Acts 4:33 NKJV — “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”

“Those were the good ole’ days.” We’ve all heard that phrase tacked on at the end of a fond memory, enveloped in a story of days gone by. Sometimes it’s a reflection from a simpler time, a time when life had fewer surprises. A time when families ate meals together, shared plans and dreams, and smiled ... laughed ... and loved.

Those memories, if you have them, are powerful. They keep us connected to something that matters. They bring comfort. When life happens and we are stretched physically, mentally and spiritually to the threshold of our breaking point, memories of where we came from can be an oasis in our desert.

On the other hand, there wasn’t always air conditioning. We didn’t have insta pots, microwaves or drive throughs. You didn’t know who was calling until you answered and our text messages required a stamp and the postal service.

Often people heated with wood (that they cut, split and hauled themselves), many carried water from a spring and then there’s that little hike outside to the outhouse ... in the rain or snow.

Now that I think about it, maybe we are living in the good ole’ days right now.

Regardless of the era you grew up in, it doesn’t really matter if it was rural or urban, the decade or even the century isn’t really important. Everyone can say that life requires us to constantly adjust to never ending changes.

Some of those aren’t great but some are definitely pretty cool. The same train of thought applies to the church. How we used to do it is a memory. The methods of ministry not only have changed, they are changing minute by minute right before our eyes.

The new normal that we keep hearing about is yet to be identified. Exciting? Yes. Scary? It can be. Intimidating? You bet. Overwhelming? Not as long as you stand firm on the empty tomb of Jesus. Let’s look at this verse one more time, and let’s take the filters off.

“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

“And great grace was upon them all.”

Going from B.C. to A.D. religion, ministry and church in general was changing rapidly. It was exciting, scary and intimidating to many. Christians were persecuted and murdered for their faith. When we look at the two statements in this verse individually, we see that additional grace was supplied during times when the need was the greatest and that it was directly connected the message of the resurrection of Jesus.

That truth is the cornerstone of our faith. It is the foundation that everything else is built on. The resurrection ... the life ... the empty tomb ...

Never take your eyes off of the central truth that Jesus defeated our enemy, won our battles and gave us life because of the empty tomb. Make that your primary message in everything you do.

Why? Because that’s where the power is!

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Dr. Dennis Cagle is the founder of Xaltm LLC who has been a pastor for 36 years and currently works as a church consultant. He is a former resident of McMinn County and current resident of Tellico Plains. He can be contacted at xaltm@yahoo.com

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