Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do 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. Isaiah 43:18-19
Read the entire chapter 43 of Isaiah. You find all kinds of imagery of movement: passing through waters and rivers, walking through fire. And making paths to cross, pathways through the sea.
God told Abraham to move to a new country; Joshua to go to a land promised to the people; Jonah to Nineveh; and Jesus was never in one place at one time.
Moving. Kinda on my mind and spirit these days – so I looked up the average number of times a family(and I am a family- me and my dog. LOL) moved in their lifetime: 12 times. Twelve times!! And so I counted how many I have(including the next one) and it will be 12 times!! It is frightening, exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.
Where is this going Pastor Liz? Segue: how is your faith moving? Have you grown from a child into an adult in your faith? Paul spoke of how we acted like a child when we were a child and need to act like an adult – in our faith, in our mission, in our extending hospitality and compassion to those who have never understood what that means. So how has your faith moved from the child-like faith into a mature faith, still ever changing, ever flowing, moving from your prayer and Bible study to the practical hands on, get dirty and grimy faith which transforms the lives of others including ourselves?
“We’ve always done it this way” is invalid when that way hasn’t led to more life, greater growth, or maximum efficiency. Take that how you will…business, personally, church, or family. Complacency is too easy to breed, and already has one foot in the grave.” ― Aaron W. Matthews
“We’ve always done it that way.” That is powerful and I had a friend who reflected on their church that it was still run by dead people. Wow – dead people running a church? Zombieland in the sanctuary?
We cannot be that church, we need to be more like those whose faith was not just some head knowledge but was an action toward others through the calling from God:
Jesus – never said anything that he didn’t do himself – feed, clothe, heal, visit, lay down your life, bear your cross.
Mother Teresa – heal, walk among the most marginal and forgotten, love unconditionally
Martin Luther – change hurts but is necessary, scripture and prayer more powerful
Dorothy Day – feed the poor and unemployed during depression
Moses – stood up to Pharaoh to free Israel from oppression, God’s voice in the wilderness
John the Baptist – lived in the wilderness, paved the way for Jesus
Samuel – as a boy listened and followed the voice and will of God
And the list goes on, even many of today that had faith and courage to step out and risk humiliation, social standing and even their lives to fulfill the call to faith by God. They recognized injustice, lack of hospitality and compassion, and took on the status quo for change.
How can we as First Presbyterian continue as a mission to this community, beyond our rummage sales, Souper Supper participation and Coat Drive? How are we can we be the hands and feet of Christ outside the building we gather in each week?
These are the things to remember to take when you’re ready to move forward:
Pray regularly – Always start with prayer. It opens us up to the Lord and helps us recognize God’s presence within us.
Be prepared to take very small steps – there will be big moments when we know what God is telling us to do, but usually things will go slowly. We pray and listen. Sometimes, we may not hear God correctly, but when we’re striving to move forward how we believe God leads us then we’re living our purpose in God.
Be willing to say yes and try(one more time) Be willing to say yes and try: – God likes to lead us in unexpected areas, but trust that if God does, God will have prepared you for them. Grant yourself grace – we’re all works in progress, trying to live in the way God made us to live. We’re human, though, and won’t always get it right (I promise you that God gets it right). When the time comes that you realize you’ve gotten it wrong, back up and pray some more, read scripture more, and be patient as you fine-tune your hearing.
Always remember that what you do is for God – how blessed we are when we find the things that give us purpose. It’s not as easy to get to that place as we’d like. When we do, after a while it can become old hat and we may lose the reason we’re there in the first place. That’s when things begin to get tedious. Take the time to re-focus on God and follow the example of Jesus.
This is moving faith, growing faith, running through a dry desert and creating a river of life faith.
Are YOU ready? I am.
In God’s Grace – Pastor Liz