THE PASTOR’s PEN March 3, 2019
Dear Church Family and Friends,
Remember the Calvin & Hobbes cartoons that used to run in the newspaper? In one that appeared around New Year, Hobbes, Calvin’s stuffed tiger, asks, “Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?”
Calvin comes unglued and shouts, “NO! I’m fine just the way I am! Why should I change? In fact, I think it’s high time the world started to change to suit ME! I don’t see why I should do all the changing around here. If the New Year requires resolutions, I say it’s up to everybody else, not me! I don’t need to improve! Everyone ELSE does!” Calvin then takes a breath and asks, “How about you? Did you make any resolutions?”
Hobbes has this flabbergasted look on his face and says, “Well, I had resolved to be less offended by human nature, but I think I blew it already.”
One of the things I have loved learning and doing thru the 43+ years of ministry is writing. I am not very good at it, but I love to share good information, experiences and spiritual thought with those who follow and read what I write. One of the things I have learned through these years is that you can’t start writing a new chapter until you have finished the previous one. God can’t start a new a work in and through you until He has finished the previous or last work within you. God has new and great things ahead in the next chapters of your life and my life lived for Him. Sometimes, we have to understand and accept, God is wanting to close out the last chapter so He can do a new thing in a new chapter of life in you, with you and through you. Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV) 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
One sermon is preached, and another can be started. Sometimes when I start putting a sermon or a Pastor’s Pen or even a Bible study together and I open up the computer and there is that blank page I find it hard to start. I will often think about what has been on this screen last. And at times, the blank screen can be a bit intimidating. It is almost as if the unknown of what might come to the page is terrifying. So, how do we close one chapter and allow God to start writing a new one in our lives? Well, that is what I want t share with us in this Pastor’s Pen.
I would like to first off remind you that our Lord is faithful in making the new reveal itself in your life. He is the author and giver of a renewed spirit and can put a song of praise on our lips. Psalm 40:3 (KJV) 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. The Lord also makes new ways where there seems to be no way, even in the wilderness. But allow God to close one chapter and start a new one in our lives is our privilege and responsibility. The Lord is still creating new unseen opportunities and giving fresh starts every day.
I read an article online the other day, http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/04/17/10-quotes-for-turning-an-ending-into-a-new-beginning/ That shared 10 quotes to help one start a new chapter with strength, conviction and a mindful peace. Here are those 10 quotes.
1. When life does not go as planned, breathe and remember that life’s richness often comes from its unpredictability.
2. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.
3. One of the most peaceful mindsets ever begins the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change. It is what it is. Accept it, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; what matters is what you choose to do from here. (Read Loving What Is.)
4. The secret to getting ahead is to focus your energy not on fixing and fighting yesterday, but on building and growing something new right now.
5. Even if you have a good reason to be angry and resentful about what happened, don’t. Channel your energy into thoughts and actions that actually benefit your life today. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. Your world can be an entirely different place than the world you lived in just a few moments ago, once your attitude toward it changes.
7. The situation does not determine your response. YOU determine your response. Take a moment now to pause and remember who you truly are. Take time to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life.
8. Life doesn’t owe you anything else, because you already have everything you need. But you do owe yourself the courtesy of making the best of it.
9. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t waste your time wishing for a “better” starting point. Instead, make use of the real and present starting point you have, and get going. (Angel and I build proven, “procrastination-busting” rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
10. Be humble. Be teachable. The world is bigger than your view of the world. There’s always room for a new idea, a new step… a new beginning.
And remember, there are three little words that can release you from your past struggles and guide you forward. These words are: “From now on…” You can write that page or chapter to completion in many ways. Here is some godly suggestions…
CHANGE YOUR FOCUS — QUIT LOOKING BEHIND START LOOKING HEAD v.18 So, first, forget the former things.
If you are continually looking behind, you can’t see where you are going. If you are ever going to move on to new things in Christ, you must learn that;
First, You Cannot Depend Upon Past Victories To Sustain You
The question isn’t what has God done –the question must be: What is God doing in your life right now?
What is it that you want Him to do in your life right now?
Secondly, in order to Close the old chapter and start a new one in Christ you must know that; You Cannot Allow Your Past Failures to Possess You…. do not dwell on the past.
