Can You Hear Me Now? (#2 in Series on Change)

Bob Dylan’s classic song “The Times They Are A-Changing” was written years ago, but it is so appropriate for today.  He sang, “Come gather round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown – and accept it that soon you will be drenched to the bone.  If your time to you is worth saving, then you better start swimming or you will sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing.”

The times are a-changing.  The water is growing.  The people that are not able to figure out how to swim are sinking like a stone.  Businesses, churches, and organizations that are successful know how to figure new ways to swim to navigate the change.

One example of change is the cell phone.  How many of you used a cell phone 15 years ago.  Some of us still have trouble with them today. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that there will be 7.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2015.  This is up from 2.2 billion in 2005.  Remember that the current global population is about 7.2 billion.

Six years ago one of the most popular cell phones was the Blackberry.  I remember debating as to whether I should get a Blackberry or an iPhone.  I picked the iPhone because I was told it was easier to use.  Seven years ago Blackberry accounted for roughly half of the smartphones in the North American market.  Blackberry didn’t change with the times – today it accounts for just 0.6%.

Using new tools like the cell phone to live in today’s market does present challenges.  The overwhelming use of the cell phone has prompted “cell phone loss anxiety” which is referred to as “nomophobia.”  According to a report, 73 percent of people said they panicked when their cell phone was misplaced; 14 percent responded that they become desperate; and 7 percent said they become physically sick.  Change can be helpful, but it can also be challenging.

Cell phones have changed the way I do things.  I travel most every week and stay in a lot of hotels.  The way I pack my suitcase has changed.  Because of noise in hotels, I always packed a noise maker, an alarm clock, a legal pad for making notes, a Dictaphone, a flashlight, and a camera.  Now I don’t have to pack any of those things because they are all on my iPhone.  It has changed the way I travel.

The cell phone has enhanced the use of social media.  It has changed the way we do a lot of things.  A few years ago people dressed up if they were going for a special picture at graduation, a wedding, an awards banquet, etc.  Today you better be ready to have your picture taken anytime, anywhere, by anybody.

Businesses and organizations are relying heavily on social media to get their message out.  So much of business today is done online.  How well are we willing to use social media in the church?  How willing is the church to change to current opportunities to expand the gospel?

The change in today’s culture among young people is very noticeable in the use of video games.  It was recently reported that this year video games will bring in more money ($92 billion) than films ($62 billion) and recorded music ($18 billion) together.  Is there some way that the church could utilize the immense popularity of video games to communicate the Good News?

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” points to the situation today.  There is an answer! It is in another song we sing in church which says “Change and decay is all around I see, Oh Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

A Culture of Change (#1 in Series on Change)

The reality of change in today’s culture is one of the unchangeable truths that we face.  Change is a part of life in business, church, everyday living, etc.  If you are not riding on the top of the wave of change, you will find yourself beneath it.

One of the great joys of living in Montgomery is the association with the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base.  At Frazer we were always blessed with so many wonderful people, active, retired, and civilian, who were part of Maxwell.  We had several retired Maxwell people who served on the church staff.  It was one of the best moves I made as the Senior Pastor at Frazer.

The Air University, like everything else, must adapt to change.  Maxwell is quite different today than it was 20 years ago.  Military preparation and strategies are different.  The Air University has a great leader in Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast.  At a press conference recently he said, “Like any part of our nation, the ability to adapt and to grow and to stay relevant to the country is one of the most important things we can do.  We’re adapting to the fact that the world is changing.  We live in a world now where information is flowing faster than ever before.”

He went on to indicate that persons training leaders must take a fresh look at the process of how leaders are trained.  Success is determined by the ability to emphasis the things that are still relevant, and to make changes where change is necessary.

It is good for every business and church to listen to a military leader when he says that it is imperative to answer the question of purpose in today’s world, create a vision for accomplishing that purpose, and develop a strategic plan to bring to fruition that vision.

How well do we as a church do that?  Refusal to change in the church is one of the reasons that major denominations in our country are declining.  The United Methodist Church has lost members for the last several decades!  Even the Baptists lost over 200,000 members last year.

Is the church willing to listen?  Sometimes it is in the church that we are most reluctant to make changes.  Someone has said the only place you find change in most churches is in the offering plate!  One minister said his congregation is becoming more Christ-like…the same yesterday, today, and forever!  Another minister decided to start changing his oil in his car himself.  When questioned by his parishioners, he said he wanted every 3 months to change something without everybody complaining!

