LOOKING UP: Were you ready for 2013?
Monday, 14 January 2013 by Joe Baisden
Ready or not, the New Year 2013 is underway. Of one thing we can be sure, it will bring changes—some major, some minor—some good, some bad. No matter what the changes are, we will have to face them, and we had better learn to deal with them.
There is great wisdom in these words of Eric Hoffer: "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
Twenty-one years ago, as the first Sunday of 1992 rolled around, I was compelled to include these words in my first sermon of the year: "Before this new year is over, you will arrive at church services on a given Sunday morning and not be able to find your pew. The reason: It will not be here."
Thus began an effort to prepare the Belton Church of Christ for the monumental change of the location of its facilities. For eighty years its base of operations had been at the corner of Third and Penelope in downtown Belton. She had been through many changes there. The first years were in a wooden building that previously belonged to the First Christian Church. That building was torn down and replaced by a basement completed about 1928, built with the expectation of soon topping it with a superstructure. The Crash that began the Great Depression came in 1929, forcing a long delay. She became known in town as "the underground church" until 1948, when the superstructure finally became a reality. There were several expansions of the facilities in the years that followed. Then, growth demanded a move.
Land was bought at the corner of North Main and Guthrie. It took years of planning and fundraising before groundbreaking and the beginning of construction. The coming change was obvious as the process moved forward, but it was hard for some of the members to accept the coming change. Precious memories of past experiences at the old location blurred the minds of some to the need for moving and for the tremendous opportunities for greater service to the Lord.
What happened between the first of January and the first Sunday in October, when the move was finally made was most interesting. In sermon after sermon, I tried to help the folks get ready. A lady came to me one day and said, "Joe, I've been getting so tired of all your talk about change, but I overheard a conversation recently, and you better keep pouring it on!"
Another confessed: "Joe, we've been holding tight to the backs of the old pews, and you have been helping us gradually turn loose."
Then, since everyone wanted to be at the "last service" downtown and the "first service" on North Main, we had both services the same morning—fifteen minutes apart. There was a celebration following, and it was gratifying to hear so many who had been opposed to the progress admit that it was the right thing to do.
Change is a mixed bag. It can bring great pain and/or glorious joy. Regardless, the key to dealing with it is to look for the good that God can make of it. To successfully tread the days ahead, hold on to and follow the One who said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Some of the best advice I know about facing a new year comes from Marie Louise Haskins' "The Gate of the Year." She wrote: "And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year; 'Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!' And he replied: 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way."
Happy New Year!
"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." – Psa. 112:7