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Sep 09

Glorifying the Past

Today I was talking with our Children’s Pastor, Ryan Gordon, about how I’ve resolved to live in the moment with my son & daughter. Far too often parents wish for days gone by with their kids. They wish they were still infants so they could rock them in the recliner; that they were two so they could play dress-up with them again; or that they were four years old so they would be potty-trained but still have the wide eyed wonder of a child. I don’t want to do that with my children. I want to enjoy where we are. Of course that isn’t always easy, because it means I’m operating in situations I’ve never dealt with before—but that’s where my kids are, and I wouldn’t be loving them well now if I constantly wished they were somebody from the past.

As we were having this conversation, we noted how we tend to glorify the past. When we talk about what happened ‘back in the day’ – we almost always pick and choose the emotions and parts we want to remember. For instance that family trip didn’t just include the time my son first saw the ocean, but the argument he had with his sister on the way there. He didn’t just enjoy the beauty and vastness of the ocean, but hated the sand that got in his shoes. And as unhappy as he may have seemed on the beach, he was even more frustrated to have to leave. Yet what we choose to remember is the good. We avoid recalling the negatives. The fish gets a little bigger every time we tell our fishing story.

Now this is understandable. To a point. We want to remember the happy times, and it is unhealthy to dwell on the negatives. But at the same time, failing to be aware of the negatives causes us to glorify the past, avoid the moment, and dread the future. I’ve found the propensity we have to only want to remember the positives doesn’t only affect our recollection of our past, but also how we read and remember what’s written in the Bible.

One of the greatest difficulties I’ve had in my relationship with Jesus Christ is the seeming disparity between how I see God working in the times the Bible recounts and how I see Him working in my own life and in the lives of those around me. As I think about what’s written in the Bible, my memory immediately recounts the grand miracles God performed—such as parting the sea so the Israelites walked across on dry land, raising Lazarus from the dead, and feeding 5,000 men and women and children with only five loaves of bread and a couple fish. Or, I look at the giants of the faith such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Peter, and Paul and all they did for the Lord and His Kingdom. Then I compare all of this to what I see (or don’t see) happening in the world today, or compare myself with the likes of Peter & Paul. I despair at what I see as God not moving, or condemn myself for not being as strong a force for the Kingdom as Peter & Paul.

Yet as I read Acts 15:36-40 this week and remembered similar stories of the failings of the people God chose to work through saturate the pages of the Bible—I realized that what we do in glorifying our own past, we also do as we recall what’s in the Bible.

So oddly enough, as frustrated as I get reading a story such as Paul and Barnabas arguing with one another in Acts 15:36-40, I’m also comforted by it. As we live together as the community of believers, we are not the first to experience conflict, nor will we be the last. If Paul and Barnabas, two giants of the faith if there ever were ones, argued—we likely will to. This doesn’t excuse it, but puts it in proper perspective. Just as much as they needed the Holy Spirit to form their relationships with one another, we do as well. Praise God that we not only know that this happened, but also what God did through them even after this. Paul, Barnabas, and Mark all went on to serve the Lord in incredible ways and were most likely reconciled.

For Further Conversation:

1.) When you were growing up, how did you want to make or leave your mark on the world? How close are you to reaching that goal?

 2.) In your experience, how do most people want to leave their mark on the world? Fame? Accomplishment? Money?

3.) From what you have learned of Peter throughout Movementum, how surprising is his tenderness towards Mark in I Peter 5:13? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________

Not Surprising                     Eye Raising                      Mind Blowing

 4.) If you are “Mark,” then who was your “Peter”? How and why was this person so influential in your life?

5.) To whom are you now “Peter”? If you have no answer, what gifts do you have to share that you are currently keeping under wraps?

 6.) How will you direct your Movementum towards the next generation this week?

 

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