Summary: After announcing my resignation from the Sunrise Presbyterian Church in order to accept a new call, I address the issue of "how do we seek and know God’s will for our lives?"
My wife and I went to a baseball game last week. I bought the tickets at the stadium and when I was at the ticket booth, this young fellow behind the window sold me two tickets and he is about to take my money.
And he insults me!
I couldn’t believe it.
I asked how much the tickets were and this young fellow looks at me and says, “You’re a – senior citizen, right?”
I have never been so insulted!
A youthful looking man like me being taken for a Senior Citizen.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I was shocked.
I was mortified.
I was humiliated.
I looked at this young fellow and said, “Of course.”
OK, in the end I told him the truth. I was too young. I didn’t get the Senior Citizen discount.
But afterward I thought about how we are always being given opportunities, and we always have to decide – take the opportunity or not?
Is it the right thing to do or not?
As you know, I have been given an opportunity to accept a call to another church, and I have taken it.
I do this because I believe it is God’s will, and I wanted to share with you this morning something about how I came to this decision.
How does one know God’s will?
That is a difficult thing, and ministers are not the only ones who struggle with this.
Whenever a minister accepts a job to go from one church to another, we always talk about how, “it is God’s will.” But we should all be talking in those terms – every time we move to another community, or accept a job, or when we get married – all of these things should be done because we should believe God is calling us to do these things.
But how do you know God’s will.
I want to share a story about the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church – that is the church where I am going to be serving in a few weeks.
It took them 11 months to find a new pastor. I don’t know how long it will take Sunrise, but 11 months is pretty standard.
The church elected a PNC, or Pastor Nominating Committee. The chairman of that committee said that when they had their first meeting they were given instructions from a representative of the Presbytery named Joan.
Joan looked at this newly elected committee and said, “You have only one task to accomplish.”
The chairman said he felt a wave of relief – thinking this will be easier than he thought.
But then Joan continued, “All you have to do is discern God’s will.”
The chairman said he felt a wave of fear – thinking, how do you do that?
Listening for God’s will is a dangerous and risky and intimidating task.
Our New Testament lesson says, “Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
And how do you do that? How do you determine God’s will?
You, as a church, must search for God’s will as you seek a new pastor. You as church members must individually and constantly be in search of God’s will for your life. What job do you take, what person do you marry, how do you deal with day-to-day living?
Everyone needs to be able to discern God’s will.
As we seek the will of God, we often look for God to be visibly active in our lives. The way things come together, often reveal God’s will.
For me and my wife, we found one circumstance after another pointing us to move to another church.
Sometimes these circumstances and events were not very pleasant.
There were times when I felt that I was unable to use some of my skills here at Sunrise, and there were times when I felt Sunrise needed skills in me that I did not have.
But other signs and indications into God’s will were reflected in how well and how wonderful things came together.
After we made our decision to accept the call to serve another church, we had only three days in which we were able to visit the community in Georgia, and in those three days so many things came together so perfectly.
My wife got a job – actually, she was offered more than one teaching job in the school system there.
We were able to find my wife an apartment, which is important because she will be starting work on Tuesday.
We were able to sell our house here in Florida.
And we were able to find and buy a house in Georgia.
So many other things were coming together so rapidly and so perfectly – I couldn’t have planned it better myself. I truly think that God was in charge.