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“The New Normal”
West Side Baptist Church
November 30, 2003
Pastor Scott Thielen
Text: Revelation 2:1-7
Idea: If you have been transformed, you will not want to go back to the way it was before
!!! Hook
Christmas may be the next big thing on your calendar, but what comes next for your spiritual life?
Today we are going to think together about what comes next on your spiritual journey.
A few moments ago we read Psalm 71.
What a wonderful statement about God’s greatness and how it changes our lives.
I especially like verse17 which says /“…to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.”/
To this day.
That’s what God loves to hear.
/“Oh, God, I don’t ever want to stop noticing how great You are and talking about it.”/
And that’s what these past 40 days have been about.
Learning how to continue growing in our love for God to this very day.
!!! Need~/Common Ground… 40 Days of Purpose
Now for most of us, we have just completed the 40 Days spiritual journey here at West Side.
But I understand there may be some of you here for the first time, and you don’t know what the 40 Days even is.
That’s okay.
Because everybody is somewhere on their spiritual journey.
* You may be just at the beginning of the road of your spiritual journey – that’s a starting point.
* You may be somewhere in the middle.
You start where you are.
* And those of you who have been on a spiritual high, we’re glad that you are here, too.
The “New Normal”
Today I want to get you thinking about what comes next in your life.
If you have participated in the 40 Days of Purpose—even just a little bit—I have a feeling God has touched you in some way.
In fact, I think most of us could point to some specific way God has transformed our lives.
It’s been a great experience to be learning so many wonderful things about who God is and the plans He has for us.
*So what’s next?*
Have you given that much thought?
If your life has truly been transformed in some way, /you will not want to go back to the way it was before.
/When God transforms us, things change.
I believe that many of you here realize that God has redefined “normal” for your life.
“Normal” simply describes what we come to expect.
* When I was in my twenties, it was normal for me to have long, blond hair.
Today I have a new normal.
I’m thankful for my short hair, for every hair.
The 40 Days of Purpose are over.
God has changed us.
And it’s time to live the “new normal.”
This is no time to sit back and take a break from spiritual growth.
We need to continue to move forward as people who are learning to live out God’s purposes for us.
(refer to the Discipleship Diamond)
!!! Transition… what’s next?
So, what’s next?
The challenge is how to start on the next leg of your spiritual journey, after being on a spiritual high.
!!! Mount Everest
Let me ask you a question: “What’s the highest point on earth?”
Mount Everest at 29,035 feet.
Did you know that 1,300-1,600 people have summited Mt.
Everest?  They’ve made it all the way to the top.
People have been attempting it since 1921.
During that period of time, 160 plus people have died trying to summit Mt.
That means that 1 in 8 die.
And for that privilege, they pay about $60,000; they give up 90 days of their lives, and 1 in 8 don’t make it back.
What do you think that is about?
I’m sure that for some, taking those kinds of risks are all about the attraction; it’s saying “I am in a very elite group of people that did something very special.”
There’s something compelling about getting to the highest place.
So, let me ask another question.
“Is it more dangerous to climb Mt.
Everest, or to descend down the slope of Mt.
You know the answer, right?
The truth is that more people have died descending than they did trying to summit.
And there’s a lesson in that: you have to be extra careful coming off of a high place.
!!! Weather Patterns
Let me ask you another question.
In thinking about weather patterns, would you rather have a high-pressure system or a low-pressure system?
You’d rather have a high-pressure system.
That’s where stable air is.
It is the low-pressure systems that bring the unstable, stormy kind of weather.
Seattle: unstable and rainy.
Yakima: stable and sunny.
Some people really like to live in stormy weather, but they’re from another planet.
You know, if you’re not ready for the inevitable lows of life, spiritually and emotionally, you’re going to be in trouble.
But isn’t that true of life?
Life is a series of ups and downs.
Life is a series of highs and lows.
In life you’re going to find both the good and the bad.
!!!! Parachute Story
Did you hear about the guy who’s talking to his buddy and he says, “Hey, did you hear that John fell out of an airplane?”
His buddy said, “Oh, that’s bad.”
The first guy said, “No, he had a parachute.”
The other guy said, “Oh, that’s good.”
The first guy said, “Well, the parachute didn’t open.”
The other guy said, “Oh, that’s bad.”
The first guy said, “No, there was a haystack.”
The other guy said, “Oh, that’s good.”
The first guy said, “No, there was a pitchfork in it.”
The other guy said, “Oh, that’s bad.”
The first guy said, “No, he missed it.”
The other guy said, “Oh, that’s good.”
The first guy said, “No, he missed the haystack.”
Now, that was bad.
That was really, really bad.
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