The Times Are A-Changin’

Posted: December 20, 2017 by keystoneyouth in Incomparable
Tags: , , , , ,

Incomparable-series-Y

Attention Funnel: Youth Workers Then and Now; Video of Girl Every First Year of School

 Introduction:

  • We love both change and consistency…
  • We love change.
    • We love that we are potty-trained
    • We love that we aren’t stuck in Junior High for the rest of our lives.
    • We love that we don’t have to eat the same food every single meal.
    • We love fresh starts – a new year, new relationship, new school or new job.
  • We also love consistency.
    • I love not waking up in different house every day.
    • I love that I can have coffee every morning.
    • I love that my keyboard doesn’t change every time I open my laptop.
    • I love that my paycheck is the same every two weeks.
  • One of the ways that God is different than us (and the entire world) is that he is unchanging (God is immutable).
    • Malachi 3:6; James 1:17

Big Idea: The unchanging God wants to use changing circumstances to change us.

 Main Points:

  • God alone is our rock and refuge.
  • God remains the same even as our circumstances change.
  • God wants to use our circumstances to change us.

God alone is our rock and refuge.

  • Psalm 18:30-31
  • Because life is constantly changing and sometimes very rapidly… we need something or someone who is constant to help ground us.
  • David, the author of the words we just read, knew this better than anyone else.
    • At one moment he was a shepherd, the next he was facing a giant warrior. At one moment, he was the Israel’s Sexiest Man Alive, the next moment he was running for his life because the King wanted to kill him. The next moment he was the King, and then the next moment His son was leading a rebellion and trying to kill him.
  • In all of this, David continually turned to God in order to ground him in the midst of changing circumstances.
    • Rock shows up 33 times in the Psalms and Refuge shows up 47 times.
  • We need something that is sturdy, something that is strong, something that will not move or change to be there for us as everything around us changes.
    • Picture yourself repelling down the side of a rock face. Your planning on soloing it and there’s not many buckets or crimps for you to grab on the way up or downJ. So, what do you do… you look for the sturdiest object there is to tie into.  You look for some big boulder or a large tree that is firmly rooted in the ground. Why? Because you know you can depend on it to hold your wait as you make the descent or climb. That anchor point gives you security and comfort as you climb knowing that it will not give out on you.
  • This is what it means to have a God who is unchanging. He is our comfort and our security that we can put our confidence in even as everything around us changes.
  • But the problem is that instead of looking to God to be our rock and refuge… we often run to other things.
  • We try to make what will change be the unchanging anchor of our lives.
    • A bank account… as long as I have _______ amount of money I’ll be okay. Or if I can get _______ amount of money, then I’ll be okay. Sadly there are times where when I’m faced with changes in life, I remind myself of where my financial assets are in an attempt to remind myself that it will all be okay.
    • A Relationship…. As long as I have this person in my life I’ll be okay.
  • But unlike God all these things are subject to change.
  • When we ground ourselves in things other than God, we are committing idolatry (making someone or something else our God) and setting ourselves up for disaster.
    • It would be like tying yourself onto a sapling tree before making your descent or ascent up a rock face.
    • Christmas trees make great decorations in our houses, but they would make a terrible anchor for rock climbing.
  • The things that change in our lives may be good things, but they make terrible Gods. They all fade away.
  • What saplings in your life are there that you are anchoring into?
  • What do you turn to for security and comfort in the midst of change, other than God?

God remains the same even as our circumstances change.

