Publication: One-to-One, Winter/Spring 2005
When I was a kid back in the 1970s, one of my favorite television programs was “The Six Million Dollar Man.” During the introduction of each show, there would be a review of the life of the main character, astronaut Steve Austin, who was terribly injured in a training accident.
Each week, we would hear the words of his government boss saying, “We can re-build him…better… faster…stronger! And rebuild him they did. The “Bionic Man” could jump higher than a tall fence and run quicker than a sprinter on steroids; he could fight like a wildcat, and he killed him a bear when he was only three…whoops, wrong show.
At any rate, I was thinking of the Bionic Man as I was putting this issue of One·to·One Magazine together. Take for instance, this very article. I have written and rewritten it several times on two different computers, both of which have locked up, crashed, and dumped information as I was working. Back at the CSM office, we’ve had some recent-even more spectacular-computer crashes that have significantly affected and hampered our work.
Early this morning, as I was reading Scripture, I came across the passage in Revelation 21, where the Lord promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes and says, “Behold, I make all things new.” Sitting in front of the rattling hulk of my computer, I say, “Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.”
In the meantime, a new year has dawned and with it comes new hope, new vision, and new energy to move forward in the mission. This promise of God-to make all things new-not only applies to that day when we shall stand before Him in heaven, but it applies to God’s plan and economy right now, right here on earth.
God makes all things new. All things. Sometimes, the new thing that He does is something that has never been done or seen before…something that emerges out of nothing. Sometimes, the new thing that He does is in the renewal of something that was once old, broken, and useless. There is the new, and then there is the renewal.
I listened to Pastor Jack Hayford give a superb teaching four years ago, when he discussed wine and wineskins. He noted that while you cannot put new wine into an old wineskin, there is a process by which old wineskins can be made new. Back in biblical days, wineskins weren’t merely discarded after one season or after their contents had been emptied. They were taken, soaked, stretched, and prepared so that they were renewed. And then they received the new wine again!
When God called Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem, it was the burned and broken stones that were used in the rebuilding. Scripture is full of examples of God’s redemptive plan and His renewing power. Through Isaiah, he promised to “renew our youth like the eagles.”
I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I have felt like an old wineskin or a burned stone. I find tremendous hope in God’s promise not only to renew me, but to use me in His plan. He says that His plan for us is “for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Isn’t it amazing who God can and will use?
The Lord can look at a pile of charred rocks and see a temple made with living stones. He can look at a sad and broken life and see a restored, healed, joyful, and productive citizen of His Kingdom.
The issue is, are we willing to be His? Are we willing to allow His process to work?
Better…faster…stronger. He can rebuild us, if we will let Him. He can renew us, and fill us with the new wine of His love, joy, and peace…new wine that will not only quench our thirst and revive us, but will touch the nations. The Good News is that the same God Who heals our brokenness and renews our strength can and will do the same for others.
Scripture Reference: Revelation 21: Isaiah; Jeremiah 29:11
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.