Summary: When God is involved, the future is always better than the past.

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Have you ever felt nostalgic for the good old days? Have you ever experienced a longing and yearning for the way things use to be?

I remember once visiting in a home of a family with a young child. The parents of this young boy had just converted his room from being that of a toddler to that of a young child. Everything had changed. Old toys furnishings were removed to make room for the new. The crib had been dismantled and replaced by a child’s bed. The walls were painted a new color and new curtains had been hung by the window.

"What do you think of your new room?" I asked. With a tone of dismay in his voice, the young boy said firmly, "I liked the way my rooms use to be."

We know how this young man felt. In a fast paced, every changing world such as the one in which we live, we often find ourselves saying and feeling the same kind of thing.

"I liked the way society USE TO BE, before the advent of cable television and satellite TV."

"I liked the way my country USE TO BE, when political debate had a more polite and civil tone."

"I like the way it USE TO BE, when the Red Sox lost & the Yankees played in the World Series."

Yes, those were the good old days! What makes you feel nostalgic?

The 90’s – Stamps $0.28; Bread $1.42; Milk $2.30; Gas $1.11

Events: Soviet Union Collapse; Waco Disaster, OJ, Cloned Sheep, Coumbine

Top Movies: Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, Independence Day, Titantic, Saving Private Ryan, Stars Wars – The Phantom Menace

Top Music: November Rain, No Rain, Ice Ice Baby

The 80’s – Stamps $0.22; Bread $0.60; Milk $1.70; Gas $1.19

Events: The Challenger Explodes, Iran-Contra Scandel, The CD, Berlin Wall

Top Movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Star Wars – Return of Jedi, Ghost Busters, Batman, Indiana Jones & the Lat Crusade (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

Top Songs: Take on Me, Every Breath You Take, Tainted Love

The 70’s – Stamps $0.13; Bread $0.25; Milk $1.40; Gas $0.60

Events: Nixon Resigns; Bicentennial; Jonestown Massacre, Iran Hostage Crisis

Top Movies: Jaws, Star Wars, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Grease, Rocky

Top Songs: Stairway To Heaven, Hotel California, Bohemian Rhapsody,

I know that some of you would like to go back even further – but I don’t go back much further, so we will have to stop with the 70’s.

Those were the good old days. That is the way things USE TO BE.

We have those feelings of nostalgia about many things: politics, social norms, entertainment, and the economy. We get homesick for places, people, and times. We all carry with us some sentimental and romanticized notions about the way things USE TO BE.

We have those notions about the church, too.

The church’s place in society today certainly makes many of us feel a bit nostalgic. We remember a day when CHURCH counted for something in this country. Its sanctuaries and meeting halls were filled to capacity each week. Its buildings dominated every urban view. Its preachers were among the most noted figures in the populace - even the New York Times featured reviews of sermons from great pulpits. The missions of mercy in many congregations were known throughout the world. Its ethics guided societal customs and norms. Its youth ministries had a formative impact on the lives of entire generations. That is the way things USE TO BE.

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