Sermon:
WHERE HE LEADS, I WILL FOLLOW (GENESIS 12:1-13:4)
Traveling is a hazard, and I had my share of bloopers and misadventures. One was a landing in Connecticut that never was due to snow. The plane did the next best thing and landed at a small local airport nearest possible to the city, then a bus drove the passengers to their planned destination. The consolation prize was a snow-dotted scenic route through the woods, which was quite a sight to behold for this city boy.

I had no one but myself to blame for the next incident. When I was a continuing student at Chicago’s Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, I missed my night flight home to Los Angeles. The airlines clerk told me I could leave on the next flight in the morning. Calling my friend to return for me did not make sense, so I opted to sleep inside the airport, waking up a few times in the night to check my things, only to find plenty of company sleeping next to me!

The last incident was unforgettable – August 14, 2003. My wife and I were going through Customs in Toronto when a power blackout hit the northeast cities of North America, including Toronto and New York. Outside phones were unable to reach Air Canada operators, so we had to join the snaking crowd at the airport to reschedule our next day flight to Los Angeles. Since my cellular phone had no reception at the same time, too, I had to wait an hour for the public phone to notify others of our delay.

Early next morning, the departure schedule at the airport announced that the flight was canceled again, and when we got through to the operator to reschedule our flight after an hour’s wait, she said the flight was on again and told us to go to the ticketing counter. After an hour’s wait at the counter, we were told by the receptionist that the flight was off again; so we returned to the phone operator after another hour of waiting and managed to reschedule a successful flight home the next day.

About 1,800 years before the birth of Jesus Christ - after the chaos at Babel but before there were Jews - a seventy-five year old man by the former name of Abram received a call from God to settle in a new land, to build a great nation and to be a personal blessing to all the families of the earth. The promise to the Father of Nations is clear: the settlement into the Promised Land, the beginnings of the Jewish people and the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Abram’s father, Terah, had initiated the long 1,000-mile trek from Ur of the Chaldeans, located near the Euphrates River about 190 miles southeast of present-day Baghdad, to Canaan (Gen 11:31), but died in Haran, 400 miles away from the destination. (Los Angeles Times 4/16/03 “Ancient Ur Still Standing as Another Regime Topples”)

After Terah died, the Lord said to Abram: “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.