The children of Israel had failed God miserably. Every time He blessed them with good things, they returned to Him evil things:
God gave them the Temple – they gave Him idol worship
God gave them truth – they lived and proclaimed a lie
God gave them His commands – they lived like they were suggestions.
God gave them wealth – they used it to abuse the poor
God gave them Himself – they gave Him nothing except rejection.
The children of Israel did not deserve to receive anything from God. Yet He still loved them and He earnestly wanted to help them change. Notice God’s Message:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
God was not condemning them for their past, they couldn’t do anything to change it. Instead God was holding out the hand of hope. He is in effect saying: Forget about your past — I am giving you an opportunity to start over.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
If you are going to get anywhere in your spiritual new chapter of life you must understand that… You Cannot Live on Yesterday’s Faith
The children of Israel had experienced great spiritual blessings throughout their history. From the first Passover, to the crossing of the Red Sea, to the conquering of the Land of Canaan, to the building of the temple, the children of Israel had seen the hand of God at work in and through their lives. Yet their faith in what God had done was doing nothing to deliver them from their present situation. Their old faith was not sufficient enough to deliver them from their present problems. They needed new faith, a new vision for what God could do. They needed a new portion of the faith that had brought to pass all the victories from before.
Psalm 85:6-8a Will You not revive us again, That Your people may re-joice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, And grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will speak,
II. The 2nd step to starting a new chapter is realizing that what God wants to do in your life is to; CLARIFY YOUR FOCUS — DISCOVER WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOU. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Perceive means to know by seeing; care, recognition, acknowledge, aware of, understand.
What do you see when the Lord turns the page to start a new chapter in your life? Do you see possibilities or problems? Notice what God said:
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
The children of Israel had a choice. They could view their past and the problems of their present, or they could focus upon what God wanted to do in their lives.
In order to discover what God wants next for you, … You Must See Yourself as God Sees You.
This very day, you may feel like your past has made your life a wasteland but in God, your life can become a stream of life.
Romans 8:1,2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Colossians 1:21,22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight
In order to discover what God wants next for you, … you Must See Your Possibilities as God Sees Them
“I” am making a way in the desert …
God is able to transform the desert areas of your life into fields of blessing and abundance. God can take a dried-up useless life, group of people or even a church and transform it into one of purpose and grace:
Ok now, the greatest step to embracing the new Chapter God wants to write in your life is to
III. COMMIT YOURSELF TO GOD’S PLAN
God had already set into motion the events and people who would lead Israel out of captivity and back into the land of blessing. But it was still up to them to decide if they wanted what God was offering. If they refused God’s plan, if they refused to follow God’s man and where God was leading, then they would be doomed to remain in their captivity.
The text says: “I” am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
God has already set into motion a new direction and a new purpose for your life — will you follow Him?
Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Psalms 95:7,8 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, …
What about it? Are you excited even a LITTLE BIT THAT God, the creator of the universe is interested in doing a new thing in and through you? Some adults and churches have given up on finding Gods plan for them. Some may say, “Pastor Rick, I have messed up in my; life and God can’t use me anymore.” Others may just feel like they are chasing the wrong dream in their life. Why not seek Gods direction for your life and when He points to you and says, “I want to write a new chapter, GO WITH IT!
As I have resigned from Henards Chapel Missionary Church after these just over eleven and a half years, I remember all the good times, the many souls saved, the spiritual services we have had, the many, many baptisms, and the work done in this community and I am encouraged. And, I am extremely excited to see what God does in the new chapter of mine and my family’s life as well as the life and ministry of Henards Chapel Missionary Baptist church.
What’s one of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you truly want?
Right after a chapter of your life comes to an end.
And every chapter in life has to come to an end sometime. It’s important to acknowledge and accept this – to walk away and carry onward sensibly when something has reached its conclusion.
Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it – what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can make the best of the life that’s still available to be lived. This ending you’ve experienced is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way. It’s a point in your story where one chapter transitions into the next.
Until next week, Love and prayers,
Since I have resigned from Henards Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, and this is a ministry I was doing there, I will not be including any further Bible Quest Questions.
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.