The turn of the calendar urges us to look back reflectively and look ahead with an almost prophetic specter. What new goal will I pursue? What new habit will I build? These aren't bad questions, but what if there are better questions?
Notice the powerful promise God in Isaiah 43:18-19 (NASB), and you'll find that God Himself is into new things too...
18 Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
19 Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
New things are appealing and motivating. Many times our drive for newness (or our weariness of oldness) sparks us to shake things up a bit. We do this in everyday matters, and sometimes we take this approach in spiritual matters. Think of those times our spirituality stagnates. Maybe you're like me, and in your discontent with spiritual complacency, you've tried to stir up a new experience by changing something about your devotional habits -- a new reading plan, new prayer journal, new Bible, new small group, etc.
Again, these attempts may not be bad, but what if there was a better approach? What if the newness we really crave is only within reach when GOD is the One who does it.
After nearly 400 years of Egyptian slavery, the nation of Israel was more than ready for something new. Moses knew it, the people knew it, but only GOD could do it. In first century Rome, God's people were again desperate for a new thing. God sent a King of a different kind -- born in a cattle stall, clothed with the meekness of fallen humanity, revealing that love truly wins. Post resurrection, the redemptive plan of God needed a new church to bear the message of the everlasting gospel to the world in word and in deed. It didn't happen by trying a new prayer meeting format. But it was through prayer that weak humanity got out of the way for the power of divinity to move. GOD did the new thing. HE started a church that would turn the world upside down -- in answer to prayer
So there's a new thing on the horizon here in Castle Rock, CO -- a new church, a new community of faith, a new attempt to bear the message of the everlasting gospel in this context. And the best questions aren't about what new goals we'll pursue or habits we will build to grow this church. The best question is: Whose new thing is it? More than any human leader, group, or committee, this must be GOD's new thing. And if we start there, by God's grace He'll finish it there too.
Behold, I will do something new... (Isa. 43:19)