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Make All Things New

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Begin the service and explain.
reflection, some soul work, need for a removal of distractions

Make All Things New: Giving Jesus Past Failures and Present Plans

Welcome to our New Years Eve Service!
Welcome to our New Years Eve Service!
This morning will be different than our usual service. We won’t be having a regular format of worship up front followed by the message.
Instead the service this morning will be more about reflection and hope. It will be about leaving the past in the hands of God, and and placing our future in his hands as well.
Psalm 127:1–2 ESV
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Psalm
So our service is going to be one of worship and of prayer.
This New Year’s Eve service is really a series of three services connected by music sung by the congregation. Each section focuses on a different part of the Old Year or New Year.
Divided into 3 sections which I will explain as we go.
But I want to invite you to allow the Spirit of God to take this moment with you.
To allow this next hour to be one of submission to something greater than our failures and plan.
Revelation 21:1–5 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
One of the things I try to do in my preaching, and that Jon does his best to do in his choices for worship is to paint a picture for you. To raise your heads above your circumstance and find hope in the story you have been welcomed into and that heading toward this moment.
In the movie the Passion directed by Mel Gibson, he uses this quote. It is in a very different circumstance, but it is meant to point to this moment.
As Jesus is carrying the cross through Jerusalem, bloodied and stumbling, he looks to his mother Mary who has been following him through the streets, and says..in the midst of all this pain that he is feeling, that she is feeling; in the midst of the shame, and fear that his friends are feeling… “he says, “See, mother, I make all thing new”.
In the years since the movie, it appears Mel Gibson has got alot of things wrong, but he seemed to understand that Jesus statement in , seated on his thrown, is meant to be a hope, a handle, a promise....in the midst of our existence.
So we are going to start with worship meant to focus on the sovereignty and power and promises of God.
And then we are going to invite Jesus to make things new.
SONG
SONG
In the first section we thank God for what he has done for us in the past. In the second section we ask God to forgive us as we enter into a New Year, and in the third section we are reminded to start out the New Year with a solid foundation. Each section consists of songs, Scripture readings, a short reflection on the topic and the Scripture reading, and prayer.
The times of prayer, begun by the pastor, are followed by a time of silent prayer accompanied by a prayer station activity. For the first prayer station, worshipers are invited to come forward and light candles in memory of something God has done for them over the past year. For the second prayer station, the congregation has the opportunity to write their names on slips of paper and bury them in a bowl of sand, signifying God’s forgiveness of our sins. For the third prayer station, the congregation is invited to come to the front and choose a rock from a large number of rocks that have been spread out over the floor. This rock is a reminder to build the new year on God, the solid rock. The prayer sections end with a short corporate prayer led by the pastor.
Prelude
Welcome and explanation of the service’s flow.

THANKING GOD FOR THE PAST YEAR

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” CH 686, PsH 170, WR 84 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” CH 139, PsH 556, SWM 194, TH 32, WR 72
Scripture
Scripture makes it clear that we are meant to live a life of reflection.
That we are to.......
Isaiah 43:18–19 ESV
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Psalm 100 ESV
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 ESV
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
But if we are not careful we will come to the conclusion that, all God wants to hear is what a great job we think we are doing.
Scripture makes it clear that we are welcome to let God know our pains and hurts.
But scripture does tend to combine or aim lament toward praise?
Difficulty with an outlook of hope is the pattern of many of the psalms.
Pain with.... “behold you make all things new”
I Thes 5:
The prophet Isa, points us to worship and meditate on a God who..
Isaiah 61:3 NIrV
He wants me to help those in Zion who are filled with sorrow. I will put beautiful crowns on their heads in place of ashes. I will anoint them with oil to give them gladness instead of sorrow. I will give them a spirit of praise in place of a spirit of sadness. They will be like oak trees that are strong and straight. The Lord himself will plant them in the land. That will show how glorious he is.
Is
;
Isaiah 43:1–3 ESV
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Isaiah 43:1–2 ESV
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
So as we take time to reflect on this past year, we want to give you space this morning to think back to this past year of 2017; where you have seen God at work and where you want to thank him for walking with you.
Some of you have had children
moved into new jobs
bought homes
seen God at work in relationship
But it is true that some of us have
lost loved ones
Lost jobs
had brokenness seep into our relationships
and we want to take this time to thank God for walking with us even in those episodes.
So I am going to pray and after I pray and Jon leads us in song, we want to give you opportunity to respond, so during the song at some point if you’d like, we invite you to step to the first table here where we have unlit candles, and what we will call a Christ candle.
You invited to come forward and for a specific thanksgiving, answer to prayer, or even lament that you are thankful God has walked with you through, come and light a candle.
PRAYER
Jesus we all arrive here with a different take on this past year. For some of us we find it easy to echo the psalmist who proclaims you as shepherd; close and concerned.
For others here this morning, we may find ourselves more at home in the psalms of David calling out for a god who is near, and accusing you of being absent. Our hearts have been drawn more to lamentation in 2017 than praise.
So may the Gospel speak into both hearts.
As we think back on this previous year- we give you praise and thanks for blessing. For health. for safety and the unseen ways you have guided us.
We remember your sovereignty and your love and are reminded that whether we walk through sunlight or darkness you walk with us and that there is nowhere we go that we go alone.
And as we have walked through a season of light, I pray that the light that we have spoken of sung of remembered would take up residence in us and guide and comfort us.
Bring to mind now the ways you have walked with us we pray.
Amen
SONG: The Lord is My Shepherd
And
1 Corinthians 1:4–9 ESV
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
;
Meditation: “So Much to Be Thankful For”
Prayer and Reflection
During this time the congregation is invited to come to the front and light a candle in memory of how God has blessed them over the past year.

