This is ‘what’s next’ for me

NEW YEAR’S DAY 2018 — On Christmas Eve, I heard a pastor say that a person’s life falls into two stages. In the first stage, we achieve goals. In the second, we need connection with others.

For six months, I had been struggling with a sense that I didn’t have any idea what my next project would be. For 40 years, I have moved seamlessly from one project to the next. As I finished each one, I knew immediately what to engage next. As I moved into this past summer, however, I didn’t have a sense of “This is what’s next.” It left me feeling a bit adrift.

The word about moving from achievement to connection was a good one. Below is a summary of what the Lord has said to me through the projects. I’m at a point where I have nothing else to add, and I turn my attention now to connection — looking for the opportunities to live out in relationship the things I have learned in the journey thus far. I covet your prayers and fellowship.

God’s Revolution God’s work in the world is revolution: bringing his creation full circle to the peace and harmony he created it to enjoy. God’s people are the ones who give themselves wholeheartedly to his revolution.

Journey into Justice Redemption, salvation, discipleship, and mission can be understood as a journey into justice: the restoration of peace and harmony for each individual and community, in keeping with the Creator’s original and eternal intention.

Multiply Justice God’s mission is restoring to his creation the justice he created originally. For that mission, he calls a people. He brings justice into their lives and uses them to multiply his justice into the lives of those around them. A clear process can be followed to join God’s global movement to multiply Kingdom justice.

The Better Life Many Christians fail to live out consistent, effective discipleship because they continually stumble over the same obstacles. The Better Life outlines a 26-week “pre-discipleship” micro-group journey to help believers take hold of life the way God designed it to be lived.

Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt Establishing a just, civilized social order requires an external, objective standard of justice. Subjective morals can only lead to anarchy and tyranny. The only basis for just social order lies in the objective truth of Christian faith, for which God has provided proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Divorcing Christ When God’s people trust him for salvation and walk in his ways, they can be completely confident their ultimate salvation is eternally secure. The Scripture warns, however, that those who divorce themselves from Christ will never enter his rest.

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‘Others were given in exchange for you’

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. (Isaiah 43:1b-5a NLT)

When rivers of difficulty sweep us off our feet, we must not let fear flood over us. We are precious to the Lord Almighty, and he will not allow us to drown.

In fact, he tells Israel he paid an awful price to make them his precious possession, that other peoples actually were given up in exchange for the redemption of Abraham’s children. I’m sure I don’t understand all that means, but I can understand that some of the people who came to the Lord through my father’s ministry were redeemed, in part, because of the family sacrifices we made. With all my heart, I want to say to you, “Please don’t take those sacrifices for granted. A great price was paid for you.”

Of course, the sacrifices I made, as a pastor’s son, pale in comparison to the sacrifice my heavenly Father made for me. Whatever deep water we are struggling through today, we should draw courage from the Father’s presence with us. You are precious to him. He paid an awful price to make you his own. He will not allow you to be swept away in the flood or consumed by the fire. Keep trusting him, and press through to the other side.

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