Making a Fresh Start
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is self-evident when it comes to electrical wiring or high explosives. It may not be so clear with relationships such as family and friends. And I would suggest no one would believe it when it comes to discussions about philosophy, politics, or God. Yet here to let me suggest a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.
Last Sunday's BC comic strip illustrated this point well. The ants set the tone and as they spoke what is a "credo". In the main body the comic B.C. sends a message across the ocean that reads, "Over here were entering a new millennium! With new technology and a new ideology: one world, one government, one religion! No more stupid, outmoded ideas!" In the last panel he receives the response to reach quote and I guess your new credo would be: "eternity sucks"... right?"
What Hart brings out in this strip is that what we believe has an impact, which is eternal. He's not talking about we mentally agree with. But the underlying truths, the foundation of our beliefs and on which we base all we do, how we see ourselves, what we value and the manner in which we deal with life. This is a credo. Our credos touch how we deal with our husbands and wives, children and parents. It affects our work, hobbies, and social lives. Living out our credo can mark us as optimistic, melancholy, tight fisted, compulsive, easygoing or stressed out. In fact, our credo probably affects our health is well.
As we move into this final year of the millennium it might do is some good to consider whether our old credo is working for us are not. I'm of the opinion that many people today are looking for a new start in life; yet they hold onto the same old beliefs. One person has said, "Insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." To start over and get different results one must start with a new orientation. We need to begin with new credo, a new foundation of believe and a new way of looking our world. Our session is working on one day and credo for Kenton. We struggle to put what we find to be the most important aspects of our ministry into a short statement that is easy to remember. Some of you are facing difficult situations that are forcing you to re-evaluate what you believe and how you live. Some of you have to make decisions you never thought you would have to make. As we age what was important doesn't seem that big a deal anymore. Facing a move, being unable to drive anymore, having the family move away, new jobs, new families, grief, and a million other things can overwhelm us and leave us shaken and fearful. We become shaken and fearful, and in feel like our lives will be washed away by the storms we face is because our credo is unable to answer the deeper questions. What we believe isn't able to deal with forces become against us.
Let me suggest a couple of ideas to include in thinking about our credo. Remember that Jesus is the way God has chosen to and recreate and reconnect us with himself. Genesis is only one of hundreds that affirm God's work the matter what situation is faced. In the chaos before creation it is God Spirit that broods over the waters. God himself is concerned than with this mess and brings order out of it.
Perhaps you think you're life is just as messed up is that primordial soup, or universe-size firecracker. But God still is the one at work in the midst of your circumstances, even painful ones. Another part of God's lesson for us is that even now all of creation is undercuts control. God called, set in order, named, and calls this creation "good". And this continues today in our lives. In Christ God creates new people. For Jesus God sets our lives in order. Because of Jesus God names and adopts us as his sons and daughters. And because we belong to Jesus God calls us "good". Acts 19 is the fourth time a baptism like the one at in Pentecost occurs. It happened in Jerusalem on Pentecost itself in Acts 2. It happened with Peter in Cornelius' house. It occurred Samaria and here, and Ephesus. It follows the same pattern that Jesus spoke about in Acts 1. "You shall be might witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." I believe this was much more common but Luke chose these to demonstrate that the blessings one received in Ephesus was the same blessing received before. The blessings we receive today are the same as those, which Peter, James, and Matthew received. It's the same Holy Spirit, the same gifts; the same presence here today in our situation as was present then. In fact it is this presence of God that brings about the renewal and recreation that is ours in Christ.
In Acts 19 these followers new part of the story. Their credo was okay up to a point but it wasn't good enough to meet all their expectations. It lacked the power to truly make a lasting impact on their world or even their own lives. It was only after the Holy Spirit, God/s Spirit, and the spirit of Jesus, rips through their reality that they discover a new credo. The same thing happened to Jesus when his baptized Mark 1. There, God rips into our reality and confronts Jesus with the affirmation he needs to begin and continue his ministry.
These disciples knew something was missing in their life! Do we? What are we facing this New Year that needs to be recreated, resurrected, or renewed? Is it a marriage that has slowly wilted away? Perhaps it's our attitude toward other person? Could it be an area of fear that we can't let go of or some deep-seated pain that holds us back from facing live with gusto? Whether it's an addiction, bad parenting, old age, new babies, getting fired, moving, or whatever God is capable of invading and changing us. What it takes is our asking God to do just this. We must ask God to break into our lives with his power, and to invade us. If we let God have his way with us we discover the control he has for those areas of our live the need to be changed. To do this he must have control of our lives. There's a part in the movie There's Something About Her in which a shy "artsy" type girl who is being groomed by the "cool" guy to be the prom queen. She has gone to a party with a bunch of these so-called "cool" people where she's been embarrassed and shamed by them. In tears she runs from the party where her date finds he. She says the she should've never started to change, she should have stayed locked up in her shell. His comment went to the heart of what it means to risk our lives when he said, "When you open up to someone you something let in the bad with the good." When it comes to Jesus though there is only good to let in. Press replace you know or you need is retreating, renewing touch, right now. Perhaps in our lives there is something that needs a resurrection. There may be some area that needs to be renewed or made complete. As I pray let my words become your own. There may be situations, emotions, problems, doubts, fears, or whatever that you will have to plug in to the prayer to make it personal. It may be the first time you've ever open yourself to God in this way and according to His words. This may be the first time you spoken to God in years even though you've been here every week. Maybe you're tired of going through the motions when it comes your spiritual life. If we are honest with wanting God to do something different in us and with us He will work only as we make His Son the center of our credo.