Friday, May 27, 2011
Today’s Topic: Embrace the New
Today’s Text: Isaiah 43:22 “Yet you have not called upon me…”
God is doing new things.
That’s scary to most of us. We don’t like new things. We want the comfort of the familiar.
God is doing a new thing at our church. Last night I had a meeting with several people from our worship ministry. Our staff Worship Director is leaving for another completely different ministry opportunity. God is doing something new in her life as she moves by faith into an area of ministry she is totally unfamiliar with. She will be stretched. She will grow. She will be missed here. She will be a blessing there.
Meanwhile, we have to figure out how to organize our worship ministry over the summer and decide what we will do for leadership in the future. For three months we have been advertising for a part-time worship director but so far have received only one response. Three major Midwest Christian college placements services have produced almost no options.
Dead end, right?
The temptation would be to try and find a solution in our own strength. But last night at our meeting we began with prayer, calling on the name of the Lord for wisdom and direction. Not just an obligatory prayer, but a heart-felt one: sincere and humble as we confessed our need of Him. We called upon Him.
There are various responses we make when God starts to do something new around us or in us:
- We reject it. Maybe it’s too hard. Maybe it’s too uncomfortable. Maybe we don’t think we are ready.
- We embrace it, but for the wrong reason. We take advantage of the benefits of the change for personal gratification only. We rarely give thanks because selfish convinces us that we deserved it.
- We embrace it for the right reasons. We see the glory of God being revealed. We see the growth of our character through it so we become more like Jesus. We respond with gratitude to the One who would bless us so greatly with His goodness and grace. We come before Him and worship.
Every member of our worship ministry that attended the meeting last night stepped up to serve God in a fresh way. I was so blessed and encouraged. Is it going to look like it did for the past 6 months as Kristin led us? Probably not. Is it going to enrich our spirit of worship? That’s up to those who worship. They can embrace it as a new thing God is doing, or they can sit sad-faced and long for the good old days.
One of the most tragic statements in all of Scripture is the Word of the Lord from Isaiah 43:22. God has revealed new things to His people. He gave them a clear course to walk through the deserts of their lives, and provided fresh streams of refreshment for them in the wastelands of their experiences. The wild animals were blessed by the benefits and gave honor to God, and God fully expected that His people would give Him praise (verse 21). But they didn’t. They didn’t call on the God who gave it all to them. They gave God no thanks for the new things. They did what we do…they complained, and their complaining was seen by God as sin and it wearied Him (verse 24).
Embrace the new things God is doing. Be patient to see how His glory is revealed and how your growth is reinvigorated. Let’s reserve our judgments and complaints until we see the great things God does through these new things. Our pride in our way of doing it must be eliminated. It must be replaced with praise that God has blessed us with a fresh anointing of His presence and power to accomplish His purpose.