we keep our eyes on Jesus! So my New Year’s solution (better than resolutions, which are often unkept) for 2021 will be to keep my eyes on Jesus. Only then will the waves coming this year, which have the power to sink me; actually result in my salvation & rescue & overcoming. The more I realize that Jesus is my surest answer in the turbulent storms of life: The more I will find that His merciful and strong hands will guide me through to safety! Dear God help me to keep my hand in Thine in 2021. So that whatever this world throws at me this year, only results in a new and deeper testimony, of faith in Thy saving Power!
In Christ, Pastor Tim- 01/01/2020