Honor The Old and Encourage The New

Honor the Old and Encourage the new

bob dylanOne of absolutes of life is that life is always changing. “The Times They Are a-Changing” was written by Bob Dylan in 1963. I love the song, but Dylan was pretty quick to throw out the old.

If we are unwilling to change we will cease to exist, however do we throw away everything that is old? Are there some things that we should hang on to?

When I think about the word “old” I think about my Grandma.  She didn’t like to be called Grandma so we called her by her first name, Andrina. Admittedly, it’s kind of an odd name. Andrina told me that her parents picked out a boy’s name for her, Andrew. When she turned out to be a girl they added an ‘ina’ on the end, hence Andr-ina. According to my Grandma this is a Scottish tradition.

I have fond memories of Andrina. She was force of stability in a very unstable world.

I grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, an upper middle class neighborhood – like a Norman Rockwell town.   Everything changed for me when I was five years old. My Dad informed my three brothers and me, “Your Mother is in the hospital and you aren’t going to see her for a while.”  What my Dad didn’t say was my Mom was in the mental hospital. She was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. We didn’t see for a year.

When my Mom was released from the hospital my parents divorced and my Dad had custody of four young boys.  Growing up in my house was like living in a giant bachelor pad. Nobody did the cleaning or the cooking. We had Kroger Turkey Potpies for dinner on many nights. (To this day I cannot eat a Turkey Potpie.)

My Dad was married and divorced three times. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family where things were changing every day. Most days the TV didn’t work, but it didn’t matter because we created our own drama. I would do crazy things like hiding in the refrigerator for hide and seek and turning on the sprinkler inside our living room.

The one place that seemed “normal” to me was Andrina’s house. Everything was perfect! Andrina only

For breakfast we had scrambled eggs and English muffins. We had tea and Scotch bread every afternoon at 4pm. For Sunday dinner we had leg of lamb or roast beef. Every piece of furniture in her house was an antique and it had a story behind it.

When I would return home from college I loved to give visit my grandma. She always greeted me with a smile. I would strategically drop in to visit Andrina at 8am. I loved her home cooked breakfasts and she loved to cook them for me. What I loved most about my Grandma was that she was always the same.

As, the pace of the world is getting faster and faster, lets not forget that it’s good mental health for some things to stay the same.

I believe that the successful church of the future will honor the old and encourage the new. It seems like most churches do one or the other.

What do you think? Is it possible to do both?

Mark Harper

Pastor, Filmmaker and Coach, Mark Harper has over 30 years of experience in the local church. He is the creator of the Super Church 2.0 Curriculum, which is used in over 5,000 churches worldwide. The focus of Mark’s ministry is helping leaders build strong churches and helping parents build strong families.
Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team.
Mark Harper

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4 thoughts on “Honor The Old and Encourage The New

  1. Lindsey Karuku says:

    I do think it’s possible to do both but it can be challenging. I have the mindset if it’s not broken don’t fix it. There’s no reason to change something that is working very well. However, we usually keep things the same for sentamental or traditional reasons. This isn’t always bad but if it’s not working, it needs to be changed. Otherwise, people in the church will suffer therefore loosing the purpose of why we exists and also the plan that God has for us moving forward. To be effective today it is good to keep some things the same for the sake of stability and comfort. This world is very unstable and if anyone should provide stability it should be the church. We should be a safehouse in a very unsafe world. With that being said, I also believe that many of our methods are not working; churches are not as effective, congregations are dwindeling and families are being destroyed because we have been unwilling to change. Things have to change if this trend is going to stop!

  2. Jeanne Bowser says:

    Hello Mark, I agree; the old is important and needs to be remembered in its own way. I went to bring a home-cooked meal to our Pastor’s mom, who just recently got out of the hospital. This dear woman was there for me 19 years ago when my husband had left me and I was raising my daughter on my own. My life was very dark during that time and she would come over to my house and rebuke the devil and speak the Word over me and bring me some homemade cookies.I f it wasn’t for her being there for me, I would not be where I am today. So, yes, and yes again we need to honor the elderly!

  3. Jeanne Bowser says:

    My first husband and I were Dylan fans back in the 70’s. Come to think of it, Bob Dylan or his real name is Robert Zimmerman, is still playing his guitar and possibly writing music, and he’s not getting any younger:)

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