Summary: We will not go back to "normal" before the pandemic. So what do we do in the New Reality?
1. We are in a “New Reality.”
a. Do you feel like you have fallen through Alice’s looking glass?
b. “When will we go back to ‘normal’?”
c. We will not be going back to the pre-virus “Normal.” THIS is now ‘normal.’
2. Church consultant said that:
a. New emphasis on HORIZONTAL, not Vertical Church [less emphasis on Sunday AM worship service and more emphasis on smaller groups and additional campuses via streaming
b. Enhanced Streaming for Classes and New Class Formats:
• 4-8 week classes
• Specific, intentional, short-term topics
• Leading to in-person gatherings
3. Choice: Bemoan the loss of the old normal or embrace the new mission. (Esther 4:14)
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear[a] my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
a. [Potters and wheels
b. Remaking when necessary
I. The Potter’s Job is to Shape the Clay (Jeremiah 18:4 . 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.)
A. His Image is Marred in Us
1. Sin separates us from God – Isaiah 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
2. Sin mars God’s image in us and He wants it back – Matthew 22:19-21 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.”
B. None is Exempt – Romans 3:23; 3:10
1. [Policeman eating with staff, “I mess up every day.” My response: “Join the club.”
2. Abraham – imperfect – God reworked Abraham so he was able to would sacrifice Isaac.
3. Peter’s Denials – God worked with him until he died a martyr’s death
4. You and Me – we may be living in despair, thinking God has given up on us; or that our sin is too great to be forgiven – Hebrew word: Bah-Lo-Nee!
C. God Patiently Works with Us
1. He knows us – Psalm 103:14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
2. God Calls and Re-Calls; Shapes and Re-Shapes – Jeremiah 18:4
II. The Clay’s Job is to be Shaped (Jeremiah 18:4 . 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.)
A. The Struggle with Sin – Romans 7:14ff
B. As Clay We:
1. Admit God’s Greatness and our Humility – 1 John 1:8-9 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
a. Confess = Say the same thing (as God says); agreeing with God
b. Then He is willing to forgive
2. Accept God’s Forgiveness
a. Reshapes our lives – NEW life (Romans 6)
b. Based on Cross
c. Must be accepted: Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. "A pardon is a slip of paper," wrote Marshall, "the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged."
C. As Clay We are Made to Carry Treasure – 2 Corinthians 4:7 We now have this treasure in clay jars.
1. “Be patient, God isn’t finished working with me yet.”
2. It is true of you and true of everyone else
3. It is true of the church – we as a congregation are being remade into a new vessel to carry and share the treasure of God Matthew 13:44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
4. As the image of Jesus – Ephesians 1:23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.