Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: J. Murdock
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Isaiah 43:1-7,18-19 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: There was a time when things didn’t need to change so often. The forward movement of technology really didn’t move very quickly, so we didn’t need to think too often about how things are changing around us because they really didn’t change all that often.
However, we don’t live in that kind of world anymore. Do you remember when we all had beepers? Or how about those first cell phones that had horrible service and were way too big? How about those first computers that barely had 64 megabytes of memory? Man, things have changed pretty significantly. And the pace of that change is becoming exponential. Every time you purchase a new cell phone you just about double the capacity. With the internet we now have access to all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. Yet things are still changing.
And this change is not just ab0ut the devices that we use or our access to information; it is actually changing the way that we think. Consider the following:
What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. (Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains)
All of this means that we don’t even think of God in the same way that our grandparents did.
Often, people think that this means change must be bad, and it certainly can be. However, God has always been a God that can handle change, has handled change, and at times, has even been the author of change. Everything changed when Jesus became a human, when He was crucified, resurrected, and ascended to heaven. Change has been part of the narrative of Christianity since Jesus, and will continue to be part of our narrative until He comes again.
The question is, how can you handle the change in your life?
We can answer this pretty easily; we look to how Jesus handled change. The way that He handled change seems to be that He not only embraced it, but He managed it. This is what happens when you begin with the end in mind. You begin to understand that change is part of getting to the end result. If you can manage change in your life, you have an advantage over those who are simply responding to change as it is happening to them.
Let Jesus be the change agent of your life.
Recalibrate: What is changing or needs to change in your life? How can you ask Jesus to help you manage that change, get ahead of it, and produce good things through it?
Respond: Take 15 minutes and list the biggest changes that are happening or that need to happen in your life right now. Pray that Jesus can help you manage and understand why the changes need to happen in order for the kingdom of heaven to be more clearly expressed through your life.
Research: Read The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.
Remember: “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
Perform the experiment demonstrated in this YouTube video. Explain to your little one that just like the Bible says in Isaiah 44:19, the colorful streams in your plain white milk are spread in the same way God makes streams in a wasteland. Watch this YouTube video.
Have you ever played with someone who is all about the rules? When you make a mistake or break a rule they never give you a second chance. Jesus is our second chance. When we join Team Jesus He shows us how to play. Jesus plays by loving the people He is playing with and He wants us to do the same.
I have a couple of young men in my life whom I love and adore, Caleb (15), Johnny (9). They drive me crazy sometimes, but I do love them. When we are home together without a plan, and especially when they have been given timeout from TV, the iPad, or phone, my husband and I often hear those famous words: “I’m bored.” My Mr. 15-year-old often tells me how much he loves change—he says he gets bored easily and doesn’t like it when things are same old, same old—to which I reply, “Well, sometimes life requires us to have a bit of routine and order!” I know, such a boring adult thing to say, right? Here’s the thing: I believe we do need a bit of routine in our lives, however, I also resonate with my Mr. 15. I too do not mind a bit of change. I guess I always had a fair amount of change growing up. But there are some changes that are not necessarily great, and I would imagine you can think of some too. You will hear this statement often: God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! That is true; He’s God of the beginning and the end! But here’s what is really great about God—because He is amazingly creative He has the ability to work with the changes in our world and lives. Life is never boring with God. It is always an adventure! As I said earlier this week, you guys are living in a constantly changing world, and you are part of a church community that you sometimes wish would change more quickly. But remember that change simply for the sake of change is not necessarily helpful nor productive. As you trust in your amazing God with all the changes that are certain to happen in your life, you will experience God working in your life through the changes. He will use you through everything that happens in your life if you let Him.
While I was a college student I found a really easy way to make extra money: sell books online. I would go to the local thrift store at the end of each semester, buy books and resell them for more money on Amazon. When I created a listing online, I had to answer a series of questions. The one that determined how much I would make on a sale was the condition of the book. I could choose from new, like new, very good, good, and acceptable. While I was always selling used books if I wanted to make more money I had to list the book as either “like new” or “very good.” This was a hard one to argue because how do you claim that a book is like new when it’s used? How can something be like new—isn’t it either new or not? This is the beauty of God transforming us into a new thing. We are not going to be “somewhat new” or “close to new.” What is something new you own?
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.