'And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. ' Luke 5:37-38
I remember my first experiences in the Music ministry at New Hope. After years of directing convention and show bands and drumming for a bunch of Hawaii’s top musical groups and artists I figured the transition into music ministry would be a piece of cake. If I could whip a bunch of prima-donna, spot light seeking musicians into shape to perform, leading a bunch of Christ-loving artists into worship should be easy. I had no idea.
You see the first thing I learned was that the techniques of the world would not work in the trenches of the Frontline. I couldn’t demand execution or threaten positons as I was put in front of a group of servant volunteers, not hired professionals, people who were sacrificing their time to serve, not punching in to do a job. What worked so well for me in the previous life ended up being my biggest challenge in charging into my new one.
In a nutshell, I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with my “old wine” bursting through the “new wineskins”. This caused for an uncomfortable, but necessary transformation in my attitude and approach. I needed new wine! Needed it then and need it today.
My biggest flaw early on was putting my trust in what worked for me in the past. However, instead of re-doing the approach I instead found that recalibrating the approach was the better option. The core of the message was the same, a spirit of excellence, but the style of approach needed to change. My default was to operate with a standard of excellence. A standard of excellence focuses on the product and its performance; a spirit of excellence focuses on the heart and manner in which someone does something. I needed to live by the latter.
Recalibration is difficult, but necessary. While I’ve heard a lot about Moses Generations, Joshua Generations, Multi-generational armies, and all other examples of old vs. new, it’s imperative for me to remember a couple things.
- Every day NEW WINESKINS are presented to me, new opportunities. What might’ve encouraged and excelled previously might still work, but only if looked at with fresh eyes and a renewed heart. While defaults, baselines and templates are good, what serves best is when I’m able surrender to the broken in and ready to go wineskin and serve the fresh and new wineskin in front of me.
- In pressing NEW WINE I need to remember that we see further than others cause we stand on the shoulders of giants. Someone pounded at that rock for years for someone else to be able to break it apart later. While my eyes need to stay fixed on what’s before me, it’d be foolish to discount the years of experience that’s at my disposal to learn and glean from. As I continue to press new wine, I need to remember to not fix what wasn’t broken. While the method may change, the principal should remain steadfast.
- In the same breath though, balancing a healthy honor of the past with a committed call to the present is necessary. While we stand firm on our foundational principals, I need to consistently evaluate whether our methods are being effective.
- Instead of choosing a side to be on, Moses vs. Joshua, I need to instead choose to follow Christ first and then allow Him to assign and cause action. God commands change, not man. All we need to do is be listening. We need the humility of Joshua, but also the “legendaryness” of Moses. I need to remain a life-long learner, but also be ready to take the Frontline and lead the charge.
Even as I move forward and wineskins evolve, I need to constantly be sure to keep my wine fresh and recognize the new wineskin in front me. Is there a right way? Some days I’m sure, some days I’m not. But I am confident that as long as I keep my heart set on Him and His will than I’ll be okay and all will be okay.
Help me Jesus! Amen