Sunday afternoon we drove to the cottage with plans of spending a couple days raking leaves. Joel was able to get them off the roof of the cottage – finishing the task in the dark. However, except for me forming a few small piles, that is all we accomplished with the leaves. The four inches of snow that fell on Monday made raking impossible, so we worked on a couple other projects, became quite relaxed, and returned home mid-day on Tuesday. The weather made us change up all our plans.
Wednesday evening, we had a meeting to evaluate STL’s Soup And Sandwich Saturday (S.A.S.S.) ministry. We noted a variety of good things that happened in October. We made some initial plans for February. And then we decided to change things up in June … moving S.A.S.S. up to the second Saturday and simplifying the menu to just chili dogs, chips and ice cream sundaes. That will be a real change up.
Earlier on the same day it was announced that Justin Verlander had been awarded his second Cy Young award as the best pitcher in the American League. Justin has struck out more than 3,000 batters in his career, relying mostly upon his 95 mph Four-seam Fastball and a vicious Slider. He rarely throws a Change Up.
However, the Change Up that has infinitely more impact than any other is the one the Holy Spirit works in us as we are buried with Christ in our baptism and then raised (changed up?) to live a new life (Romans 6.4). “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3.1-3) It easy – natural, in fact – for our minds flow toward the gutter … complaining … criticizing … bemoaning … belittling … and all sorts of other forms of stench and filth. But where does that leave us? Hapless, helpless and harmful are the words that come to my mind.
The Change UP God in Christ delivers to us says “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things … and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4.8-9) This leads us to say with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4.13) Now, if you ask me, that is a real CHANGE UP.
There are many Change Ups in our lives. Some are intentional and healthy. Others are necessary due to unforeseen, perhaps untimely or unwanted, circumstances. Sometimes they come as such a surprise that they can make us look silly and strike us out – at least for the moment. However, the Change Up God is renewing in you this day is designed to have us “lift up our eyes knowing that our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121.1) and “Rejoice in the Lord always, letting our reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; so we need not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving as we make our requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4.4-7)
I don’t know about you, but that is exactly the kind of Change UP I need.