4 points to guide you in 2014: a most memorable sermon

Our oldest daughter Aubrey headed back to college today at Nova Southeastern so we all drove down to our home church, Community Christian in Broward County, for the first services of the New Year. Our Senior Pastor, Scott Eynon, delivered one of his best messages ever — please indulge me as I share the summary.

The sermon was titled, “How to Make the Most of Your New Year” and one of the core scriptures was Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Pastor Scott emphasized four points:

1. Accept responsibility for your life, your actions, no blame game
. He emphasized that you will never reach God’s potential for your life by blaming others (a possible message for our own president?). The Bible even addresses that premise in Galatians 5:6, — “for each one should carry their own load.” I also liked this quote from John Maxwell: “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”

2. Believe you can change and set goals. If you want something to be different, first you have to want it, and second you have to commit to hard work, focus, and discipline in achieving it. Pastor Scott did a comparative analysis between the malaise of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:9 against the inspirational vision of Isaiah 43:18 (NIV): “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” I choose the latter and Scott recommended we all do. He talked about choosing spiritual empowerment over popular psychology and pointed to the promise from two of my favorite biblical verses, Joshua 1:9 and Phillipians 4:13.

3. Clarify what you really want.Pastor Scott used the base scripture of Job 34:3-4 N (NIV): “For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right let, us learn together what is good.” We m ust ask ourselves what are our values and priorities, and clarify what is important, as Scott articulated, “our values determine our vision,” — an appropriate statement for our elected leaders. Scott went onto say, “urgent things are seldom important and important things are seldom urgent.” I had a leadership maxim when in the Army, “if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” The key is a value- based system of prioritization that keeps one focused and grounded.


4. Do it now.
This reminded me of the Nike campaign, “Just Do It.” Scott spoke about how we procrastinate by using the age-old excuse that we are waiting for the perfect moment. Solomon’s wisdom shows clearly in this verse, Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV) “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” In other words, if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. In the Army we put it this way, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.”

In closing, Pastor Scott used Luke 2:52 to draw our attention to the four aspects of personal development: intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social. Focus on what we want to learn, what will improve our health, what will deepen our relationship with God, and how to improve our interpersonal relationships. Pastor Scott left us with three seminal questions as we embark upon 2014: What do I value? What do I want to change? What is going to last?

Some may just brush this message aside. However, as I sat there in church, God laid it upon my heart to share this message with all of you. I hope, I pray, that perhaps as you prepare for the first full week of 2014, these words can give you courage and inspiration, not just as an individual, but also for our country.

I leave you with these final words, from Paul as he sat in a Roman prison and wrote this letter to the believers in Phillipi, Phillipians 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.

My goal may be different from yours but nonetheless, I hope you will at least establish goals for yourself — and perhaps for our country.

59 COMMENTS

  1. A good Word. Thank you. I particularly like: Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV) “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”

  2. Thank you. I am posting regularly that ALL CHRISTIANS have got to get out and vote. How can have a Christian government that way? I am not trying to say the country would be Christian, but that FREEDOM OF RELIGION COULD BE RESTORED. Vote for men of character and that use Jesus Christ or God freely. The first order of business of the next president should be to sign an executive order (so commonly done by our present king) to allow prayer and religious symbols back in public, in the schools…..tell the athiests to do what they want also….except demanding taking down of religious signs, etc. or objecting to prayer in public. Let the Muslims do what they do in public. This country is in trouble. Whose dammmm idea was it to EVER demand a FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES to be taken down on anyone’s business or private property?

  3. My 90+ year old mother now recoperating from hip fracture last week, said to me, “I have lived a long time, it’s mostly been good, I do not know why I am still here, I told god I was ready!” I thought about that and told her, perhaps it’s not for her kids who are I their 60’s or the grand kids or great grams she is sticking around. Maybe it’s for her to have an honest discussion with our God and all that is in her heart. Then it’s up to her to set what goal she might have just for a day and know however she is, where ever she goes her life has touched many. Cuz this is where rubber hits the road!

    • We all are Christians, and the messages are the same for us all. Let’s try to find our similarities, not our differences. Have a blessed 2014.

  4. wonderful short sermon. Maybe some of us – snowbound in Northwest Indiana – can use it as a guide to set goals for 2014.

  5. Please continue to reach out to the many Americans like me who really value your kind and sensible messages which we pray will lead to a better world. I truly think you and your family are wonderful examples of how we all should live. May God bless you and your family in 2014. .

  6. Faith is a gift! At baptism we receive the gift of God’s grace. And faith is also a responsibility to live in this day and in all our tomorrows to accomplish what God has in store for us right now on the edge, perhaps the cutting edge of a future with HOPE. The words of your pastor share some key points on how one can live into the hope we find in a life with Christ. Blessings!

