Sermons

Summary: Where is God when you "can’t believe your ears"? When He is leading you, are you prepared to follow, no matter the cost?

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Texts: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-51, 58-67; Matthew 11:25-30

Date: Sunday, July 7, 2002

Author: Rev. Jonathan K. Twitchell

I couldn’t believe my ears. It was the fall of 2000, almost 2 years ago. Melody and I were sitting in the dining room at 471 Old Ocean House Road , with boxes piled all around us. We had just finished revival services that night, and I had gone up to the Pizza Hut in Millcreek to get pizza for all of us. Steve Estep and his friend were there, Jeff and Stacey were there, and Emily had just gone to bed. Like I said, I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Jeff say, “It’s too bad the two of you don’t have clones.” I looked at him quizzically, and he said, “You know, someone with skills in music and youth, would really help us out here in Cape Elizabeth .” I thanked him for his kind compliment, and dismissed the statement -- or at least I tried to. In the back of my mind, I was perplexed. He couldn’t possibly have known that finances were tight at our current church, and there was discussion as to whether or not they would be able to keep Melody and I on staff there. He couldn’t possibly have known that I wasn’t sure how secure my current job was, because I hadn’t told anybody that, except for a few people in my family.

Two evenings later, I was sitting down there in the front row. Melody and I had led worship for the evening, and Steve preached a wonderful revival service about the men sitting outside the gates after the city had been plundered. Going back into the city meant certain death, sitting still at the gates meant starvation, and so their only option was to press forward to scavenge for food. Steve made the application that in our lives, we might wish to go back to the past, but we can’t. We might be tempted to sit still and stagnate where we are, but the only way we can continue to grow is to move forward, sometimes into the unknown. Do you remember what Steve said during that service? I know I couldn’t believe my ears... He stepped out of the pulpit, to make it clear that he wasn’t speaking from God’s Word, or speaking as a prophet, but he said that he had a strong sense that as the church had made some money on the sale of the parsonage, it was like the men in the story. You would never be able to go back again, and while you could sit at the gate and simply maintain what was happening and use up the resources until you starve, it was important to move forward into the unknown. And then...I couldn’t believe my ears. Steve stood down there and said, “I’m not attempting to be a prophet or anything, but I wonder if you might be able to take some of that money and use it to subsidize the salary of a staff person. Someone like Jon and Melody here...someone who could help your pastor with music and with his passion to reach this community and the youth in Cape Elizabeth .” Steve couldn’t possibly have known what was going on in my life. I certainly hadn’t told him. But, I went home that night with a nagging feeling that God was about to close one chapter in my life and begin a new one.


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