Let me be clear that the church should never try to change the message or the mission of the church.  We must be ready to change our mindsets and methodologies and ministries to accomplish the message and mission.  We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust the sails. (Tweet this)

Lt. Gen. Kwast emphasized that the Air University wants to make learning for its people something that is a lifetime experience, something they do every day so that it becomes a habit.  We all need to realize that 21st century learning is lifelong!  Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

I am glad that our military is living in the 21st century in preparing for the future.  The Army (or Air Force) of the Lord must move into the 21st century and minister accordingly!


Rules are a necessary aspect of a civilized culture in order that people might act appropriately, and be treated fairly.  The making of rules is for the protection of all individuals.

But some rules are extremely fascinating and hard to understand.  Sometimes we go too far in making our rules.  One example is some of the hundreds of rules imposed by the NCAA to regulate college athletics.  Last year South Carolina self-reported several NCAA rules violations, including one for “impermissible icing on cookie cakes” given to recruits.  I don’t know if it is okay for the coaches and press to have those cookie cakes with impermissible icing, but not a recruit.

Soccer is the biggest sport in the world, and is gaining a lot of popularity in the United States.  In order to regulate soccer, a lot of rules are created and enforced.  Slovenia played England in Wembley Stadium which is 164 feet – that is only about 55 yards – from the hotel that was used by the Slovenian National Soccer team.  They wanted to walk to the stadium from the hotel for their game.  The UEFA cited a rule and ordered them to take a bus before they would be allowed to play against England.  The governing body said that they wanted to ensure that they wouldn’t be late.  Slovenia lost 3-1.  Maybe they were tired from the long 164 foot bus ride! But rules are rules.

Kimberly Thompson, an Ohio woman, was denied welfare benefits when she failed to attend mandatory job-training sessions because she was in a coma.  She spent a month in the medically induced coma while battling a series of infections.  She woke up to the news that officials had told her she would no longer receive $700 in monthly benefits.  Kimberly’s comment was, “How are you supposed to go to class when you are in a coma?”  Rules are rules.

Some of those interesting rules actually become laws.  We have some strange ones here in Alabama.  Do you know that it is a Class A felony to assault a sporting official, but only a Class B felony if convicted of assaulting anybody else?  Now I believe in protecting referees at high school and college functions.  Some referees I have seen really need protection!  I as a spectator would like to have the same kind of protection that the referees get.  But rules are rules.

When I finished college I decided that I would referee basketball.  I got my patch, my license, and my assignment to my first game.  It was between two large Lee County schools who at that time only played basketball.  They practiced basketball 13 months a year!  One school was Beulah and the other was Beauregard.  They were intense rivals.

That night the little gym was so packed that some spectators were literally sitting on the out-of-bounds line.  Since I had grown up in Opelika in Lee County and played basketball, I thought the crowd might be a little kind to me.  Boy was I wrong!  The crowd was about equally split between Beulah and Beauregard.  Every time I blew the whistle, half the crowd didn’t like it.  I refereed two basketball games that night – my first and my last!

When Jesus was asked about rules, He said there were only two rules – Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  If everybody obeyed these two rules, there would be no need for additional rules.  Every relationship would take care of itself.  But until everybody obeys those two rules, we will continue to have and need some rules – even the foolish ones.

More love – less rules!

Spiritual Selfie

The Oxford University Press declared that the word “selfie,” which is taking a self-portrait with a smartphone, was the new word for the year 2013.  It has become a part of the vocabulary of people today.  One of the hottest selling items worldwide has become the “selfie sticks.”  This pole-like device will hold smartphones so that you can take selfies from farther away.  We have become preoccupied with ourselves.

This unhealthy phenomenon affects both men and women.  While women have always gotten the rap as being the ones who were most concerned about their appearance, that is changing drastically.  A recent study found that the average man looks at himself in the mirror 23 times a day, compared with only 16 for women.  While women check to see if “they look OK”, most men apparently like to “admire” their appearance.

Someone suggested a contest to invent a medical term for this male penchant for unrealistic self-admiration.  One suggestion was “male-pattern boldness.”  Another was “Narc-his-ism.”

