Middle Age R&R
A Middle-Aged Man
Reflects on R & R
We are in the first few days of the New Year as you read this today, and I wanted to share a few thoughts that I have had lately. As I am sure most of you know I now have two married children, and two “yet to be married” children. I guess that is at least one of the qualifiers for middle age. I have also recently crossed that line of the 50th birthday in the last couple of weeks, and my body is physically tired even as I type this today after a couple of days of hunting with my son. Trying to make the best of a grey sky in late December I checked the 45 e-mails I had and found that one of my “friends” sent me this “encouraging” tid-bit:
Just in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things. Each year
the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a
sense of the mind-set of this year's incoming freshmen. Here's this year's list:
The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1986. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up. Their lifetime has always included AIDS. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic. The CD was introduced the year they were born. They have always had an answering machine. They have always had cable. They cannot fathom not having a remote control. Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane, Boss, de plane". They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is. McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter. Do you feel old yet? Notice the larger type, that's for those of you who have trouble seeing.
Now, place that along side the book I was reading this morning as a part of my devotional reading, The Spirit of Revival that was discussing the distinctions between revivals and genuine reformation, and suggesting that we need spiritual reformation and revival in our churches. So how do we as a church want to face this new year that God is giving us?
Perhaps we ought to think together about what revival and reformation are for a moment, and what it might look like here at Loch Raven. A revival means that we have an influx of new Christians into our body here. We certainly desire that God will enable us to see that happen in 2005, and that we are effective in discipling new Christians through the invigorated Small Group ministries that He has given us this past year. What a blessing it would be to see God act in that way in our midst! We must earnestly pray for revival!
But what about reformation? What does that mean, or could it mean? Reformation describes the renewal of the forms and structures of society and culture. You must have spiritual revival to have true reformation! We do not desire an empty revival - filled with emotionalism and superficial spirituality... what we are praying for is that God will implant new life in the hearts and minds of His people, as we reach out to those around us with the Gospel, and that those new hearts will begin the process of personal spiritual reformation, resulting in a reformation of the life of the church here at Loch Raven.
You see, we are at a point as a church, when new leaders must begin to emerge from our midst, to help us minister effectively to this generation of young adults rapidly taking their rightful places here. We need to encourage our young men to step into roles of teaching, leading, and participation on all levels of the spiritual life of this body. I am so pleased with the report of the Nominating Committee and those who have place their names in nomination as Deacon, Trustee and Elder. I am excited about those who are leading Small Groups, and teaching. I think we are on the precipice of seeing God’s mighty hand at work in a beautiful way to spur Loch Raven along. But we must continue our efforts to fan the flame of what God is doing here.
I am looking at 2005 as a great year in the life of Loch Raven! With Jordan Ross coming on board to work with our Youth Ministry, and with Suzanne Woo directing the Choir and Phyllis Smith accompanying our music for worship, we have some fresh opportunities. Tracy Taylor has been a marvelous Church Secretary this year, and a great support to the entire congregation. And Ralph Kidwell has been such a vital part at the heart of all of our ministries. We truly have been blessed, and I think we are poised to glorify God in some new and strategic ways this coming year.
I ask you to take a few moments, and pray that God will revive your heart this year through your reading of Scripture, your participation in our Small Group ministries, and the preaching at our Worship services. And pray that the reformation that God brings this year will be deep and lasting. RLB