Summary: Setting the vision for a new church

The Third Voice

Scripture Reading: John 6:1-15

Good morning. My name is Bob Hostetler, and I’ve been married for twenty-three years.

That’s not an admission of a problem, mind you--

It’s not like saying, “I’m Bob and I’m an alcoholic.”

No, I just mention it because it’s important background for what I’m about to say. . . .

You see, when I first married my lovely wife, Robin, I was soon faced with what seemed like an insurmountable task.

Unbeknownst to me, on the day of our wedding, Robin had in her mind--I don’t think she wrote it down--a list . . . a long list.

Now, I want to ask some of the kids here if they can guess what was on that list Robin had in her head. What do you think it was a list OF? Anybody?

The list in Robin’s mind

was a list of all the things

--small and large--

she was hoping I’d buy her someday. It included:

a sewing machine,

a rocking chair,

a guitar,

an entertainment center,

and a piano.

Now, you may be surprised at this, because, of course, I thought I had already given her everything she could possibly want [ME!]. But, believe it or not, that was the case.

So I set out on this impossible quest. I scraped,

I scavenged,

I saved,

I sacrificed,

until, finally, the glorious day arrived when, on her thirtieth birthday--

--you can’t believe she’s over thirty, can you?--

I proudly presented her with a Baldwin spinnet piano . . . . . THE LAST ITEM ON THE LIST!!!

I was excited,

I was elated,

I was ecstatic with joy!

I had faced a seemingly insurmountable task,


Imagine then,

the emotion that swelled my soul when she threw her arms around me,

kissed me

--that’s right, Andrew Holzworth,

on the lips, BUDDY!--

and said, in a voice dripping with gratitude and amore,

“Great! Now we can start on a NEW list!”

Well, I share that little story with you because it parallels in some ways the challenges we face here this morning.

You see, I fully believe that every one of us here this morning is participating in history, an historic moment.

Any of you who have attended the Cincinnati Vineyard Church with their hundreds of ministries and multi-million dollar facility--what my son Aaron calls “the mall church”--have you ever wondered what it was like when Steve Sjogren and 38 other people met for the first home Bible study that launched that church?

Or what it might have felt like to be there with Bill Hybels and Gil Bilezekian for the first Sunday service of their church at the Willowcreek Theater?

Or what the inaugural service of Moody Bible Church or the 700,000-member Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea, was like?

Well, YOU are here for the first worship service EVER held by Cobblestone Community Church!

But we have quite a challenge facing us...

What may seem like an insurmountable task.

After all, we’re starting from scratch here, folks!

We have a few dollars in the bank, but no building;

we own some nice sound equipment,

thanks to the help of Randy Tankersley,

but no nursery furniture, no office equipment.

We have no paid staff, only volunteers.

We have a temporary constitution and bylaws,

but no elders or deacons, no structure to speak of.

No Sunday school,

no small groups,

no youth ministry--

ALL THAT is yet to be formed.

We have a mission,

we have a vision,

we have clear core values,

and you’ll be hearing about all those things

these first three weeks of worshiping together,

but basically all we’ve got is the bandwagon without the band!

And in the meantime,

there are hurts to be healed,

gifts to be used,

and a myriad of details to be taken care of.

Looks huge, doesn’t it?

Seems insurmountable--right?

Well, that’s okay, because I believe God’s Word is going to tell us this morning exactly what our attitude should be WHENEVER we face an insurmountable task,

whether it’s starting a new church

or starting high school,

whether it’s shedding ten pounds

or saving a marriage.

And we’re going to discover that by directing our attention to the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel in the Bible. . .

If you have your Bibles with you this morning, turn there, will you? Just go to the New Testament and turn right . . . Matthew-Mark-Luke-John . . .

John, chapter six . . . Verses 1-15.

I point you to that passage of God’s Word because it tells the story of what happened when Jesus and his disciples--sorta like us this morning--faced a seemingly insurmountable task.

So, if you have your Bibles open to the sixth chapter of the book of John, I want to direct your attention to the three voices that are heard in that brief account, because we’re going to consider the first two voices in contrast to THE THIRD VOICE.

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