Summary: What happens when the church is ’stuck’? Do we have a word from God to direct us into the future. Explore the state of the church in Laodecia and see if we can’t learn how to be the church today.

Psalm 96: (Sing to the Lord a new song)

Revelation 3: 14-19 (poor Laodicea)


As a teenager I often played the old vinyl music albums of the day and, as they got a little worn, they also got stuck – I’d hear the same few words and the same few notes of maddening music over and over again, and over and over yet again until I decided to do something about it.

Tell me the old, old story of Jesus and his love

Tell me the old, old story, (repeat)

Now you have to remember that this is my favourite album with my favourite recording so I really didn’t want to throw it out but…

Tell me the old, old story (repeat)

I got so tired of it repeating that I’d finally get up and give it a nudge, even just a light pressure was enough but…

…of Jesus and his love. (repeat)

It didn’t take long before it got into another groove and couldn’t get out. The words were now a little different, the notes slightly changed but maddening nonetheless...

…of Jesus and his love.

What happened to my dear old album, folks? There is a parable here for the church. We’re stuck! And we need more than an occasional nudge to get going again. We need reformation, or maybe that’s rejuvenation, or even transformation. In the old, old days, we’d call it a revival and sing:

“… revive us again

rouse the dead from their tomb.

May we now come to Jesus,

while yet there is room.”

There’s nothing funny about being stuck – well that’s true most of the time. In the Guyana Chronicle dated January 22, 2002, there was a front-page story about an American tourist on a flight from Scandinavia to the United States. She went into the small washroom cubicle provided on airplanes where you can’t even turn around. The story about her went like this: “She got sucked into the toilet after pushing the flush button while still seated, activating a system to clean the toilet by vacuum… stuck solid. She couldn’t get up by herself and had to sit on the toilet until the flight landed so that ground technicians could help her get loose… a spokeswoman said, ‘She was stuck there for quite a long time.’”

I don’t know about you, friends, but I don’t want to be stuck on a toilet while one of the most exciting trips ever – that is, life – passes by on the outside.

In the church there are seven deadly words more deadly than the seven deadly sins of old.

“We never did it that way before…”

Maybe you don’t agree we’re stuck, but we are in trouble as a church and as a denomination and we don’t seem to be going forward and many suggest we’re going backwards, and all agree that something needs to be done – they just don’t know what.

Awhile back in the Presbyterian Record (January, 2002) John Congram commented on things we need to leave behind. John was referring to things to be left in the past –in the old year in order for the new to dawn. He didn’t say it in words but he was telling us that if we’re ever going to get unstuck, we need to leave some things behind in order to move into the future God has prepared for us. He gave us a biblical 12 in number of things he would suggest but one and only one of his list I’ll mention: “The ‘poor us’ attitude”. “We are too small, too poor, too whatever to do anything significant. By almost any standard we would want to apply, our people {in Guyanese terms} are rich, gifted and able. We dishonour God who made us and endowed us with many gifts when we talk and act this way.” Negativity is a real danger, in this country and in this denomination. Time and again I’ve encountered the negative attitudes of people… about Guyana, about the problems it faces, about the politics and about the economics and about the racial attitudes and about the violence and about the… well just about everything you care to name. And it’s ever so true about the attitudes people carry with them about the denomination call the Guyana Presbyterian Church. Negativity is damaging this denomination.

The Apostle Paul didn’t like to give up who he was and what he had become. He liked being stuck where he was, and, for Paul, it took a blast from heaven and a blinding light to get him unstuck. Once unstuck, he became the prime moving force in the spread of the Christian church throughout the known world. It couldn’t have been easy for him because the law is a great comfort –

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