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Can you Spare some "Change?"

1 Chron. 12:32

"men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do--200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;" 

A couple of hunters hired an Alaskan bush pilot to drop them in a remote location, then return in seven days to pick them up. At the appointed time, the pilot arrived and loaded the hunters and their gear in the plane. "Wait a minute," said the first hunter. "What about our moose?" "Sorry," said the pilot. "We're at maximum weight already." 

"But our pilot last year loaded our moose, and he had the same size plane as this one." 

"Really?" asked the pilot, not wanting to be outdone. "Well, I guess we could give it a try." 

With that he strapped a moose carcass on each pontoon. They sputtered to the end of the lake to get the longest possible takeoff. He shoved the throttle forward; they began to move, and finally, they lifted off the lake, just skimming the trees. But the pilot was right. They were seriously overloaded, and crashed just minutes into the flight. 

Both hunters were knocked unconscious, but came to at about the same time. The first hunter looked around at the mess, moose meat and plane parts everywhere. 

"Where are we?" he asked his partner. 

"About 50 yards from where we crashed last year." 

Doing things the way we've always done them insures that we'll continue to get the results we've always gotten. Successful people are willing to change with the times. People who cannot or will not change, run the risk of extinction. (

In the 1800's the Shaker's had colonies all over New England, but today, only one colony-the New Gloucester, Maine colony-is still active, and it has only eight Shakers keeping the "old way." At one time, the Shakers were on the cutting edge of progress and technology and were consumers of new and useful products, in fact, they were inventors. Today, they are best known for their craftsmanship and the quality of the style of furniture that bears their name. 

But at some point, they stopped progressing, developing and changing. And some day soon, they will only be a memory. (

In the October 2000 edition of Fast company, Seth Godin tells the following story: 

"After my first year at Stanford Business School, I went to see Jim Levy, then-president of Activision, Inc., which, at the time, was arguably one of the fastest-growing companies in the history of the world. Activision made games for the Atari 2600 game system and was rolling in dough. I wanted to work for Levy for the summer. 

My bold proposal: "Hey, you've got all this cash and all these smart marketers and programmers. Why not go into the computer game business? You can dominate the PC the way you dominate the Atari 2600. 

Looking back 25 years, that wasn't such a bold proposal. After all, the PC market was only an inch or two away from the market that Activision was already in. But Levy disagreed with my proposition and almost had me removed from his office by force. He told me, "We're in the cartridge business-and those machines use floppy disks. Forget it."(

Flexibility and the willingness to change is necessary to survival. But sometimes the best thing we can do is remain the same and hold onto our heritage.

In the mid 18th century, wealthy Massachusetts colonists built an elegant house to reflect their status in the new world. Over the next two hundred years, the same house sheltered all kinds of Americans, including revolutionaries who took up arms against the British, a family of abolitionists, a mill worker and her Irish mother, and finally, a family of frugal Yankees who fought World War II on the home front.

Forty years ago, the neglected and sagging house was marked for demolition when the city of Ipswich needed a new parking lot. Residents of the area recognized the historic value of the old home, and fought to save it from the bulldozers. They feared that the destruction of the old house meant losing touch with the past. Today, the house is a permanent display at the National Museum of American History. Though visitors can not actually go inside the structure, they can look through windows and cut away walls to get a sense of what it was like to live in the house during various periods of American history. 

Museum historian and one the curators of the show, Lonn Taylor says, "In my opinion, it's the greatest artifact in the museum." Shelly Nickles, one of the other curators adds, "It should inspire people to realize the connections between themselves and their home lives and something greater. It surprises visitors how much history can be found by traveling through time and the lives of people in one house." (

So what should we change and what should we preserve? What's the difference between a classic car and a pile of junk? What's the difference between a fad and a trend? What's the difference between being eccentric and being totally looney tunes? Why do some things stand the test of time and other things quickly fad from memory?

I don't know where to draw the lines, but I do know those lines exist. I mean, collectors restore far more 66 Mustangs than they do 72 Vegas. I doubt if very many people got pet rocks for Christmas or Cabbage Patch dolls for that matter, but plenty of children still got Barbie dolls and GI Joe action figures. 

During this time of the year, we reflect upon the past and rethink our future. While we reflect, we have a great opportunity to recast our future by separating the things in our life that we need to change and the things that need to stay the same. Some houses do need to be torn down, but some need to be put into museums. And some things in our lives need to change, and others need to stay the same.

That process begins when we honestly re-evaluate our core being. What are your values, the things that you'll fight and die for? What are the things that make you uniquely you? Be sure to get passed the window dressings of your life-drill down to the core.

For instance, you may define yourself as a young person, an attractive person or a healthy person. Some of those things will definitely change. You can't stop father time from making you older. Get passed those surface things, drill deep, discover who you are.

Those enduring values are the continental divide of your soul. They are the things that cannot, and should not change. Things like your devotion to God's word. Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." (NASB) Or the anchor of our soul, our faith in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 proclaims that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Because He is unchanging, our devotion to Him is unchanging. 

Dig deep and you'll discover values like these-values that define who you are. You will also discover, if you are honest in your reflection, some areas of your life that need to change. I don't know what those areas are for you, but my guess is that you have them.

It might be in the area of cultivating a spiritual discipline, or repairing a damaged relationship. Perhaps you need to take better care of the temple God has given you and improve your health. 

The men of Issachar had a discerning spirit. They knew Israel, they knew the times, and they knew what Israel should do. I pray that God will give us all a discerning spirit. Because this moment could be a defining moment in your life.

Don't squander the opportunity you have today to dedicate yourself to a better tomorrow. Reinforce those values that you should not change-that you will not change, but resolve to change those things that you should change. 

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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