Black Night

Black night, then, great God? You’ve chosen black night
For this your little sheep to wander through,
Cold, shiv’ring, bleating as he follows you
So close behind your steady gate, your sight
Set firmly on your lamb though doubt and fright
Enshroud his moonless route? To him be true!
Lead down a trail that gleams with morning dew
In dawn’s fair light, but please, great God—black night?

Hush now, dear sheep, and shadow close beside
The Maker of the path and of the light
That you so long for; let me be your guide!
Could I not speak and banish dark forthright?
For good I chose this road that you now chide,
So follow on though my choice be black night.

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In the Shadow of the Shepherd

Your dear sheep bleats to hear his shepherd’s voice
and longs for revelation of his choice
of what awaits the flock just down the path;
Are stored up long-sought streams or desert’s wrath?
And how long must he wait just out of sight
of what’s around the bend—bleak dark or light?
Small, tired feet desire this day’s close—
to be there now—and yet the shepherd slows
until he halts and stares on up ahead
while silently behind him his sheep dreads
that this stop may be long and hard to bear.
Desiring what’s to come, he trusts his care.
So wait, dear sheep, though bleat all that you will,
for he who’s led you thus far leads you still.

© 2013 Eric Evans

A Rock in a Hurricane

There is incomprehensible suffering in this world.  It shouldn’t be! our hearts cry out.  And our hearts are right.  A gunman shouldn’t shoot 26 people in cold blood, 20 of them defenseless children, in an elementary school. A group of men shouldn’t gang rape a woman on a public bus and then throw her off it for dead. Terrorists shouldn’t run airplanes into buildings. A country’s entire economic system shouldn’t be dependent upon labor inhumanely exacted from black slaves. A husband shouldn’t be so arrogant and self-centered when his wife is tired and needs encouragement.

And yet these things happen. They happen every day. We hear about some in the news. Most don’t draw much media coverage at all. And in light of such horrors, people begin to look for relief from the horrors that surround them—and from the horrors that torment them.

Christianity has the answer, but it might not be exactly what you think it is. To be very clear, Jesus is the answer. What you need in the middle of terror—any terror or calamity or sorrow or hardship that you’ve ever faced, are facing right now, or ever will face—is Jesus right there, right beside you, with his strong, sovereign arms around you ensuring you that this pain won’t consume you.

I would gently and lovingly caution you, however, from misunderstanding what I mean when I say that Jesus is the answer. What I don’t mean is that you need Jesus so that big, strong Jesus can remove you from your terror or calamity or sorrow or hardship. In fact, Jesus and the inspired biblical writers make it very clear that following him would increase the tribulations you face in this world (John 16:33; Romans 8:17; Philippians 1:29; 2 Thessalonians 3:2-4; 1 Peter 2:20). What I mean when I say that Jesus is the answer to your deepest longings and most pointed pains is that you need Jesus to be the rock under your feet so that when the winds blow and when the storm comes, while you may be struck hard by the merciless waves, you won’t be utterly shaken and washed away.

Jesus doesn’t promise to remove all your heartache. He promises to walk beside you through it and ensure it doesn’t consume you. That is the hope we have in him. This rock-solid truth is what the world longs for and can’t find. As we enter 2013, I pray that you wouldn’t be one of those left wanting.

“He Will Be Great”

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her the news that she, a virgin, would give birth to a Son, one of the things that he told her was very simply this: “He will be great” (Luke 1:32). The child who would be born to Mary and Joseph would one day be a very great man. But just how great?

Jesus is great because he brought atoms and planets and galaxies into existence (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16).

Jesus is great because right now in this instant he upholds every created atom in the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus is great because he is the Word of God who both was God and with God in the beginning (John 1:1-3).

Jesus is great because in him are the life and light of men (John 1:4).

Jesus is great because when he shines into darkness, darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5).

Jesus is great because though he was “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and was he in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwell[ed] bodily” (Colossians 2:9), he “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).

Jesus is great because he loved those who hated and rejected him most (John 1:10-11; Matthew 5:44-45).

Jesus is great because not only did the Creator humble himself to serve his creation, he also “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8) that sinful mankind might be reconciled to the Father.