This new trend can have devastating consequences in the way men are learning to think.  The Washington Post reported that a study showed that men are three times more likely to die from drowning than women.  The National Institute of Health says that men are more likely to drink alcohol while engaging in water sports, and also more likely to falsely assume they are capable swimmers.  These are false perceptions.

Some women seem to be more realistic than us men about not passing on this generational curse.  Demi Moore is reported to be warning her daughters to learn from her mistakes and stay away from all of the elective surgeries she had to try to preserve her body and make her look more youthful and beautiful.  She often lectures daughters Rumer, 26, Scout, 23, and Tallulah, 20, to not be pressured to chase an unrealistic Hollywood physical ideal.

The preoccupation with our appearance can have dire consequences.  Monica Hargrove was wanted in Ohio on criminal charges.  The Ohio police posted a photograph online after she was charged with a robbery.  Hargrove, 34 years old, was so unhappy with the online picture that she phoned the police and asked that it be taken down.  Her vanity really came out when the detective said, “Come on in and we’ll talk about it.”  She came in to protest the use of the picture they selected, and she was arrested.  Preoccupation with your looks can really get you into trouble.

The Bible is very clear that the body is the temple of God!  (Corinthians 6:19)  We need to take care of His temple, but not become dysfunctionally focused on its outside appearance.  Paul made it clear that it was the desire of God to live within us.  Paul said, “It is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)  We are not here to impress other people but to glorify God. (Tweet this)

A Spiritual Selfie is what God sees when He looks on the heart – on the inside and not the outside.  We need to spend more time cultivating the beauty on the inside, and less time trying to cultivate the beauty on the outside.

Check your Spiritual Selfie!


I Love My Work

We spend more time at work than we do at any other singular thing during our waking hours.  That means our work ought to bring a great deal of satisfaction and meaningfulness to our lives.  Consider that your workplace is your pulpit for sharing with others the abundant life that God has given you.

Years ago Johnny Paycheck made a song famous, “Take This Job and Shove It.”  Sadly enough that echoed the sentiments of a lot of folks who view their work that way.  They dread Mondays.  They look forward to Fridays.  A better song would be, “Take This Job and Love It.”

I believe a much needed revival in America centers around our work ethic.  Ten years ago James Robertson’s car broke down.  Detroit was undergoing financial difficulties and made cutbacks in its bus service.  James Robertson was a factory worker and his job was 11 ½ miles from his home.  He walked 21 miles round trip, five days a week, then put in a full day’s work!

He was 56-years-old.  His attendance at work was perfect!  Now that is a work ethic.  The Detroit Free Press told his story.  People started contributing money to help him buy a car.  His work ethic was rewarded by gifts of about $280,000.  Hard work does pay off.

In April 2015, some friends wanted to help Derrell Alexander celebrate his 100th birthday.  They had to wait until Sunday afternoon after church because on the actual day of his birthday he was still working at the car dealership where he has worked since 1949.  He works six days a week.  He refuses to take vacation time and he credits his 100 years of life to his work ethic and “the Man upstairs.”

Conversely some people don’t like to work.  Maybe you read about AK Verma, a senior engineer at the Central Public Works Department in India.  He went on leave from his government job in December 1990 and didn’t show up for work for 24 consecutive years.  The reason he didn’t show up was that his bosses continually denied his request for more time off.  The bureaucratic government did take 24 years of absenteeism before they issued the papers to fire him.

A Payless Shoe Store in Ferguson, Missouri was looted during the recent protests.  The report of stolen goods was very interesting.  Hundreds of pairs of shoes were stolen, but not a single pair of work boots was taken!

A renewed emphasis on work ethic is most important today because beginning in 2015, Millennials between the age of 18 and 34 now constitute more than a third of the American workforce.  They are the largest generational cohort working today.  There are 53.5 million Millennials, followed by 52.7 million Gen Xers, and 44.6 million Baby Boomers.  The future of productivity, work ethic, and meaningfulness in our job is now in the hands of our young people.

The most effective way to approach work is to see it as a platform for utilizing God’s resources.  The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, was asked by a reporter about his order of priorities.  He said, “I believe in God, my family and McDonald’s.”  That is a good statement, but then he added, “When I get to the office, I reverse the order.”

