Centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah offered hope to a burdened, disheartened people (see Isaiah 54:1-5). And oh, how God’s children needed to hear that message! Basically, Israel had experienced loss at the hands of the Babylonians and had been carried into captivity. It had realized the pain of “barrenness” and the shame of defeat. In this context, Isaiah delivered the good news that God was going to intervene in the nation’s story. Yahweh was not through with His people! That is why God’s messenger called upon them to bring forth in song as they celebrated His future work.
No doubt, we of Temple Baptist Church have been incredibly blessed; we are not barren. We have seen many spiritual victories; we are not defeated. Yet, I am convinced that God has so much more for us ahead. I just marked my sixth anniversary here in Ruston, and I can’t tell you how wonderful those years have been for my family. But again, I am confident that God has greater things in store . . . especially in 2020! We just have to prepare for Him to manifest His powerful presence.
In the last few months, your staff and I have been working and preparing for the upcoming new year, and we believe that strategic planning will allow us to experience a fresh recognition of His work. Isaiah advised the Israelites to enlarge the place of their tents, stretch out the curtains of their dwellings, lengthen their cords, and strengthen their stakes. In other words, get ready! I think those are wise words for us as well. We must prepare ourselves to see God move in a great way.
This Sunday, I will begin a new morning worship series entitled, “Encounters with Jesus: A Look at Selected Passages from Luke,” as well as a new Sunday night worship series based on The Sermon on the Mount entitled, “Living as Jesus.” How grateful I am to be able to share this set of messages! Then on Sunday, January 12, I will present five specific goals for us to work toward this year as a faith community. I believe they are God-given and God-sized; no doubt, they will stretch us and grow us. I am excited to pursue His agenda with you! Please pray for me as I lead and communicate in this vision in the weeks to come!
This year, 2020, is going to be awesome! Break out into song and prepare yourselves for what He is going to do! And I will see you this Sunday, the first worship opportunity of the new year!