Ok, we are 3/4ths of the way through 2020. We can do it! (Get through the year, that is, and anything else that gets thrown at us.)
It's been an interesting year to say the least, and I can say that it certainly has been a learning experience. God does not waste anything, including this opportunity to teach us something about Him and His plan for us. So, in 2020, we have been in the school of adversity, and we have learned.
If you were to pin me down and ask me what's the main thing I have learned this year, I would answer you with five words, four if you don't count an ampersand (&) as a word. Here they are...
TRUST GOD... of course, I knew that already, but the level of trusting God has gone way up this year. At every turn, at every new experience, we have learned more and more what it really means to trust Him. Challenges can either defeat us or grow us, and this year they are growing us in the area of faith. We have been forced to trust God because frankly, the problems have been too big for us to face on our own...which isn't a bad thing. And the encouraging thing is that at every turn, He has shown Himself faithful. In the years to come, when we are able to look back, we will say, "Remember what God did in 2020?"
My life verse is, and continues to be...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
- Proverbs 3:5-6
So, TRUST GOD,
ADAPT... This year we learned that you can't just run into a new situation, throw up your hands, and say, "It's just too hard," or "I don't know how," or "It's never been done this way," or "It can't be done." Almost every week we have had to innovate somehow, some way, whether it was moving our services online, or going to small groups through Google Hangouts, then Web Ex, then Teams and then Zoom, or observing safety protocols, or establishing new partnerships. You just keep trying until you get it right. Way too often, we don't even try because we can't see how to do something. This year we learned to "learn how to." Take our time, ask questions, find someone who knows how, give it a try, fail, try it again, learn, fail, Google It, try again, make a phone call, adapt, succeed.
Jesus said, "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins." (Mark 2:21-22)
...in other words, new times require new ways. It's a season of new things. New methods, new ideas, new technology, new pathways. That's ok. The core is still there. We can still worship, fellowship, grow, serve, and go on mission, and God hasn't changed. It's just different. It's different at church and different at school and different at home, and different at work and in the community and sometime different is hard, and sometime different is ok. (And sometime different is better.)
So, TRUST GOD, ADAPT...
& OVERCOME. It's not we do, but what God is doing. He never fails. He never worries about failing. He overcomes, and in Him we have victory. It may not be easy for us. We may need to change, to endure, to persevere, but that's ok. Through Covid-19, our offerings are up. Through Covid-19, we are reaching more people, in new places, with new methods. We pray together, face problems together, worship together, learn together, and overcome together. No obstacle is too hard. It's a new mindset really. We will overcome, we can overcome, because Jesus already has.
1 John 5:4 - For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
So, if we are born of God, we are overcomers and we have victory and it's all a matter of our faith in Him - our trust in Him which leads us back to the beginning - TRUST GOD.
So, here's our motto for 2020 and for as long as it takes...Trust God, Adapt, & Overcome.
We can because He already has.
See you Sunday (for some, but for others, you will see me, but I can't see you online so please send a comment or two of encouragement to one another and to me if you want during the service. It really is a time to encourage one another to Trust God, Adapt and Overcome.)