All things new, trustworthy and true…

               How much new can you handle? In the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, there is plenty of newness to go around.

New Foundation/Development Fund President/CEO.
New Conference Treasurer.
New Superintendents in several districts and cohort areas of districts.
New pastors arriving in numerous churches.
New Executive Assistant to the Bishop…
…and by this time next week, a new Bishop.

Reading verse 5 of Revelation 21, John the Revelator recalls, “And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” 

In my 22 years of local church appointments, I discovered that people often clamor for something new, but then follow it up with a counterproductive warning to not change anything. On those occasions I would remind them if you do not want anything to change, you may need to ask God to not be involved in your earthly life.

That phrase can feel startling, but the reality is that it is nearly impossible to be a Jesus follower and yet be inflexible in our relationships. Jesus was all about stretching and growing the reality of God’s Kingdom to help us see, hear, and experience God’s love for us and what we should feel for each other.

The context of Revelation 21 is the description of a new heaven AND a new earth. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray as recorded in Matthew 6, he did so asking for God’s Kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on earth AS IT IS in Heaven. These are not two separate requests! This is a singular, bold statement that we are not waiting to experience heaven after we die, but to bring NOW what parts of it we can offer to one another in THIS life.

The reason this seems lacking in the current environment is we don’t take it to heart. We fail to write and live these words as directed and accept them as described…trustworthy and true. As Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever.” This is a statement of both a divine reality and an ongoing challenge. Jesus doesn’t change. But Jesus himself seeks to make all things new…and in doing so change is an inevitable and undeniable blessing.

As the new President/CEO of the United Methodist Foundation/Development Fund of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference I pledge to continue to maintain the practices that those who have served before me established, which have made this ministry a trustworthy and true resource. But I also ask you to join with me in seeking what new things God is putting before us as we follow Jesus Christ and discover how we can continue to build and expand God’s Kingdom through our faithful and ecumenical efforts. May it be so!