Doing A New Thing
Many are the questions I have heard about our congregation and its current direction. During prayer and my own personal confusion, I asked God to show me His direction for us. Would we die as a church? Will I loose all my friends? Why do I have to hurt so? I dread the phone calls and contacts that inform me of another family leaving the church. These events caused me pain and much hurt. I needed to hear from God, and I needed his sweet voice to calm my personal confusion. On September 26, 2000, when I awoke in the early hours of the morning, the sweat, gentle thoughts of the Lord entered my heart. God spoke to me a word in answer to my questions, and this message is the result of my encounter with Jesus Christ.
Isa 43:18-19 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. (KJV)
Isa 43:18-19 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (19) 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. (NIV)
The Holy Spirit revealed to me that God is doing a new thing in our congregation. Itís a same new thing being done in various locations around the world. The new thing God is doing is centered around body life, ministry, and church government. The body of Christ has not yet seen the power of the movement of the Holy Spirit to be found in God's new thing. God is doing a new thing and we have no idea what God is doing, but our hearts perceive His holy presence.
The new thing God is doing is springing forth even now in our midst, its growing, but we have difficulty perceiving the coming harvest found in the new sprouts of God's unique move. Why is it we do not perceive the movements of the Holy Spirit? Does our failure to understand the new thing of God disqualify His call, mission and anointing?
1 Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (KJV)
God is doing a new thing, and our inability to understand His movements does not disqualify us from being part of what God has prepared for us. We have not seen nor have we heard about the new thing God is doing in our midst.
Reference: Isa 42:9-10; 48:6
Rivers In The Desert
Isa 35:1-10 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (2) It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. (3) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. (5) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (6) Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (7) And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. (8) And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (9) No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: (10) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (KJV)
In 1976 Vintage Faire Christian Center was established with this chapter of Isaiah as its theme reference. God called our congregation to a new vision and hope. God spoke to Pastor Michael Dillman that the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 35 would be descriptive of the work the Holy Spirit would do in our midst. God called our congregation to:
Should we minister to the weak, the feeble, and the fearful, God would move in our midst with divine healing, and the lame man will leap as a young deer, and the mute will sing the praises of God. God also promised that inn the midst of our wilderness water shall breakout and streams will flow in our desert. In the early days of Vintage Faire Christian Center God wanted us to realize that our ministry would be to the weak, feeble and fearful, the outcasts and undesirables of the Christian church. We can never loose sight of the fact that God has called us to be a hospital church. Why do we think we can be anything else? The new thing God is doing in our midst will have Isaiah chapter 35 as its purpose and mission.
Isa 40:3-5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (4) Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: (5) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (KJV)
God has called the congregation at New Hope Christian Fellowship to make straight in the desert a highway for our God. In the desert we find the broken and wounded who need help and ministry. God called us to establish a highway in the midst of the spiritual deserts of the world. Isaiah 35:8 speaks of the fact that we will find His highway for us in the midst of the desert, not in the sanctimonious halls of vain religion. In the desert we will find our call. Its not fun being in the desert ministering to the wounds and hurts of broken people.
Matt 9:16-17 "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. (17) Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." (NIV)
Luke 5:37-39 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. (38) No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. (39) And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.'" (NIV)
Jesus taught a very important principle in these verses. God will not put new wine (new thing) in to old wineskins, because the fermenting power of the new wine will cause the old wineskins to burst. God revealed to me that the first reaction in local congregations to Him doing a new thing is the old wineskin attitudes leaving to find old wine experiences. People who enjoy the flavor of old spiritual wine, will reject the new wine of the Holy Spirit , because they believe the old ways are better than God's new thing.
Heb 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (KJV)
Heb 11:32-40 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (33) Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, (34) Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (35) Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (36) And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: (37) They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (38) (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (40) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (KJV)
We read in the Bible of the great men and women of faith who endured great trial and suffering seeking for the promise of God. These saints of old died in full faith having not received the promise. God promised a new covenant, and these saints perceived the coming of this covenant in the future. Several generations passed until the Messiah was born in a simple manger during a season of roman taxation, but each generation hoped in the eternal promise.
God is looking for trailblazers, people with the vision of faith, who will venture into the unexplored territory of the new thing He is doing in our midst. Are we these people of faith? New Hope Christian Fellowship has received God's promise and the root of that promise is found in Isaiah 35. Lets search our hearts for the faith to venture into the His promise.
When God does a new thing He also gives new wine. Our thirst for the old religious wine is predicated on the fact that the old wine is not as challenging as the fermentation of the new wine. The new wine of the Holy Spirit demands repentance and change. When God begins a new thing the Holy Spirit will examine the hearts of each saint associated with His promise, and the pain of self exposure is to great for many. The old wine religious experience is safe and conformable, while the new wine of the Holy Spirit will exercise our faith and trust in God. Are we trailblazers in the Holy Spirit willing to explore the newness of God? The trails we set today in the wilderness of God will guide a new generation of saints.