Connecting Points

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today’s Topic:  Refreshing Relief

Today’s Text:  Isaiah 43:18-19  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

As a young boy I never got to drink soda pop. Then one day, when I was in sixth grade, I was at my grandpa’s house for a visit. I loved going there because of the creek and big trees behind the house where I could spend time alone in the woods. As I played there, I wandered along the creek and came to the house of a friend from the church. His dad owned some kind of a plumbing or electrical business, and outside was a pop machine – a coke machine to be specific.

My friend Tom asked me if I wanted one. I said yes, and he took two dimes out of his pocket and bought us each a six-and-a-half ounce real glass bottle of coke. It was cold, and the bottle began to sweat as the humidity in the air condensed on it. I took my first swig. Aaaaaah! How refreshing! To this day there is no better way to drink soda than from a cold bottle.

But there’s a life lesson in this as well. I’m not saying that the bottle of coke was transformational for me, but it does illustrate something that developed in my life as I grew up – I love new things. I love going new places, meeting new people, experiencing new things, and trying new methods. I love change. Sounds weird I know, but I love the risk and rewards of new things.

Last night my wife and I were discussing that. We were talking about our budget book, and why we used a four column ledger instead of a three column since we only need three columns. I told her that if we used a three column, then one column is always right next to the three rings of the binder and my hand has to take an awkward position to write because they are in the way. She laughed. She said things like that never bother her. She’s different than me, and that’s okay. In fact it’s pretty special. She’s content. I’m looking for improvement – sometimes to a fault.

I remember my dad telling me over and over again as a kid to be content. This idea of looking for new things and new ways was a problem for me. The Lord has helped me bring it under control through the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but I still like new things and new ways of doing things, and that’s okay. In fact, if we define contentment as never wanting anything new, we will miss some of the obvious things God is trying to do in and around us because He does new things.

In the beginning, God created new things. New living beings. New people. When Noah and his family got off the ark God told them they could eat meat. That was a new thing. Sometimes, as the nation of Israel was conquering the Promised Land, God told them to watch while He fought the battle, and other times He guided them as they fought. Sometimes they simply marched around a city and the walls fell down. New methods each time. Same God.

What have we been missing because we want things to stay the same? How many opportunities for walls to come tumbling down have been passed up in favor of traditional battle tactics? How many cold, sweating, refreshing bottles of coke remain unopened in favor of lukewarm Kool-Aid?

Come on. Open up to the new things God is doing. Your wasteland of tradition will soon turn into a beautiful garden watered by the new streams God put there just for you.

Pastor John

P.S.  Thanks Dad for letting me experience new things. I’m praying for you today as you walk along the new stream God has put in your life to help you through the wasteland of loss as you think about this day – the day you and mom were married 60 years ago.

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