Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Matthew 14:25-29 MSG

It is reported that some sort of “fear not” or “don’t be afraid” is mentioned in the Bible approximately 366 times.  This is enough times to remind us daily – even including leap year!  God must have known we would need a daily dose of that “fear not” reminder.  During these post-pandemic times, it is no different.  Perhaps we need to be reminded even more.  Our doubts might be overcoming us even more easily these days.  But, what if God is doing a new thing?

Don’t remember the prior things;
    don’t ponder ancient history.
Look! I’m doing a new thing;
    now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?

Isiah 43:18-19 CEB

The world has been through a horrific period this past year and a half.  While we are not completely through this season, we are beginning to emerge.  As Einstein says, “In every crisis lies great opportunity.”  I do believe God uses all things for good.  I believe the church can use this time in our history to do a new thing – for a new thing to sprout up!  But we will have to view the future with hope and set forth with bold courage to do a new thing to reach new people.  We simply can’t go back to the “way we’ve always done things” expecting to get new results. This is especially true when our culture has changed even more so in this past year.  The cultural divide between the secular world and the church is growing.  It is time for us to step out with courageous and hope to conquer this divide with love and grace.

Be courageous to have the difficult conversations to stop ministries (or perhaps not restart) that are no longer effective.  Be bold and stand up to church bullies that are blocking new leaders from stepping up or keeping innovative new ministries from moving forward.  Take courageous steps in experimenting with new ministries.  Be bold and have new conversations with your neighbors.  Don’t ponder ancient history; have hope in what God has in store for his preferred future for the church if we were to boldly step out with faith and hope!

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