by MARK HISLE
OFTEN MARVEL when I hear of people living to age 90 or Occasionally I vary my morning routine. Nothing is necessarily
100. I think of the incredible changes they have had to cope wrong with the old routine. It is just too routine!
with. They have literally witnessed the transformation from We used to joke about my great-grandmother being “set in her
horse-and-buggy days to the space age. No wonder older saints ways,” which she was. She had come through the Great Depression,
often struggle with change in the Church. The sheer volume of when life was hard. She never threw anything away. There was noth-
change to which they have been forced to adapt is staggering. ing wrong with that. But seasons do change. God does not always
To be honest, as I get older, I can relate. When I was younger expect us to live on the hand-me-downs of yesterday. Sometimes He
I liked to think of myself as being “cutting edge.” But most of us wants us to put on a new coat.
find it more difficult to adjust as the years go by. It is easy to feel Second, Hannah did not make Samuel a new coat merely as the
that “the old wine is better,” as Jesus said. The rapidity with which latest fashion statement. Fashion designers and stores continually
change is occurring today is enough to make your head swim. One bring out new lines for one reason—to keep us buying new clothes.
man said that change is no longer incremental. Now, we are in The Church is often guilty of swinging from one extreme to the
“whitewater change.” other. We need not wear out the old, but we shouldn’t buy into
Why do I struggle with this? Primarily because the thought of every fad either. Something can be trendy without necessarily being
missing something God is doing in my day terrifies me. There are timely. In a recent issue of Ministry Today, Jack Hayford warned of
moments when the only right response is to forget the old and the danger that sometimes accompanies the contemporary. There
embrace the new (Isaiah 43:18-19). Yet, as I mature, I understand can be a “con” in the contemporary. The other problem with it,
that the latest is not always the greatest. Sometimes we embrace the Hayford said, is that it may only be “temporary.”
new and neglect the ultimate. Maintaining the proper balance is not So why did Hannah make Samuel a new coat annually? It was
easy. That is why we admire those who are able to do it. because the boy was growing (2:26). Wouldn’t it be nice to get a
new coat not just because the old one grew threadbare, and not just
because of the latest trend, but because we actually grew into it?
There are times when God wants us to slip on a new coat. Our We should ask ourselves a few questions. Am I walking around in
“coat” has to do with our station in life, and that can change. Joseph spiritual and emotional tatters? Has my thinking outgrown the old con-
had a coat of many colors which was stripped away. He had to wear fines? Do I still fit where I am?
the garments of a slave and the rags of a prisoner before he put on Several years ago the book Dressed for Success was written. That is
the robe of authority and fulfillment. His dream was lifelong and God’s goal for you. He will tailor exactly what you need.
never changed. But he did change coats a few times along the way.
Is God presenting you with a new coat to slip on?
My New Coat
A couple of years ago, a pastor friend shared his impression with
me that God wanted me to slip on a new coat. While we must be
Do you remember the story of Hannah and her son Samuel, careful with interpretation and application, I did receive his word. A
whom she dedicated to the Lord’s service at the Tabernacle (1 Samu- few weeks later while strolling through the exhibit hall at the Church
el 1:21-28). Every year she made him a new coat (2:18-20). Why did of God General Assembly, I entered a drawing for pastors. It is easy
Hannah do this? to think, I never win anything. But sometimes God can give us small
First, it was not because he had worn out the old one. My kids tokens of His favor. When they called me to tell me I had won a new
may need new clothes, but it is not always because the clothes they jacket, only then did I remember my pastor friend’s words to me.
are wearing are threadbare. Too often in the church, we keep doing I don’t want my garments to look worn. Neither do I have to be a
the same old thing the same old way for so long that we wear out our- fashion plate. But I do want to grow. And I do long for all that God has
selves and everyone else. The old thing doesn’t have to be worn out for me. I don’t want to miss those occasions when God chooses to anoint
before God can give us something new. He may just want to bless us. me with fresh oil. How about you? Are you ready for a new coat?
You have heard the cliché about “beating a dead horse.” Not only
will a dead horse not take you anywhere, but it also begins to stink
after a while. Many churches are not in the 21st century; some are
Mark Hisle pastors the Parkway Praise Center Church of
barely in the 20th century. God delights in freshness. We need that
God in London, Kentucky.
freshness in the church, in our marriages and families, and in daily life.
20 EVANGEL • JAN 2010
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