  7. Beautiful sermon. I noticed, few weeks ago, my pastor is recycling. Today was just condensed, version, of last years Epiphany, because of 1st Sunday. All most will remember, 1 of our beloved food pantry workers, became ill. After, his doctor checked him, during communion, he left by squad.

  8. Thank you for sharing. The verse from Jeremiah is actually about the Israelites being able to prosper while they were in exile — God’s plans were for them to remain in exile for a good bit of time! One could draw a parallel between their plight in Babylon and that of conservatives and Christians in our present-day America — do we not feel like we’re in a kind of exile? We need to realize, as you said, that we cannot languish or wait for the perfect time to build, to thrive, to grow, and to fight for what is right as best we can; we need to do that in our present circumstances, even if they’re way less than ideal — they are all we have — and keep our eyes on the future and the FACT that God is in control and we know he wins the final battle. Happy New Year, Col. West, to you and your family.

    Jeremiah
    29:11, New International Version (NIV): “For I know the plans I have
    for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
    plans to give you hope and a future.”
    Read more at http://www.allenbwest.com/2014/01/memorable-first-sermon-2014/#YeVklZDLtWQlADMA.99
    Jeremiah
    29:11, New International Version (NIV): “For I know the plans I have
    for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
    plans to give you hope and a future.”
    Read more at http://www.allenbwest.com/2014/01/memorable-first-sermon-2014/#YeVklZDLtWQlADMA.99

    • Exactly, well said. We must deal with the here and now. There is never the perfect time or circumstances. God will provide.

  9. Thanking God that He laid it on your heart to share. What an amazing message for the New Year. And thanking you and your family for just being normal Americans, unlike our country hating president. I’m hoping you send this to him.

  10. John Hagee’s televised sermon today was much the same! His was about how the American people have forgotten God by removing anything about God & Christ from our schools, government/courts, allowing abortion to come about, the worsening and degrading morals that started in the 60s thru the 70s, sending over 50,000 young men to their death in Vietnam as it was not a war that was intended by the government to be won, letting our streets become drenched in drugs, and so much more because Christians & others sat back and said “it will never happen”….and it all did happen. Now Americans are reaping the anger of God, as He has turned His back on America, unless the people speak out and take more action to bring America back to Him. So good when you see ministers on the same page! Pastor Hagee said (and was given a standing ovation for) today was that “we owe a sincere apology to every Vietnam vet because they were knowingly sent into a war that there was NO intent of winning”.

  11. Very Appropriate for today. Thank you for sharing this message straight from the Word of God!!!! God richly bless you and yours. I thank God for His Word which encourages and lifts us up. He loves us all so much!!!

  12. Allen I really do wish a Man like you would secure the White House. We, AMERICA, need the strong unwavering leadership. To once again be respected and feared as a super power. A President that knows the THREAT OF ISLAM, and will not let the muslim brotherhood invade the White house and the Pentagon!

  13. All Americans need to understand that Bible stands for B- basic, I- instructions, B-before,
    L- leaving, E-earth… When us Gideon’s hand out God’s word to 5th Grader’s we inform them of the above message. Thank you for sharing your Pastor’s message Colonel Allen and you are a dedicated American. If you ever need a military statue for a gift or etc. we have crafted original military statues for 43 years and they are not expensive . Our newest one is a large MEDIC. Our website is http://www.qualitystatuecrafter.com. Ha great week sir.

  14. It isn’t often that a person that has been involved in politics will share his/her personal feelings about a particular church service so open-heartedly.

    You, Col. West, appear to be the separation of the wheat from the chaff, meaning that you are able to see what is worthy and what is not, and to carry on with the best of what is right to find the balance.

    This country would benefit from a person who has the strength and integrity to share this type of inspirational movement in his own soul. Most men have difficulty with this, but it is what is needed … here, now.

  15. Just this past weekend I started to developed my goals for 2014. This speaks directly to me about finishing and implementing them. Thank you for your soft heart and your willingness to listen to the voice of our Creator! This has helped me today.

  16. Thank you for the re-cap, Allen. Definitely a great sermon. Thank you for sharing it with us and for all you have done and continue to do for this great country!

  17. Motivation. Encouragement. Moving. Thank you. Where are more God-fearing men such as yourself that want to serve our nation? Love that you quote scripture.

  18. Thank you for sharing these wise words with us. It was a wonderful sermon. Thank you, too, for your service to this country.

  19. This is straight from God to all of us, especially those who have become discouraged by the immense opposition we face. Thanks for your support of our country Colonel! God Bless you and your efforts to save the USA!

  20. Thank you Col. West. We are blessed to have you as a friend and example to all of us. Thank you God and please bless Col. West to be able to forge ahead on behalf of those Americans who work, pay taxes and vote but who have no voice.

  21. That was a great sermon and good words to live by. Thank you so much for sharing it and akso my tanks to your pastor Scott Eynon.

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