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Start Something New

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First sermon preached as the new pastor at Northgate Baptist Church, Florence, SC.

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TEXT: Isaiah 43:18-19
TOPIC: Start Something New
Pastor Bobby Earls, Northgate Baptist Church, Florence, South Carolina
Sunday Morning, January 6, 2013
If you have your Bible this morning please take it and open to Isaiah 43, and stand as we read God’s word together.
Isaiah 43:18-19a
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing…
God is doing something new in our lives. I love the month of January and the beginning of a New Year!
God loves new beginnings too, fresh starts. That’s what we are all sharing on this day. The beginning of a new ministry with a new pastor and a new future!
After 7 years serving the Lord in Alabama, and 15 years before that in North Carolina, the Lord has finally brought us home to South Carolina, and this beautiful city of Florence to start anew.
And we’re excited to be starting something new with you. In fact, that ought to be the theme of our next 12 months together, “Start Something New.”
“Start Something New,” was the theme of the prophet Isaiah during the 8th Century B.C. Preaching a word of hope and restoration to the captive nation of Judah in Babylon. Isaiah stresses the importance of forgetting the past and focusing upon the future.
“Start Something New” is more than just a catchy slogan, it is a theme for life! For some of you, the need in your life, your marriage, your home, your job, is “forget the former things, focus on the future.”
And for Northgate Baptist Church, and the Earls’ family, the message is the same, “Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing.”
It’s amazing how many times God talks about doing something new. The bible uses the word “new” 131 times. The Hebrew word for new in its simplest form means “fresh.” I like what the word of God says in Revelation 21:5,
Revelation 21:5, And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (KJV)
God enjoys a fresh start. God rejoices when His people work together “Starting Something New.”
Northgate Baptist Church has a glorious history and commendable past. We also have a pretty fair track record in the churches we’ve served. But if we spend too much of our time looking back instead of forward we will find ourselves like the one in Jesus’ parable who took hold of the plough looking back and failed to plough a straight row.
When I drive my car, I spend most of my time looking forward through the windshield, don’t you? From time to time a quick glance in the rear view mirror is necessary, but I certainly don’t attempt to drive the interstate looking constantly through the rear view mirror. None of us do that!
ILLUSTRATION: Kinda like the little boy who was listening to his SS teacher tell about how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. The little boy said, “My mom looked back when she was driving her car and turned into a telephone poll.”
One more Scripture passage and then I will give you three quick points regarding starting something new.
Do you remember Paul’s words to the Philippian Christians? Philippians 3:13-14.
Brethen, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
What is the mission of the church? Shouldn’t it be the same mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus described His mission in life when He said, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
From the very first introduction of Jesus at the age of twelve He says of himself, “Why do you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke 2:49
Our business as a church is to be about Jesus’s business. And there’s no business like soul business! Our mission is to be Jesus’ mission, reaching and winning that which is lost.
We need to ask ourselves if our missions efforts help us to fulfill His mission of reaching, winning, and discipling souls.
I love missions. You might say I am a missions pastor. I believe in the Great Commission and promoting Great Commission ministries. I believe the mission of the church can be easily structured by following Acts 1:8.
Acts 1:8 (NKJV) But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Our future missions strategy will be to begin at home first. Florence is our Jerusalem. Everyone within driving distance who is not saved is a prospect for Northgate Baptist Church.
Our Judea is the beautiful Palmetto State of South Carolina. We will work primarily with the SC Baptist State Convention to support and engage in ministries to reach the people of our state.
Then our beloved America is our Samaria. The NAMB of the SBC is our greatest resource working through the Cooperative Program ministries to reach a spiritually lost America.
Of course, the world is summed up in the phrase, “the end of the earth.” The IMB of our Convention is the primarly source of reaching the Nations for Jesus.
ILLUSTRATION: I commend you on your reaching your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal for International Missions. I promise you, in the coming years, we will be able to give more, go more, and gain more than we have ever done in the past.
God is going to do something new in missions at Northgate!
T/S—But that’s not all, we can anticipate starting something new in ministry as well!
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
Starting something new in the church will almost always create life and enthusiasm. Now listen to me very carefully. Churches cannot be shy when it comes to starting something new. Northgate Baptist Church cannot be shy when it comes to starting something new.
ILLUSTRATION: For example, we can anticipate the following:
1. New Sunday School classes targeting younger adults and their families
2. New Ministries in Intentional Evangelism efforts including surveying our community and church for prospects
3. New Praise and Worship Ministries with Praise Teams and hopefully, in time, a new choir to help lead us in exalting our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. New Disciple making strategies using small group structures
One of the new things I hope to do, beginning as soon, perhaps, as next Sunday is to conduct an in house survey. Two purposes: to get to know each of you better, and to develop a personal prospect list of your closest relationships who are unchurched.
5. A New marketing strategy to promote the location of our church and the ministries we can offer those who come here. A Community mailer, and a new Web presence will soon be available as a part of the new ministries.
One thing you can count on regarding our ministries is that they will be biblical and they will bring glory to God or we won’t do them. And every ministry must help us fulfill our mission of seeing souls saved and disciples made!
T/S—Finally, we need to ask the Lord to start something new in me!
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Spiritual Maturity)
1. A new quiet time
2. A new scripture reading plan
3. A new commitment to my church attendance
4. A new commitment to supporting my church
5. 4. A new commitment to sharing my faith
We have a glorious opportunity ahead of us. To reach forward, to begin again, to have a fresh start, to start something new, we must look forward and stay focused upon the church’s primary misson – people. We must provide quality ministry that meets the most pressing needs of the church and community. And perhaps most importantly, we must begin with each one of us by improving our own spiritual commitment.
Appeal to members to renew their own commitment to Christ’s Lordship.
Appeal to the lost to come trusting Christ as savior and Lord.
Appeal to those who may me interested in Northgate as their new church home.
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