The ultimate success of our work is not how much we produce or how much money we make, but how well we handle the gifts and resources God has given us.  Real meaning in life comes when we see all of life as a means by which we express our commitment to God.

Need A Wake Up Call?

In the ministry in which I am now engaged, most everything I do is out of town so I stay in a lot of hotels.  Sometimes I have an early morning responsibility.  I always ask the hotel to give me a wakeup call.  I don’t always trust the hotel so I also set my alarm on my iPhone.  I figure two alarms will certainly wake me up.

My alarm clock has an option for snooze.  When a wakeup call comes, you can press the button and the alarm will stop and you can snooze for about 10 more minutes.  It then goes off again.  I personally think this is foolish to have a snooze option.  If you want to sleep for 10 more minutes why don’t you just set the alarm for 10 minutes later?  If you wake up at a certain time, why would you want to snooze?  A wakeup call is to get up.

Paul was writing to his friends in Rome and said it is “time to wake up.” (Romans 13:11)  There were a lot of things going on in the world and in their lives and he saw them drifting in an unhealthy way.  He gave them a wakeup call, and His wake up call doesn’t have a snooze option!

What does it take to wake us up?  Marie Lord is a 39-year-old English woman.  Recently about 1:30 a.m. she started sleepwalking and strolled a half-mile through town – straight into the Bristol Channel.  All of a sudden the taste of sea salt and the chill of crashing waves woke her up and she screamed for help.  A hotel worker rushed to her and covered her in blankets until she was transported to a hospital, in the early stages of hypothermia.  But the sea salt and the waves woke her up.

Are there some areas in our life where we need a wakeup call?  I have a friend who recently went to the doctor and had not been practicing good health habits.  He was a good bit overweight.  He was smoking and drinking too much.  The doctor ran a battery of tests and revealed to him the reality of how his poor health was escalating.  He told me, “John Ed, I got a wakeup call from my doctor.  I am going to make some changes.”  I have observed him and he is making those changes.  He is not on snooze – he is wide awake!

Sometimes we have habits that are leading us in the wrong direction.  We are like the frog in the pot of water.  If you put the frog in when the water is cool and slowly heat it, he doesn’t realize that the water is getting hot and will stay in there until the heat kills him.  If the water is hot and you put him in there, he will jump right out.  If he just becomes acclimated to the heat he can slowly die.  He needs a wakeup call!

Habits are like that water.  We can become mesmerized by some intriguing things that are happening.  Slowly and surely we drift into a habit that we know is not good for us.  We need a wakeup call.

Some people take their commitment to the church rather casually.  They become less attentive to attending, praying, giving, and serving.  Is time to wake up?  God has a plan and purpose for every life.  If we are drifting – time to wake up!  (Tweet this)

A successful business is always sounding a wakeup call about practices that are not consistent with the best that business has to offer.  It is easy to develop bad habits.  The same is true of athletic teams.  It is easy to become casual and sloppy in execution.  If something is not done, disaster and defeat lie down the road.  Wake up!

Wake up!  Don’t hit the snooze!

Are You Having A Good Day?

The older I get the more I am convinced that attitude in life is extremely important.  I think that an attitude toward a given situation is more important than the reality of the situation itself.  I have seen people in a bad situation with a great attitude and they discover a good dimension of life that is indescribable.  Likewise I have seen people in good situations with a bad attitude and they have a miserable life.

Attitude is how we look at things.  It is what we see and how we see them.  When we face something in life it can either be an obstacle or an opportunity.  It can be a burden or a blessing.  It can be a stumbling block or a stepping stone.  Our attitude makes a determination of what it ultimately is in our situation.

One of my favorite sports figures was Coach Tony Dungy.  One of the highlights of my retirement was when he wrote me a personal note.  I remember pulling so hard for him when he won the Super Bowl.

Tony Dungy’s son Jamie died.  He shares his attitude when he wrote, “Why do bad things happen?  I don’t know.  Why did Jamie die?  I don’t know.  But I do know that God has the answers, I know he loves me, and I know he has a plan – whether it makes sense to me or not.  Rather than asking why, I’m asking what.  What can I learn from this?  What can I do for God’s glory and to help others?”

That is an attitude of life that is based on the goodness of God and faith in His ultimate wisdom.  That is confidence.  That is trust.  That is life at the highest level.  The right attitude takes life to a new altitude.

