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I Didn’t Sign Up For This: What You Do When the Abnormal Becomes the New Normal – Part 4
Archived – August 30, 2020

I Didn’t Sign Up For This: What You Do When the Abnormal Becomes the New Normal – Part 4

August 30, 2020


  • The unsuspecting Dream Team story
    • Play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the back.
    • Discern the magnitude and urgency of the moment.
    • You can be beat. (Just showing up is not enough).


Spiritual Lessons 

  • “The goal is not to get back to normal but to get back to God”–Bishop Dale Bronner
  • Discern the Context
  • Distinguish between the things you can control and the things you can’t control.

What We Can Conclude from This

  • What we call normal camouflages a spiritual reality.
  • Here is that reality: we sit in the middle of a cosmic battle between good and evil.
  • In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us what to look for as the culmination of this clash draws near.
  • There is a clear Scriptural pattern in which natural disasters, large-scale global events, and socio-economic dishevel become clear signs that we are drawing closer to God’s normal.
  • In this battle, we are both causalities of war and beneficiaries of the ultimate victor: Jesus.
  • This should motive us to do two things:
  1. Brace for disruptions in our way of life
  2. Have confidence that in Jesus we have roots in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

  • We were reminded last week that the church is in God’s hands.
  • Not only is the church in His hands, but human history is in God’s hands.
  • While human beings have free will, God shapes the course of human events in such a way that they will eventually culminate in a new heaven and a new earth.
  • One of the most direct ways that God shapes human history is by making His authority accessible to humanity—even to people who do not serve Him (Romans 13:1-6)
  • When human beings accept authority, particularly at its highest levels, they are putting themselves in God’s yard, where He is playing chess (Proverbs 21:1)

  • Ironically, the pursuit of power outside of God places you directly under God’s control.
  • This is why Paul places a special emphasis on praying for people in authority, particularly heads of state (I Timothy 2:1-2)
  • Heads of state (often unknowingly) place themselves squarely in God’s domain and become God’s pawns by default:
    • Pharaoh is warned by God (Genesis 12:17-20)
    • God hardens Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:3-5)
    • God raises Pharaoh up (Romans 9:17-18)
    • God raises up Nebuchadnezzar to rule and oppress (Jeremiah 28:14)
    • God stirs up Cyrus to authorize the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (Ezra 1:1-2)
    • Even the democratic voting process is shaped by God (Proverbs 16:33)

  • God shapes national and international policy, but not on our terms.
  • He’s not a republican, a democrat, a third-party supporter, or an independent. He’s only on His side (Joshua 5:13-15)
  • We should follow Joshua’s example and just surrender to the victor now (Proverbs 21:30-31)
  • In our surrender, we are accountable to make choices consistent with the light we have, however much we have, and then ask for more light (I Corinthians 13:12; Ephesians 1:15-22)



© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2020


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