January 6, 2014
It’s been a miserable six years, hasn’t it? Historians have attempted to name the storm that moved into place in December, 2007: Great Recession; Lesser Depression; Long Recession; take your pick. There’s no name to give to the last 72 months that will make it feel any better.
The Economists (do you know one of those?) say that it “ended” – in America – in Q3, 2009. That’s what their numbers say. Take a poll among your peers; for many/most of our contemporaries, the storm may have ended some time ago, but the cleanup from its devastation continues today. The economic factors may say it’s over, but the emotional effects continue to mark daily reality.
For the last six years – an eternity, in the modern culture – survival has masqueraded as success. “I hope we can just hold on” has moved into the place where vision used to draw people into action. “Just keep doing what you’ve been doing” has replaced the efforts once directed by strategic plans. In the real world of daily, personal life, too many people have lost ground… and would count it progress to simply regain what they once took for granted.
Welcome to a New Year. It’s never been 2014 before; “Lucky ‘13” is no longer the calendar mark for our journey. May I be so bold as to ask the question: What’s New?
If you have to strain for an answer that contains only a modicum of truth, you’re proving my point. We’ve had hope and anticipation wrung out of our hearts by headlines, and it’s time to put them back into place. If you’re traveling life’s highway with God as a Navigator, your GPS screen is always plotting a course to a place you’ve never been; prior destinations are never the default!
Give yourself some space to think about it; don’t take my word for it, take His Word as the basis for this challenge.
Start with the Gospels. When Jesus was doing his ministry: New wine. New teaching. New garment. New covenant. New tomb. He wasn’t visiting old and tired models that had already been tried and proved insufficient. If you were with Jesus, you’d expect the unexpected. He didn’t come to model mediocrity or to live His life in the straight-jacket of tradition.
As the Epistles of the New Testament described life for the followers of the New Covenant, consider the descriptors: New life. New king. New way. New body. New creation. New attitude. New self. New order. New birth. New command. As John’s view of the future was framed in the Revelation: New name. New song. New heaven. New earth. New Jerusalem.
The last words of the Lord Jesus Christ, heard by John as He declares at the end of Time: “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Revelation 21:5)
What’s new? Ask Jesus that question, and get your pen ready; He isn’t into vintage or remodels; He only does new. Ask the followers of Jesus – in fact, ask yourself: is your answer markedly different than His? If so, how’s that working? Isn’t it time to approach life – New Life – the way He did?
May I push you on this? If the recessive environment of our culture over the last 72 months has wrung the optimism out of your psyche, you need to spend more time in the New Testament than in the newspaper. If a God who makes all things new hasn’t been allowed to be Himself, working through you… you’re missing the best of what’s possible.
New visions. New strategies. New actions: if you’re working in synch with Him, you’d better have an answer. These are key parts of your travel pack as you journey into the Great Adventure of a New Year, with Him!
Go ahead, ask me: What’s new?