Life Innovation (Read Isaiah 43:16 – 19; 42:6-9)
[Scripture Reading] Isaiah 43 16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power: 18 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 42 6 “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, 7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. 8 I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. 9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
[Prayer]Father God, we thank You for these prophetic words that reveal the Messiah which is Jesus, the Savior of Israel and the sinful world. Now You have commanded us to carry the same mandate, the good news of Jesus’ salvation, and being the light and salt to this fallen generation. Holy Spirit, we pray for Your anointment of the words we are about to receive upon our hearts and ears. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
By the grace of God, we will learn a word together today. “Innovation” means having an action of breaking through or beyond an obstacle to a new level.
(Ex) Physical checkup, Dr: triglyceride /trīˈglisəˌrīd/ was little high (fat in blood, if too high, could lead to stroke). Dr: “reduce your sugar intake.” But I loved donuts and cookies, besides I felt fine. Dr: “You have to change your diet, because you are entering into a different season in life (nice way of saying “getting old”).
In our life journey, there are a few things we need to check too when entering into a different season, from school to workforce to retirement, from being single to married to having a family, they affect our mindset, attitude, and value system, or you will feel like you are hitting icebergs along the way. To have a breakthrough, we must be willing to be changed, to be innovated!
My point: Brothers and sisters, you cannot keep cooking the same stews and expect to have a different soup.
Good news is: our God is a God of doing new things, in Jesus Christ we may have innovation!
(Isaiah 43:16-18) “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters,…., Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.”
The past miracles during the Exodus from Egypt were mighty and wonderful, but they would be nothing compared to the new miracles God would do for His people in the future.
(43:19)“Behold, I will do a new thing, I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God made a dry land in waters, and now He flips it over to make waters in the dry land.
Good News Church: pay attention to this implication. Past 80 years were good, but would be nothing comparing to what God will do in next 8 years. Innovation in new season.
(Book of Isaiah) often mentions that God does new things, Chapter 42 lists three principles of God in doing new things:
- Principle #1: Respond to God’s calling
(42:6-7) “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness, And will hold your hand; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people,….”
When Abraham was called out of Haran, one of God’s promises was that all nations would be blessed through him. Likewise, when we are saved by the grace of God through Jesus, one of the most important callings in our new life is to be a blessing to others for His kingdom. Callingis not mysterious: see a need & be willing to respond to it. What is “need”?
(Ex) A friend, part-time job. When people went to restroom, most dried hands & left puddles of water on the countertop. But he wiped it off. People started to follow. ~6 months after, no more puddles. Was offered a full-time job because “He is a blessing to us, he changed a culture deemed impossible to change.” He saw a need and was willing to respond to it. The Red Sea was opened.
(Ex) In November 1934, Evangelist Mordecai Ham preached in Charlotte, N.C. After his message, he invited the people to accept Christ. A young man in the crowd felt the message was so convicting, but he hesitated if he should go forward. Then a friend saw it, came, said “may I walk with you there”. Having someone beside him, praying with him, and walking him through this decision was pivotal for young Billy Graham, and this became a crucial component of his future gospel evangelical movement: when people are going forward, they will be offered support and prayers when accepting the salvation of Jesus Christ. Because of his friend’s response to a need, an innovative way of evangelism blessed millions of people for many years to come.
Brothers & sisters, calling is not just for pastors. It is when you are willing to respond to the need around you, ask God what you should do, and faithfully fulfill it.
- Principle #2: Do for the purpose of glorifying God.
(Isaiah 42:8)“I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to idols.”
In the process of responding to God’s calling, although getting the job done is important, you as a person are more important to Him. God is not someone who takes advantage of you & throws you away after using you. NO!
God wants your life to grow and become mature with more love & more patience; your faith, character, and morality be built up, and grow to be like His Son Jesus Christ.
God will use you to glorify His name. God does NOT want you to glorify false gods.
(Ex) when I was a freshman in college, the close-book tests were difficult, I didn’t do well at the beginning. Then I saw some classmates brought cheat sheets and sat at the backrows in the classroom and got good grades. So, I did the same next time, easily got A. Repent, what should I do? Holy Spirit: sit at front and center. Studied hard, got Bs. When applying to graduate schools, most “A” graduates got to study abroad, I only applied to two schools, rejected by 1stone, and heard nothing from the 2nd one. Stayed in Taiwan & learned to be a design engineer to make pure water. 2 years after, surprisingly received a letter from the 2nd school in Omaha, NE called Creighton University: got a full scholarship. Still sat at front and center seat, but this time w/ straight As. Before I graduated, OPPD offered me a nice job because of my engineering experience & I worked there for 33 years before I retired. (backwards) OPPD – engineer exp. – no school offer & stay (& met my wife) – grade – did not cheat. Did you see God’s fingerprints? God’s way in the wilderness! That’s Innovation!
