Summary: We hear God’s call and many times we ignore it. We hear it again and put it off. But what is God calling us to do?
You may not be familiar with his name, but you all are familiar with his accomplishment. Kemmons Wilson started working when he was just a boy of seven years old selling magazines. As a teenager he first worked for a cotton broker and then for a variety of different businesses. Kemmons was an ordinary man but he had a vision. In the early 1950’s he took his wife and five children on a road trip from Memphis to Washington DC. The trip was not too far, only about 900 miles, but it required a couple of night’s stay between the two cities. Motels had sprung up all over the country since the 1920’s. Some were nice family places; others looked good on the outside but were terrible on the inside. The problem was the traveler didn’t know which he would find. This bothered Mr. Wilson. When he returned to Memphis after their trip he hired a draftsman to design his first hotel. He wanted it to be clean, simple and predictable and he wanted his hotel to have the things his family wanted; a clean room, a television and a pool at every inn. The next year he opened his first hotel on the outskirts of Memphis. Out front on a sign fifty-three feet tall flashed its name: “Holiday Inn.” By 1959 there were 100 hotels, ten years later there were over 1,000, and by 1972 a Holiday Inn opened somewhere in the world every seventy-two hours. Do you have a dream?
So what is God calling you to do right now? Not for your life, not your entire purpose for living, but what is God asking you to do today, this week, this year? I have been giving a lot of thought to God’s call for our church today and for our future. Last week we celebrated our 9th Anniversary as a church and we looked back over the past 108 months with thankfulness. We talked about our beginnings; we celebrated all of the births, baptisms and weddings. We remembered the formation of our small group ministries and we reflected on all we have endured along the way. Every change has brought new opportunities and blessings, every single one! We do cherish our past, but more importantly we embrace our future as well. We are now stepping into our 10th year together, thanking God for bringing us to here and now, to this place and to this time. So today, I want us to look forward to see what God may have in store for us. Ken Solomon once said, and I hold this to be true; “When man plans, God laughs.” I do believe God has a plan for our church and it is up to each of us to determine exactly what His plan is may be. God wants us all to look forward, to plan and keep moving forward.
This is vision stuff. Our church is and should be full of people who love to come together to worship and praise God. Full of people who love God, who are seeking His wisdom for their lives, and apply it to daily things. Not monumental, not newsworthy, actually just ordinary. Our church should be full of people inviting their neighbors and friends to participate in a celebration every Sunday, where small group ministries come together and where we may encounter someone, even a visitor for the very first time. And if we are this kind of church, God is working in our everyday lives. The evidence will prove it to be true. Yes, we will be reaching out to others, sharing that what we believe can make a difference in people’s lives. I believe church should be a place where we can come in to worship and be equipped to go out to be an example of our faith. To encounter those around us every day and connect with them on a different level. Not better, not higher, just set apart. And how do we make these connections? Relationships. Relationships. Relationships. Finding common ground, finding common interests. Scripture instructs us clearly in this area. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5)
Here’s how God uses people:
Throughout the centuries, God has used and will continue to use ordinary people. Not the rich and famous, but everyday ordinary people like you and me. The Apostle Paul addressed this very issue in his first letter to the church in Corinth, modern day Greece, most likely only 25 years after the resurrection of Jesus.
Just for reference, there are many people today and there have been thousands over the years who question the accuracy of the writers of the New Testament. The letters of Paul, Luke, James, Peter and Jude, the Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and John’s prophetic book of Revelation have been questioned regarding their validity and just exactly when they were written. Many have said they were written hundreds of years after Jesus Christ walked this earth, long after any first-hand knowledge or any true recollection. They were written just to make things fit into some sort of belief system.