If we are changed, we will see the lives of the unchurched and de-churched people in our surrounding communities becoming more healthy and whole. Children who used to go to bed hungry will have adequate nourishment. Parents who previously neglected or abused their children will be learning how to see the needs of others before they think of themselves. Those who have never experienced healthy love will find it and will learn how to demonstrate it. They will learn how to nurture and develop their children.
If we are changed, caregivers for the young or old will have people who support, encourage and equip them for their vital roles. The elderly who have slipped into a sense of declining value will be connected to those who can benefit from or be encouraged by their wisdom and story. People who are facing death will never be alone, and will ultimately make that transition at least knowing about the good news of Jesus’ love. Those who work to shape the hearts and minds of the youngest among us will have people who pray for and support them. Those who care for the physically or mentally challenged will have others who understand the special stresses of their task and share words and acts of encouragement.
If we are changed, local institutions that teach our children will have groups of people dedicated to making sure their teachers and classrooms have what they need for children actually to learn. Children will have Jesus-followers as tutors and mentors in areas where they struggle to learn. Those who serve to keep our communities safe will find themselves being honored, respected and served by the grateful people they protect.
If we are changed, those who are homeless in our regions will find safe places to stay, and people who give them dignity and hope as they connect them with appropriate assistance and practical training in needed life skills. We will see the most wounded, marginalized and disadvantaged in our world connected with people who are “being” the church by not only providing them relief from their immediate situations, but by helping them develop toward fully restored and healthy relationships with God, themselves, others, and the world they are part of. We will see Christ-followers in each congregation who are passionately partnering with others who are having a hands-on impact in the redeeming, restoring, transforming work of God in their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and on the other side of the globe.
In the Power of the Holy Spirit
If we are changed, we will see Kingdom fruit. More lives will be transformed along with ours. More people will join us on our journey with Jesus. Our ministries will see more frequent seasons of harvest instead of huddling together in an extended winter. We will see new disciples who go out as missionaries into their surrounding now-foreign cultures. Those new disciples will become new leaders. New leaders will engage in new ministries, and new ministries will birth new communities of faith that we will see multiply into new churches becoming part of God’s Kingdom movement.
If we are changed… Wait. Let’s rephrase that. When. When we are changed, the Kingdom that Christ taught so much about will break out right before our eyes. Those who could not “see” will have their eyes opened, and the ears of those who would not “hear” will be unstopped. Those who could not take another step forward will leap for joy, and those who had no voice will be unable to remain silent.
When we are changed, we will join anew the movement of God’s Spirit as good news is shared with the afflicted, the brokenhearted are mended, liberty is proclaimed to the captives, and freedom is given to those who were in chains. When we are changed, the widows and orphans within reach of our congregations and ministry points will be cared for well. When we are changed, we will experience and reflect an unmistakable, overflowing joy as we proclaim the favorable year of the Lord!
A few of us may already live in a NEW DAY that looks like this. Thank you, Jesus! Some of us long for it but haven’t had the language to see what it looks like, or we just don’t know how to get there. Some only think they understand it, and others have already decided they want no part of it. Wherever you are right now, it’s time to press on in the race Christ has called us all to run.
Can you see it a little more clearly? What else should we look for together? Are the images starting to take shape? If so, then it’s time for each of us to identify and embrace whatever next steps we must position ourselves for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. It’s time we work together to find ways we can get there. It’s time to let the Spirit of the Lord lead us ever closer to our Father’s heart desire—for each of us as individuals, and for us as his people called Brethren.