The interesting thing about this week of prayer that the church we’re presently going to decided to start the year off with, is that they didn’t actually spend any time asking God for anything… except maybe forgiveness. They called it a week “In His Presence”, and mostly just spent the time in worship–meaning music, praise, scripture-sharing. And you know what I think of that! :)
As one of the pastors said, you tend to become like what/who you’re worshiping. Think about that one.
I only went to a few of the sessions, but one moment that really blessed me, was when we sang “Faithful One”. It’s a song that our old church used frequently, and those first words about God-unchanging mean so much when your world is undergoing such “huge” changes!
Then this morning I come to sermon notes from Dec. 29th, which is about “Stepping into the New”–fitting for the new year, and for a new life! I remember that the message started with their senior pastor designate reciting the scripture reading from Isaiah 43. The speaker had asked him to memorize it (it must be something he does). The word “reciting” is not the right word either, because he did such a fantastic job of it, that it just sounded like he was telling you something from his own experience. Something he was thrilled about!
Yeah, so right there in my notes from the 29th is a reminder of God’s unchanging character. It’s part of “how to prepare for the unknown” (didn’t I just say the other day, that we have no idea what our lives will look like a few months from now?) The other things to remember about God, is that he claims us as his own, and that he is with us. (Isa. 43:1-9) Like Moses said, “I don’t care where you lead us, just don’t leave us!” Also, God is our Redeemer. God himself! There is no situation that we will face, that God cannot redeem. It’s what he does.
One more thing about God: he is so creative! (duh!) God says, “I don’t do molds.” (Kathy, Isa. 43:19) So now, Helpful Hints for “stepping into the new”:
- “FORGET the former things”. Do not dwell on past miracles–use them to stimulate faith, but not to stereotype expectations. (A message that was also appropriate for our former congregation.)
- “NOW it springs up”! Recognize that God is already beginning to work.
- “Let go” of your desire to be somewhere else. “Let go” is the exact term we used when we left our old church. The “somewhere else” we’re impatient to be, is established & involved in a church again…
- Surrender your idea of what the new will look like. This is something the congregation at our old church kept reminding each other about, as we waited & tried to be open, to see where God would lead as a church. It sure fits us as a family now!
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” (Isa. 43:18-19)