In 1972 I had a pair of purple bell bottoms with black pinstripes. As you wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes I will point out that there were two or three other guys with the same pants! We all bought them on sale at Zodys.
In 1974 I had long blond hair. It was parted down the middle, and I was the epitome of cool.
In 1977 I had a baby blue polyester leisure suit. I wore a white gauze shirt with embroidered cuffs and collar. Again, I was the epitome of cool.
In the early 80’s I had a full beard and permed hair. That’s right, permed hair. I probably wasn’t cool, but I thought I was.
Now, I have a goatee that is mostly grey. What hair I have is grey, and I keep it cut pretty close to my skull to hide the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of it in places. Now I don’t care if I’m cool or not, I just want to look less geeky.
Change is inevitable. Lyle Schaller’s incredible book, “The Change Agent,” says that you either embrace change and guide it, or you stand where you are and get run over by change.
This week I saw plenty of people who have chosen to stay where they are and get mowed down by change. There was one lady who was a good fifty pounds past the stre-e-e-e-etch pants she was wearing. Yet, there she was, all made up and strutting her stuff, seemingly unaware that her outfit no longer worked for her. There were guys who had no hair on top and pony tails in the back. I’m still not sure where that look is cool, maybe somewhere in Europe.
We have to learn to change with the times. The church I co-pastor, Remnant, is making me rethink all of the things I think I know about ministry. Sure, I like to think of myself as progressive, but am I? I like to think that I am near the cutting edge of ministry style and substance, but am I? And if I am, why am I? Am I doing things just to be cool, or doing things because I honestly think that God wants things done that way?
It is good for us to take a look at our lives. To hold our way of life, values, and thinking to the harsh light of truth and see how we are doing. I love being part of Remnant because it makes me really think through what I believe and why I believe it. I am comfortable with the idea that my message has never changed. I believe that Jesus came and died for our sins so we could have eternal life. I believe that His gift requires something of us. I believe that one day I will join Christ in heaven, but hell is a real option if I don’t hold up my end of the Christianity contract.
While the message hasn’t changed, and never will, what has changed is how I communicate that message. I could never have imagined using a music video or a “Spongebob Squarepants” clip as illustrations in my sermons. I am trying to adapt Christ’s timeless message in a way that is culturally relevant and accessible to people today. The way it has always been done may not necessarily work for people today, so I am trying to adapt a timeless message in a timely manner.
What about you? What parts of your old life are you holding onto that need to be examined? What changes need to be made in your life to make it what it ought to be? I meet people all the time whose lives are missing something. They can’t put their finger on it, but they know what they have always done, the way they’ve always lived, isn’t making it anymore. I can tell you, the missing piece is Jesus. Not religion. Not just “going to church.” What you need is a relationship with the One who gave His life for you. What have you got to lose? If you feel like you need a change, come on out to Remnant this Sunday, or another church, for that matter. The important thing is to see if God can help you make some changes that will make your life better. I know He can.
Wishing I still had those purple bellbottoms…NOT! Jerry