Keeping It Fresh for 90 Years
April 15, 2023 | Michael Foster
One of my favorite moments of spring is opening a window in the house for the first time. As fresh air pours in, stale air is ushered out and new life fills our home and my heart. I breathe deeply and feel alive like the cherry blossoms flourishing outside. We love fresh things, whether the air, our bread, or our coffee. I believe God loves fresh faith. This month our church turns 90 years old, a milestone we will especially celebrate in September. But, as we mark this anniversary, we long for a fresh work of God in our lives. Like David in Psalm 143:5-6, as we “remember the days of long ago and meditate on all His works,” we “spread out our hands” anew to the Lord and “thirst” for him afresh. Dr. Forcey planted our church in 1933 with a passion for Christians to keep their faith fresh. With that in mind, I want to share a selection of a chapter in one of Dr. Forcey’s books, Crossing the Spiritual Divide:
“I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Psalm 92:10)
A “FRESH Christian” is one who experiences fresh joys to share with others. Were it not for daily events, newspapers would have no news to print. It is the happenings of today which fill their pages. Who would care about reading a paper full of occurrences a month old? Christians who have no new spiritual experiences have no fresh joys to talk about. They are not up-to-date Christians. They do not keep step to the drum beats of God’s eternal presence. The have lost interest in men and things, and have grown sour, cynical and languid.
The Psalmist talks about being anointed with “fresh oil.” He did not want something that was old and stale, like so many peoples’ religion, but he wanted God’s up-to-date, new and fresh touch on his heart.
Some good folks are a thousand years old and do not know it. Their religious lives, thoughts and feelings belong to past times. They have prayed the same prayers for twenty years, which none enjoy hearing, save themselves. A Christian who prays a new, fresh prayer every day is one who has a fresh experience every day.
Others are reminiscent Christians, who delight in talking about “the good old days,” who speak about their conversion forty years ago, about the experiences they had in the days of Finney and Moody and other evangelists. They spend all their time in the graveyard of the past, while their hearers whisper, “Sing us a new song, brother.”
Would you be a fresh Christian? Listen to this prescription:
First, stop thinking moody thoughts. Thoughts, you know, breed feelings which beget moods and deeds, good or bad. Think thoughts that develop the best feelings. Forget all gloomy memories of the past, or else your happiness will be clothed in black to the end of your life. Let your mind dwell on people, events, and scenes of a pleasant nature. Think on the good things you have enjoyed and on present blessings.
Second, look ahead with expectant eyes, believe God’s promises, listen to the voice of hope and the singing of a glorious future. The emptiness, the dead sunsets, the broken vases, the withered flowers, and the disappointing past are behind you. Face to the east, where the sky Is cloudless, where the flowers breathe fragrance, where the brooks laugh, where the birds are pouring out their joyful songs, where the children are playing, and where the day is young and lovely! Do not look backward! Constant regret brings perpetual worry. “Remember Lot’s wife!”
Third, keep in close contact with Christ. Let me remind you that as a fine, delicate flower maintains its beauty and freshness by clinging to the parent vine, so you can keep your Christian life fresh, strong and beautiful, and have new joys every day, by keeping in close contact with Christ. There is no substitution for Him. Theological confections and creeds can never take His place. A creed may be only the ashes of a dead experience, and if so cannot but any fire or music into your life. Only a creed with the cross of Christ and the Christ of the cross in it can do that; therefore, keep close to the risen, living Christ.
Fourth, keep young with Christ. He never grows old. He is always joyful and becomes a greater Christ to the growing Christian. Draw nigh to Him and you will enjoy the bloom and fragrance of spirituality; your faith will need no crutches, your hope will not grow dim, and the bells in the tower of your soul, rung by an unseen hand, will continually give forth melodies, thrilling others with their charms.
This can only be done as you keep the anointing of the Holy Spirit on your heart and life. Christ said that He would send “another Comforter” and that He would abide with the believer forever. No wonder Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the Father’s promise of this anointing. We Christians need it. We cannot get along without it. We must be fresh, interesting, and helpful. We must get out of the graveyards of the past and stay out. We must have the “fresh oil” of the Psalmist if we are to attract people to Christ.
May God help us all to be fresh Christians!