The first Sunday of Epiphany: January 7, 2024

Holy Trinity Church – Tom Mount

 

Scripture – Daniel 9:1-19

Introduction

  1. The new year is a good time to take stock. We need to have Daniel’s heart.
  2. Let’s take look back on 2023 and ahead to 2024 to get our bearings. We’ll do so through three lenses: the world, the Church of Christ and your personal journey.

A look back on 2023

The world

  • The international front: Iran, No Korea, China; Ukraine (Feb ‘22), Israel (Oct ‘23)
  • The domestic front: worsening economic challenges (inflation, monetary policy, energy policy, tax policy), political fractiousness (incivility, indictments, bi-coastal vs. heartland values), cultural disintegration (tribalism, transgenderism, ex: drag queen reading hour), sanctioned lawlessness (retail theft, open borders, jihadism, ex: plagiarism).
  • Closer to home: CUSD policies of circumventing parents and sexualizing kids.

The Church of Christ

  • Negative: Biblical infidelity (UK UMC; personality cult and leadership failures), decline in numbers and influence in West.
  • Positive: Growth in non-Western world, some recent signs of life in West (spring college campus renewals, Church of Chico events).
  • The Lord is “sifting,” “pruning,” “disciplining,” “refining,” “judging” his Church (e.g., Lk 22:31; John 15:2; Rev 3:19; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:17). 

Your personal journey

  • For some, 2023 was a very challenging year. Has the Lord used your hardships to refine your character and priorities?
  • Where were you with the Lord 12 months ago? Where are you now?
  • What areas have you grown in? What areas do you still need to grow in?
  • What behaviors and attitudes are keeping you from becoming more Christlike?
  • Talk to God: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10).
  • There is no time for “business as usual.” If you’ve been straddling the spiritual fence, it’s time to get off! You’re not going to get away with compromising for long.

A look ahead to 2024

The World

  • How likely is a substantial change in the Ukraine war, Israeli war and the American culture wars apart from God’s sovereign intervention?
  • What we can do to cooperate with God’s purposes: live godly lives, pray continuously, get informed, vote, speak out for truth, run for office if called
  • Parents: be extra vigilant in protecting your kids!

The Church of Christ

  • The world will continue to persecute Christians both abroad and at home.
  • The Holy Spirit will continue to move where He is welcomed. A good place to start is HTCs weekly prayer meetings, the Church of Chico’s monthly prayer/worship gatherings (the first Sunday of every month) and the Ten Days of Prayer in the fall.
  • At Holy Trinity Church, we will continue to seek to be a faithful, obedient, worshiping community of Christ followers.

Your personal journey

  • Spend quality time each day with the Lord.
  • Take the next step in prioritizing him in your schedule (men’s group, women’s group, prayer group, ministry volunteer, etc.).

Holy Communion