What I am saying is: if I say “I got good grades, I made lots of money.” God will ask me, “How did you get your grades & make your money?” In this world, many people make lots of money without the principle of honesty. Dishonesty goes against the truth of God.
When you respond to God’s calling, the first thing God will do is to prune or realign your life. In the past, you lied to get ahead, but now you have to be an honest person with integrity and morality. God wants your life to glorify Him.
Many Christians were filled with a vision and passion at first, but why couldn’t they go on? Because they were unwilling to face the areas in their life that needed to be pruned by God. Beloved, when God is calling you to participate in His great work, God will prune your life, but He will help you, be with you all the way, enable you to grow. But you need to be willing.
The message I am trying to convey is: God wants every one of this generation to become His glorious witness and workmanship. Amen?!
Principle #3: Choose to believe and live out God’s word and promises.
(Isaiah 42:9) “Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Do you want an innovative life? Then you need to choose to believe and live out God’s word and promises.Why is this innovative? Because it means that you are willing to let go of your old mindset and judgements. This is the innovation.
The world teaches you to only trust your own judgement, but God says, “trust Me.”
This world’s culture came from Adam and Eve: Satan told Eve, “You don’t need to depend on God. When you eat this fruit, you can become like God, use your own way, depend on yourself.” This temptation is the root of sin.
Depending on God is trusting God’s word and promises. It may seem risky, but it is innovative. You may ask, “How do I know if God’s word is trustworthy?”
Good question. The way God does things is: He speaks before He acts.
(Amos 3:7) “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
(Isaiah 46:10) “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done.”
God can point to the future and promise things will happen one day!
Bible is filled with God’s promises, over 7,000. Let me give you a few:
(John 10:10) I have come that you may have life and more abundantly.
(Romans 10:13) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
(Eph 3:20) God will do all that we ask, according to the power of Holy Spirit in us.
Those who believe, their life will be greatly transformed and innovated.
(Ex) I want to share with you my family testimony before we close. Early last year, my son told us that we were going to have a grandchild. A few months after, they came to tell us what the medical testing found. He said “Dad, we have good news and bad news. Good: it’s a boy. Bad: the chromosome testing result showed some problem.” My son, being a medical doctor himself, explained: Every human cell has a set of 23 chromosomes from sperm, and another set of 23 from egg. The test indicated that he had an extra set of 23, called Triploid. A Triploid baby will surely die upon birth. So what decision would you make when you know that the baby would die upon birth?
With tears in her eyes, our god-fearing daughter-in-law said, “I just want to see him.” I think she meant, even if the baby would only survive days or hours.
We brought the situation to the Lord every day. The first word came from Proverbs 3:25, “Be not afraid of sudden fear,” and that’s what I told them.
Soon after, another word came from Deuteronomy 30:19. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” I was so moved, I prayed, “Father God, I praise You, You are the God of creation; Jesus, you are the Lord of resurrection, Holy Spirit, you are the Sustainer of life.” A voice echoed back to my heart, “Behold, I make all things new.”
On the morning of 12/12, while I was teaching a Bible class, a text message came from my son. “The baby was born.” I texted right back “Is everyone ok?” Reply, “Yep, strong, healthy boy!” He was named “Isaiah.” (Pictures of Baby) Give the glory to God!!
Beloved! (2 Cori 1:20) All promises of God in Jesus are yes and amen, to the glory of God through us.
Let’s summarize what we just learned for an Innovative Life:
- Respond to God’s calling & become a blessing for others.
- Whatever you do, do for the purpose of glorifying God.
- Choose to believe and live out God’s word and promises.
Prayer / invitation: (Rom 12:2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good & acceptable & perfect will of God.
I feel that the Lord wants to give this message to the following people:
- Christians in retirement: not the end yet, calling to be revealed, faithful in small needs.
- Life through stages, felt frustrated, felt like through cold winter/ hot summer, you love God, & He knows it and is realigning your life. Faithful to the different needs.
- Have not accepted Jesus, but desire a new beginning in your life and be innovated. You may do so by first accepting the salvation of Jesus first.