Jesus is great because he is the spotless “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) that we might stand in hope before a holy God.

Jesus is great because he faithfully finished the task his Father gave him to complete: to seek and to save the lost (John 19:30; Luke 19:10).

Jesus is great because he was perfect (Matthew 5:48).

Jesus is great because he never did any wrong (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus is great because the name his Father has given him is great (Hebrews 1:4-5; Philippians 2:9).

Jesus is great because one day the knee of every created being will bow before him and confess that he alone is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

There is no one like him. Among the great men of history, he stands head and shoulders above the rest. No one is like him in power and in humility, in strength and in meekness, or in wisdom and in innocence. No one compares to him in purity, in righteousness, in justice, in self-control, or in self-sacrifice. He alone embodies all honor, beauty, joy, peace, gentleness, and kindness. No one holds a candle to this one who would be great.

He is the greatest because despite greatness he became the least. He is the highest because despite the lofty heights in which he dwelled, he became the lowest. He is the most glorious because despite unspeakable honor, he became the most dishonored.

Who can stand beside him? Who can comprehend him? Who can overtake him? Who can bind his hand?

Truly Jesus was great. No other human being to ever walk the earth comes close. This is the one I follow. This is the one who invites you now to follow him, too. He would be your greatest hope if you would have him.

The Christian Fight of Faith

This is the fourth post in a series addressing the question of the relationship between a person’s behavior, his desires, and his perception of reality according to a Christian worldview.  Find previous posts here: “Oh, Those Things I Do”, “Perception, Desires, Behavior In That Order”, and “The Result of Our Perceived Treasures”.  These articles will be especially helpful in understanding how I’m using the terms behavior, desires, and perception throughout this post.

The more I’ve thought about the interplay between perception, desire, and behavior, the better I’ve come to understand my own personal Christian experience and the normal Christian experience in general.  The struggle between the new perception that a Christian has been granted and the old, sinful desires of the human heart seems to be normal Christianity as Paul described it in Romans 7.  Paul said that he did (behavior) what he didn’t want to do (desire) and didn’t do (behavior) what he wanted to do (desire).  It’s true that he already had a new perception of life.  And that new perception had begun to work in him to where the longings of his heart were being transformed.  Yet to Paul’s frustration, his behavior was not on board.  In fact, his behavior flew in the face of what he longed to do.

How can that be?  At some level Paul wanted to do what he did, or he wouldn’t have done it.  As James 4:1 makes clear, I’m operating on the premise that you do because you want.  So on some level Paul continued to sin as a result of the sinful desires that remained in him.  Those sinful desires, however, weren’t all that resided in Paul’s heart, however.  Fighting against sinful desires (resulting in sinful behavior) were righteous desires (resulting in righteous behavior).

Doesn’t this perfectly describe the typical Christian experience?  In fact, doesn’t this describe how much of life works when it comes to our longings, our behavior, and how we perceive reality?  For example, when we’re little, we don’t realize how bad eating candy all the time is for us.  By the time we do come to perceive this truth, we’ve developed a taste for sweets that can be hard to overcome, even in light of our new perception.  We know so much isn’t good for us.  We believe it.  We’re not living in denial.  We see the value of eating broccoli.  We don’t doubt in the slightest that it’s the better choice.  We even want to eat more broccoli because we know that the road lined with sugar only leads to obesity and diabetes.  Yet, at the exact same time we’re torn by our old desires that stemmed from our old perceptions.  Our old desires have to be subjected to our new perceptions.  Old habits, as they say, die hard.

So one reason that Paul, you, and I aren’t perfect, dear Christian, is that the old sinful desires that for so long were all we knew are in conflict with the new sight that we have of Jesus and his gospel.  But there’s more.  Another reason he, you, and I aren’t perfect is that our perception isn’t perfect.  Remember this graphic:

Perception → Desires → Behavior

(And just in case they don’t show up on your computer for some reason, those are right-pointing arrows between each word.)

So right to the right of my perceptions I’ve got my desires fighting against me, and worse yet, my newfound perceptions aren’t perfect in and of themselves.  This, too, hinders true change in my behavior.

