Good News for Bad Times

With his rich resonant voice, actor Dennis Haysbert begins an Allstate Insurance commercial with the statement, “If this is not a recession, it sure feels like it.” The debate between economists centers around the question, “Are we technically in a recession in terms of the historic means of measuring one?” Haysbert’s commercial hits the emotional target, often missed by trained economists. “It sure feels like” seems to be the sentiment of most people today.

With a Texas style twang in his voice, billionaire oil entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens says, “This is our problem, and we can fix it.” He is, of course, referring to the energy crisis we are experiencing as a nation. A visit to the gas pump by even the most rational thinking person can be traumatic. The cost of fueling your car has doubled in less than two years.
The voices of the two major presidential candidates can be shrill and negative, but they agree that the U.S. economy is facing some stressful times indeed. Each candidate has a different perspective on how to handle the situation, and the two major parties are sparring over the details while the American people seek to adjust their lifestyles to the realization that changes will be coming for them in the near future.

During bad times, people look for some good news. For Christians, this is an opportunity for us to offer the very best of good news. We have a story to tell that is both timely and timeless. Unintentionally, we can fall into the trap of the “bad times” mindset, which causes us to practice the awesome power of negative thinking.

We must not allow that to happen to us. Our hope is not in Wall Street or Main Street. Our hope is not in Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Our hope is not in the oil companies or in the Federal Reserve. Our hope is not in off shore drilling or hydrogen-powered cars. Our hope is in Jesus Christ.

Does that mean we pretend to be the proverbial ostrich and stick our heads in the sand? Does it mean we just become stoic about the present circumstances and walk our own yellow brick road? Does this mean we detach ourselves from exercising our right to vote and voice our opinions on the issues? To all these questions the answer is a resounding “No.”

Rather, we have the privilege and responsibility to share the good news with people stressed to the limit in this present life. We can offer them the good news concerning “the most inconvenient but eternal truth.” What is that truth? You and I know Him as the “Truth.” He is the only real truth. The rest is just trivial pursuit for temporal minded people.

The first challenge for us during this difficult time is to do some intense self-examination. Are we living like this world is not our home, we are just passing through? This is the reality check for us. Are our lives lived distinctly Christian in a non-Christian world?

Shakespeare once said, “The world is too much with us.” For the Christian, that can be a way of asking the hard question, “Am I living like the world is too much of a priority?” We can personify the very essence of the Matthew 6:33 lifestyle as we, along with others, experience these brutal economics.

“The world is coming to an end,” is something believed to have once been said to Mark Twain. His response was intriguing, “Good, we can get along without it.” Neither Mark Twain nor William Shakespeare spoke from a Christian worldview. That is for certain. However, we are to speak and more important, we are to live with a Christian worldview, which declares “There is good news, even in bad times.” Jesus is still “The Way, The Truth and The Life.”

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, bdavis@alsbom.org.

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, khinson@alsbom.org.