China, El Salvador, Egypt, Honduras, and America, was represented on the front row of Vienna Assembly of God as I attempted to share the gospel to a very diverse group of children. The memory verse and thought for the moment was "what counts is a new creation" (Galatians 6:15). I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years that at the moment of getting it thought it was pretty important. The further along in time from the moment, their value lessens and they became junk. I dumped out onto the ground trophies and plaques from the glory days of high school and over the years they had lost all of the luster and glory they once held. The attempt was to plant the seed into children that what really counts in life is not winning trophies, attaining popularity, accomplishing athletic feats, or doing something someone thinks is amazing. "What counts is a new creation". As I asked all the kids to kneel with me and pray a prayer of forgiveness and entrance into a relationship with God, I knew that some had decided to become a 'new creation' in Christ. This transcends country of origin or culture distinctions. After church one of the moms came up to me and I could tell she had become 'a new creation'.
This week end was the 32nd anniversary for Brenda and me. We have had some very fabulous and not so fabulous moments, but "what counts is a new creation". I am now able to run again, and on my slog jog this morning, I experienced God's natural creation, but "what counts is a new creation". The garden I planted is yielding all natural organic vegetables, but "what counts is a new creation". It is really nice when life is going well, all cylinders are firing, taste buds tasting, fresh air breathing, muscles exercised, life enjoyed, marriage is blessed, career is progressing, ministry is effective, but "what counts is a new creation". It also a year away from the last RCHOP chemotherapy, and throughout the days of mental fog, physical nausea, hairless wonder, bloated from drugs, inability to exercise, etc, loss of short term memory, bouts with anxiety, "what counted is a new creation". Whether positive or temporally negative human experiences "what counts is a new creation". Last night, I had a chat with a good friend from high school who is experiencing the joy of becoming a new creation in Christ. Any day, any of us can have a really good, or really bad day, but that isn't what really counts. It was a great joy to hear my four year old granddaughter get the verse memorized, and throughout the sermon when I would ask, "what counts?" Her four year old voice rose above the rest, "a new creation".