147 Years from Now – Ideas that Survive

What if you had an idea that was really great and you could put the weight of your creative energy + camaraderie + faith behind it and see the idea grow into something that would inspire and enliven other human beings well into the future?

Today, I’d like to share an example of such an idea, as well as some follow-up questions I’d love to get your thoughts on if you would take a minute or two to leave a comment . . .

Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ
Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ

I just arrived home from a short vacation in Ocean Grove, New Jersey (known as “God’s Square Mile“). In many ways Ocean Grove is like any other New Jersey beach town, but in many ways it isn’t, because of both its history and its present commitment to preserving its values. While I was in town, I learned that Sunday was the kick-off of Ocean Grove’s 147th Camp Meeting Week.

On July 31 1869, Ocean Grove was founded as a permanent Methodist “camp meeting” by a devout and inspired cast of characters.

On July 31 2016, I was sitting in its Great Auditorium with a whole new cast and afterward couldn’t help but wonder what we’re creating now that could last 147 years or more . . .


I was thinking . . . 

How was 1869 different from 2016? What do we want the world to be like in 147 years from now (in the year 2163)? I admit that I partially find it hard to fathom the world even going on for that much longer . . .

What obstacles might the founders of Ocean Grove have faced in 1869 (forming a community, putting up buildings and tents, traveling, communicating, etc)? Do you face similar or different obstacles in your daily life?

What advantages does being alive in 2016 present to you? Are there disadvantages? If so, could you turn those around if you approached them from a different angle?

Which of your current life choices or activities will echo well into the future? Is the echo positive, negative, or neutral? How do you feel about that?


I know this blog post is a little bit more open-ended than most of my regular weekly posts. Vacation has left me relaxed and musing, so I wanted to invite you to join me for a bit.

Let’s keep creating the future together. 😉

❤ Nicole

P.S. Lest you think that my thoughts on 147-year-impact are only build-a-town-sized, I want to share this brief video (just under 7 minutes long). I know I have previously blogged about Legacy & I imagine I’ll continue to revisit the topic again and again because it’s of particular interest to me . . .


Click “Follow” if you’d like to be notified each time I post. My regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday & sometimes I do a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post where I share other creative topics.

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2 thoughts on “147 Years from Now – Ideas that Survive

  1. I know you intended this as inspiring but I keep going back to your comment about the world not likely being here in 147 years. I somewhat disagree. I believe the world will still be here but the United States likely will not. Like the Greek, Roman, Persian and other empires tell us in history, no national power this big lasts forever. Like these websites I stressfully build today to only see deleted and forgotten in 2 years … what will last?

    Therefore its interesting to consider what you might build that will last beyond the decay of changing societies, governments, cultures, and time. Or are we content to build a legacy that lasts 150 years but not 200? Did anyone in that Methodist church plan to build something that would last 100 years? Or did they just take it a day at a time and to our joy it happened to last for us to see?

    I can’t imagine trying to evaluate the founders of this church 150 years ago, and apply their efforts today expecting the same results. I can’t imagine building something and actually expecting it to grow and thrive 150 years. Even so history seems to demonstrate that all amazing and lasting legacies started with small efforts. This tells me that the hope of trying to make something great doesn’t come from trying to make something great. It just comes from trying at all and seeing what happens.

    Matthew 23:12 – “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

    1. Jason, first thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think hearing other people’s input always helps me – both to see things from different perspectives and to learn whether I’ve clearly communicated my original intentions.

      I don’t know that my post was intended to be “inspiring” as much as just a thought process about trying to live with some sense of purpose (when my day-to-day can sometimes seem sort-of tiring, complicated, or discouraging).

      I’d like to share a few thoughts on this, but know that my tone here is just of continuing the dialog and not at all defensive. I see your point of view and think we may actually be probably mostly in agreement, even if coming at it from different perspectives. Also, I know this will probably be too long and maybe rambly since it’s a little late & I’m just generally wordy.

      I have been blogging to explore thoughts about creativity, legacy, and priorities because I feel like there’s a sense in which if we have a relationship with the ultimate Creator that our lives will be sparked by His creativity in some way, probably in ways that are as unique as each individual person. I don’t think that means that we’re guaranteed any specific outcome of that or that it will make anything easier or more glamorous in life, especially since the Bible promises that we’ll have trouble in this world . . .

      I actually agree with you that the world will likely be here in 147 years – I may have been unclear in what I said about sometimes finding it hard to fathom. I meant that sometimes it’s hard to imagine what it will be like or to really grasp that it probably WILL still be around and that things we do now might affect what things look like then . . .

      . . . that maybe the small things I try to do to be loyal to relationships or church or faith or my work, even when it’s difficult or tedious, could be “ideas that last” from my life, not necessarily seeing a big project accomplished . . .

      I think some people have specific ‘do this project’ type life visions and others don’t, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either — there are folks in the Bible that God told to build big things or fight big fights, and there are plenty of people there who spent their lives faithfully working in their homes & on their land & with their families with no specific direction from God other than what had been given to the community. I think both are valid paths. I like the Bible verses that talk about making it your ambition to live a quiet life and work with your hands . . . because I think our culture sort-of loses the value of quiet hard work sometimes & I can sometimes too.

      I think what I meant to say about the founders of Ocean Grove (and perhaps wasn’t really clear about) is that they had something they felt they should do and did it. I can’t really conjecture about whether they were thinking about it lasting into the future or not (maybe they were / maybe not), but what they did has lasted which led me thinking about how some things we do (or neglect to do) may last, too — for good or bad. Sometimes I think people do have big visions that God has given them to try to do a big project or accomplish something specific but then allow fear or obstacles or spiritual resistance to hold them back. And because our world is so wired and buzzing, I think sometimes simply being distracted or over-stimulated can prevent us from quietly hearing direction . . .

      I didn’t mean to imply that we should specifically try to copy what the OG Founders did or that applying their efforts would yield the same results — just that thinking about what they did (what those individual men and women experienced as they gathered in prayer and worked hard side-by-side) had me thinking about what am I really applying my efforts to? Are the things I pursue done out of love/faith/courage or sometimes just out of self-centeredness/doubt/fear? When I face obstacles in life, how do I respond to them? With my tendency toward melancholy? or with faith? Etc.

      I don’t think we should be overly ambitious in the “whoever exalts himself” way, but I don’t think it’s wrong to think about the long-term implications of what we do with our short lives, and I don’t think it’s wrong to undertake a big project or to even possibly dream of it having a long-term impact, if God guides us that way. If I pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done,” am I a part of that / willing to be a part in whatever way I’m asked to be?

      I’d be interested to know if you have any further thoughts on this, but no pressure. And thanks again for taking the time to comment.

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