- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2006

The following are excerpts of a sermon delivered Saturday by Pastor Gene Donaldson at Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church.

This is a special time to be together as a church family. New years are a time of new beginnings and new promises. A time when we often take some assessments and make some promises. Whatever promises you plan to make in the new year, I want to talk very briefly today about four essentials for a new year.

I tell myself this is the year that I am going to turn over a new life. To improve myself physically and spiritually, but then somehow in the hustle and bustle of life I forget, and I suspect that I am not the only one to have that experience.

But this year, I want to suggest to you a resolution that is easy to remember. In fact, it is considerably broad. As God’s people, let’s promise our God and ourselves and our fellow believers that, as a committee of one, we plan to make 2006 a year for some definite definitive spiritual growth in our lives.

Now to help us on our way, I want to suggest four essentials for the New Year.

The first thing I would suggest if you want to make some spiritual progress in 2006 is whatever promises you make, be sure that you are purpose-driven. If you are planning to prosper spiritually, you must make a conscious decision to keep off the detours of life. Be single-minded, constant in your purpose. That is the secret of any spiritual success.

Secondly, you must practice forgetfulness. The Greek word for man is “anthropos,” which literally means the “up-looking one.” All other creatures look downward, but men and women born from above are created to look up with fixed eyes on the One who is the source of their hope.

As you look back over 2005, there are many things that are memorable, but there may be some things that you ought surely to forget. Forget your past sins; move on. Don’t clog 2006 with your 2005 garbage. This does not mean to act as if you have holy amnesia, not taking responsibility for your offense. It means to forget it the Bible way. Get straight with God right from the start of the year. Tell God you have some things you need Him to take over and fix. Learn to repent early, for repentance means you are being honest.

View 2006 as a new opportunity to learn from the mistakes you made in 2005. Forget your sorrow. Covenant with yourself to leave your disappointment , your unrealized expectations and setback that happened in 2005. Refuse to sound like Naomi, who said, “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me,” but rather say “amen” with the hymn writer Johnson Oatman, who wrote these very inspiring words “count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you to see what God has already done.”

The third thing that you need if you are going to make any spiritual progress is you have to be dedicated to something. If 2006 is going to be better than 2005, you must be dedicated to the pursuit of habits that promote your spiritual growth and prosperity.

The last essential is that you have to have is to be willing to share your faith. You will never grow spiritually until you covenant with God to put you in a position to tell someone about Jesus. [There are] 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months. I ought to be able in one of those weeks or months or days to tell someone about Jesus. Where would we be without Jesus’s birth in the fullness of time? We would have no example for our lives, no guidance, no counsel. What if He had never died?

We need to share the joy we have for all the Lord has provided for us. People are dying without knowing the Lord. [We should] open our hearts and minds and ask God to give us somebody. My prayer for us is that 2006 will be a year that each of us will make a decision to share His love and show His life in such a way that somebody in that time will see enough of Christ in us that they will want what we enjoy in Him.

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