Question: When will our behavior be perfect?  Another way to ask that question is to ask, When will our sanctification be complete?  Answer: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2, emphasis mine).  The Bible says that we will be like Jesus when we see him.  Dwell on that for a moment.  We will be perfect when we see Jesus perfectly.  Something about rightly perceiving Jesus in all his glory will alter us to our very core.  I would say that when we see Jesus, we’ll be freed from every other lesser desire in this universe and will want only him forever.  As a result, then, we will in our behavior move toward him only and ever away from sin.  In that moment, our sanctification (our being made holy like God is holy) will be complete, and that moment will be when we “see him as he is.”  Incredible.

However, we don’t see Jesus perfectly yet.  Our perception is distorted.  It’s not complete.  Paul says that “now we see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  And the mirror is dirty and scratched and needs desperately to be polished.  Yes, we as Christians have seen the light, but we have not yet seen the Light—Jesus—completely as he really is.  It’s like lighting a match at midnight during a new moon.  The match helps, but more light—like, say, from the sun—would help a lot more.  One day we’ll see the Son!  But not yet.  Therefore we desire Jesus and we desire the things of this world.  Therefore, our behavior is good and it’s sinful.  What’s the fight now, then?  To see Jesus more and more clearly.

Here’s another “graphic” representation the normal Christian experience:

imperfect perception of Jesus → mixed desires (some driving us toward the world, some driving us toward Jesus) → imperfect behavior (both sinful and godly)

So what do we do?  Sit on our butts in helpless apathy and wait for Jesus to come back so that we can see him fully and as a result be completely sanctified as we so long for?  Not on your life.  We’ve got the weapons to fight this fight for sight right now.  But what are they?  If our fight as Christians is to see Jesus more, how are we going to do that?  He’s not physically here!  How I wish he were!  But he’s left us something even more sure than audible voices from heaven and mountaintop visions of heavenly beings (1 Peter 1:18-19).  We can see and come to know Jesus and see him through his written word.  There we can see how Jesus walked and talked and interacted with those around him.  We can see what he valued.  In the record of this man we can gain new perception of how he thought and what was going on inside his heart.  And right there the transformation begins.

I can remember particular instances of vividly coming to “see” Jesus more clearly.  For example, one time I was listening to a sermon about the time when Jesus was preaching in the temple.  There, looking into the eyes of probably some of the very men who would not too soon afterward have him beaten, mocked, and then hung on a cross, he proclaimed, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).  What an incredible offer of love to people who hated his guts.  And in that moment, I saw Jesus.  I came to perceive him more clearly.  And I was changed.  Not completely, no, but I am different today because of that vision of Jesus.  And so I continue to fight.  And my fight is a fight to see him.

Psalm 119:18 is the prayer of my heart, and may it be yours: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”  And beholding wondrous things, may we be changed.

“What Suits?” or “What Saves?”

I was skimming through a TIME Magazine article the other day and was struck by a graphic that compared the various views of heaven that several major world religions hold.  That’s when a thought struck me.  I wondered if that’s not how many people decide their religious beliefsbuffet style.  That is, I asked myself if many people today don’t choose a belief (or an entire religion for that matter) merely based on how it stacks up when compared with another one.  Whichever belief suits the prospective believer best wins, as if all the various beliefs of all the world’s religions were laid out on a buffet line to be looked over and chosen only if the hungry seeker deemed them palatable.  And even closer to home: Do I do that?

That’s not really a good way to go about it, to be honestchoosing your religious beliefs (or even your entire religion) that way, I mean.  It shouldn’t be as much about what suits me.  My main concern should be centered on what saves me.  It’s not a matter of which belief appeals to me the best.  What should interest me most is whether or not the belief under consideration is true.  After all, I’m a firm believer in the fact that I don’t determine reality.  Simply because I believe something does not make it true.  It follows from that conviction, then, that determining whether or a particular religious belief is true is much more important than whether or not I like the idea.

