A blockbuster movie premiered in 1977. Star Wars burst on the scene and seemed to launch a quantum leap in movie technology and storytelling. We have traveled light-years forward since those days. A very interesting detail of the first Star Wars movie was the subtitle – Episode IV: A New Hope. Some, perhaps many, were intrigued. The first movie was number 4? We all know now we began this epic saga mid-stream. George Lucas was asked countless times why he chose this path. Lucas’ mind had envisioned and developed a grand and expansive tale that needed an anchor point from where the timeline, past and the future, would not only make sense but capture the imaginations of generations. Simply put, Episode IV had to come first. From a much less romantic point of view, if Episode IV was a flop financially, then Star Wars would be just another sci-fi movie relegated to the pile of Hollywood dribble. The overwhelming success theatrically and financially for Lucas paved the way for later episodes and even greater glory.
This weekend we heard two different messages but both compelling for me. Pastor Jason Thursday evening intoned, “Control your thoughts: Negative thoughts will never lead to a Positive Life.” This one will resonate with me for a long time. And guest speaker, Pastor Ray Johnston, unleashed on us a tremendous message of hope and renewal. What you think dictates where you go and how you feel. If you are feeling hopeless and your thoughts are of despair then defeat and decline are inevitable. These days, it seems we are feeling a collective sense of despair and hopelessness. If not this then a collective frustration about politics, culture, society and ultimately life itself. More and more people believe the days ahead for our children and grandchildren will be lesser than days gone by. “But wait,” as the infomercial proclaims. Our time line takes to the sky with Episode IV.
In the beginning was God and in the end He is the Alpha and the Omega but 2000 years ago, our Episode IV, took place -- For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). And if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from death, we shall be saved (Romans 10:9). As Pastor Nick pointed out two weeks ago, we were dead in our trespasses. But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love, made us alive together with Christ. Therefore, not only do we have a new hope, we have the ultimate, eternal and overcoming hope. The hope found in Jesus Christ takes care of our past and future and empowers today. Our timeline on earth makes sense only because of this.
Whether you are within the body of Christ or still searching, are you in despair? Are you experiencing unending frustrations with our state of life? Are you living hopelessly and paralyzed?
Then it is time to start thinking differently. Negative thoughts will never lead to a Positive Life. Recharge your spiritual batteries. As Pastor Ray made clear, “get plugged in.” Make the essential connection to Jesus Christ, the only hope that is real. Stay connected in a Connect Small Group at GateWay. You are not alone.