ASKING GOD TO FORGIVE OUR SINS

Often times, moving forward means cutting off attachments and weights that would keep us where we are.
For those who have seen the movie the Mission there is a powerful image when Rodrigo Mendoza,
He find himself climbing the side of a cliff, water pounding down on him making every step dangerous and difficult and on top of that he is carrying a net full of his past; armour and weapons, symbols of the life he wants to leave behind,
burdened by his past but wanting to move forward into God’s grace, finds himself living in penance with no intent of actually accepting the grace he desires and needs.
It is not until one of those he has sinned against cuts the rope leashing him to the burden of his past that it drops into the waters below.
Whether it is forgiving others. Or asking forgiveness of God or others
Philippians 3:8–13 ESV
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
Philippians 3:13–14 ESV
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But 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 upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philip 3:
Paul looks to the future with hope, not because of what he can pull off, but because of what?; the power of the resurrection; that makes all things new.
One day all the promises of the resurrection will be seen and experienced, but until that time, he will cling to Christ.
Forgetting what lies behind and straining (literally looking/peering) forward.
As we continue in prayer and worship, and move toward a time of turning to look forward, we want to be sure we do not carry any unneeded baggage.
To let the grace and forgiveness of God, cut us loose from whatever might hold us to the spot.
And we can do that because we know that God is eager to do so.
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
During this next time of reflection, as Jon leads us in worship, I want to invite you after reflection to approach our second table where you will find pieces of paper and a large bowl of sand.
Want to invite you to take those things that you need to leave behind, be cut loose from
it may mean you need to spend time in repentance; but know that forgiveness is on the other side.
Choose one of those things you need to leave behind, be forgiven of, and write it down to burry it in the sand.
Prayer:
Songs
Dear God....
“In Christ Alone” “Hide Me in Your Holiness” “He Knows My Name”
Scripture
Nehemiah 9:5b–37 ESV
Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous. “And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters. By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.
;
Luke 5:17–26 ESV
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
In Christ Alone
Prayer and Reflection
During this time, members of the congregation are invited to come to the front, and write their names on pieces of paper, and bury the papers in a pot of dirt or sand.

GIVING OUR FUTURE TO GOD

Psalm 127:1–2 ESV
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
“The Solid Rock” CH 526, WR 405 “Firm Foundation” WR 410 Scripture
Joshua 4:1–9 ESV
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’ ” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the Lord told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.
Matthew 7:24–27 ESV
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
There will by many resolutions made tonight and over this week. We are going to hit the gym, we are going to eat better, we are going to finish that unfinished projects.
;
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It seems fitting that on a day like this, we reorient ourselves if need be.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that when you use google maps, you can look ahead on the map to see where it is going, but then you can get so caught up in where the path might lead that you forget where you were, and you can hit the button that re-centres you.
Showa you where you are in the whole scheme of things.
That is how we want to leave here this morning.
Re-centring ourselves on Christ.
For some this might be a short distance of return, but for some of us we have let ourselves drift so far off centre, it could take some work.
Well the work has been done as we’ve seen. A past that doesn’t need to define us and future hope in Christ who makes all things new.
Including your circumstance as it is right now.
So the invitation before we leave is simply to re-centre and to proclaim as Joshua did to all of Israel in Joshua 24:15
After decades of rejecting God and living with the consequences, on the cusp of stepping into a new life in the land they were promised by God, Joshua declares....
choose this day whom you will serve...
Joshua 24:15 ESV
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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.”
Today will you let go of the past. Leave behind the gods you have followed and serve him?
And that is our invitation as well. Will we declare to each other and to God, that we are his in 2018; that before we face any circumstance, good or bad, he has established residence in our heart and soul.
As we worship with our last song, I will invite you again to spend time in prayer and worship before walking up and simply grabbing a rock, symbolizing your desire to be his.
The rock is meant to remind you that God is first, and that all that we allow ourselves to do in 2018 is framed by the fact that God is our foundation,
Secondly, it remind us that if we do fall, mess up, it is ok, because our worth is unshakable.
And he who makes all things new continues daily to be at work in us to make us new day to day; from now until we see him face to face.
PRAYER:
God we stand on the cusp of an unknown year, yet to be experienced and understood.
We thank you that we do not walk alone. That you are with us a the Scripture says and that as shifting as the ground ca seem at times, you are a rock and a foundation that does not move.
Help us to grasp you tightly and not be persuaded by anything that would seek to steal away the live and light you have given us.
I pray that throughout this year we as a church would trust you, would lean on you, would be prayer reliant and Christ-serving in all our pursuits.
I pray that we would understand more and more depth of your love for each of us.
That as we fix our eyes on you the things of this world that have clamoured for our attention and drawn us fro you, would shrink. That your light would drown them out as we fall more and more in love with you.
Thank you for the promise that you will never leave us or forsake us, may we trust you with our lives; our past our present and our future.
Amen
Worship:
Rocks
Benediction
As we have looked back at this past year, offered our past and our present over to God, relied on him for forgiveness and trust him with those things we have been unwilling to trust him with.
Now it is
Meditation: “God, the Solid Rock”
During this time the congregation is invited to come to the front and choose a rock to take home as a reminder of God, the solid rock.
Sung Benediction
“My Friends, May You Grow in Grace” SNC 288, SFL 234
Postlude
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