Wave of Change" part 1
Keeping Your Balance
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
September 13, 2009
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of
those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
lived through the seventies, eighties and nineties, and now in the
first decade of a new millennium. And I know some of you have me beat.
But even in my lifetime I have surfed many waves of change. I’ve seen
in my lifetime room-sized computers get shrunk to the size of a deck of
cards. I remember the heyday of disco. There was a time I had to get up
to change the channel. But that’s okay… there weren’t that many
channels to choose from. I even remember life prior to post-it notes.
Post-it notes didn’t come on the scene until 1981. What did we ever do
before we had post-it notes?
I’ve seen people by
the millions get on the Internet. I’ve seen a lot of changes. And right
now, some of you are thinking, “You think you’ve seen changes? Well,
let me tell you about changes, you young punk.” And you’re right.
think about some of the changes in the past 70-80 years. Electricity
and plumbing and telephones in every home. Televisions weren’t
introduced in Canada until the 1940s, colour television a few decades
after that. (In the U.S., introduced in the 1930s -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television) Today we have email, cell
phones, Blackberries. We can communicate pretty much anywhere on the
planet at anytime, and we can do it all wirelessly. It’s amazing.
happens. In fact, I think the only constant in life is change. This
morning we’re beginning a new message series called, “Riding the Wave
of Change”, and I think this is something every one of us here can
relate to. We’ve all seen change, and we’ve all experienced change.
when you started that new job, or went to a different school, when you
went away to college, when you moved to a new house in a new city, when
you got married, when you retired… no matter who you are or how long
you’ve been around, you know what change is all about.
biggest change in my life in the past couple years has been the birth
of my son. And we have another change coming in a couple months when
Nate’s little brother is born. Even Nate… he’s 19 months old, and he
knows what change is about. In fact, he’s changed 6, 7, 8 times a day.
Okay, that’s a different kind of change. But we all experience change,
sometimes big, sometimes small.
through the course of this series, we’re going to talk about different
kinds of change. We’re going to talk about the changes that we don’t
plan for… changes like when we suffer a lose or like when life just
seems to be falling apart. We’re also going to talk about our changing
world… how our culture seems to be a constant state of fluid motion,
and how we can navigate through these changes. We’re going to talk
about the changes that God wants to work in us personally… the complete
transformation of our character.
And we’re going to kick it
off this morning talking about life changes… about how we can keep our
balance when we go through times of transition and enter into new
For example, the school year started this past week
for students across the city. Most of them are starting a new grade,
with new teachers, new classmates, perhaps even a new school. Those are
big changes for them.
Tomorrow, just down the road here, about
4000 students will be settling in for a new semester at UPEI. Many of
them are coming from outside of town, perhaps outside the province or
even outside the country… perhaps they’re moving away from home for the
very first time. That’s a major change and can be overwhelming.
Some of you have gone through major changes…
Like Rosita, who just a couple years ago went back to school and is now
in a new job.
Or Kathy, who started her own business a few years back.
Or Ian and Jen… who moved here last year from the other side of the
Or Loretta, Karen and Lynn who just got classrooms full of new students
and you’re not quite sure what to expect of them yet.
Maybe for you, even walking through the doors here and coming to a
Worship Celebration was a major change for you.
all have these changes in our lives, often planned or expected, but not
always… these changes that kind of upset the balance of our lives,
we’re a little afraid or intimidated by them, we’re stressed out over
them, and we’re not quite sure how to handle them.
Those are the
kinds of changes we’re talking about this morning. And we’re going to
get to other kinds of changes in future weeks. But for today, it’s
about making life changes. And when you’re making those life changes, I
want to offer you four words of advice.
Making Big Life Changes:
Seek God’s direction
This is kind of a catch-all that you might expect to hear in church,
but really there’s a lot of wisdom to it.
for you and me, when it comes to making major life decisions we really
have a limited perspective. I mean, even when we gather as much
information as possible and try to account for all available options,
and even when we’re pretty confident in our decision making abilities,
we still don’t see the big picture. But God does. God is all-knowing,
His wisdom has no limits, He’s full of love and compassion, and He
wants the best for you and for me.
1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV)
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom…
is basically saying that God knows better than we do, even on our best
day and His worst day. We can trust His judgment, we can trust His
direction. It’s 100% reliable.
So how do you do this? How do you
find out what His direction is? Does it mean you have to stop and pray
before every little decision? Does it mean you have to spend days
fasting, seeking for God to text-message you from Heaven?
Well, I think prayer and fasting can certainly help with some decisions
and are valuable spiritual habits.
when I talk about seeking God’s direction, I’m talking about in all of
life. I’m basically talking about walking in step with Him. I’m talking
about getting to know Him, reading His Word, talking with Him
regularly… just as an ordinary part of your life. Learn about His
character and His priorities and His values. Start living according to
the clear principles found in the Bible.
And then, when it comes
to making those big decisions in your life… you’re already walking in
step with God. And you begin to intuitively sense what decisions He
would have you make.
In the passage that Sandra read earlier, God clearly gave direction to
Abram, who we know better as Abraham.
Genesis 12:1 (NLT)
Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and
your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”
big change for Abram, and pretty clear direction from God. Wouldn’t it
be nice if God verbally spoke to all of us when we had a decision to
Well, when you have a decision to make, I don’t think
you’ve going to see sky-writing about what to do – though it’s
certainly nice when that happens. But you can develop a relationship
with God where you begin to think God’s thoughts after Him, and you
become sensitive to His promptings.
