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Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
I knew I’d crossed a line in life when clothes at the great fashion house known as the Cracker Barrel started looking “cute” to me. When my son explained that Instagram wasn’t something delivered from Western Union. Oh, and when low-rise jeans on a middle-aged woman became the torture-device-du-jour. God gave us waists for a reason, people!
Once young, stylish, and reasonably intelligent, it was easy to think my time was slipping away. How in the world does one adapt as change comes at you like a speedin’ honkin’ freight train? My sister Sara often says, “Life is tough. Get a helmet.”
No matter how we like to look to the “good old days” of yesteryear, the future is making a run at all of us. Even Millennials will someday feel life speed to a pace beyond their seemingly endless energy and thought capacity.
There’s a point where progress and change cause each of us to ask, “Am I still relevant and useful?” And, “What exactly do I still have to offer?”
To those of my generation… be willing to let young people stand on your shoulders. Live the kind of life in Christ that makes them excited to see the next generation come to faith and hope in Him. Be the image-bearers of years of being steeped in the Word of God, sitting in church seats and honoring His precepts. Love lavishly and freely donate spiritual wisdom.
To those of younger generations… pay attention. Get in the world of someone a few years beyond you in their faith walk. Learn the spiritual disciplines that outweigh the cultural influence. Know the Word. And for goodness’ sake, put down those screens and talk eyeball-to-eyeball with people!
To all of us… the methods may change, the message will not. The music most definitely will change. The mystery of the attractiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” - 1 Samuel 28:7 (NIV)
This week I’m sharing things God is teaching me in the shift of life’s seasons. Unlike the mighty Saul, who turned to wicked sources, we are given one source for help in navigating what we don’t understand. No, it’s not the Internet. It’s the Bible.
Even in the Church, adapting to change can feel uncomfortable. We feel the burden of reaching the world with the hope of Jesus in new, creative ways that keep the Truth pure and undiluted.
Honestly, it’s tempting for those of my generation to resist such changes. I’ve felt the temptation to cling to old ways. I confess my attitude was less kindness born of godliness and more grumpiness born of selfishness.
I’ve accepted a truth that has, at times, set my teeth on edge: It’s likely that the next great movement of God’s Church won’t come from me or my generation. That’s a hard pill to swallow, yes? If true, what is my role? I may not be on the cutting edge, but I’m not dead yet, either!
So, God’s Spirit is soothing me. I can be the encourager of those coming behind me. I can choose to pray for their godliness, imagination, leadership, and innovation born of the Spirit’s guidance. Using years of life, experience, and leaning on the Spirit’s direction, I can continue the fight … from my knees.
It’s possible that Saul encountered a similar crossroad in his reign over Israel. He loved being the one given the accolades and attention. The one with the victories and vision. However, he began to lean on his own skills rather than the miracles God provided. So God removed Himself from Saul’s presence. He left him to his own devices, so to speak. Saul blew that, too. He searched for enlightenment from sources God had determined were an abomination to His holy precepts. Namely, mediums and those who claimed to speak to the dead. Saul proved he wasn’t teachable.
Stay teachable, friends of all ages. Stay true to the one Truth that will never lead you astray.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. - Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
Dan Jackson laughed. Out loud. He’s the Campus Pastor at our Georgetown Campus. Our team was at lunch one day when a call came from my sister. Listen, I’m at an age that the font on my phone is basically classified “giant.” People across the room can read my texts! After the call, he asked, “Why is your sister’s caller ID spelled C-a-a-t-h-y?” Indicating the spelling included two “a’s” instead of the correct spelling with one. “Well,” said I, “That’s so her name will come up first in the ‘Cs’ when I need to call her.”
A second of silence ensued. Then guffaws broke out around the table! Horrified, I asked, “What’s so funny?” Dan calmly replied (though slightly smarmy, the punk!), “Um, you know that you have a ‘Favorites’ list you can make on your phone that will bring those contacts up at a glance, riiiight?” In fact, I did not. I’d seen that little star in the left-hand corner for years, y’all!
