“These are the good old days.”
So sang Carly Simon in her classic song “Anticipation”.
But it appears that King Solomon was way ahead of her.
Around 2,900 years ago he made an observation that is just as relevant today as when he penned these words-
Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)
It’s hard to argue with Solomon’s logic.
There are those who make the all too common error of locking in on a certain era as the best years of their lives.
It happens to the guy who is still wearing a 40 year old thread bare letterman’s jacket to his high school’s football games.
It happens to the social critic who believes that everything in society could be fixed if we could all just go back to Max Yasgur’s farm and recreate Woodstock.
But it can also easily happen to us as believers in Christ as well.
Particularly those believers who came to know Christ during a time in the late 60’s and early 70’s known as The Jesus Movement.
Get some old school Calvary Chapel people together who lived through those times and you will hear amazing stories about the love and truth of Jesus completely transforming lives.
James MacDonald wryly sums up the experience of a typical Calvary pastor as “Sell drugs, find Jesus, become a pastor and marry a good looking wife!”
And when you hear stories about a “Little Country Church On the Edge of Town” – Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa -that dared to reach out to a lost and disillusioned generation with God’s truth, only to become a 40,000 member congregation that has since spun off over 1,300 other churches in the U.S. alone, well, suffice it to say that was an awesome move of God.
But it also raises a question – “Great! So what has God done lately?”
And if all our testimonies about the transforming power of God are in past tense, we might find ourselves standing right next to the guy in the threadbare letterman’s jacket and the gray haired dude in the tie-dyed “Jimi Lives!” t-shirt.
Fortunately, if we pay attention, equally awesome works of God are going on all around us these days.
Harvest Crusades are packing major league baseball stadiums, with over 20,000 people giving their lives to the Lord in a single weekend.
Calvary Chapel churches are being established all around the world on a nearly weekly basis.
But even more wonderfully, the same Spirit of truth spoken in love is still very present in our day.
Last week I had the privilege of attending the Arizona Pastors and Leaders Conference at Calvary Chapel of Tucson.
Not only did I get the opportunity to gain leadership insights from a verse by verse examination of the life of King David, delivered by well established pastors from the Calvary movement like Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque –
I also got the chance to experience powerful messages by those outside the movement like James MacDonald and Alister Begg.
But even more wonderfully, I was challenged by messages from a new generation of younger pastors like Levi Lusko and Pedro Garcia.
God is doing a wonderful new work.
But even more amazing to me was the final event of the conference – the dedication service for the new worship center at Calvary Tucson.
I was asked by Pastor Robert Furrow to open the service in prayer.
Now that in and of itself is pretty unusual, as sometimes pastors from the same town can be a bit competitive and territorial.
But God has done a work in our relationship where I consider Pastor Robert one of my closest friends.
After I prayed my wife Pam and I were able to enjoy a powerful service.
The opening worship, lead by the Calvary Tucson team was amazing.
Then Evan Wickham lead those attending even closer to the Lord.
Alister Begg shared a challenging and on target message.
But the most amazing thing we experienced was afterward, when we were inundated by so many who shared God’s love with us.
As we left, my wife, who was at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa during the Jesus Movement shared something with me I will never forget.
She said, “You know, I felt the same sense of God’s Spirit working here tonight that I did back in the early days of Calvary.”
And she was right.
The same excitement, the same truth, the same supernatural love that can’t be imitated or simulated, the same gloriously simple focus on Jesus was there that night.
God is still in the miracle business.
A pop culture icon once said, “Life comes at you pretty fast. If you aren’t careful, you could miss it.”
Let’s make sure we aren’t either stuck in the past, or so caught up in some future expectation that we miss out on what the Lord is doing in the here and now.
These are the good old days.
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
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