April 27, 2023
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Yeah, I have a lot in common with a guy from the first century B.C. Actually he was a Roman officer, leading his men on a mission that took them into uncharted territory. Back then, mapmakers drew dragons beyond the line of what was known and explored.
So, from "dragon land," the commander dispatched a courier back to headquarters with an urgent message. This is where I cross paths with this ancient warrior. He said, "We have just marched off the map. Please send new orders."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "New Territory, No Map."
I get that! I mean, doesn't it sometimes feel like we've marched off the map. It's crazy politically. It's hard to guess where our country might be headed, where the world might be headed. The economy seems to be an unexplored territory. It's hard to know how to plan for the future. And there are countries in the world that are like ticking time bombs in the nuclear way.
Nature's been doing her fair share of wild things, rewriting life stories in her wake. And medical care in the future; we've seen what viruses can do. Places we've always considered "safe zones" have, at times, become killing zones: malls, theaters, schools, offices, airports and lone wolf terrorists.
Our weather forecasts a few months ago warned of a "polar weather" system, and you could barely move at our local Wal-Mart. People didn't want to be caught unprepared for what was coming. Now, look, the weather's a whole lot easier to forecast than the world. It's increasingly hard to know what's coming and how to prepare, because there's so much we can't control or predict. But not everything.
Years ago, my wife and I read a book called Future Shock. It was a landmark book at the time by Alvin Toffler. Maybe this "new territory, no map" isn't so new after all. He talked about the "death of permanence" and the importance of creating "stability zones" in the middle of constant change. I like to call it "an island of sanity in an insane world."
My wife and I actually set out to create that "island" for us and our children. An environment where each family member could come each day to a place that they knew they were safe, not another battleground. Where you knew you'd be heard. You knew you'd be hugged. You knew you could talk about things without fear of rejection or condemnation.
Traditions help; predictable rhythms in a crazy world: dinnertime, family night, bedtime off-to-school rituals, family meetings to talk about family issues. It's a map to go by.
And while there are lots of unknowns, maybe about the economy, about the world, about government, we can try to make our personal finances a "stability zone" by putting away or throwing away our credit cards; sacrificing to get out of debt. It's cutting cords that tie us to a system that puts outside forces in control of our life.
Sanity factors: setting up boundaries so I won't be controlled by social media that intrudes or not over-committing. Leaving room for "Murphy." You know, knowing what can go wrong might go wrong. New orders for uncharted territory. Or maybe just rediscovering some old orders we've lost in the shuffle.
Old orders like our word for today from the Word of God, the 23rd Psalm. "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." A Shepherd to follow in uncharted territory. Even "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" it says, "I will fear no evil because You are with me" (Psalm 23:4).
I remember how safe I felt when I heard that as a kid. And how much my dad wanted me to read it for him just before he went into the surgery he would never recover from. The Shepherd, Jesus, said, "I am the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). Jesus did that for you, because we've all got this sin issue that separates us from God and keeps us from heaven. But for Jesus, there's no uncharted territory. He's been to the grave and back. And He's ready to lead you the rest of your life if you'll put your trust in Him. I've never gone wrong by following the Shepherd who knows every corner of the future.
If you don't have that anchor, would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours from this day on." Go to our website to find out how to know you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com. Jesus is the one who has the map for your uncharted territory.