PreparationBring in some out-dated items. I used an old globe and an old digital camera that are obsolete. Also, have six mason jars. Fill one jar with a cabbage base constant. Make this by cutting up pieces of red cabbage, putting them in a large, microwavable bowel and filling it with water. Microwave on high 2 to 3 minutes at a time until all the liquid has turned purple. Reserve the liquid for this sermon. The rest of the mason jars should have a half-cup of liquid using the following: ammonia, water with 1 tsp. baking soda, water with 2 tsp. lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide. You can experiment with other household liquids/cleaners if you want additional colors.
"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
I'm going to tell you about an experience I had this past month. I was at a public auction with my dad. The atmosphere was electric! Bids were flying left and right. If you saw an item you wanted, you had to bid right away, otherwise someone else would get it; and the auctioneer would go on to the next item. "Hemeny-hemeny-five-dollar-five-dollar-hemeny-hemeny-SOLD!!"
Well, I promised by daughter I'd buy her a globe; so as soon as I saw this one, I bid on it at just the right time. I thought it was the prettiest globe there, but look at what I noticed when I got home. Can someone read this for me? (U.S.S.R.) That country doesn't exist anymore. Now, there are new territories instead. So it's an old, out-dated globe. Oh well. I also saw this digital camera and thought, "Well, it might be nice to have a back up. Mine is not working that well anymore as it's old. I wonder if I could get one of those cheap?" I did. I won it for $5. I was pretty pleased with it. Look, I even brought it here to show all of you.
Because everything was sold as is, I had to buy it not knowing if it would work. Look, it turns on; now if I want to take a picture, I just have to install a memory card. Can anyone look at this camera and tell me the problem? Where do I put the memory card? What? It doesn't take a memory card? What does it take? Have you ever heard of an A-drive disk? How about a floppy? Here's a floppy disk. (Hold up a floppy disk or show one on a PowerPoint slide.) Do you recognize it now? Well, here's the problem with the camera that takes floppy disks: I don't have any floppy disks. I don't even own a computer that could read a floppy disk! I'm not sure if you can even buy them anymore. I really haven't checked because even if I took pictures, I'd have no way to put them on my computer!
That's kind of funny how we know what those things such as U.S.S.R. and floppy disks are, but we have no use for them today, isn't it? It's also kind of funny how things we couldn't have imagined 10 years ago are common today. I know we've had a lot of changes the past 10 to 20 years, and many people think of negative things such as political leaders, 9-11, war, recession, etc.; but not all the changes in the past 20 years have been bad.
When I was your age, almost nobody had computers in their home. The Internet hadn't been created—and when it came about, it wasn't a common thing immediately. I had to learn the Dewey Decimal System and check out books from my library if I wanted to do a report. I was tough out of luck if the library didn't have any good books on the subject I'd chosen. There was no such thing as Google to help me find resources. When I was in high school and needed to call my mom after cheerleading or cross country practice, I had to use a pay phone. Many times, I never had quarters, just two dimes and a nickel! I couldn't ask anyone if I could borrow a cell phone so I could call home because cell phones were brand new and not many people had them until my junior or senior year of high school.
Actually, I'm still getting used to the idea of doing things other than making phone calls with it! In fact, one of my friends was teased and made fun of the other day for looking at his watch when he was asked what time it was. The kid he was with said, "Why would you even wear a watch when you can just check your cell phone?" You guys always have known about cell phones. They're still relatively new for people in their mid-late 20s.
Now, as I'm going through this and telling you these things, you will have to imagine what I'm explaining. That makes me feel old, but some other people around will be thinking, "Oh gosh! That happened when you were a kid? That makes me feel old!" Sorry ‘bout that, folks!
Here's how it all relates to God: Isaiah 43:19 is one of my favorite verses in the bible. "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Here's the background: In Isaiah 43, the Lord is talking to Israel (His chosen people). We're seeing God's part of the conversation when He's speaking to His people who are in the midst of their exile pattern. You see, God and Israel had this pattern: God restored Israel, Israel praised God for a time, then Israel turned from God, God turned His back because the people had forgotten Him, and so Israel went into exile. Israel did not like being in exile, so the people cried out to God, God heard their cry and forgave their sins, and He restored them once more. They went through that cycle of restoration again and again. The thing is, the reason Israel went through the cycle is because the kids had not experienced what their parents had experienced. The parents had not experienced what their grandparents had experienced. As a people, they forgot their past and they repeated the sins of their forefathers. With each generation, God dealt with them accordingly—He always did so on His own terms, but He judged each generation by what it did and what was happening around them. For example, the Israelites who did not remember being estranged from God felt as if they were able to wander away, so God dealt with them by sending them into exile. Those who were born into exile could not remember a time when they were the redeemed people of God, so they cried out to God for His mercy. God dealt with them differently by restoring them. It wasn't their parents they restored—it was those who had cried out to Him.
Let's demonstrate this: Here I have these bottles. Each bottle represents a generation. Let's pretend this one is you, this is your parents, this is your grandparents, this is your great-grand parents, etc. While they all look pretty similar from the outside, each generation is slightly different than the one before, so its makeup is slightly different. Then, God is infinite; He remains constant and never changes. So this bottle of purple liquid represents the eternal God—the God who stays the same. I'm going to go through and add a little bit of the God liquid to each of these other bottles. What we see will represent how God deals with each generation. Let's watch what happens.
Oh my goodness! What happened?
Each bottle turned a different color? Why do you think that was?
That's right! Because each jar contained something slightly different, our constant reacted differently. Just as each generation is different, and God interacted with each generation differently—He had to in order to reach them—so He does with us.
The main point is this: God will do something new and something great in your generation. Things will not be the same as they were as in your parents', your grandparents' or your great-grandparents' time. God will speak differently, work differently and act differently. God is doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it?! The God who stays the same yesterday, today and forever is speaking to you here and now! You were put in this world at this time for a purpose! You were born for such a time as this. So I urge all of you to take ownership of your faith and put your trust in God. Find how you can speak truth to the world in which you live. Make your faith your own, and see what new things God will do of which that you can be a part!