Lift Your Expectation // Josh Neuroth
Since moving here almost four years ago, New York has often seemed less like the glittering Emerald City romanticized by our society, and more like a city of crushed dreams. Sometimes, I see people who followed their passion here and were able to turn it into something that provided an income and a lifestyle that fulfilled their expectations of this place. But the vast majority of us are still struggling, trying to make our way home to a fullness and depth of life. What we’ve found in this city is friction, competition, delays, hardness of life — it's easy to feel lonely and give up hope of pursuing our passion.
In the midst of this, last year I asked God for a community which would challenge me to grow and also take me into deep, true relationship with Him and with others. After months of searching and waiting, I believed I would have to leave NYC to find this kind of community. I expected that this desire could only be met if I left.
Pastor Josh spoke on Sunday about the importance of lifting our expectations. God tells us not to let circumstances dictate our expectations, but instead to prayerfully seek in Him our hope and our joy. Ephesians 1:7-8 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” He has lavished us with all the undeserved richness of His grace — why then do we limit our expectations for our lives and ourselves?
Looking back on the past few months, I see that my original expectations of community weren't high enough. Rather than grant me the lowered version of what I asked for, He instead lavished me with His best — the early morning coffee meet-ups with the guys before work, the weekly Dinner Parties with the neighborhood "family," a place where I can grow and have opportunities to serve, and a community that believes in my Kingdom gifting.
Maybe sometimes, we do not expect enough from God; we do not expect that God cares so deeply about the desires of our heart. He does — and He wants us to lift our expectations about what He is doing here across this city and in our lives.