Summary: Looking ahead to the future and how to approach it. We have a purpose. We have a Vision. And we have a plan.
“The Road Ahead”
January 20, 2008
One of the things I used to like about living in Hawthorne, Nevada, was the view. You could see for miles and miles in any direction. Most days, even in the winter, were clear and the air was without pollutants, so when you were 30 or forty miles from home – you could see the lights of the town. Way off there in the distance – the lights came into view – and you knew you were almost home. Sometimes we would be coming back from Reno, 135 miles from Hawthorne, and the kids would be tired and wanting to get home. They would ask, “Are we there yet?” And when we were 35 mile from home, and dipping down into the little community of Schurz, I would point out the lights and say, “See? There are the lights of home. We are almost there.”
It’s kind of like that in our world, isn’t it? We can see up ahead. It’s pretty clear that we don’t have a lot of time left. Jesus was asked a very important question concerning the end times by the disciples. They asked,
"Tell us," they said, "… what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Matthew 24:3
Jesus begins to tell them what the end times will be like, then says:
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” Matthew 24:32-33
Jesus said that no man knows the day or the hour – but He also said we can know the season. We can see up ahead and see the lights of glory coming. As you read any newspaper or watch the nightly news, it becomes pretty apparent that we are in the end times. We are in the season. I don’t know about you – but I want to be ready. A lot of people don’t want to know when the end is coming. Even in old age, they ignore the certainty of their death. At my age, I figure, if I am blessed, I might have 20 more years of ministry left in me. Or I might have only this day. Whatever the case may be – I want to end well, don’t you? I want the best to be last. I don’t want to falter or fail at the end. I can see up ahead – and I can see the lights of glory.
That is true of this church, too. Some people believe the end of time will be in 2012. Some place the end before that – some a little later. Most people can see the light off in the distance. They just haven’t figured out how far away it is yet.
So what are we to do? I remember one of my professors in college saying, “Live like Jesus is coming today. Prepare as if He isn’t coming in your lifetime”. What that means is that we need to be spiritually ready for Jesus to come today. Our hearts needs to be pure and our actions holy. On the other hand, don’t sell everything you have and go wait on a hill for Him – like some people have done. We may have the time frame wrong –so we need to make wise decisions for the future. We need to be prepared if He doesn’t come right away and we need to be prepared if He does come. Plan for retirement. Prepare for the future. Act as if we have a lot of time when it comes to decision making.
The Church board and I have to consider those things. If Christ is coming today or tomorrow or next week – we don’t need to worry about getting that furnace for the fellowship hall. We don’t have to have a plan of action for ministry or for maintaining our church. But if we are just at the beginning of the season – we will be in trouble if we aren’t prepared for a long season.
So what can we do? We see the lights of glory off there in the distance. How should we live? How should we act? Let me tell you some things we are doing to prepare.
First of all, we have a purpose. How many know what that purpose is? Our purpose is to “Bring CHRIST to the community.” I love our purpose statement. It is so simple anyone can understand it. Even a child can comprehend bringing Christ to the community and have a part in fulfilling it. But WAIT! There’s more. CHRIST is an acrostic.