Fellowship at the Ranch – January 2015

Jim Wilkins

2015 has arrived and with it newness. A blank slate, an untouched chalk board, an unpainted canvas awaits you. What do you imagine this new year will bring? Image, imagine, and imagination look and sound as though they are synonyms. One only needs to “google” the word “imagine” to understand the vast difference. When I did so, the first link in my browser was to John Lennon’s Imagine written in 1971, and on YouTube this video has 20,971,000+ views. The fourth link was to “Images of imagine.” This past year I’ve used Lennon’s lyrics to demonstrate a worldview that doesn’t include God, heaven, hell, possessions, greed or hunger, and how that contrasts with a Biblical worldview of God’s love and provision for mankind. No question that Lennon’s song is very creative. It has a pleasing arrangement musically and quickly penetrates a person’s inner desire to dream.

This only points us to God Himself who is the creator, and created us in His own image, with the ability to “imagine.” Imagine the possibilities of this world, not without God, heaven, hell and the rest; try only to see the world as God would have it be. Use your imagination to dream of how God might begin to reduce suffering in the world, eradicate hunger in our lifetime, reveal new resources of energy that would replace fossil fuel consumption and in the process stem the suffering of the planet itself. Imagine how our world might change if people were less self-possessed, greedy or prone to violence; or how this planet might look different if we took the word “brotherhood of man” more literally. What do you imagine it might take to accomplish these dreams?

I can tell you emphatically what doesn’t work. More of the same excuses. More of the same repetitive prevailing attitudes, which voice their cynical view in responses like, “You’re just a dreamer, Jim; it will never happen.” Will 2015 mark the beginning of the end of this prevailing attitude? Or will 2015 be just another year of time, branded by trauma, trial and tragedy, bred in doubt, greed, and selfishness?

An ancient truth was spoken regarding God’s will for mankind. It goes like this, “I have come so they may have life, and life to the full.” Very few people on this planet have even come close to dreaming or imagining what Jesus meant when he spoke the words, “… life to the full.” Many have trusted in its truth and have trusted him for life eternal, and I hope you are one of them. Some have danced around the edges wondering at times, doubting more than believing, “Could it really be true? I can’t imagine it.” Others have rejected it out of hand, reducing it to “you’re just a dreamer, Jim.” But it’s not Lennon’s world I invite you to, it’s God’s. I hope someday you’ll join me…and in Jesus Christ, you and I and the world will be one, in Him. I can only imagine. Happy New Year!

Jim Wilkins is the Pastor of Fellowship at the Ranch. We meet each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the clubhouse.