September 18, 2019
This morning as I walked to the barn in the predawn darkness under the light of the full moon, as the cool air of the morning canvased over the ground and the dew was on the grass, I was reminded that we are only a few short days away from the first frost of fall. There are certain things that I do every year to prepare for fall, I cut firewood and stack it, I make sure that the garden has been tilled, I harvest the honey from my bees, I do one last weed spray on the yard, I make sure that I have winterized motors, and motors are ready to work in the winter time. I usually check over my closet to make sure that I have winter clothes to fit and try to get in a few days of perch fishing, along with my normal responsibilities. It seems that every year is the same routine, feeling the same end of summer push and the same questions still come up year after year in my mind. How much wood do I need to have, how much will it snow, do I have the right sermon ready for Sunday, are we as a church ready for the next season, are we making a difference in our community, are we living for Christ, how can we make a difference in the lives of people around us?
In our community there are lots of hurting people, families dealing with hurts and pains and kids taking backpacks home with groceries because there’s no food at home. Teachers are trying to deal with the hurts and pains of their students to help them succeed in school and responding to things that happen at home that cause kids to be distracted and fearful. There’s so much hurt and pain in the world and so many things that happen that we don’t have the information to understand all the stuff that is going on. The only way that we can respond is by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us and through us. Most all of us want to make a difference and help create changes to better the community. The only way this happens is when we allow God to work in us and through us.
Today I was reading the headlines of the news and what’s happening in the world around us. I saw an article about a wealthy political donor from California who was charged with violent crimes. I wonder if I could have made a difference in his life. I meet this man 30 years ago in Arizona. He wanted me to do some work for him. I spent half a day at his property looking at what he wanted done and talking with him. Quite frankly the guy creeped me out, and I submitted a bid that didn’t get me the job. I wonder. I wonder if I could have made a difference had I done the job and shared Christ with him. I guess I’ll never know. I vividly recall the day and preparing the bid. My personal preferences kept me from even desiring to be on the job. I didn’t pray about it, I didn’t ask God about it, I didn’t give God a chance. Now I wonder. Over the years I can think of many instances of where I missed opportunities because I didn’t give God a chance. I say this with regret knowing that the God I serve is able to change the heart of the most calloused and hurting people in our world. I confess that at times I allow my personal preferences to speak louder than God’s voice and I don’t give him a chance. It’s these regrets that can paralyze us from moving forward. I think of the story I shared last week of Paul being a part of the stoning of Stephen and I can’t imagine he had many days that he didn’t regret participating. What he did with that was move forward and minister in powerful ways. He allowed God to redeem his life and move on with a spirit-filled life.
I’m sure many of us have past regrets, some as recent as today and others so far away we almost forget, but when any come to mind, we can be filled with regret and remorse. And that is why we have Jesus interceding for us at the right hand of God. In Philippians 3 Paul says that I look forward to that of which I have not obtained. Paul recognized that there is a part of life that is yet to come, a life that needs to be lived today, and a past the has been redeemed through Jesus Christ. You can read Philippians 3 for this weekend’s services.
Thanks to the many people who have been a part of our weekend services, for your participation, prayers, words of encouragement, and dedication to attend. Here’s my question for all of us, has Jesus really made a difference in your life? Do you see Jesus as having the power to change anyone’s life? Has Jesus ever given you strength when you have been at the end of your rope? Do you see Jesus having the power to give someone else strength when they are in difficult places? To sum up these questions it comes down to this, if we believe that Jesus has the power to make changes in our lives that are worthwhile, we should believe he has the power to make the changes in other lives as well. So, make sure you are encouraging and inviting those persons you encounter. If each of us take the time to form a relationship with one person and help them walk in a new relationship with Jesus Christ, think of the changes in our community. Every week we have 300-400 people attending services at North Clinton. I wonder how many people those 300-400 are sharing with.
Blessings - Glenn