Summary: The church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be an organism, growing and growing. Often it is just a church, an institution, resisting change.
We have a library at the church here. Virginia and I are going through the books to recommend to the church which ones we will dispose of, giving them to a proper charity, library, seminary or cemetary. The library represents something that is old, dated and needs to be updated with current books and materials. Virginia will get it done.
Alan Alda almost died. He had an intestinal blockage while vacationing in Chile. The doctor had to be found right away. While the doctor was being located, Alda wrote letters to his wife and children. He told them, he loved them. His last words, his last will and testament. Thank God the operation was successful. When he awoke, he was so overjoyed, he decided right there and then to enjoy every day. To live each day to the fullest, to live for the now, the present and let the past be in the past.
In our church we need to change. The God of the universe loves us. We don’t have to worry, we need not fear. He is strong, he will uphold us, he will strengthen us. He is the great God of the Universe.
The first element of change is found in this book of Lamentations. God speaks to us through the writer and he says that God loves us. He has a great love for us. The guiding, underlying principal is this. If we learn to accept God’s love, I mean really accept and appreciate God’s love, we can truly be transformed. "The vilest offender that truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives." The blood of the Lamb can cleanse us and make us new. If we feel loved, if we allow God’s love to work in us, we will be changed.
Alan Alda wrote a book called "Don’t Stuff the Dog." It is a story about his life. When he was a young boy, he had a dog. His father and he loved the dog. Finally, however, the dog died. In their grief, the compassionate dad and the grieving son went to the backyard to bury the dog. As the father dug the hole, young Alan was in tears. Sobbing fitfully, the father put the shovel down, and looking at the son, he said: "Okay, we won’t bury him, we’ll take him to the taxidermist and have him stuffed! The taxidermist did a horrible job, and they wound up with a dog with phoney glass eyes and a snarling smile. Every time a person came into the living room and saw that dog, they jumped in horror. Alan’s point of the book and the story was that you have to move on from the challenges of life. You have to move past the tough times. You have to embrace and accept change. In the business world and in most growing circles of life, change is inevitable. Change for change sake is not it. Allow God’s love to flow through you. Let the change begin in you! In me!
His compassions fail not. They never fail. We’ve seen the Everready battery. It keeps on keeping on. We’ve remember the Timex watch, it keeps on ticking. We need to understand the compassion of God. Principal number two is: Though we fail and fall, God never does, he fails not, his love for us fails not. They are new every morning every day. He can change you, he can strengthen you. He will transform us day by day. He loves us and will take care of his children. We have lots to do in this church. Every church has a lot of ministries waiting to be started. Our church just voted in the officers and directors for next year. There are a few new ones, and a lot of the same ones. We need to take the new year seriously. We meed to look to God, to his newness every day, every morning. We need to understand that verse. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things become new." 2 Corin. 5:17.
"The Lord is my portion." God will supply. Principal number three is: God will give us what we need, the resources we need to be all we can in Jesus." Our church can be transformed from the inside out. We need to rely on God’s resources: If we accept His love, His portion, he will take our church to new heights. We will meet new people, with God’s new love. We will teach the young and the restless with God’s love. We will be "kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you." Eph. 4:32
Verses twenty-five and twenty six yield our fourth and last principal. The bible tells us here that the Lord is good to those who hope in him, who seek him and wait for him. Who wait for the salvation of the Lord. Did you know you have to wait for the salvation of the Lord? Ephesians 5:15-17. We are an instant culture, and right-now society. God is telling the church to be radically different. To not lose heart, but to hope. To seek answers and visions and plans in Him, not ourselves. Instead of running here and there, self-willed, self-centered, and flesh-driven, let’s wait on God for his strength and resource. Let’s trust Him as we never have before here at our church. Let’s let go and let God do a work in us individually and corporately as the body of Christ.