Monday, May 21, 2012
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I spent my seventh through tenth grade in a small town in Illinois. So I went to junior high there and my first two years of high school. And I hadn't seen my friends from there for 28 years!
I was speaking in a city not too far from that town, and one of those old friends called and said, "Do you have time to get together with us before you go speak?" Well, we did. And after we figured out who everybody was, because, you know things have changed: hair, teeth, figures, we had a great time! There was a lot of the old "remember when" stuff, and "Hey, where's good old..." You know?
Well, they all remembered when I weighed like say 55 pounds more, for example, and you know, was a guy, when I sat around the house, I sat around the house. Now, after we'd gone through all those memories, we all want to do it again. But one thing, well, I've got to tell you; it became very clear by the end of the afternoon. If you want a real ongoing relationship, you've got to have some new experiences together. You can only go so far on memories.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Making New Memories."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from perhaps the ultimate Christian life of all time, that of the Apostle Paul. And yet he says after 30 years of following Jesus, Philippians 3:13 - "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
I like the spirit of that, don't you? I mean, it's like an Olympic runner who says, "I don't care about the ground I've already covered. What matters is the ground ahead of me; what I haven't covered yet. The best is not behind me; the best is yet to come." And look! Paul had some great memories of some wonderful miracles, great sermons preached, and churches founded. But all he's focusing on is the new ground that he has yet to take for Jesus.
See, the key to a living relationship with Christ can be summarized in four words that Paul uses here. "Forgetting what is behind." So many believers are like me and my old high school friends, trying to have a relationship today based on things that happened in the past. "Oh, remember the time I committed my life to Christ? I remember that meeting so well." "Remember, Lord, when I did that job for You?" "Remember when I was really out on a limb; I didn't know where it was going to come from, and I prayed and all kinds of miracles happened?" "Remember those answers to prayer?" "Remember those people I influenced?" "Remember when we used to have those intimate times together?"
Come on! You can't base a relationship with Christ on a scrapbook, no matter how impressive the past is. You can't just let the old missions satisfy you. You need some new experiences with Jesus. You need to be part of some new exploits for the King, places where you experience Christ's lordship in things that matter to you now. You need a daily rendezvous with Him where you have new encounters, new discoveries all the time from His Word; something new that you just talked to Him about today. You need a new mission, a new vision for what you could be doing for Him; a new reviving work better than all the others you've had in the past; a new intimacy, closer than it's ever been.
Isn't it time to say, "Lord, I've been living on memories. I've been living on old experiences. Let's do some new things together! Today, Lord, let's start making some new memories."