Summary: God opens and closes doors so that we can do His will.

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Acts 16:9-15

“Yes We Can”

By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer,

Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church,

Newport News, VA

What were the chances that Jeanne and I would ever meet each other?

Jeanne was born in Arkansas.

I was born in Ohio.

Jeanne grew up in Georgia and Virginia.

I grew up in Kentucky, New Jersey, and Syracuse, New York.

I wouldn’t have met Jeanne and Ben if my first job out of college had not been in Macon, Georgia…

…and I would not have ended up in Macon, Georgia if I hadn’t had so many doors closed elsewhere.

--Cause Macon wasn’t my first pick.

After having been turned down at a number of television stations…

…I packed up my car and drove down the eastern part of the country, stopping in every city that had a television station until I found someone who was willing to hire me.

I was offered my first job at a small t-v station in a place I had never even heard of before—Macon, Georgia.

I had been living a thousand miles away—in Syracuse, New York…

…just about the same distance that Tarsus—where Paul is originally from---is from Philippi…

…minus a few hundred miles.

And here I was in Macon, Georgia.

And even though Jeanne, Ben and I were all living in Macon at the same time, our paths would not have crossed if we had not attended the same church.

And even though we were living in Macon at the same time and attending the same church at the same time…a 2,000 member church…

…our paths would not have crossed if I hadn’t felt the nudge to attend choir practice one night.

And that is strange enough—given the fact that I have never had the desire to sing in a choir, and have no natural musical abilities whatsoever.

But one night I decided to go to choir rehearsal.

I met Jeanne there, and never went back to choir rehearsal again.

A friend of mine, another minister here on the Peninsula District, and I were talking the other night.

He said, “Ken I am so glad that the Holy Spirit brought us together.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well,” said my friend, “If the Holy Spirit had not called both of us into the ministry, and if we had not followed His call…

…then I wouldn’t be blessed to have such a great friendship as yours.”

Then I said, “That is such a nice thing for you to say.”

And my buddy, John LeGault at First United Methodist Church said: “I know. I thought so too.”

And we both had a good laugh.

In our Scripture Lesson for this morning we have Paul, a former Pharisaic Jew and a tent maker, who follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit and ends up being used by God to convert a wealthy business woman in Europe—Lydia—the first European convert to Christianity!

We cannot overstate Paul’s determination!

Apparently, Paul had been staying in Antioch of Pisidia, trying to decide just where he should launch a new mission thrust.

Up to this time, Asia had been the center of civilization, and so Paul and his companions decide that this would be the perfect place to preach the Gospel.

But God had other plans.

He closed the doors, through the Holy Spirit.

Then Paul decided to undertake a northern mission, so they headed northward toward Bithynia.

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