How do I determine truth?  I seek my shepherd’s voice.  What does Jesus have to say about a particular belief?  What words from God’s written word—the Bible—is Jesus speaking to me about the matter at hand?  That may not be a satisfactory answer for many, but for me, that thought fills me with indescribable peace.  I think it’s because I trust the good shepherd so much.  I’m sure that when he says his sheep hear his voice (present tense, indicating an ongoing reality—something that’s true right now), I, his sheep, will in fact be able to discern his voice and know his will, and in that way, he will lead me to truth.  And even when his voice does not give me the specific response I would like, he’s still so trustworthy that I’ll humble myself and wait for all to be revealed the day I stand before him face to face.

So how about you?  How do you decide what you believe?  Leave me a reply.  I’d love to hear from you.

A Matter of Words

I really want to know God. Like, really. I want to be able to communicate with him. I want to know what it is to walk in his presence. I want to feel him near, and even more than mere feeling, I want him to actually be near.

So my question naturally becomes, Well, then, just how do I do that? What is required to bridge the seemingly infinite cosmic gap of time and space that exists between me and the Creator God of the universe? Is communication with him mystical? As in, does communing with God involve low lighting, special chants, and some type of out of body experience? Must my spirit somehow leave its body and cross the vast void of eternity to enter God’s presence and know him near? Does interaction with the Divine involve a transcendent experience of bright light, heightened enlightenment, and warm, fuzzy feelings?

Sometimes I wish I had such experiences. They just sound so intriguing. And what great stories they would make! Certainly upon having such an experience I could be assured that I had, in fact, touched the heart of God and that he had touched mine.

It dawned on me the other day that communicating with God does not require anything out of the ordinary whatsoever. In fact, communicating with God is achieved by exactly the same means by which I communicate with my wife, my students at school, or a stray dog on the street. Communication involves words. It always involves words. If I want to communicate something to a dog, my students, my wife, or to God himself, the only way I can do so is through my words. It’s very simple. I speak to him. That’s all it takes to create a link with the very Maker of heaven and earth. A word.

And the mindboggling thing about it is that that’s exactly the same way he communicates to me. Receiving communication from God—just like sending it—doesn’t require trances, late-night conjuring, or special sensitivity to secret, ethereal energy fields either. He speaks to me in words. And if that weren’t jaw-dropping enough, it turns out that God wrote those words down for me in a book. And I own a copy.

If you’re like me, at first glance such an idea might seem like a letdown. I’d rather fast for seven days and then scale a high mountain where I perform some ancient, mystic ceremony during which I feel all sorts of warm fuzzies and in the process experience the very presence of God. The reality is, however, that tends to speak to me around 5:43 A.M. when I’m still wearing my bathrobe and slippers, hunched over my Bible, fighting to keep my eyes open because the old, stained leather chair we got from a thrift store is way too comfortable for morning devotions. And he speaks to me when I’m walking down the hallway at school on my way to see my fourth graders, mind racing and anxious about all I need to get done. And he speaks to me when I lay my head down on my pillow at night, and when I go to the gas station, and when I’m feeling irritation well up inside me toward my wife.

And just how does he speak to me? No lights. No soft music. No smoke. Just his words. His words as he wrote them down in a book, the Book of books, the Bible. And my heart speaks back, either audibly or silently. And in that moment, I’ve communicated with God. Unfathomable. And it’s the most common experience of all, for such is every single interaction with every single human being you’ve ever had or ever will have. Communication is essentially an affair of words.

The question, then, is whether or not you hear his voice. And whether or not you answer back. In words, of course. Something that Jesus says to me often is this: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). That has become a very dear word directly from God’s heart to mine. And I would be overjoyed if you could say the same.

Whether you’ve never communicated with God before or you’ve done so innumerable times, at the heart of that communication are words. Speak to him, and then open the book he wrote for you and listen to him speak right back. It doesn’t sound as cool as mountaintop highs or ethereal energy fields, and yet, in my personal experience, it’s better. I think it’s better because it’s real. Real communication doesn’t involve such theatrics. But real communication is what the soul craves. So speak and listen. A real God is waiting for real fellowship with you through real words.

Behind the Poem: “Innocence Lost, Glory Gained”

Click here to read “Innocence Lost, Glory Gained,” posted January 26, 2012.

The Meaning
A little boy stares up at me with probing brown eyes. In a moment I catch a glimpse of the shift that has begun to take place in his bright, young mind. He’s beginning to see the world for what it is. And as you and I know, the world is not always a pretty place—but he’s just figuring that out. And just as you once experienced but have probably forgotten, such a realization can be devastating to a child.

