When I was an adolescent back in the dark ages of the 1960s, there was a popular folk song that said, "The times, they are a-changin'." That may have been true then, but it is more true today. Many sociologists assert that we have experienced more change in our lifetime than any generation before us.
The biblical writer of 1 John testifies that there is only one thing that can "fear-proof" your life to deal with changing times. The Bible says, "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Allow me to suggest a list of practical advice that comes to mind when I think about finding peace in a ever-changing world and, since I'm a baby boomer, let me share them in a David Letterman top-ten style:
10. Be hospitable to the "strange" and the "stranger" in your life. Take a different route to work tomorrow. Try to read from a book of the Bible that's not familiar to you (in case someone ever asks you about the difference between Zechariah and Zephaniah).
9. Take off your shoes the first chance you get. USA Today reports that those who take off their shoes under their desk at work or as soon as they get home tend to live three years longer than the average American!
8. Take a 10-minute nap every day. According to the American Institute on Stress, 75-90% of all visits to primary-care physicians in this country today are related to stress and fatigue.
7. Do one "wild" thing every day. Tilt the pictures on your wall, and see if anybody notices. Just be silly sometimes.
6. Learn to say "no" sometimes.
4. Laugh a lot. Have a sense of humor.
3. Find a way to ask, "What Would Jesus Do?" in everything you do.
2. Find your own biblical mantra, and recite it whenever you feel the need. My biblical mantra for years has been Paul's little verse from Philippians: "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Find one that's yours, and recite it whenever you feel the need.
1. Shift your prayer life from "Please, God" to "Please God." Take the comma out of those two words when you pray, and change your praying from asking God for things to asking what you could do that would please God and bring Him pleasure.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas