A New Thing

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

During the time Jesus spent on earth, much of it was spent doing “new” things. He performed miracles no one ever saw before. He broke rules of society that no one else would ever dare challenge. Day after day, encounter after encounter, Jesus did new things. The resurrection itself was the very definition of new: the only Son of God walked the earth, was crucified and raised from the dead, to finish out his work and call down His Holy Spirit for the people before ascending into heaven.

I have to wonder: would WE have been able to accept these new things, like the people in the bible did? Or, would we have missed out on what Jesus was doing because it wasn’t familiar to us? Do we still miss out today? God is moving and doing a new thing in our lives even now, but we miss it when we aren’t willing to see it.

He has the answers to our prayers and questions; He provides our healing and blessings. If we look for them only in the way they have always come, we will surely miss any new thing from Him.

Father IS doing a new thing in your life. Meditate on how He is working in your life right now, and ask Him: Father, open my eyes more than ever before, to see every new thing you are doing in me. Shift my focus, or my perspective, to line up with yours, because I don’t want to miss anything from you.

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Jimren Fuller. She is the Director of Kid’s Ministry at New River Fellowship and likes discovering clever ways to tell children about Jesus. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Faith Like A Child

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-4

Recently, we surprised our children with plans for our vacation later this summer. If you ask them today, they will give you every detail of our trip, yet they have seen no proof of any of it. They are completely confident that everything they speak of will happen in the exact way we’ve told them, yet they have seen no reservation confirmations, or plans. They simply trust what we are saying.

Why? Why would they put all their faith for this great adventure simply in the words people are speaking to them? Because they know the people who are telling them. They know us intimately, they trust us, and, they have no reason not to.

What an example my children have set for me! What would it look like if I responded to what the Father has promised me with the same faith my children did about our vacation? If, without hesitating, I instantly believe He will do what He says He will, simply because of who He is.

It’s not in God’s nature to make promises He doesn’t keep. I know this, I have seen it proven to me time and time again. Yet at times I still hesitate; we hesitate. We worry and wonder: what will happen, will it actually happen?

Can we take a cue from our children and take God at his word, simply based on who He is and what He has already done for us? Do something daring today: take God at his direct word to you. Remove your timeline and just believe it.

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Jimren Fuller. She is the Children’s Director at New River (Hudson Oaks) and likes discovering clever ways to tell children about Jesus. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Abundant Life

I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

Jesus didn’t go through the torture, the beating, the arrest so that I could live day-by-day, moment-by-moment, just trying to get by. He went through everything so I can have life and have it abundantly. The word “abundance” itself naturally contradicts the idea of barely getting by, day by day.

But if that is true, that he came to earth to live and die so that we may live abundantly…then why are we not all full of wealth and prosperity? Why do we have hard times and have people in our lives who are barely getting by?

To this I say: what if our definition of abundant isn’t the same as God’s? What if what needs to happen is not for us to fall upon fortune to change our lifestyle? But rather, for our hearts to seek out what true abundance looks like.

To the world, abundance is bigger houses, nicer cars, extravagant vacations. To the Father, abundance is more of Him. It is more of His fruit: more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What would happen if the abundance we seek shifts from the worldly to the heavenly, so that it makes us more like Him? We start living a life of fullness like we’ve never known. Ask God today to show you an area of your life where you seek worldly abundance, and reveal why you seek it. Use that as a jumping off point to shift this area from worldly to heavenly focus!

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Jimren Fuller. She is the Director of Kid’s Ministry at New River Fellowship and likes discovering clever ways to tell children about Jesus. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Worship Through The Storm

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
John 19:30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Luke 23:46

Have you ever had one of those weeks when it seemed everything went wrong? I imagine we’ve all felt that way. Here’s the thing: when we experience it, we feel as if it’s all happening for no good reason. It’s just a storm we didn’t ask for, it hurts and seems unfair. When we get to the other side, rarely do we see the good from it, much less do we purposefully look for the good. We’re just glad it’s over.

Jesus had a week like that, too. At it’s fever pitch, He leaned in. Jesus committed His spirit to His Abba Father and said, “It is finished.” You see, He knew the good that was coming. He had set His gaze on what was before Him, the Father’s joy and reconciliation for mankind, and worshipped faithfully in obedience. When a week like that comes for you, what do you set your gaze on? What carries you through?

We don’t have the ability to see through the storm to the other side, but we can set our gaze on His glory. When the winds pick up, maybe we could sing something like, “What the enemy means for evil, He’s working for our good. Even in the valley He is faithful. He is sovereign over us.” Or perhaps it would be something like, “Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble. Your name is a light that the shadows can’t deny. Your name cannot be overcome. Your name is alive, forever lifted high. Your name cannot be overcome!” And maybe, when it all calms down, we might sing, “By Your spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat. The resurrected King, is resurrecting me.”

This Easter weekend, remember He’s always there. He’ll never leave you or forsake you. Trust Him even when you can’t see, even when you don’t understand. His joy and His hope are ever before you, so worship like you never have. Friday is here, but Sunday is just around the corner!

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Sam Perry. He is the Worship Pastor (Interim) at New River and he likes helping people expand their definition of “worship” beyond the boundaries of music.  Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Seeing What’s Right In Front Of You

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed…One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:32, 39-43

When you see something for yourself, your understanding of it shifts. To hear about it is one thing, but to experience it is another. When I was a child, my family lived in southern California. I had heard of earthquakes, but had not experienced one. Then came the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. Waking up to your bed bouncing across the floor and the clothes in your closet swinging like a pendulum can be unsettling, to say the least. The earthquake was the first time I encountered power of such magnitude. Our neighbor told us it looked like our two-story home was rocking back and forth. I sat in silence as we watched TV reports.

I had seen and experienced what power looked and felt like and I was changed.

So it has been in my life with Jesus. When I was 11, we had a house fire and I received major burns. In real, tangible ways, Jesus comforted me; this child who He was drawing to His side. I experienced Him first-hand when I was 13 and invited Him into my heart. Later, He called me clearly to ministry. He held my broken heart through an unwanted divorce, which eventually led me to the love of my life. The list goes on; I could tell a dozen stories. I have seen, I have experienced Him.

The criminal on the cross next to Jesus could see Him too. Beyond what we know through Luke’s brief description above, I imagine this man also saw much of what led up to the cross that day. Though full of God’s power, Jesus did not call down Heaven upon those crucifying Him. As Philippians 4:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!” There’s that word again – obedience. While the other crucified criminal mocked and hurled insults, our future brother watched and responded. It was right in front of him. He knew Jesus was the King.

What is Jesus doing right in front of you? Are you looking, or are you caught up in the monotony of every-day life? Could He be speaking and revealing Himself but you’re not listening? Slow down. When you seek Him, you will find Him. Worship Him with a glad heart and thank Him for all that He’s done. Whether you see it now or not, the list goes on and on…and it will as you continue to seek Him first.

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Sam Perry. He is the Worship Pastor (Interim) at New River and he likes helping people expand their definition of “worship” beyond the boundaries of music.  Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Drown Out Noise With Silence

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 1:35

There are other references to Jesus pulling away to a solitary place: Matthew 14:13, Matthew 14:23, Luke 4:42, just to name a few. Jesus modeled what it meant to pull away and fuel Himself by time in prayer with the Father. Why is solitude so hard for most of us?

Our world is exceedingly noisy. At every turn we have competition for our attention and affection. With attention spans ranging from 8-12 seconds, we fill our lives with more and more attention-grabbing information. Knowingly or not, we have pushed silence and solitude farther and farther away. Even the church has done that: we feel compelled to fill our services with noise and provide little space for a solitary inward journey.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Can you listen and experience Him rejoicing and singing over you and yet remain quiet? It’s so tempting to join in with Him, isn’t it?

Jesus showed us the importance of pulling away and allowing God to quiet us with His love. Stilling ourselves. That’s a conscious act of the will. Jesus withdrew in the Garden of Gethsemane, taking only Peter, James and John with Him. He needed to prepare for what was to come. He knew He needed to be connected to His Father and quieted by His love.

It’s easy to grasp that He’s the unstoppable God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, our King forever and proclaim it at the top of our lungs. But we need to understand that the God of the universe wants to, and will, quiet us by His love if we let Him. Take some time in silence. Be still. Focus on His voice. Listen. He is speaking.

About The Authors

This blog features a rotation of authors. This week’s posts are written by Sam Perry. He is the Worship Pastor (Interim) at New River and he likes helping people expand their definition of “worship” beyond the boundaries of music.

Joy In The Cross (Yes, Joy!)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

When I was in my fourth year in college, a silver-haired man, gushing the wisdom of God, spoke to our Wednesday evening meeting and reminded us that no matter what happens, even in the hard times, we can trust God in it and be filled with His joy. Ten days later my roommate was killed in a horrible car accident. When I heard the news, my first clear thought, through my tears, was “trust God.” I remember looking at Mike in his casket, imagining his joy at being in the presence of the King, and I knew that God was there, reminding me that He alone was my joy too.

Joy is a deep-down thing. Merriam-Webster defines it as the emotion evoked by well-being; a state of happiness; and a source or cause of delight. That’s the joy that was set before Christ.

In the time of Christ, crucifixion was the way of the Romans. I would imagine Jesus had seen it, so he knew what would happen. The Cross was not His desire, in itself, but He knew the result of the Cross! He knew it was part of the Father’s plan and because of it, the law of sin and death would be broken and God would reconcile all things to Himself. It was the joy of His Father that was before Christ.

Jesus was a worshipper on mission to glorify His Father no matter the cost, undeterred and resolute. Focusing on our joy will do that for us, too. Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” When the storms come, and they will, let joy be our beacon, our light in the darkness! As you navigate your day today, lean into the joy that only comes from Him.

About The Authors

This blog features a rotation of authors. This week’s posts are written by Sam Perry. He is the Worship Pastor (Interim) at New River and he likes helping people expand their definition of “worship” beyond the boundaries of music.