See I am doing a new thing!
Four things God is saying to Hope Church in 2021:
- Do not dwell in the past
- In earlier verses in this chapter they are remembering how God rescued the Israelites before and in verse 18 Isaiah isn’t saying that those memories should be forgotten, but that there are new mercies and new miracles coming.
- For us in 2021, things are not going to be the same as when we last met in 2020 and that will be difficult, but God has been faithful to us this year and this isn’t a time to dwell in the past but look forward at what God is doing.
- God is doing a new thing
- Five new things God is doing in this season:
- A sorting and sifting between followers and disciples. Some who had called themselves Christians have fallen away this year, but for many this has been a time of growing and of deepening our commitment to Christ.
- Highlighting the importance of spiritual disciplines. Most of us in lockdown have more time and the question is how do we spend that time? This is an opportunity to re-order our lives, will we put in sabbath, prayer, studying God’s word, fasting, will we put in spiritual disciplines?
- Highlighting importance of community. The effect of the pandemic on people’s mental health is huge and will continue to be, the church should lead the way in modelling community.
- Highlighting the role of prayer. How many times have you felt helpless, down and overwhelmed this year? At times like this prayer is vital and we can hold onto verses like 2 Chronicles 20:12, when we don’t know what to do, fix our eyes on God.
- Jesus is the only answer. People are tired and fed up and there are so many things that are wrong in the world, but Jesus is the hope of the world. Like in the parable, so many people built their house on the sand and it’s now flat, but those who built their house on the rock still stand firm even during a pandemic. Jesus sets us free of our past, gives us purpose in our present and a future hope of eternity.
- Do you not perceive it?
- Isaiah is making sure the Israelites didn’t miss what God was doing and we’re in danger of missing what God is doing because we’re just wishing things will go back to how they were
- Jesus is at work and we’re not to miss what he’s doing.
- God will bring about his plans.
- In v19 God doesn’t say he’ll take you out of the desert, he says he’ll take you through it. God will make a way for you, his church and for his kingdom to come.
- God is with you and will make a way through this pandemic, but also says he’ll make ‘streams in the wasteland’ (v19), he will bring miracles.
- God will be with, will make a way through the desert and will bring about miracles.
Three practical challenges for Hope Church to play our part in what God is doing:
- This is a time for us to be persistent in loving one another and bringing good news to those around us.
- Exodus 23:30
- God works little by little, by being persistent God grows you little by little and as we love our neighbour little by little we will see breakthrough.
- We all need to play our part, the bible describes the church as a body and each one of us have a part to play in God’s plan.
- Let’s dream big in our prayers.
- The basis of our faith is on the empty tomb, if Jesus walked out of that tomb then nothing is impossible.
- ‘The more you pray the bigger your dreams, the bigger your dreams the more you pray’ – Mark Batterson
- The greatest tragedy of life is that prayers go unanswered because they go unasked, what will you pray for in 2021?