This past Sunday, a young man from Anaheim High School came to the church for the first time. I had connected with him at an event recently and invited him. After we finished service, I gave him a ride home and he thanked me for the invitation. Then he said something that I’ll store in my heart forever: “It felt like I am starting a whole new chapter in my life.” Here I was nervously thinking to myself “Did he like it? I hope he doesn’t think we are weird.” Meanwhile, God was at work. It was so encouraging to hear that God is still using City Church as a conduit for spiritual and life renewal in peoples’ lives. This interaction got me thinking…
What if God wanted to start a whole new chapter in YOUR life today?
Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” I love this verse. The first part of God doing a new thing depends upon whether or not we are able to perceive it. This is more than a feeling in our gut; it’s a divine sense of leading towards the life-giving ways of the Spirit. The second part is whether those who perceive it actually do it. The third part is where God starts confirming it left and right. Doors start to open. Yellow lights turn green. Finances back it up. People who love you (and love the Lord) say “Go for it.”
And yet there is a balance here.
I have seen way too many Christians make new things an idol. Acts 17:21 talks about this saying, “Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.” Bouncing from church to church, relationship to relationship, job to job, from one apartment (or living area) to another in desperate search of that “new thing” that will scratch the soul’s itch will leave you empty. We need to learn to be satisfied where we are. The new work(s) God will do in all of our lives will spring forth from a deep place of contentment in our own souls. Sometimes the new thing might just be a renewed perspective towards the exact same life circumstances we already have. Maintaining the right heart towards the issues of everyday life is a daily miracle in and of itself. That being said, we all love new things that help us stay focused on the right things.
I sense God doing something new in me.
Though it’s only a small thing, I started a new exercise routine in the early mornings to change things up for a while. That might not sound like much to you; but that subtle shift gave me a brand new sense of joy towards my whole day. I go to bed excited to wake up early, to work out, to worship, and to grind out the day ahead. Some of you might need a subtle shift like that in your life to get your joy back. Maybe it’s a new devotional routine. Maybe it’s finally opening up at small group. Maybe it’s plunging into an area of service in ministry. Maybe God has been tugging and you’ve been yawning. What if you dared to believe that a small spiritual shift can make a big impact in your life?
I sense God doing a new thing in the church.
There are new people the Lord is going to use to usher in a whole new time of ministry in our congregation for years and years to come. Folks who have been attending and participating for years are as equally jazzed up for Jesus about our church as ever. I also believe the addition of our upcoming Thursday night service “trial” is an example of the new work God is doing in our midst (read more about that here if you’re interested). Whether the endeavor pans out to be the right long-term move for us as a church or not, being a part of a church that is willing to try out-of-the-box things to reach people for Christ is amazing. It’s why I love this place so much. It’s why I love YOU so much. Sometimes the new thing God is doing in our lives is as monumental as meeting Jesus and experiencing church for the very first time. Sometimes a mundane and simple shift in the heart is all it takes to keep the spark of Christ alive. Whatever it is for you; I pray God keeps the newness of the Lord alive in you today.
P.S. Okay check out the cute kiddos…