We people here in America have so much for which to be thankful, yet we seem to complain so much.  The Pew Research Center did a survey of 48,643 people in 44 countries.  The results are amazing.  They found that people in poorer nations in Africa and South America were more likely to say they were having “a good day” than people in Europe, Asia, or even the U.S.  People who have the least seem to have the best attitude and enjoy “a good day.”

Oftentimes we say to people “have a good day.”  My Dad said that we should not say “have a good day,” but rather say “make it a good day.”  To simply want to have a good day indicates that we might just sit back and have little to do with how it turns out.  To tell people to make it a good day indicates we have to act positively if we are going to have a good day.

Your circumstances don’t determine where you go – they merely determine where you have to begin. (Tweet this)  If your circumstances are tough, just remember that kites always rise against the wind, not with the wind.

Paul wrote, “Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)  His circumstances of life were extremely difficult, but he preferred an attitude that lifted him to an altitude that was above those circumstances.

A man asked a friend how he was doing and he said, “Under the circumstances.”  The friend interrupted him and said, “Why are you living under the circumstances?”  Catherine Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army, faced extreme challenges.  She would often look at her circumstances and say, “The waters are rising, but so am I.  I am not going under, but over.”

Make it a good day!

Two Helpful Tongue Tamers

It has often been said, “Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Don’t believe that!  Words have the power to build up or to tear down.  Words can encourage or discourage.  They have power to hurt or to heal.  Words can bring joy or sorrow, laughter or tears.  Words should be carefully chosen.

But words are sometimes released before we are ready.  Do you ever put your foot in your mouth?  Do you ever say something and wish you could take it back?  Do you ever write an email or a text message and send it, and then think about it a few minutes and wish you hadn’t sent it?  Sometimes we even accidentally hit the send button before we are ready to send it.  That message can be embarrassing, inappropriate, and a source of frustration.  Once the word is out, you can’t bring it back.

A very smart anonymous poet was quoted by my friend Jay Wolf with these words:

Boys flying kites can haul in their white-winged birds                                                    But it is not that way when you are flying words.                                                     Careful with fire is good advice we know                                                                       But careful with your words, ten times doubly so.                                                             A thought unexpressed will fall back dead                                                                     But God Himself cannot kill a word, once it is said.

There is help with the problem!  Google has just announced that gmail will now let you undo the send process.  The world’s most popular email service will let you choose a setting, Undo Send, that holds an email up to 30 seconds, if you have made a mistake or change your mind.  This “holy grail of all email functions” is new this summer.  It can be activated in Settings under the general tab and select “Enable.”

For human conversation I propose Redo Speak that will deal with our tongues and will help keep us from saying words that don’t need to be said and saying words that should be said.  Here is how Redo Speak works. Before speaking, mentally engage Redo Speak and pray the following prayer, “Lord, please keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.”  When you finish this prayer then simply follow God’s direction as to whether or not you ought to say what you intended to say.  Redo Speak takes less than 30 seconds.

This Redo Speak that I am suggesting is far superior to the Undo Send.  Redo Speak is not subject to any technological malfunction.  You don’t even have to be smart to have it available to you.  It will greatly improve all social relationships.  It can help tame your tongue and it will create an attitude in which we know that God has His arm around our shoulder and His hand over our mouth.  God’s help will last longer than 30 seconds.

James reminds us of the tremendous power of the tongue and its capacity to do good or evil. (James 3:1-8)  The Redo Speak will help tame the tongue.  It will help us heed James direction to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.”  (James 1:19)

The Undo Send setting will not work on just any device.  It has to be a smart device.  The Redo Speak is available to any person, but you do have to be smart enough to let God activate it.

Proactive or Reactive

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable about ten girls who were to be bridesmaids.  Their responsibility was to have oil in the lamps that would provide light for the wedding.

While they were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive, they began to nod and fall asleep.  Suddenly the cry came out that the bridegroom had arrived and everyone was told to come out and meet him.  When the girls woke up and started to light their lamps, five of them realized that they didn’t have enough oil.

They came to the five girls who had plenty of oil and asked to borrow some.  They were told that there wasn’t enough for both of them, and those without oil needed to go to the store and buy oil.  When the bridegroom came, the five girls who were ready went into the wedding feast.  The door was closed.  When the other five got back from the store, they discovered that the door was closed and they could not get in.

