Ps Chris Johnstone 12th August 2018 ()Chris Johnstone, August 12, 2018
Part of the Visitor Speaker series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
Song Good Good Father - all about identity. Restorative thinking. Participating in the Spirit's work of renewal.
God's purpose, our purpose in life shaped by God's purpose in our life - restoration. Catch the wind of the Spirit. There is a work of renewal that God is doing. Picking up the broken, the distortions, and bringing about renewal. We are the objects of that renewal, but also He has called us to participate in that process.
Can a leopard change it's spots? We use that about people and communities. Visit to Israel, Jordan, Cyprus. Visit to Cyprus - Famagusta. Near where Barnabas lived. 1974, Turkey invated Cyprus. Divided into two halves - Turkish half, and Greek half. City is active, but suburb is fenced off. You can't broadcast what's happening in that place. Pre-1974, like Gold Coast resort, where the rich and famous come to holiday. This is so much like people's individuals lives - there are no-go zones that are fenced off, that no-one goes to. Other places where there are activities, but in this particular part of their life is dead. Too hard basket.
Story of Judah. Southern Kingdom invaded, taken into exile. Unfaithful to the covenant, where Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the people were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Isa 40-55. Speaking to the Judaites, calling them back home to their homeland.
Jer 32:1-35. Price of land, when invaded by others. Going to restore them into this land that you bought, and this land you bought will be worth something. Prophetic act. God is going to restore it. Imagining your future. Speak as they declare the Lords word, sparking people's imagination about who God is. We don't know how good the Father. Imagine our future in the face of God's faithfulness in the past!
Return back to the land. 70 year period - some have never seen Israel. This is going to be like an exodus event. Delivered from bondage, brought back from exile. Imagine what God can do in this place! Delivered from Egypt, now delivered from Babylon. Now he's going to bring them home. The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob. News of restoration and healing. God who visited their forefathers, is now visiting them.
Protection assured: Isa 52:12. God will be your rear guard. He will protect you as you go back into the land.
Guidance promised. Isa 42:16. Guide in a new path. Rough places into level ground. Darkness turned into light. He will make the way smooth.
Provision guaranteed. Isa 48:21 They did not thirst, He made water from the rock. For you - I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water. Isa 41:18.
Can a leopard change it's spots? It's the wrong question when we're thinking about restoration. The right question: can God transform a leopard? THAT's restorative thinking!
Jeremiah and Isaiah was speaking to their generation, saying that the God of your ancestors are going to the same for you today. God restored them back into the land.
Can God transform a city? Can God transform Langford? God is raising the profile of this congregation. God is doing something in C3 Langford.
Prophetic imagination. Called to think prophetically, imaginatively. Imagine your future in the hands of the creator. In view of God's faithfulness in the past.
Personal testimony: Just show me, and I will teach others... God is able to change lives. The one who has created us, and redeemed us, is able to change us. Wadi rum: dry, red sand. Tree growing out of a rock. Not just growing, flourishing. This is a picture of restoration, of the work of God able to change lives.
Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Stokes bay. To get to the sandy beach, walk through a rocky outcrop, then you come out to the sandy beach. Sometimes we like the rocky beach, it's a little uncomfortable. But there's a sandy beach waiting for us - you do not have to stay in the rocks! C3 - the community wants to know where the beach is! These rocks are killing me! Let me out of here! We are a light to the community, a sign that there's a beach, you're walking through the tunnel - this journey is not just about us: you've been called, so you can be one to help restore others.
Henry Nouwen, the wounded healer book. In our own woundedness, we can be an encouragement to others. You don't have to be through to the other side before you can help others get to the sandy beach. God is restoring your lives, but you can still help others. God is working faithfully in your life.
As you are helping others, God is helping you.
Aliyah. Restoration, coming back to the land. Participate in the Spirit's work of redemption! Working to restore this world. PIcking up people from different parts of the world, acting restoratively.
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