  • All of our current circumstances in this life will one day change.
    • Eventually all our relationships will end.
    • Eventually the place we call home will change or burn to the ground.
    • Eventually we will all begin to look and talk more like our parents.
    • Eventually for all of us our health will give out.
    • Pick anything, good or bad you experience in this life. You can be confident that it will eventually change.
  • Isaiah 40:6-8; Psalm 102:25-27
    • Our bodies change and the world we live in changes.
  • It’s so easy for us to see God through the lens of our circumstances.
  • In other words, it’s easy to see God as good, loving, and gracious WHEN everything is going well in our lives.
  • And then to see God as uncaring, mean, and unfair when things happen in our lives that bring pain, frustration, and trouble.
    • Sure God is a good Father when I just got a bonus and I’m headed to the beach for a week. But what about when someone slams into the back of my car on a morning where I had a fight with my wife in the middle of a hectic and stressful week?
  • When we live this way, we fail to believe that God is truly unchanging. Instead we believe he changes as our circumstances change.
    • I love that video we watched at the beginning because every year there were changes. There were changes in how the girl looked, in her personality, and in what she was facing at school that year. But as you flash back through, what remained the same. Her father’s love. Every video closed with the Dad saying, “I love you.”
    • Her dad did not change as her circumstances changed… he remained the same… a loving father.
    • Caveat: I want to be careful here because the way God relates to us can change. It changes based on whether we’ve placed our faith in Christ or not. The Bible is pretty clear that those who don’t believe in Christ still fall under God’s judgment. But those who have turned to Christ in faith and repentance are not adopted into God’s family as Sons and daughters.
  • The determining factor in our relationship with God is not our circumstances, but it’s Jesus.
    • Hebrews 13:8
    • If our faith rests in Christ, God’s forgiveness of us does not change, his current fatherly love and care for us does not change, and our hope for a future in heaven with him does not change.
  • See all of God’s promises to us remain secure and firm even as circumstances change.
    • To doubt that truth is to have a God controlled by our circumstances rather than a God in control of all our circumstances.
    • It’s the difference of having a boat that has an anchor, vs. having a boat without an anchor. As the tide changes, the boat drifts. When a storm hits, the boat is tossed all around and perhaps even dashed into the rocks. But a boat with an anchor does not shift even as the tides change and storms pound. The anchor holds the boat.
  • What circumstances are there in your life that cause you to question God’s love and care for you? What things tempt you to believe that God is out to get you rather than for you?

God wants to use our circumstances to change us.

  • One of the amazing truths that we find in the Bible is that prayer causes an unchanging God to change things.
    • Elijah – James 5:17
  • But one of the dangers for us is that we ONLY go to God in prayer asking him to change our circumstances.
    • I’m sick, God please give me health.
    • God I’m lonely please give me friends or a spouse.
    • God my relationships are a mess, please fix them.
  • None of these prayers are wrong or bad.
  • But if changed circumstances is the only thing we pray to God for, then it might signal a problem.
    • It might signal that we look at God as our divine Roomba. In other words, I may be seeing God as someone who is here to clean up all my messes and make life easier for me so that I can kick up my feet sit on the recliner.
    • And it might signal that we are missing the fact that it’s us who God really wants to change.
  • Paul in his letters to church’s almost always offers prayers for the people. But the prayers seem to be most often that God would continue to change the people… rather than just changing their circumstances.
    • Philippians 1:9-11
  • When we think it is only the circumstances in our lives that need to change, we miss what God wants to accomplish in us through those circumstances.
    • Let me use the issue of adoption in my own life as an example again. It’s easy for me to just pray, “God provide me with a child.” But that’s only asking God to change the circumstance. I think God also wants to change me through this whole process. I think he wants to show me how passive and lazy I can be sometimes as I fail to prioritize paper work and helping my wife get things done. And I think he wants to work at changing that in me – helping me to become less self-centered.
    • And so my prayers should not only be, “God give me a child.” But also, “God help me to change. Help me to be less passive and a better leader in my home.”
  • What circumstances in your life do you wish God would change? How do you think God might want to change you through those circumstances?

Conclusion:

  • One of the verses we often cling to as Christians is Romans 8:28.
  • We look to the unchanging God to work all things together for our good.
  • But we misunderstand this when we think that it means God makes our lives go however we want them too.
  • It’s a promise that in all things God will make us more like Christ until the day we finally meet Christ in heaven.
  • And just as God never changes, so also his purpose in our lives to make us like Christ never changes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s