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
So just in general, when it comes to making any decision, seek God’s
direction. Because His direction is always best.
Use common sense in making decisions
that’s not too earth shattering, is it? But it’s amazing how many
people don’t seem to use common sense and think things through.
know, in the Bible, you don’t always see people praying before making
big decisions. Again, that should be a normal part of your life, where
you’re consistently living in communication with Him under the
influence and sensitive to the promptings of God. But I also believe
that God gave us the ability to think and He gave it to us for a
reason. I wholeheartedly believe that there are decisions He trusts us
This whole idea that God has one perfect plan for
your life… I don’t buy it. Oh, there are definitely times when He does
give clear direction and He does want you to make a particular choice.
But I think there are also times when different options are equally
valid. And you just make the best decision you can make based on the
information at hand.
Think about the Apostle Paul. Paul was
essentially a traveling missionary. He went from city to city, telling
people about Jesus, and establishing communities of Christ-followers in
every city as he went.
Well, there were times that He would
sense God’s leading to go to this city or that city, or when to stay
for a while, but there were also times when it appears that he just
made the decision on His own. For example…
Titus 3:12 (NLT)
am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one
of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have
decided to stay there for the winter.
So Paul’s traveling
around, but winter’s coming when it’s not going to be as easy or as
safe to travel, so he’s going to hold up in Nicopolis for the winter.
Seems like a perfectly reasonable and logical decision that Paul was
able to make on his own.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks writes
about making a decision to get married. He advises people, “If you’re
not married, then don’t feel you have to get married. If you’re content
being single, stay single.” But then he says, “If you can’t handle
being single and want to get married, then get married.”
I take from that is, sometimes you just have to make a decisions. Sure,
pray about it. Gather some information. Ask for some advice. But then
Look back fondly, but move forward
hey, I’ve had problems with this. You’ve had a major life change –
maybe it’s something you planned for, maybe it’s a decision you made,
or maybe it’s just something that happened to you – and you start to
look back thinking, “Oh, if only I could turn back time.” And you kind
of become anchored to a reality that no longer exists. You’re just
living in the past, and it paralyses you from moving forward.
Look, whether your past was great or it was terrible, it’s still the
past. And as Zig Ziglar is famous for saying…
“Yesterday ended last night.”
~ Zig Ziglar
disciples of Jesus spent three terrific years with Him. During that
time, they saw things they had never seen before and learned things
they never would have imagined. I’m sure they would have been happy for
that to go on for the rest of their lives.
But the time came
when Jesus knew He would be leaving them. And so He was trying to
prepare His disciples for that to happen, and they weren’t exactly
happy about it. They didn’t want Jesus to leave; they couldn’t imagine
going on without Him. And that’s when Jesus told them…
John 14:12 (NLT)
tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I
have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the
So Jesus tells them, “Listen, we’ve had some great time
together. We’ve done marvelous things, you’ve seen the power of God at
work, and you’ve grown a lot. But there are even greater things ahead.
Life is about to change, but don’t dwell in the past. Keep moving
How many people do you know who live in the past? Do
you even find yourself doing that? For those of us who struggle with
this, we need to heed the words found in…
Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)
the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach
the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God,
through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
I can look back fondly, grateful for the positive experiences of my
past. But my focus must be forward.
Trust in God’s goodness
starts with seeking God’s direction, and it finishes with trusting
God’s goodness. Now, you’re involved, too. But it starts with God and
ends with God.
Going back to that passage that Sandra read,
Abraham was told by God to leave his home, leave his relatives, leave
his country… and go where God would lead him. And Abraham had no clue
where that would be. He was just told to go. Major life change, and he
had no idea how it would all end up.
So what did he do? He packed up and went.
Genesis 12:4 (NLT)
So Abram departed as the LORD had instructed…
He didn’t even take his GPS – he just trusted that God knew where he
was going and that God knew what was best for him.
I graduated from college, I moved to South Dakota to work in my first
church. I was single at the time, didn’t know anyone there, but off I
went because I trusted that God knew what He was doing. Well, there
were some great people there, and I’ve recently been able to reconnect
with some of my friends from there on Facebook. But things didn’t work
out as I expected there, and a couple years later I moved to Bedford,
Nova Scotia. That’s where I met my wife, and then five years after that
we moved here to begin Sunrise.
This is important: If you are a
follower of Christ, then you can trust that God can and will work
things out for you. It may not always go as you planned or expected,
but it will always be for the best.
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those
who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher in the 1800s who became known as “the
Prince of Preachers.” It’s said that during his life he preached to 10
million people and as often as 10 times a week. Even today, about 120
years after his death (1892), its claimed that no other author of any
kind has more material in print than Charles Spurgeon. And probably my
favorite quote of his is this:
“God is too good to be unkind, He’s too wise to be confused, and if I
cannot trace His hand I can always trust His heart.”
~ C.H. Spurgeon
even when things don’t work out the way you expect… Even when the
life-change seems to be for the worse… you can still turn to God and
trust Him to lead you through it. God promised in the Old Testament
book of Isaiah…
Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in
the dry wasteland.
And as Jesus told His followers…
John 14:1 (NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
when you face those big changes in life… you getting used to new
surroundings, you’re adapting to new situations… and it’s easy to be
overwhelmed… remember that you can trust God. He knows what He’s doing.
He loves you and wants the best for you. And you can trust.
[Romans 15:13 (NLT)
pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy
and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with
confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.]