A New Day Coming

Family trips are so much fun. Sometimes we go in one car, but now in our life we often drive two cars. Eydie and I will be in the lead, and the girls will follow. Because Eydie and I are driving ahead of my daughters, we see things that they don’t. We know things that they don’t. So, we call them to give them the insight they need and protect them.

We travel through myriad moments in our lives, not knowing what will meet us on the road. When Mary and Martha faced the death of their brother Lazarus, they were facing the fog that only sickness and death can bring.

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11:9–10, NKJV)

Even though we stumble through the darkness of painful moments like Mary and Martha, the good news for followers of Jesus is that He sees what we can’t see and knows what we don’t know.

In the face of impending danger and difficult challenges, we must cling to Jesus. He is the light that shines in our darkness. He sees what we can’t see, and He knows what we don’t know. To escape the cycle of distress and despair that the darkness delivers, we need to wait with faith on Jesus.

Jesus understands perfectly what our life and death moments mean, and He has the perfect plan to show us more about Himself and God’s power. Because of His love for Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, Jesus went to the family at the moment when His appearance would be most fruitful for them and for God’s glory (John 11:4). Because of His love for us, He moves at the right moment when His miraculous work will be most fruitful for us and God’s glory.

Jesus takes the walk to the tomb and does the unimaginable. He tells the care-takers to roll the stone away. Now Martha reminds Jesus about the facts. Lazarus is dead four days. There will be a smell. And Jesus once again calls her to faith that opens our eyes to the glory of God.

Did I not tell you that you would see the glory of God if you believe? (John 11:40, NKJV).

Although the despair and pain of our lives consume us, we have hope in the power of God brought to us by Jesus Christ. Can you hear those words ringing through the canyon of death’s abyss? Can you feel those words piercing through the shadows in your soul? Jesus has brought us life with God, and through fanatic faith in Him, we experience the love of God piercing the darkness. Jesus calls us to have a faith that is fanatically focused on His power to give life in the face of death. Jesus makes a claim that either places Him on the throne or puts Him in an asylum, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

Life will belong to all who have His life pulsing through their hearts. Jesus is the answer to our foggy and fragile existence. For Lazarus, there was but one voice he could hear. It was the one voice that could do the unimaginable and the unexpected. It was Jesus.

When we walk with Jesus through the graveyard and tombstones of life, He fills our souls with hope and confidence even in the face life’s frailties. Captured in the matrix of fear, we can hear Jesus speaking into our foggy future. Through faith in Him, stretch out your heart to hear His word of life-giving deliverance. His miraculous work for God’s glory, He gives us confidence that a new day is coming.

Church Updates

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There have been numerous things happening in our church life since the beginning of the year, so below is a summary of major news and events of which we’d like our church body to be aware.

  1. As a reminder, this is our vision for the next 10 years: “Over the next decade, First Norfolk will raise up hundreds of leaders who will take thousands of people on a courageous adventure of hope. Fueled by power of the Holy Spirit and His Word, we will develop a team transformed by Jesus to radiate His rescuing light into the world. We see our members, like a fleet of lightships in dark and turbulent seas, illuminating the way to peace. We see people captured in the menacing waves of misery finding refuge in the hope that Jesus alone offers through the life-giving love and kindness we shine toward them. We see neighborhoods throughout the seven cities of Hampton Roads transformed by the light of hope we share. We see 1,500 life groups with 15,000 missionary followers of Jesus pulling people from the ocean of hopeless loneliness. We see lighthouse stations with platoons of people starting ten campuses in Hampton Roads and planting twenty new churches around the world, shining the light of truth and hope for those buffeted by the storm.
  2. Parking updates:
    1. We are adapting well to the parking changes that took place last fall.
    2. We are identifying current challenges and working on a solution.
    3. Shuttle pickups happen from 7:15 am to 1:15 pm on Sunday at three locations: the Cross Roads Center, the HRT lot, and the Interstate Commerce Center at Fortis College.
  3. We ended our 21 Days of Prayer journey on Feb. 4, but we still ask that going forward you continue to pray for our church, our nation, and our world. Read prayer points and prompts here, and continue to share your prayers on social media for First Norfolk and the advance of the gospel using #firstnorfolkpray.
  4. This Sunday and Wednesday, the left lane of Newtown Road will be closed in both directions between Center Drive and Princess Anne Road/Kempsville Road. Please adjust your travel time accordingly. Find more information and see a map here.
  5. On April 16, we will gather along with hundreds of guests to celebrate the resurrection at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on the campus of Old Dominion University. We will have on exciting gathering at 10 am. Look for more details in the coming weeks. Begin to invite your friends and neighbors for this special worship gathering!

FAQs about Campus Catalyst

We welcome questions about Campus Catalyst and First Norfolk Advance. The most common questions we have had so far are about the second campus location. As you know, we have identified this as one of our strategic objectives for 2017. We don’t have much new information as the research and planning process is still in the early stages; however, we wanted to answer some basic questions:

  1. Where will the location be?

We don’t know yet, but we have been looking at two location possibilities. Last Sunday, Pastor Eric shared in worship that “the door has closed” for one of these locations. We are continuing to investigate the second possibility.

  1. When will it begin?

Originally, we had the goal of starting with a soft launch of the second campus on April 23, the week after Easter. Without having a location at this time, however, that time frame is not practical. We want to do this right and not rush into starting something that isn’t ready. We also don’t want to miss the opportunity to reach people, so we are diligently working on the plans for the new campus. We do not have a date at this time.

  1. Who’s preaching?

This has not been decided, but Pastor Eric will be delivering a message to all locations — either live in person or live via video — much of the time. Again, we are thinking and praying about what is best for the entire church.

  1. Who’s going to the new campus?

No one has been asked to go at this time. We have developed a leadership training process for equipping leaders for all locations. The first round of this training is happening now with a group of people. This will be rolled out to additional groups in the near future. We do not have a timeline for beginning the process of selecting a core team to start the second location, but we are working on it, and will know something soon.