Oh, I’m teachable. But really? Does it have to be every other day some new “thang” has to come my way? Can’t I have a pair o’ minutes to learn yesterday’s new technological advancement before today’s arrives?
When God is on the move, friends, one thing is certain. It will be swift and sure! And it may be hard to keep up with how He now wants to do a thing.
The truth is, our world is rapidly spinning toward its complete renewal at God’s hands. Every day moves exponentially closer to the end of the way things are now—chaotic and dark—to the day when we see Him reclaim and restore a perfect world, His Kingdom.
It used to scare me. I didn’t understand it. Then, when I did, it excited me. Now, it assures me that what we believe is true. So my response to a world seeming to hurtle out of control? Bring it. Let’s just all get busy and take as many souls with us as possible.
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established... - Proverbs 24:3 (NIV)
To say I’ve been forced into 21st Century technology might be an understatement. I got really comfortable with computer technology in the 1990s and considered myself an avid student. I was an early adopter of desktop publishing. I cut my techno-teeth on the Apple brand that could get the job completely done in half the time.
But almost as soon as we crossed over into the year 2000, things began to race with an intensity I felt unequal to match. The speed of computers got way faster, and the screens way smaller! It was now possible to make technology portable in ways not previously seen.
Some days I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose. Any others out there who feel the same? About the time I master some new technological skill, there’s an app developed that cuts that time in half!
It was tempting to just keep chugging along with old methods when new ones proved more challenging to learn. It was equally tempting to become like my grandmother in adapting.
A good, strong woman, my surgical nurse grandmother was what you might call “prickly.” An amazing person who I loved dearly, but good moods were few and far between. I think Granny got caught in a cycle of so much change that, well, just made her mad. A husband whose drinking she couldn’t control. The loss of a widowed daughter to cancer at a young age and taking her small children to raise. Circumstances changed rapidly in years she expected to simply be “golden.”
Granny might have excelled at taking care of many unexpected things, making her quite proficient. But she may have missed the opportunity to see the blessing those things produce when surrendered to God’s care. One of the greatest blessings He offers when we trust Him fully? Wisdom. Here’s what I hope my grandkids say someday: Whatever curveballs came her way, she always found a way to laugh and have joy.
King Solomon’s wisdom is universally known. How’d he get so wise? Well, because he asked God for it. God didn’t just drop it on him. He gave him lots of unexpected “opportunities” to gain it.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. - Proverbs 31:26 (NIV)
A couple of weeks ago, Scott mentioned a lady in his message. Fannie Hamilton. Miss Fannie was my spiritual mentor for over 23 years. Every week, I would go to her home and just sit at her feet. She taught me stuff. Stuff I really needed to know. She fueled my love for Scripture by pointing out the nuanced things I’d missed by reading past them. She taught me to slow down and ask questions about what the Word said, and specifically how I should respond in light of knowing these things.
Her love for life and Jesus was infectious. Age wasn’t showing any signs of slowing her down. Even after a series of strokes took some of her mobility, her mind never wavered and she barely slowed down enough for physical therapy. Instead of wearing “those horrible orthopedic shoes” (her words), she opted for high-top sneakers! She wore out several pairs before she went to live with Jesus in November 2001.
She loved me dearly. More importantly, she prayed for me. Every. Single. Day. God had given her the gift of prayer. So morning to night, that’s what Fannie did.
Fannie opened my eyes to what it meant to be truly free in Christ. To let go of the past and move joyfully on, resting in the overwhelming love of my Savior. To grab hold of His truth and let it spill out of my life.
For a girl who first came to her doorstep with serious wounds and heavy bags that needed unpacking, she was a lifeline. Those times with Fannie are the days I point back to as the beginning of recognizing God’s plan for my life.
So, now it’s my turn. I pray the younger women I get to invest in get the kind of hope and truth I got from Miss Fannie.
How about you, friend? Want to stay relevant in the midst of a constantly changing world? Want to live every day until your last day with passion and hope? Then be sure you make this life about more than just you. Find someone you can pour into. In the meantime, just stay close to Jesus. He’ll complete the work He first began.