The new year is often a time to think new beginnings, new habits, new goals, and new opportunities. People all around the globe celebrate the flipping of the calendar as a proverbial sign of the old that is passed and the new that is to come. As we look ahead to 2024, I want us to consider a question together — “What new thing is God doing and how He is calling me to follow Him in it?”
At the encouragement of a mentor a few years ago, I started receiving the “Verse of the Day” notification from YouVersion as a means of beginning each day in the Word and in prayer. I receive it each day at 4 a.m. and it is the first thing I see and read when I wake up. The goal is to spend those first moments of the morning reflecting on the verse and applying it to my day and life through prayer. It’s been a wonderful, life-giving habit — I highly encourage you to give it a try!
On Jan. 8, the “Verse of the Day” came from Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
In the immediate context of the passage, God is giving Israel hope of the “new thing” He will do to deliver them from exile, despite their rebellion. This, of course, foreshadows the way through the wilderness of sin and death that God would inaugurate through the finished work of Jesus. It even further points to Jesus making all things new when He returns (Revelation 21:5).
The point — where there is no way and it seems impossible for there to be a way, God is doing “something new” to make a way!
As I reflected on that passage, I was overwhelmed with the encouragement that God is doing “something new” today in our lives, our churches, and our state. He is not distant and uninvolved. He is very present, at work, and able to bring about a “new thing” in 2024!
In this first month of the year, consider the “something new” God wants to bring about in your life as a follower of Jesus and as a leader of His people. How is He calling you to grow as a disciple and a healthy leader this year? Let’s obey and follow Him!
Consider the “something new” God wants to bring about in your church this year as you seek to make disciples, equip leaders, and reach your community and the nations for Christ. How is He calling your church to engage your community and the nations this year? Let’s trust Him and join Him!
Consider the “something new” God is bringing about in our collaborative work as Tennessee Baptists to further address barriers and to seize new opportunities for the gospel so every church is healthy and together, we are reaching every Tennessean with the hope of the gospel. How is He calling you and your church to join in what He is doing in and through our family of churches? Let’s unite and share Him boldly!
I’m glad we serve a God that is on the move and always up to “something new!” I’m excited to see the “new” He brings about this year in our leaders, churches, and collaborative work together. As we celebrate 150 years of Tennessee Baptist work, we have much to be thankful for and I believe, even greater things to look forward to! Let’s go! B&R— Hardwick is pastor of Forest Hills Baptist Church, Nashville.