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Published on March 29th, 2019 | by ABCUSA

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Lenten Devotional – Strategy A1: Moving from Lament to Excitement

Read about our Lenten Devotional Series and view additional postings here.

See, I am doing a new thing…can you not perceive it? – Isaiah 43:19

For some reason, known only to God (who has turned mute on this subject), a default posture for most persons and groups is to lament, to bemoan their current state of affairs.
“Woe is me.”
“Woe is us.”
“Where have the good old days gone?”
“Things just aren’t what they used to be.”
“That won’t work. We tried that already!” etc., etc.
Why even the Bible has a whole book dedicated to Lamentations!

Maybe we default to this position because it is simpler than imagining possibilities and starting to align ourselves with those. Lamenting is easier. It requires way less effort, but it is also, in the final accounting, unfaithful and unfulfilling.

Our God is not a God of hand wringing; not a God who cries over spilt milk; not a God who says, “It can’t be done.” The God of the Bible is a God of possibilities; of creativity, of new things. Our “God is doing a new thing.” Can you perceive it?

Though chaos was upon the face of the deep [empty, formless and dark!], our God brought about the enormous universe that we wonder at, that silences us in awe at the stars billions of light years away, as well as at the muons and leptons too small to be seen by human eyes!

Our God did NOT say to Abram, “Stay put and accept your miserable fate.” Our God said, “Go! Go to a place that I will show you.” And Abram set off on an exciting adventure that would change his name, his home, and secure for him a primary place in the story of righteousness and spirituality!

Our God did NOT say to Moses, “Smart move; stay out of sight here in the desert and let your people suffer under Pharaoh’s cruel hand. Who cares about them, anyway?” No! Our God called Moses from the burning bush and set him on the great adventure of liberation.

Our God did NOT say to Jesus, “Son, you got it cushy here in heaven. Just leave humanity to its own devices.” No, our God said, “Enter human form, so that humans can be reunited with the Divine.”

Our God invites faithful people to start out on a great and exciting adventure! Can you stop your tendency to lament and join the adventure seeking, excitement filled, forward moving throng of Christ followers?

Rev. Dr. Tony Pappas
Former Region Executive Minister

The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts

The above is an excerpt from the book, “28 Strategies to Help Your Church Become More Functional and…FUN!” written by Rev. Dr. Tony Pappas.


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