New ‘Beginnings’ [v103]

SEPTEMBER 2007

NEW ‘BEGINNINGS’:
Last month I discussed what the “graduates” were wondering about…”What do I do now?” “Where do I do from here?” “Am I really prepared for what’s coming?” “Is there an ‘instruction manual’ for life?” It was sort of about new ‘beginnings’, but primarily about what “principles” to base one’s life upon.

As I started to organize my thoughts about this month’s topic, I remembered that one of the books I gave Arielle had something about new beginnings. The ‘snippet’ is titled, “Endings and Beginnings,” and one portion of it said, “It will force you to discover where the old you ends and the new you begins” [Karen Moore].

Well, I have come to sort of a new ‘beginning’—one that leaves me a bit ‘sad’, though, on the other hand, excited.

I have transitioned from my current church, Faith Covenant, to being a “core member” of a NEW CHURCH a group of us is starting called “Kensington: Birmingham” (affectionately referred to as “K:west”). This will ‘push’ me from the familiar and comfortable into the unaccustomed and unknown.

I have been at Faith Covenant for almost 9 years now, and have made many wonderful friends there—and not interacting with them on a ‘regular’ basis is what will be ‘sad’. They are a very loving ‘community’ of people that were very accepting to my kids and I when we were looking for just that back in 1998. I have enjoyed being a small ‘part’ of what they do there, and have grown tremendously in my faith and in how to express it to others. I own many at Faith a DEBT OF GRATITUDE for what they have done for my kids and me—we have many fond memories!

It just seems to me that sometimes we can become too comfortable and don’t ‘extend’ ourselves without being ‘prodded’. Kind of like how a mother bird ‘encourages’ her little chick to fly by ‘pushing’ it out of the nest—she knows it will be able to fly, it’s the chick that didn’t know they were ready. [FYI: It’s not necessary that one has to ‘leave’ something and ‘go’ elsewhere to expand our horizons—just be open to it if it seems ‘right’].

Now, it’s not like I’m moving out of the country or even just out of the state—I will just be taking a different route on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings—and have a different ‘focus’. One of ‘building from scratch’ rather than ‘refining what exists’.

We all have different personalities—all of which are needed for anything to succeed. I just happen to be the ‘creative’ type—one that likes to start new things.

Though, there is one thing I’m going through that all of us experience in life—a ‘TRANSITION’—and one thing transitions all have in common is that it always requires some sort of ‘ending’.

Endings can be hard and beginnings scary, but most of the time the hardest part of the transition is the ‘middle’ or uncertain phase. During this time it’s difficult to know if our decisions have been good ones. We are unclear if the ‘path’ we are on will turn out for the best. However, we can usually tolerate that ‘up-in-the-air’ feeling if the transition has ‘meaning’ for us (and this does for me). In fact, the uncertainty can be exhilarating if we feel that we are moving closer to a goal we desire (a group of us has been planning this church “plant” for over 2 years—-take a look of what we’ve done by visiting this link:

http://www.spiritedesign.com/kwest/kwest_history.html ).

Transitions can be difficult because we unconsciously or even consciously resist change—we humans seem to be ‘programmed’ to resist anything new to us, good or bad. Maybe it has to do with our basic ‘self-preservation’ instincts. But, whether we realize it or not, even good changes can cause us to feel ‘stressed’ and uneasy—simply because of the unknown.

Do you remember the really popular 70’s book “Passages” by Gail Sheehy?—I remember reading it when it first came out. Well, if you haven’t read it, Gail wrote about the “predictable crises of adult life” and what we should expect between the years 18 and 50.

Now (yes, in “middle-age”), it’s interesting to go back and read the final few paragraphs of her book being the ‘age’ of the person she was focusing her writing on. Though I didn’t and still don’t agree with some of what she proposed, the following thoughts still ‘ring’ true:

“It would be surprising if we didn’t experience some pain as we leave the familiarity of one adult stage for the uncertainty of the next. But the willingness to move through each passage is equivalent to the willingness to live abundantly.  If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living.”

She then ends the book with this: “The courage to take new steps allows us to let go of each stage with its satisfactions and to find the fresh responses that will release the richness of the next.”

Author Alvin Toffler seems to agree with Sheehy saying, “Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life.”

Another author, Carol Van Atta, proposed the following acronym to remind people of the “best way” to experience a new beginning: “L.E.A.N. O.N. G.O.D.”

“L” = “Live in the Truth”
“E” = “Enlist others for support”
“A” = “Approach God boldly”
“N” = “Never give up”
“O” = “Overcome obstacles”
“N” = “Neutralize the enemy”
“G” = “Go forward with God”
“O” = “Open your eyes”
“D” = “Decide to worship”

So, in my opinion, one cannot do any of these unless you have gone “forward with God.” Every one of us has to ‘make it right’ with God if we are to expect His best for us.

God promises that He will help us through any ‘transition’ (even if that transition is ‘turning away’ from our old way of life to a new one focused on Him).

He also promises that He will never leave us ‘alone’—that He ‘sees’ far beyond the ‘pain’ we might be experiencing during our transition, and will make even new beginning ‘beneficial’ to us, and to those around us…if we’ll let Him.

