WE MUST NOT LIVE IN THE PAST

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BY STEVE DUNN
“Death comes when memories of the past supersede the vision for the future.” – Bob Russell

Nostalgia – a sentimental journey into the past.  A comfort on cold winter nights by the fire when you reminisce with friends and tell the stories of times gone by when things were simpler and less demanding.  A treasuring of what you have already obtained.  Regardless of our age, we all have moments nostalgia.  For a grandmother it may be back before the War.  For her high school bound granddaughter it may be memories of the 3rd grade.  The past doesn’t need to be distant to produce nostalgia–it just has to be passed.

Nostalgia like so many things in our Fallen World is both a good thing and a bad thing.  Good because it reminds of blessings already received.  Bad when we begin to think that blessings end when past becomes present.

The apostle Paul tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  But too many Christians and too many churches would rather hold on to the past than take the risk that comes from discovering what Jesus wants to do today and intends to do in the future.

The world changes daily.  The sum total of human knowledge doubles in less than five years.  The oldest Sunday School class always dies and the nursery is but a promise until we grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God.

We cannot stop the world from changing.  And unless we find some untouched desert island we can cannot recreate the past because soon even that kingdom of nostalgia will change.

There is a difference between celebrating the past and worshiping it.

There is a difference between learning from the past and thinking there are no new lessons to learn.

Churches who want to be the best church for their community always keep their focus on the future.  They lean into instead of retreat from it.

Remember the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 given to a people whose past could no longer be preserved. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We must not live in the past.  It is disobedient to the Lord who wants you in the future.

(C) 2013 by STEPHEN L DUNN

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