Tomorrow is the beginning of Fall.  A new season.  It’s funny how we are wired to call out beginnings….. to a new year, a new football season – for some of us even a new bar of soap or bottle of shampoo doesn’t go unnoticed.

I think this is all rooted in Hope.  As humans we are hardwired to Hope.  Maybe this will be the season that….. the team gets to the Super Bowl….we complete the yard renovation….I start a new workout routine….we finally get the car INSIDE the garage, and on and on.  At the start of something new, our hope rises up naturally because (1) we haven’t blown it yet, and (2) all possibilities still seem available.  We have no losses, no weekends of rain to disrupt yard work, no missed workouts and TIME, yes, we believe we still have time.

On rare occasions, beginnings get stacked on beginnings, which we REALLY love to call out.  I still remember celebrating New Year’s Eve on Dec 31, 1999 – a new year, a new decade and a new millenium all at the same time. 

My wife was still my fiance at the time and we gathered with friends at a local dive known for its hot wings** and BLTs which bills itself as the oldest bar and grill in Kansas City.  We were at the original location (because why go anywhere else, right?) which features a long bar along one wall with tables opposite, a single small TV in the corner of the room which at the time was still an old cathode-ray tube TV (yes, kids, TV’s weren’t always ‘flat’) and horribly outdated and unkept bathrooms in the back directly across from the kitchen which always kind of grossed me out.  Ultimately the wings and BLTs are good enough that I didn’t, and still don’t, care how or where the food is prepared.  Several people that night had plastic glasses shaped with “2000” on the front where the first and last zeros became the eye holes, which led someone to mention 20/20 and the conversation briefly shifted to wondering what life would be like for us when the year 2020 rolled around, which in the moment seemed like the next interesting date milestone.

Yes, we are hardwired for Hope but we can’t sustain it for long… least not on our own.    Looking back, I realize in that moment we were already searching for hope in the NEXT date, 2020, before we’d even reached the date we were there to celebrate!   

Jesus refers to our inability to muster life on our own when he talks about the Vine and Branches in John Chapter 15.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.  I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”

John 15:4-5 (The Message)

Whether or not we are willing to admit it to others or even ourselves, we each know the truth about how we cannot live well under our own power alone.  In part, our inability to muster up enough will power to walk away from the TV, the fridge, the computer screen, the phone, the relationship that shouldn’t continue is also why we have hope when new seasons come.  Our hope may not be directed at the right thing, or rather person, but the hope is real. We sense it and we grab on to these moments in time because of their reflection, however dim it may be, of real hope.  Hope in something new – an opportunity to change direction. (funny how that’s also, at it’s essence, the meaning of ‘repentance’ — to change direction.) 

With the autumnal equinox as our cue, it’s an opportunity for each of us to consider what we hope and desire this fall season to look like, to invite God into it, to allow Him to speak and then take a step in a new direction WITH Him or simply TOWARDS Him.

What are YOU hoping for in this next season?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)

P.S. If you find yourself in a season of isolation, or just feel a nudge to move towards God by gathering with other like-minded guys, join us this fall for our online Zoom study of Fathered By God by John Eldredge. Next Session is TONIGHT at 7:00PM CDT — Register to JOIN US!

** While the hot wings are massive, gloriously-covered in cracked black pepper and arguably the best wings in the KC metro, they are simply no match for the BEST hot wings in the midwest (if not the country), which can be found 130 miles east.

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