I am always amazed when I study the life of Jesus in the Gospels. I am transported by the power of anointed words and by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to another place and to another time.
As I read through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I am no longer sitting in an office while gazing at the spring landscape of western New York. I am walking with Peter and John along the Sea of Galilee. The coastal air is whistling past me and I hear the cries of gulls overhead.
Sand lingers between my toes and I squint in the overpowering sunshine of the Eastern world.
But most of all ... I hear Jesus. I see Jesus. I feel Jesus.
I hear His laughter and am changed by His wisdom. I sit in amazement that He is looking at me through the hallways of time.
I am undone by the Man that He is. I am simply and completely undone by Jesus.
As I was studying the Gospel of Mark this week, it suddenly exploded within my heart that this Man who defied religious habits and entities, chose to teach God's Word from the seashore. He wasn't behind a pulpit but He was sitting in a fisherman's rugged boat.
He didn't adorn the garb of the highly religious sect but wore the clothes of the common man. He didn't wait for the Sabbath to talk about God but He spoke of Him in secular settings in every man's world.
Jesus was adventurous when it came to breaking societal and religious norms. Shouldn't we be of the same mindset?
Just because something has been done or has been practiced in the church for over 50 years doesn't mean it is the way we should do it today. Just because something worked 35 years ago doesn't mean that it will work today. Just because a song meant something to your generation doesn't mean that it will move the hearts of a new generation.
When Jesus came, He revolutionized religious approach and was wise enough to know that new methods would and could work powerfully. If the desire of our hearts is to be like Jesus, we need to allow the church to be adventurous and to use new methods and original approaches to preaching the gospel.
I believe that the Holy Spirit gives every generation a new song that must be sung. If the older generations choose to stifle the new song of the budding generation, the generation of young hearts and young minds will sing a different song in a different venue.
That would be tragic, indeed.
The church must accept and even applaud the adventure and the new song of the rising generation!
It is, after all, what Jesus would do. Because He did it! He initiated it! He broke through religious tedium with a fresh approach to the kingdom of God.
It's humbling to admit that the modicum of my generation may no longer work in the church life of today. It is sobering indeed to realize that my preferences are outdated, antiquated and dismally old-fashioned. I used to be so cool, but nobody under 30 years old realizes that!
And so I join Jesus on the seashore with my face to the wind and I determine to walk away from the comfort of days gone by. The God who, although He never changes, makes all things new for every generation.
He is gifting a new generation with a fresh and glorious song. He is bestowing a spirit of adventure onto all who will boldly choose to embrace it.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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