There is something very exciting about New Year's Eve. I believe that it is because of the 'unknown' factor that it holds for all of us. That can be a bit unsettling if we dwell on it too long, but I want to just share some thoughts with you this evening concerning what I would like to see in 1993 for Grace Baptist Temple. In the coming year it is my prayer that Grace Baptist Temple be a:
I. United Church.
A. Mark 3:25, "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
1. Jesus made this statement to refute those who were accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub.
2. But the application is certainly valid for a church.
3. Paul dealt with the church at Corinth over this very matter.
4. They were splintered into various factions with different leadership and direction.
B. We are ready to enter into our 33rd year of ministry in this community.
1. For us to be effective, we must be united.
2. A football team is composed of eleven men, but the men do not go in eleven different directions.
3. They have just one objective, and that is to get the ball over the goal line.
4. Like the illustration, we do not all do the same things, but we all need to have the same goal! Glorify our Lord!
II. Friendly Church.
A. What will be our personality?
1. Some churches are proud and aloof.
2. Other churches seem cold and uninviting.
3. I pray that this church will be a friendly church.
4. Where people can feel welcomed and loved.
B. People will determine the personality.
1. We can do our best to make the exterior of the church attractive and the interior comfortable, but that will not accomplish our goal.
2. The church is more than buildings and furnishings it is people!
3. People make people feel welcome, not padded pews!
4. Love is what warms hearts not an energy efficient furnace.
5. The Scottish poet, Bobby Burns, one day was lonely and dejected.
6. He drifted into a church and sat there through the services.
7. His life might have been different, but the members paid no attention to him.
8. Maybe he could have been won by friendliness, but the members lost their opportunity.
9. He took a hymn book from the rack and wrote these words on the flyleaf:
As cold a wind as ever blew; A colder church, and in it but few; As cold a minister as ever spak'; Ye'll all be hot 'ere I come back.
C. Will you be a friend to someone this year?
1. There is a very popular saying that I'm sure most of us have heard over the holidays: "Friends don't let friends drive drunk".
2. How about us adopting this one: "Friends won't let friends go to hell".
3. Someday in glory someone may ask, "What brought about your salvation?" and the answer may be, "I had a friend who invited me to his church and they were so friendly and spiritual that I was led to Christ there."
III. Loving Church.
A. Where we love each other.
1. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." cf Jn. 13:35
2. We have the same Savior, serve the same Lord, are members of the same church, and will spend eternity in the same place...we have reason to love one another.
3. We need to get to know one another better and love one another more.
4. The Bible says "Do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith". cf Gal. 6:10
5. I don't know where I would be without you...you are my friends and you are my family!
B. Where we love the lost.
1. Jesus was the light of the world, but He called us to be that light.
2. Our purpose should be in tune with His purpose.
3. He came to reach out and touch lives that were broken by sin and to bring them to know the tender mercies of the loving Heavenly Father.
4. That is why we are here!
5. We will not be able to beat the lost into the kingdom...we must love them in!
C. Where we love missions.
1. The heartbeat of a church is taken in its missions giving.
2. In the past six years this church has given over $200 thousand dollar to missions.
3. Last year our missions giving more than doubled what we gave my first year as pastor, and it continues to grow!
4. To God be all the glory!
Conclusion: There really is no end to this message. I have many goals for the future ministry of Grace Baptist Temple. I pray that we will continue to be a Bible-reading, Bible-preaching, and Bible-practicing church. I pray that we will continue to be a church where the people pray for others. The coming year is like a blank page...God has privileged us with the opportunity to write upon it what we will. Should the Lord tarry in His coming...what will be written? The choice is up to us!