In the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God’s “compassions never fail. They are new every morning” [Lamentations 3:22-23], and that God will be “faithful” with His mercy and love—forever and always.

None of us needs to go through anything by our own ‘power’—in fact, our limited human power won’t be enough in some instances—but with God, “all things are possible through Him who gives me strength” [Philippians 4:13].

When we’re in the midst of letting go, we can find ourselves burdened by a barrage of obstacles—things on our path that can keep us from walking through the ‘door’ to a better tomorrow. Certainly feelings of grief and heartache can be part of the new beginning process. Lingering negative feelings and thoughts can become obstacles that keep us stuck. Though, with God’s help and the support of others, we can continue forward, getting rid of whatever holds us back.

That’s what the “Good News” of the Gospel is all about—God’s intervention into our lives by offering His Son as our ‘payment’ for all the wrongdoing we have committed in our lives, and the promise of a never-ending life with Him in Heaven!

If you haven’t already done so, let me suggest you ‘lean on’ God right now—and expect one glorious new beginning after another.

 Each new day we can be filled afresh with the power of the Holy Spirit—Who will help us in your new beginnings. Won’t you invite Him to ‘fill’ you afresh right now?

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further how you can grow closer to God in the here and now, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html ].

[Excerpts from: D. James Kennedy; Karen Moore; Mary DuParri; Carol Van Atta]

Blessings….
Mark

P.P.S. Although this seems ‘right’ to all of us who have ‘heard the call’ to “do a new thing”…one that “springs up, even in the desert” [Isaiah 43:18-19], all of us involved would very much COVET YOUR PRAYERS about this new ‘adventure’! (Our “Grand Opening” is 23 SEP 07).

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v103) for SEPTEMBER 2007

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net

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LAND OF NEW BEGINNINGS
I wish there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes
And all our heartaches
And all our poor, selfish greed,
Could be dropped
Like a shabby, old coat at the door
And never put on again.

I wish we could come on it all unawares
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail,
And I wish that the one
Whom our blindness has done
The greatest injustice of all,
Could be at the gate
Like an old friend who waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.

So I wish there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all the mistakes
And all the heartaches
And all our poor, selfish greed,
Could be dropped
Like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.
[ Louise F. Tarkington ]

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I have found in the Book, that wonderful place,
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where the sins of the past are remembered no more
And the years, locust-eaten, the Lord doth restore.
All our filthy rags changed for a garment of grace,
And the soul is begotten again!
Oh, I’ve found, yes, I’ve found, that wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again.
[Carl Bruin]

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BEGIN AGAIN
It was New Year’s Day 1929. The University of California at Berkeley was playing Georgia Tech in college football’s Rose Bowl. Roy Riegels, a California defender, recovered a Georgia Tech fumble, then turned and scampered 65 yards in the wrong direction! One of Riegels’ own teammates tackled him just before he reached the wrong goal line. On the next play, Georgia Tech scored and went on to win.

From that day on, Riegels was saddled with the nickname “Wrong-way Riegels.” For years afterward, whenever he was introduced, people would exclaim, “I know who you are! You’re the guy who ran the wrong way in the Rose Bowl!”

Our failures may not be as conspicuous, but we’ve all gone the wrong way, and we have memories that haunt us. Recollections of sin and failure rise up to taunt us at 3:00 in the morning. If only we could forget! If only we could begin again!

We can. When we confess our sins and repent before God, He forgives our past and puts it away. In Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins”—all our sins [Colossians 1:14; 2:13].
It’s never too late to begin again.
[David Roper]

*****************************
BEGINNINGS
When I’m with you, it doesn’t matter where we are
Or what we’re doing. I’m with you, that’s all that matters
Time passes much too quickly when we’re together laughing
I wish I could sing it to you, oh no
I wish I could sing it to you
Mostly I’m silent
Never think about words to say

When I kiss you, I feel a thousand different feelings
The color of chills all over my body
And when I feel them, I quickly try to decide which one
I should try to put into words, oh no
Try to put into words
Mostly I’m silent

Only the beginning of what I want to feel forever
Only the beginning. Only just the start
I’ve got to get you into my life
Got to get you next to me
Only the beginning. Only just the start.
[The band “Chicago”]

*****************************
Gracious Redeemer of my soul,
in You alone I know
fresh and new beginnings.
For in the heat of Your grace
my transgressions melt away
until there is no sign of them.
Your unconditional love and mercy
liberate my spirit
and breathe into my being
Your perfect peace.
[Anon.]

*****************************
COMMITED TO THE CALL
I hear his voice and I’m convicted
To rise above the status quo
He’s asking me to live and listen
And to let His will move my soul
His Holy Spirit beckons
I can’t help but answer
I am committed to the call
I vow to walk in blind faith
Willing to sacrifice it all
To reflect amazing grace
I am committed to the call
I will revel in the Son’s light
And let His love come shining through
I will seek life from the true vine
And bear the fruit of holy truth
I’m drawn by words of wisdom
Whispering my name
[Music and lyrics by Kim Hill]

*****************************
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DEEP THOUGHT:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. [Lao-tzu]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” [Ezekial 36:26].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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