Five girls were proactive and five girls were reactive.  Being proactive normally produces good results.  Being reactive oftentimes produces bad results.  This parable is an example of that.  Here are three fundamentals for a proactive attitude:

  1. Purpose – know why you are at a certain place at a certain time and have a certain responsibility.  The purpose provides motivation to be prepared.  Five of the girls knew that their purpose was to have their lamps burning.  That motivated them to have ample oil for their lamps.  The other five were not conscious of their purpose, and therefore found themselves left out.

Knowing why we are involved in a situation helps us to know better what to do.  Trying to do meaningless things without knowing the purpose will wear a person out.

2.     Planning – good planning helps promote a proactive stance.  Poor planning usually has us trying to react to the reality of the situation.

An obvious example would be the importance of having some form of health insurance.  If you proactively secure insurance before you need it, it will be available at a critical time and help you avoid unnecessary stress.  If you fail to plan for that need in life, you come to a point and have to start reacting, and sometimes reaction produces worst results than the illness.

3.    Persistence – being proactive helps to look at the larger picture and think in terms of the future.  Reactive behavior focuses on the unplanned moment and increases anxiety and worry and frustration.  Persistence is a quality that shows us that we don’t have to understand everything that is happening right now, but we have a plan to move forward for the future.  We don’t sit down and quit.  We keep moving forward.  A reactive outlook can create discouragement, disappointment, and can lead to defeat.

A proactive attitude is something that people have to choose to create and participate in.  The ten girls in the parable all had a choice.  Five of them chose wisely and five chose foolishly.  The outcome for the proactive five was the joy of a wedding feast.  The reaction of the ill prepared five meant that the door was shut and they were not allowed in.  They would not blame the bridegroom and the people organizing the wedding – they could only blame themselves because their prior choice led to their situation.

It’s a choice – proactive or reactive?


Band-aids Don’t Work!

A lot of people come to a church or a pastor and request counsel on how they can become better people.  There is dissatisfaction with the way they are living life, and they would like to do better.  They think that doing better is the business of God.

God is not in the business of making us better – He wants to make us new!  (Tweet this)  Becoming a little better doesn’t really change our lives.  To improve a little better here and there is not God’s intent for His people.  He came into the world so that we might have new life!

Jesus gave a couple of illustrations in Mark 2:21, 22.  He said if you have a piece of cloth and there is a hole in the cloth, you don’t take a new piece of cloth to put it on as a patch on the old piece of cloth.  If you do as soon as you wash it, the new piece of cloth will shrink and will pull away from the old garment.  You still have the hole.  Jesus said He didn’t come to put a patch on an old garment – He came to give us a whole new garment!

Jesus talked about pouring wine into wineskins.  A wineskin is made of leather.  As it grows old it loses its elasticity.  It begins to crack.  It is like a baseball glove.  If you don’t keep it oiled, it cracks.

If you put new wine into an old wineskin, it will burst wide open.  The reason is that the new wine has expanding gases and the old wineskin can’t contain the new gases.  Jesus emphasized that He didn’t come to repair old wineskins – He came to give us a new wineskin.

I read recently where the majority of American roads and bridges were built in the 1950’s, and many of the water systems go back to the early 1900’s.  Cites are experiencing problems with them as they begin to fall apart.

In July 2014, a 93-year-old water main burst beneath Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and sent up to 10 million gallons of drinking water into the streets and sewers.  Residents of Baltimore have about 1,000 bursting pipes every year.  More than a quarter of the city’s water supply in Houston is either lost or unaccounted for because of underground leaks.  Inadequate sewage systems let up to 850 billion gallons of untreated waste water flow into rivers and lakes.

Harvey Gobas, co-author of a report on California’s water system, reports that we are engaged in “the Band-Aid approach.”  He said, “You fix it, it lasts a few years, but you still don’t have a new pipe.”

The Band-aid approach won’t last long on our water systems, our roads and bridges, or life.  God is not in the business of constantly making repairs with the Band-Aid approach.  He came so that every person might experience new life!

Paul describes this in II Corinthians 5:19 when he says, “Whenever a person is a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away and all things have become new.”

Band-aids don’t work.  God doesn’t use band-aids – He births a totally new person!