May 19 - Desiree Caluza, Holding Nothing Back
There is one Sunday left at Newstart before the big move! Since the very beginning of this process we have seen God move in amazing ways, opening doors that seemed shut, to allow this merger to happen. He has big plans for us as a church and for each of us individually. He will challenge us to grow and will call us to areas we may have never expected. At times it will be uncomfortable.
So how will we respond?
It won’t be easy, but let’s make complete obedience our goal. It may be a first for some people. For others, it’s second nature. Heading into this move, let’s each try to respond with total obedience to God and see where He takes us. On Sunday, Desiree took us through the story of Abraham’s test from God to show us what true obedience looks like.
Genesis 22:1-2 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Most people would just pretend they hadn’t heard God’s request. At the very least, they’d have a lot of questions. But not Abraham. He had spent his life responding to God in obedience, as if in preparation for this moment, so he woke early the next morning and set out with Isaac to the place where God had directed him. Years earlier, God had promised to give Abraham more descendants than could be counted (Genesis 17:2), so Abraham held on to that promise and trusted God’s plan, even though it went against any earthly plan he had surely made for himself.
Genesis 22:9-12 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Most of us have a plan of what we want our future to look like and if God points us down another path, we get scared. We’re afraid that life will turn out different than what we planned for ourselves. Afraid of the sacrifices and risks involved. Afraid of handing control of our lives over to someone else, even if that Someone is the creator of the universe who loves us beyond measure.
Surely Abraham and Isaac were terrified of what God asked of them, but they both submitted and obeyed and found that God kept his promise. The Lord provided a sacrifice for them on that day and, years later, God made him “a great nation,” as promised. James 2:21-23 explains this story like this: Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
Even if Abraham had ignored God’s call, God still would have loved him because that’s who He is, but because Abraham was willing, obedient, and full of faith for his Creator, he received many more blessings than he could count and was called God's friend. We serve a God who deserves obedience. As we head into this big transition in the life of our church, pray that we will all be obedient to where and how God is calling each one of us. If we do, we will see the results rippling out through the church and the community for years to come.