New Things…

Don’t you just love New Stuff?

Whether it’s shoes, clothes, books, technology, cars…the ‘ newness’ is special, and we love it!

Occasionally, though, we find a ‘New Thing’ that we didn’t like as much as the ‘Old Thing’ or the former thing.

Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to go back…no matter how bad that ‘thing’ was, we knew it; it was familiar.

That familiarity brings comfort, predictability, security…and those are good things.

However, the hard cold truth is this: If you’re going to move forward, you can’t stay put also.  You can’t simultaneously experience the fresh promise of the New while hanging onto the predictability of the Old.

The people of Israel learned this. They had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. They had cried out to the LORD to rescue them, but then when He sent Moses to come and do so, they often complained in the process. They had seen God send the plagues on the Egyptians, and deliver them in a miraculous way. They had walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, as the Lord held back the waters. They had seen God provide Manna from Heaven, Quail and water from a rock. In all these ways, God had shown Himself faithful, powerful, and attentive.

Yet, when it came time to go into the Promised Land, and there were people there who would oppose them, they got hysterical!

“Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” (Numbers 14:1-4)

They could either move forward or go back. Despite all God’s promises and work on their behalf, they now wanted to go back (like many of us do, they’d already forgotten how bad it was)!

In the New Testament, we read this:

One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast[f] like we do and the Pharisees do?” 

“Jesus answered… no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9: 14-17)

He was essentially saying that, when God was ready to do something new (as Jesus was teaching, modeling and describing every day), He’s not going to do it in the same ways as before.

I don’t know about you, but for me, when God is moving and His Spirit is stirring me up in a new way, I want to go with it!

In our lives, in our day, even in our Church, if we are going to move forward in a new direction with God, we have to be ready, willing and able to put some of the old ways behind us! That will mean different things for different people, but I, for one, want to be open to it!

I want to move forward with the Lord…and I’m excited about what He’s doing in me personally, and in our church! Let’s be ready…

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A True Friend

About 28 years ago, when Lori and I were planning our wedding, I realized that I had a problem: Lori had always wanted a ‘rainbow themed’ wedding, which meant that she would have 6 attendants dressed in various colors. I needed to have 6 men to join me, but I really only had 2 good friends! Even if I used some of my brothers, I was in need of another attendant! I found one who was a friend to both of us, and he stood in…but it was a little awkward because we weren’t that close.

What makes a ‘friend’?

Many things go in to it: Shared history, similar tastes or interests, shared beliefs…

More than these things, though, I think it’s the knowledge that the other person knows you, accepts you, and loves you–even with your imperfections. A friend looks out for your and your interests, seeking the best for you.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 19:24)

If I live that way toward another–accepting, enjoying, encouraging and looking out for, them…then I’m being a good friend.

Sometimes it involves seeking their good, even if it’s uncomfortable. If, for example, they begin to get ‘off track’ in some way, a true friend will care enough to confront and get in their way. Other times, it involves telling them the truth, even if it hurts a little.

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted,but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6)

One thing that a True Friend can do–if that true friend is a Believer in Jesus–is to point them to Jesus. If I care about another and want what’s best for them, I’m going to pray for them and tell them what I’ve discovered–that following Jesus is, in fact, the best path to ‘Life–to the full’ (John 10:10).

This weekend, KCC starts a new series called “Community: It’s Our Middle Name”. We want KCC to be the kind of church in which friends point friends to Jesus. We want one thing that sets us apart to be the fact that we care enough to reach out to others and tell them about Him. We want to share our story of faith, and invite them to experience the same. We certainly don’t do this perfectly, but we keep trying.

This week…this whole series…would be a great opportunity to invite your friends.

If you have a friend who does not have a ‘saving faith’ in Jesus Christ, invite them!
If you have a friend who thinks of ‘church’ and ‘religion’ as dry, crusty and dead, invite them!
If you have a friend who is hurting, needs direction, or feels lost, invite them!

Risky? Sure! They may say no and look at you differently…but if you’ve been a friend to them, that won’t change.

A good friend…a True Friend…will take that chance.

Be that friend this week!