New Wine

 Mark 2:22 NIV

 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

 Not many churches in America have experienced as much change and transition as New Life has in the past four years.  While some of the changes were caused by difficulties and trauma, some of the changes were normal and needed. In fact every fellowship needs changes from time to time or it will become increasingly irrelevant and ineffective.

 The problem with change is the old wine. We love the old wine. In fact, wine lovers will tell you that old wine is best. However, the old wine will one day be gone and only the prudent winemakers who long ago began putting new wine into new wineskins will have wine to drink when yesterday’s wine has been consumed.

 All of us want things to be the way they always have been. I mean, if things were great yesterday, shouldn’t they be great today. That sounds right, but that is not the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus used the winemaking analogy to make this very point. Only those who are willing to make new wineskins will get the new wine. Old wineskins were great yesterday, but today, they are of little value.

 The first two months of 2010, I have witnessed the birth of the new New Life.  It was not some master plan of mine to have it happen at this time, but God apparently had other ideas. To be clear, New Life still has at its core some of the same values it has had for 25 years – we love worship, missions, ministry to students and we still place a high value on prayer.

 New Life still feels like a growing family and not some religious monolith.  These are the core values I have tried to protect while at the same time, bring in the new wine that was so desperately needed. We changed the way New Life was governed, we became much better stewards of our resources and we raised the accountability and oversight for all of our ministry staff.  These changes only made us stronger and actually allow us to minister better than ever with fewer resources.

 The new wine we are about to enjoy is rooted primarily in our commitment to be a James 1:27 church, meaning we are serious about helping widows, orphans and keeping our hearts unspotted from the world.  We are also committed to the Great Commission by planting and sending church planters and missionaries around the world.

 I realize many long-time New Lifers have had a difficult time with all the new faces and the new values that direct the leaders. But to their credit, most of them have let go of yesterday and made room in their hearts for the bright tomorrows. I am thankful they have allowed me to bring some new wineskins so God can give us the new wine we so desperately need.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks Pastor Brady! This is something that we have all had to wrestle with, and I am thankful for your guidance of keeping what you did, and changing what you did. I am glad to still be here, and loved the old, and now love the new!

  2. Nearly every morning I listen to one of your sermons online and think you are a very balanced person. I mean you have qualities and practical mindset which make you suitable for nearly every church congregation. I listen about how The Salvation miracle is greater than The Healing miracle.
    I agree but there has to be “a but” because so can say the Mormons and Muslims and Dawkins‘followers: “We convert people so the truth is with us”.
    I think we should have miracles in our Pentecostal churches and it is not forced – it happens by God’s will when we have expectatious faith. It might take months and years of teaching and building up our faith before miracles begin sprouting up more often.

  3. Who are the widows and orphans of today? Traditionally a widow or widower was a person who had lost their spouse to death. With modern medicine keeping most of us alive much longer the number of widows has declined over the years. A widow is someone who needs help. They need to grieve the loss of their relationship. They need to get healed up so that they can become a productive member of the church again. They also may need some help with house maintenance, moving, car repairs, learning to potentially meeting a new spouse and friendship and fellowship. A widower may need help in many of these same areas but may also need to learn to cook for themselves! Divorced adult singles have all these same needs in addition to overcoming the rejection of being dumped by their ex-spouse. They need healing and deliverance. They need help in the grieving and forgiveness processes and most importantly, they need to get healed up before they attempt another marriage. There are thousands of these people who attend church every Sunday morning. How can we, as the church, reach out and help these ‘widows’ and ‘widowers’ of today?

    An orphan traditionally was a child who lost both of his parents to death. Again, this rarely happens in our society. The orphans we have been trying to help as a church are kids in foster homes. Most of these children have living parents who for whatever reason won’t or can’t or aren’t allowed to care for them. These children need to be healed from a spirit of rejection among many other issues from their scarred pasts. But again, there are very few children like this, especially in our midst. We do have many children from broken families in our church who have lost one or both parents due to divorce. These kids need a ‘fatherly’ or ‘motherly’ influence in thier lives. They need to overcome the same spirit of rejection that orphans need to overcome.

    I believe that helping widows and orphans is our biblical responsibility. I think we need to expand our thinking as to who these people are so that those who desperately need our help are not overlooked while we search the globe to help others in need.

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