You Can Begin Again

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a dear pastor of a Church I visited several times.  He made an impression on me.

His story is filled with up, downs, crashes and triumphs.  He built a small church of a few dozen members into one of the nation’s mega-churches.  He’s always found himself at odds with his Baptist denomination.  He left Austin’s most liberal Baptist church and formed a church that mostly stays out of politics and social issues and focuses on serving singles, divorced people and other people who have often been bruised and battered by churches.

But it’s not really the Pastor that I want to talk about.  I’ve never even met him, although I’ve heard him preach and speak in person and on tape many times.  It’s his core message that’s at the core of today’s devotion: “No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, with God’s help, you can begin again.”

You can begin again.  It’s a really simple statement.  You can’t come through the womb again (at least not physically – although those who teach some brands of psychology and spirituality believe you can come close!), and you can’t quickly undo the financial and legal issues you’ve created or been caught in, but with God’s help, your life—your essence—can begin again.

My Pastor friend spent much of the last few decades explaining the Biblical basis for his message and trying to convince thousands of congregants that it’s really possible to start over.

His life is his example.  When his high-stakes financial deals crashed, he started over.  When his church couldn’t afford to build on the valuable land they’d essentially been given, he sold it for a profit, moved up the hill and built a campus that now includes a sanctuary called the Home for Hope.  When his wife of decades upon decades died, he took a break from church and from life.  Then he found a new love.

Now, Parkinson’s disease has weakened his voice and slowed his body, but his work lives on in his archive of recordings and his books, both new and old.  In a situation where some people would end their ministry, this Pastor has begun again.

Would you like to begin again—again?  Do you need to start over?  You see, when the things of life come tumbling down, you can start over.  And if they crumble and tumble again, you can start over again.

God wants what’s best for you.  If you’re not getting the very best that life has to offer from this day and everyday, begin again.  You can either start from scratch or just scratch today’s plans in favor of something that brings you closer to God. No matter when you start or whether you start over, it’s the destination that matters.

Today, either start over in a new direction or stay on the course you’ve carved out for yourself, but be sure your path is wide enough to include God’s presence, too.