Starting over. No, it has nothing to do with writing again for the first time in over a year although it could certainly apply. I’ve been thinking through the events of the past couple of months, and I realized that “starting over” is the most applicable phrase that I can come up with for where I am right now in this new season of following God. These circumstances are directly tied to the house I serve in here in Rogersville; the truth is that Hope Community Church, in a sense, is “starting over,” too. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. We celebrated our 10th. anniversary as a church last year….a decade of ridiculous happenings that can only be credited to God. We couldn’t give the credit to anyone or anything else. It would be preposterous to think that anyone but Him could pull off the things we’ve seen! I believe that when we were celebrating 10 years, God was saying, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” And, He then set out to take us on a journey that, to date, will require more faith in Him than we have ever had to exhibit before. After all, how would He get the credit He deserves if what He asked from us was easy? God is completely into His glory, and He’s ready to show it to us in a whole new way in the dawn of our second decade.
I think that a cold, hard fact about people is this: we like comfort. No, we LOVE comfort. We settle into what we enjoy and know especially if we’re in what we perceive to be a good place….a successful place. As followers of Jesus, we do the same thing. I think about the Israelites after Moses led them out of Egypt; after years of slavery, when the thing they were doing became, in their minds, difficult, they reverted to wanting the “comfort” of being back in Egypt where they were “fed and cared for.” What?!?!?! That was a lousy circumstance, and they would have willingly returned to escape something they deemed hard and uncomfortable. In chapter 43 of Isaiah, the Israelites are actually being reminded of some of the very circumstances where God led them out of Egypt i.e. the parting of a sea and the destruction of their pursuers, but God drops a shift of gears into the mix. Isaiah speaks these words by inspiration of Him saying, “But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Think of it! God saying yes, I have done some pretty phenomenal things, but I still have more up my sleeve. I have new things in store. I’m certain God has now spoken the same thing over me….over our church, and you know what? I…AM…BEYOND…EXCITED!!!! Here’s the kicker: I don’t even know what all this new thing entails! I don’t know how it ends! I just know that I am moving in faith on a level higher than any I’ve ever had to operate in before. But, isn’t this the adventure of walking His trail? Isn’t this what pleases Him? Yes, it is! Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. I choose to believe that this means the higher the level of faith exhibited, the more joy and honor it brings Him. The more He is honored and we draw near to Him, the more He will honor that faith. Why? Simple! Because it brings Him more glory! And, did I mention, that He is all about His glory? We win, but more importantly, He wins! The world sees Him operating in supernatural ways, and they must acknowledge that such things can only be attributed to God.
I’ll write more about all of this in the coming days. Many of you will already know the whole story, but many won’t, and I want to chronicle this amazing journey we’re on. For now, will you pray with me for all of us as we move in what’s next? We don’t know what to expect, and we’re more than a little nervous, but we stand on the Rock, so steady footing is only a remembrance away. Trouble is that can be a pretty hard thing to recall when we’re scared or uncomfortable….sometimes it requires us to believe Him for what we can’t see, and that’s not easy for people like me. But, if I’ve learned one thing in recent years, it is this: I’m always in the best place I can be when God pushes me out into the unknown. It’s there that He has me right where He wants me!