Maybe the other fourth graders have stopped wanting to sit by him at lunch because they’re starting to see that he’s just a little different from the rest. Perhaps his parents are fighting more than ever and he’s not able to drown out their shouting like he used to. It could be his sister tried to kill herself a few days back, and he’s been suddenly faced with realities that he could not, a week ago, even fathom existed. (I wish all those examples were hypothetical. You learn a lot about life from third and fourth graders.)

Staring back into his big brown eyes, I can only weep on the inside, for I see what he doesn’t see. I see what his parents and his classmates and his sister don’t see. I see that life is only going to get harder, especially for this boy, of this socio-economic class, in this racist world, living in this godless and therefore hopeless society. From my vantage point a little bit farther down the road, I can see that this instance is only the first of many run-ins with reality that will leave his head spinning.

And it makes you want to cry. It makes you want to take this precious little boy home and shelter him from every horror that’s out there.

And then this thought hits me upside the head: In my own life it has been amid realizations of the harsh realities that exist around me that Jesus has whispered most clearly, “Nevertheless, I’m here, and I’m sure. I’ll be your rock in a very shaky world.” And doing the only logical thing my mind can conjure up, I cling to him in utter, helpless faith. And he saves me.

It may be that this brown eyed boy has a long, hard road ahead of him. And he may be on the very cusp of realizing that fact. Yet it might just be that this long, hard road was designed by this child’s Creator—who, by the way, loves him infinitely more than I ever could—to eventually lead him to Jesus. Perhaps it’s only through the hardship that this little boy will think to seek out the one who promises to carry him through like nothing else in the universe can. Maybe only up against the ugliness of life will this little boy ever be able to clearly see the beauty of the Jesus he so desperately needs.

May God be faithful to work it out to such an end.

The Technical
This poem doesn’t follow any traditional form. It is written in iambic quadrameter consisting of rhymed couplets. That means that each line has eight syllables that generally follow the pattern ta-DUM-ta-DUM-ta-DUM-ta-DUM. That the poem consists of rhymed couplets means that every two lines rhyme with each other.

The first 22 lines describe the changes that take place as a child grows up. The next four lines act as a commentary on the first 22 lines and a bridge to the next 22 lines. In the second half of the poem I discuss the difficult truth that it is confrontation with the harshness of reality that many times drives one to Jesus, and if that’s the case for my student, may it be so. God will be good to him as he has been to me.

Praise the Lord for the hope that’s found only in Jesus, hope that is seen most clearly when all other hope is lost.

Behind the Poem: “Unrestrained”

Click here to read the poem “Unrestrained,” posted on 11/12/2011.

The Meaning
There is a longing within every human heart that is inestimable in vastness. God put it there. It is a good longing. It is a longing we have as human beings to be in relationship with our infinite Creator.

We all know relationships matter more than stuff. Just ask any lost child in a toy store, desperately looking for his mother. What’s more valuable, that Star Wars action figure you were just drooling over or your mom’s presence? Or just ask any cancer patient undergoing chemo treatments. What’s more valuable, spending your last days polishing a shiny new Mustang in the driveway or spending time with your grandchildren?

There is one relationship that matters more than any other. It is a relationship that is able to bring us more joy and more fulfillment than any other. And that’s a relationship with our God. The poem “Unrestrained” is an expression of the desire to burrow as deeply as possible into a relationship with our amazing Creator.

I chose the title “Unrestrained” because what I long to know in my walk with God is complete unrestraint. No barriers. No walls. Just him. All of him. All of him just like he is. Just like a man dying of thirst will throw off all restraint to quench his thirst, so, too, would I throw off all restraint to know my God.

And in Jesus, it is possible to do just that. It’s not possible through any religion or system or set of rules or good behavior. It’s possible through Jesus Christ alone. If you’d like to learn more about knowing your Creator, click here.

