1 – A New You
Today you will start this week of reflection with a walk-through of
Scriptures that show you all that God is making new in your life. Hint: It’s a lot! By the time God is done, you are really new. It’s a take your breath away kind of new. It’s a fall down on your knees in love, worship, and gratitude kind of new.
So, today is simple (and exciting). Look up each passage. They are short. Read them and discover what God has made new and is making new in you. Jot down the word or phrase you notice in each passage.
Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26
Revelation 2:17 (What does this imply?)
Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9-10
Ephesians 2:15 (really 2:14-22, but verse 15 is core)
(This one is what you are part of. It’s new, too.)
Isaiah 40:31, 41:1, and 57:10
PUT IT IN TO PRACTICE: Change your mindset. You are NEW in Jesus. Rejoice and be glad. Receive, claim, walk in, believe, anticipate all that is new in you through Jesus. Christ is yours. You are Christ’s. The best is yet to come for you. (Hint: See Job 14:14 for an Old Testament whisper of what is to come.)
2 – All Things New
Matthew 19:27-30; Revelation 21:5 (21:1–22:5)
All things new! Do you remember a few weeks ago when I talked about our missional God? His very business is to:
Reverse the Fall –
Renew the World!
According to the prophet Isaiah, God is always doing new things (Isaiah 43:19, 48:6). God is always at work (John 5:17) doing new things. Not only is God renewing you, Christ is renewing the world.
If something needs to be renewed, that means it is out of date, getting old, wearing out, expired, used up, run down, broken, not working the way it once did, no longer fresh, getting empty, etc. You can add other words and ideas as you think of them.
The world is getting old, wearing out, running down. That is what sin does. Entropy is at work. The world is not the way it was supposed to be. It needs to be renewed. People are not the way they are supposed to be. They need to be renewed. Marriages and families are not the way they are supposed to be. They need to be renewed. The systems and structures of society and culture – the same is true for them.
The very earth itself groans in anticipation of being renewed (see Romans 8:18-30). Bob Dylan sang, “Everything is broken.” (Google the lyrics.) Everything is broken! That is why God is at work to:
Reverse the Fall –
Renew the World!
DISCERN: Today, pay attention to everything around you. What isn’t working the way it is meant to work? What’s gone wrong that needs to be set right? Who is hurting that needs help? Keep your eyes open.
PRAY: Reread Romans 8:24-30. This is our calling, to pray for all that is broken; to believe God is at work in all things; to live with faith, hope, and love. So, every time you discern something that needs to be renewed – pray. Pray for that person. Pray for that situation. Pray for God to be at work.
REFLECT: What are the broken, in need of renewal people and places, that are most on your heart? Not only are you to pray for them and trust God for their renewal, but there is more for you to do. That is tomorrow’s reflection.
3 – All Things New – Through You?
2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2
This was a main passage in the Sunday message. If you missed the message, go to our website and listen to it.
But today, read these 13 verses carefully. Look for the three responsibilities or roles you are given.
- The ministry of reconciliation (5:18)
- Being an ambassador of Christ (5:20)
- A co-worker with God (6:1)
REFLECT: Take a few minutes and write out a sentence or two explaining each responsibility. Then for each description say, “This is who I am, this is what I am to do, by God’s good grace.”
At the core of these descriptions is the reality that it is through you that God wants to demonstrate the newness of life in Christ. And it is through you that God wants to invite others to participate in that same newness.
HEADS UP: In the coming weeks, you will learn more ways that God will use you as his agents-ambassadors of shalom, compassion, healing, justice; that is, Making All Things New.
REFLECT: For today, this is part of your wonderfully new identity. This is who you are. This is what you are to do. This is meaning and this is purpose, and it is extraordinary. God wants to renew others through you.
CONSIDER: So, 24/7 you are a walking, growing story of God’s New Creation. May you live your story very well before everyone you encounter.
CONSIDER FURTHER: There are those special few people who are your particular assignments. You are significantly placed in their lives to be the primary agent through whom God will work. Who are those particular and special people in your life (and who is the Just One person) that you want to pray for and be used by God so they, too, become a New Creation in Jesus? Write their names below and take time to pray for them. Then plan to connect, love, and serve them.
4 – Already, But Not Yet
God is at work right now. God is already making all things new. He is making a new you. He is creating a new community called the Church. He is working (in part through you) to change the world, to repair and to heal the world.
But it is painfully obvious that while it has already begun, it is not yet done. Not even close. The best is yet to come, but that means the best is not yet here.
That means we live with great tension and longing. It also means we live with confusion and uncertainty. It also means we must live with great faith, hope, and love.
The passage for today is one of the most clear explanations of how we are to live in the tension of God already at work, but not yet done working.
READ & STUDY & LIVE: Read the passage again. As you read it, look for the main ideas that show how Paul understands and lives in this
reality of already, but not yet. Make a short list of best ideas and best
practices for your life. Now, live today in light of these truths and may God bless you and keep you, cause his face to shine upon you, and be with you now and forever. Amen.
CONSIDER: Read the poem “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins and be full of hope. Read it out loud several times. Feel the words as you speak them. God is at work and he will complete what he has begun.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
- Songs We Sing
Other Messages in Series