We are all witnesses. We’ve had front-row seats to a continuing season of unprecedented change. We’re in a new place, and a new time. New responses are being required. The way we were following the Lord was our path to destruction. We were losing our culture rapidly, and we were so committed to our comfort and convenience, we didn’t notice. God, in his great mercy, began to shake us, to disrupt our patterns, and our routines, and our habits, and He’s not finished yet.
If you’re discouraged, or grieving, or mourning, I would encourage you to ask the Lord to give you a vision of what’s ahead, because I believe what’s before us is better than what’s behind. God didn’t exhaust His creativity in the first three chapters of Genesis. He’s just as capable of new ideas and demonstrating new things today.
I believe we have tremendous opportunities ahead, as we choose to honor the Lord. Almighty God has empowered you and me to make the future, not just to react or respond to it. Our actions today are the one and only way to impact what’s to come. I’m committed to recognizing the changes that have taken place, and that are taking place, and doing everything within my power to make a future that honors and exalts Jesus of Nazareth. How about you?
If we look at our actions—how we’re behaving, what we’re engaged in, and what we’re giving ourselves to—what is the future we’re making? Are we doing it with intentionality, and focus, and perseverance, under the direction of the Spirit of God? Or are we simply lamenting the future we’re watching other people create?
The Church is called to be a difference-maker in the Earth. We’re not passive observers of social trends. We are children of the King, on assignment as ambassadors of that Kingdom to bring reconciliation between human beings and Almighty God, the Creator of all things. We can’t do that by sheer force of our will, or determination, or personal grit. We need a power beyond ourselves.
Jesus came to demonstrate the Kingdom of God to us, not in words, but in power and authority. Throughout the Bible, people were perplexed. They never saw someone speak with the authority he demonstrated. The wind and waves were obedient to his commands. Demons fled, the sick were healed, and lives were transformed.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of sin and the power of the evil one met their match. Jesus said:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19 [©NIV]
We’re not held captive by our circumstances. Our past does not have the power to imprison us, and neither do our failures, nor the lack of power, nor a lack of wealth or education. Those things don’t separate us from the promise of the good news of Jesus Christ. Everyone is welcome. It’s the message the Church has for the world. Jesus showed us what that looked like, and then he gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross, that you and I might stand in that authority.
So, we need to stand. We have to stop being silent when ungodliness is celebrated, or Christianity is maligned. We have to find our voices. We don’t want to behave like the Hebrew slaves, who were delivered from slavery and then spent 40 years complaining about how good life had been in Egypt. They missed the God-opportunities because they couldn’t manage to adjust their vision, and their imaginations, and their expectations. We don’t want to be guilty of that.
To be honest, I don’t get it right every day. I don’t always joyfully say “yes” to the Lord. But I do pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to bring me back to places of humility, and repentance, and remorse, that I can say, “Lord, I will follow You. I do want to walk with You. I will pay the price. I will use my voice. I will go where You send me.”
We want to practice saying yes to the Lord, even when we’re walking in pathways that may not be familiar to us. We’re learning to stand together, and worship together, and follow the Lord in new ways. We don’t want to shrink back, or turn around, or go back to where we were before. We want to determine in our hearts that we will complete the course set before us. Together, let’s work to make a future that pleases the Lord.
Onward in Him,
Pastor Allen Jackson