The Technical
This poem is an English sonnet written in iambic pentameter.  A sonnet is a fourteen line poem, and an English sonnet specifically is a sonnet that contains three quatrains (a quatrain is a four line stanza) with an ending couplet (a two line stanza). The rhyme scheme of this piece is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, in which the last word of the first line rhymes with the last word of the third line and the last word of the second line rhymes with the last word of the fourth line, etc.

As traditional English sonnets work, “Unrestrained” builds a single idea over the course of the piece. Each subsequent set of four lines expands or deepens the singular idea. Here, the focus is on the feeling of longing. Dry ground longs for rain. Cancer ridden patients long for cures. The moon longs for the sun’s light. Each reveals different aspects of the specific feeling of longing I was trying to express.

The image of dry ground longing for rain reveals the barrenness one feels apart from his longing fulfilled. The image of a patient longing for a cure reveals how desperate one feels as long as his longing is left unfulfilled. The image of the moon longing for the sun’s rays reveals the hope and joy that are also associated with awaiting the fulfillment of one’s longing.

Not until the last two lines is it revealed just what this longing is for. The fact that three quatrains were dedicated to building a specific feeling of longing and that only at the end is its object revealed builds, I hope, suspense. By the time the reader gets to the end, I wanted him or her to be asking, “Just what in the world could this desperate person possibly be desiring to fill such an obvious aching of soul?” And then, in a word, the object of such a hunger is revealed.

It’s Jesus.

It’s always Jesus.

Only he can satisfy the insatiable craving of this soul. Praise God he’s ours if we would have him.

Time for a (Real) Change

My wife and I recently packed up all our worldly possessions, said goodbye to our one bedroom apartment on Franklin Terrace, and moved 20 blocks west to the lower level of a duplex. It’s an old brick house built at the beginning of the 20th century. Hardwood floors. Mysterious metal tubes running from floor to ceiling in nearly every room. Built in wooden buffet. And nearly double the space of our one bedroom place on the east side of town.

As you can imagine—better said, as you probably know from firsthand experience—moving entails, well, somewhat of a transition. Everything is new. New location requiring new mental city maps to be drawn to get from home to work to church to the store and back efficiently. New neighbors requiring a lot of those awkward sidewalk conversations (you know, the ones you didn’t really intend to start but you have to and that you really aren’t quite sure how to end). New space requiring new ideas of how to fill said space either with what you already own or with that perfect something awaiting you in some thrift store.

Yup, everything is pretty much new and different. That is, except for one thing. Me. I’m still the same ol’ guy I was back on Franklin Terrace. Completely new surroundings. Completely same ol’ guy. Same ol’ habits (good and bad). Same ol’ desires (good and bad). Same ol’ irritations (mostly bad). I’m not more patient with my wife. I don’t pray more. I still have trouble with self-control. Turns out I brought all that I am along with me to my new house.

Truly a change in a person’s residence or vehicle or vocation or marital status doesn’t change the person. It only changes the house, the car, the job, or the (presence or absence of a) spouse. And that realization can be disappointing. You’d think outward changes would affect this inward man. But they don’t.

It takes something much more profound to really change a person. In fact, I would argue it takes an act of God. No sarcasm intended. This is where things get mind-bendingly glorious.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” What Paul says here is that if a person is “in Christ,” he’s not who he used to be. Paul’s taking about a change that affects the very essence of who a person is. It’s a change that is so radical that he’s comparing it to that person being created anew. The old person he used to be has ceased to exist, and in his place stands a completely new person.

That’s what I thought moving to new house (or getting a new job or buying a new car or obtaining a new whatever) might do for me—make me new. It didn’t. Only those who are “in Christ” are made new from the inside out.

So are you “in”? If you’re not sure, I would encourage you to click here to read more about coming to know this Christ and make sure that you are, in fact, “in him.”

For those of you who are “in Christ,” you are a new person. Moving didn’t and can’t accomplish that for you. Neither can upgrading to the latest smart phone, losing a couple of extra pounds, or getting that promotion at work. You spouse can’t make you new. Neither can your children. In fact, nothing and no one can do this recreating work inside the human heart but Jesus. And if you’ve got him, why are you looking anywhere else but to him to make you other than what you are right now? And if you don’t have him yet, you can. The good shepherd who gave his life for the sheep is seeking the lost. Come to him today and be made new.