Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Happy New Year Sermon and Announcements



January 1, 2023


Are you happy or sad to 2022 go?

Psalm 16:5-6


Happy New Year! What is your answer to the question that is asked in the sermon title? Is today just another day? I would like us in our own way, to think for a few minutes about the year 2022, what are  your thoughts? For you, your family, your friends, was it a good year? Were there any special moments this past year that will remain with you for a long time? As I continue to ask questions of a more personal kind, compared to other years how do you rate 2022? I take a bit of time of reflection when we turn the calendar from one year to another. There have been some years that I would have liked to have seen never end. There have been others that I was ready to see what a new year would bring. The fact is in many ways it may be more symbolic than real that one year is really better than another.


In the scripture we read today we see an acknowledgment that God is in control. The 5th verse honestly states, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup you have made my lot secure.” When we consider how we believe 2022 went, we need to realize God is there providing us with what we need to live life. We are also given the ability to trust and rely on God for much of what we need or we can go out on our own. It is our choice. Verse 6 says, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Notice it says the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Again, pointing out God has allowed good things, even one might say caused good things to come my way.  I do not want to say God does not allow us any ability to make things better for ourselves or our families or make things worse. God gives us a lot of options. Which ones we choose is up to us. What I am saying is each year begins and ends with God rooting us on.


As we take a broader look at 2022, we can reflect on things that have happened in our community, our state, our nation and in the world. Is our community in a better place today than it was at the start of 2022? How about our state, our nation, this world we live in. Each person here this morning may have a different answer for each one of these questions. We all view life in different ways. God made us uniquely different, so it is only natural that not everyone views things the same way.


Let’s move on to one more question about 2022. Spiritually what kind of year has 2022 been for you? As Christians this is really the most important question. Has 2022 been a year in which you have grown closer and stronger in the Lord? Or has 2022 been a year that has been a struggle because it seems there have been more questions than answers. Oftentimes health problems, financial problems and relationship problems make life difficult. Satan is always trying to tell us God does not care about what we are going through. Of course, that is a lie but that is all Satan knows how to do. So, as I mentioned all those things to consider, what do you think?


Looking first at the last question about how 2022 has been for you and me spiritually, what is your answer? I would like to read the last five verses of the 16th chapter of Pslam at this time as you consider your answer.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.


If we can somehow make verse 7 and 8 our verses as we face life, every year can be a year full of promise and hope. I especially like what verse 8 says. “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand. I will not be shaken.” Man, if we can lock these words into our hearts and minds. Nothing can or will defeat us. The second half of the verse 8 says it all, because he (God) is at my right hand I will not be shaken. What a powerful statement of faith and trust. That is where God wants us to be.


So, as we begin 2023, let us be honest about what may have gone right and what may have gone wrong in 2022. After we spend a little time reflecting on that though, it is time to look forward to this new year we are beginning. There may be times of great joy and there may be moments of deep sorrow. There may also be everything in between. No matter what 2023 brings our way, if we allow the Lord to help us grow spiritually to the point we can honestly say, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” If more times than not we face every situation that comes our way with that kind of confidence, the Lord will see to it 2023 is a year of victory. Have a blessed and victorious 2023! The Lord is with you every minute of the day if we only let him.

Pastor Larry



Tuesday, January 3 9:30 Bible study resumes.

                        10:45 take down sanctuary decorations


January 8 worship in Fellowship Hall


January 11 Board Meeting


2023 Offering envelopes are by the copy machine.


January/February newsletter deadline is January 4.


Messenger Club subscription forms are inserts in this bulletin. Please fill it out if you would like to subscribe. Current subscribers will be renewed unless you tell Carol otherwise.


Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!


Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

First Sundays: food donations for food banks


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


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District: (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook

Keep in Your Prayers

Tate Sawyer; Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the congregations and the leaders in our district.


Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                        Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.


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