For those who are not geographically aware of this bloggers location, the following statement won’t mean much:
It’s State Fair time!
Living three blocks from the fairgrounds is a good or bad thing depending upon what you think of the fair.
I get most of my fair jollies just sitting on the front porch. Watching the parade of happy people walking to the fair early in the day as they park somewhere beyond my house.
And, then, I am blessed with the occasional treasure of seeing the exact same people coming back later that night… transformed.
Tired, broke, sun burnt or freezing (it’s Kansas, you know) and almost always “less happy.”
This people watching is a little thing I have learned to enjoy in the last seven years of living here in Hutch. I do it every year as I listen to the concerts from the comfort of my porch swing.
You know what else doesn’t change?
That’s amazing to me.
- They set up the rides in the exact same place that they did in previous years (although some of the rides change).
- They do the concerts in the exact same venues as every year gone by (although some of the artists change).
- They have the same vendors in the same booths making the same claims as they did in every year past (although some of the prices change).
And, honestly, I love it.
Because it makes my wife think I’m a genius.
Every year at the fair she’ll be looking for something, somewhere that she can barely/vaguely describe and I take her right to it.
Then she looks up at me with those big beautiful eyes of hers, with a look I remember from our dating days, and she says “You’re amazing! How do you navigate this.”
With a cocky sneer, a little grab of the belt loop to hike the pants a tad, I humbly reply, “Baby, it’s just a guy thing.”
We (humanity) love familiarity! It’s comfortable, it’s safe, it’s easy.
Even those of us who push for change and claim to abhor the mundane for the new, we still have our routines.
It’s a horrible confession, but even as I sit here in this coffeeshop writing this blog, my brand new 3G iPhone is pumping… Air Supply’s Greatets Hits into my brain.
Why? Because no one writes music like that anymore, and I’ll fight you over that!
Here I am, the one that you love, asking for another day…. (pause, enjoy, remember… ah)
Change is hard, even for those of us who push for it, but change is necessary for growth, development and progress. Sure, there will always be those who stand back and think it’s a tragedy that we left the old ways behind. They are “Lost In Love” for the past. They are “All Out Of Love” for the future. They can’t stand taking “Chances.” They aren’t able to grasp that “You’re Every Woman In The World To Me.”
Someone save me. I need an iTunes card. That last one didn’t even make any sense.
Change is a Biblical must:
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Mk 2:21-22.
In this passage Jesus was talking about far more than change itself. He was talking about religion, faith, theology, fasting, but in each of these areas He was talking about change that was necessary.
You can’t pour the brand new into the old. It’ll break and both will be ruined. We have to let go of past if we’re going to get a hold of the future without losing sight of the purpose, meaning and significance of both.
It’s difficult to say the least; almost as difficult as not ending a sentence with a preposition like both (Man! Now I’ve done it twice).
I saw a great example of change this past Sunday. Tough, arduous, hard-fought change, but change that was worth it.
I haven’t been in services for our church for just over a month as I have been recovering from brain surgery. But, this weekend I went to our Sterling campus.
As a church we have changed. Seven years ago we were a traditional little Baptist church of about 140 people.
Today we are a multi-site, faith community with video-driven venues and campuses across the state weekly seeing form 1,200 to 1,500 in attendance. We have two campuses in Hutchinson, and one in Sterling, Hays, Salina and Great Bend.
Obviously, things have changed.
As I sat there to worship in a gymnasium there in Sterling I heard the excitement about the new building that’s nearing completion. I listened to the Celebrate Recovery Band lead the music. I watched the well-written, fantastically edited and polished video teachings on worship from our team.
The service was great, and I was in awe.
The quality was top-notch, and I was awestruck.
Then the intangible hit me, and I was amazed.
God had gently whispered in my ear, “Hey Andy, they did all this without you.”
I’d admit that I teared up, if I ever admit that I cry. But, that’s not going to happen.
I sat there thinking Daniel, great job. Paul, wow! Rod and Bobby, way to go. Shivawn, yes! Irv, you the man. Matt, you go boy.
The list could go on and on, but all I could think was that seven years ago we could not have pulled that off at even one campus. And, if we tried I would have had to put my hand on every element of it. From picking songs, to shooting and editing the video, to setting up the equipment.
It’s no slight on anyone, its just that seven years ago we didn’t have the skill sets. But, as I sat there this weekend I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t be more proud of my church family, my staff and my Lord.
Oh the changes He has wrought in us, in me!
Some have come easy, some have been battles and as sure as Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 was the best radio program ever, more changes are going to come for us as a church, as families and as individuals.
That is, if we want to grow or go anywhere.
We could take the familiar, the easy, the safe, but tomorrow we’d be the same people and the same church we are today.
And, I know that’s not what God wants for us.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Php 1:6.
Change is in the DNA of the believer. It’s what got us to become believers!
So whatever obstacle is before you, don’t run from it, embrace it.
Change must come if we are His people.
And, when we come to the other side of our difficult transitions we will see that “Even The Nights Are Better.”
… I need help.