Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
In late December and early January of 2016/17, I was leading a group through the Holy Lands. One day, as we were driving south along the Jordan River Valley, toward the Sea of Galilee and Qumran Caves, we noticed scores of people had parked at the road-side to our right. Out of their cars, they were now standing facing toward the mountains to the west, peering at the wadis (dry waterways) that run down from the mountains and toward the river and sea. The wadis were bare, so I asked our Guide what they might be looking for and he said, “they have come to see the wadis run. It has been raining in the mountains and they have come to see a very rare thing – the steams filling with water and running again. They have come to watch ‘streams springing in the desert.’”
As I looked at these people and the hoped-for streams they were gazing toward, I remembered the words of Isaiah 43 where this same phenomenon is used as a metaphor to describe the wonderful way of our LORD. Now, this is exactly how I feel as I approach the call of beginning a brand new church in an area that God has laid on my heart- a dry land ready to be filled with the fresh water of God’s Word and mercy once again.
The existing Junius Heights Baptist Church of Dallas is currently a congregation of less than 50 people meeting in a building in East Dallas that has stood since the 1920s, and this is the place God has called me to work. It is a place I first visited over five years ago when taking my mother to see her Doctor at Baylor Hospital. “Mom, where is the church that we attended when I was a baby? I have been up and down Junius Street and have not been able to find it.” “That’s because it is on Reiger Street”, she replied. And, so, we drove to it - and I saw this wonderful old spot of my earliest church memories.
It is now run down and in need of some love and attention, yet it is surrounded by a community experiencing a re-birth that is bringing new people, often young and first-time home-owners, to this spot in the heart of Old East Dallas. Here, just 3 blocks from Swiss Avenue and Munger Streets, a new church, TheChurch@JuniusHeights, will begin meeting this September with Sunday morning services in the same old sanctuary that has not been used on Sunday mornings for years. Our theme verse is above, but more than words, it represents for us the very expectation of our hearts. For we believe that the same God who promises streams in the desert, the God who brings new life to weary souls, will absolutely bring new life to this old church through a birth of one that is new. And… we believe He has called us, by the power of His Spirit, to take that which is most important, the gospel, in order to breathe real new life into the heart of this community. Already we have begun with a community carnival and VBS, and now we covet your prayers as we carry on. For indeed, just as He has begun something new in all of us, we are believing that, today, He is saying to us once more…
Behold, I am doing something new…
Pastor Sam Dennis