Speaking

Spoke at my church on Sunday. Not sure what you call what it was I did. It was sort of a mini talk within the pastor’s sermon. As our church is fairly traditional, no audio visual aids we used (hard for me since I used lots of visual language and I love creating slide decks) nor is there any audio visual to share. But I figured I’d post my notes if anyone is interested. Apologies for the awkward formating. It helps me to pace myself, pause for impact and take breathes at the appropriate places…

God created an earth that is constantly in flux. A river is always new. Every single day and night coastlines are recreated. The wildfire clears space for new growth and gives life to the forest. Decaying plant matter feeds the living.

We live in a world of creative destruction.

I refuse to believe that the God who created the duck billed platypus doesn’t long for His bride (the Church) to strive for creativity in her work.

The Psalms tell us to “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” and asks God to create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit.

Isaiah tells us that the former things have passed, and new things are coming and even declares that new heavens and a new earth are coming.

Jeremiah tells us that “the Lord will create a new thing on earth.”

Throughout Paul’s letters we learn that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Over 300 times the Bible calls us to the new.
We live under a new covenant,
we strive to bring a new kingdom,
Christ’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

We are called to sing new songs,
look forward to new things,
a new heaven
a new earth
and we are called a new creation.

Our worship songs, our hymns, contemporary Christian music — they all affirm this and yet in the Church (capital C) the Church, we often spend all our time and all our resources and all our energy doing the
same
old
thing.

And yet we desire to fulfill the great commission, to go out and create new disciples
in new places
from new generations
and we desire see our community transformed in new and exciting ways and
we long for God to do a new thing here.
In this nation.
In this city.
In this neighborhood.
In this church.

New is often unknown.
New is sometimes scary.
New always involves change.
The birth of a butterfly first comes from the death of the caterpillar and the struggle of fighting from the cocoon.
And yet the end result is beautiful.
The butterfly then goes on to bring life to plants all around the country.

Similarly, when God does new things in our lives we often experience loss.
We should mourn the good,
but we must anticipate the great.

Adapting and responding creatively to the new doesn’t mean accepting everything that other people try to make you do. When you’re adapting and responding creatively to new things, you’re saying, “I understand that God is at work here,” and you’re stepping forward to add your own contribution, that flows from what’s most important to you and where you see God working.

Perhaps the most important thing to realize about new things is that it takes at least as much energy to adapt and respond creatively to the new as it does to resist the new. Often we think that resisting the new is the easiest option, and that’s why we so often do it, but letting go, committing to the what God is doing and being willing to adapt and respond creatively is much, much easier, and much more in line with the heart of God.