The light is red as I wait semi-patiently in my car, then I hear my new stoplight neighbor before I ever turn to look at them. You know that sound, the sound of a bass thumping from a car’s sub-woofer and vibrating the windows. I suspect many of us try to endure for the minute or two until the sound fades by distance. Some of us may succumb to muttering some words under our breath. At that moment, I sometimes reflect on my personal experiences with turning up the volume. One recent occurence was on my front porch around 7 am, where I had just finished my Bible reading and praying. In reflection of what I had read, I listened to praise music on my ipad. A particular moving song came on and I instinctly turned up the volume. My personal jamming session was checked when I considered a neighbor trying to get the kids out the door for school. That is when I wondered why music playing devices have a volume range well beyond the comfortable hearing abilities of most of us? Even more, why do I want to explore those ranges when I hear a song I like? That is when I realized that it was about glory. I want to literally amplify words I celebrate and beautiful music. This is how God has made us and it is worship. So will I amplify and magnify the beauty of God and goodness of a Holy God? This is our loving God who delights to condescend to a sinning man in order to redeem and restore them to Christ-like beauty of soul. What’s not to sing loud about? If ever I raise my voice, should it not be in what is the most glorious? When we live loud the goodness and grace of God in our life, the passing neighbor can’t help but feel the reverbations.
As we look forward over the next few weeks and consider our desire to see more of our community join us on Sundays to worship our Lord there is a lot to think about in how, or even if, we fit into the plan individually. I mean let’s face it, we are all busy right, and some of us are introverts, some are shy, some feel like they are not equipped with enough Bible knowledge to lead someone to the saving grace of Christ, and the list could go on. But we are his children and he has chosen us to be the ones that carry his message to the lost. Read what Matthew 28:19-20 says:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
So there it is, we are commanded to Go and make disciples of all Nations. Now the good news is that in this Local outreach “all nations” doesn’t require travel to a foreign nation. Truth is there are many in our community who are lost and struggling due to the fact that they do not know Christ as their Personal Savior. So for this, all nations is our community and our daily sphere of influence. Certainly we all come in contact daily with friends, family, co-workers, waiters, waitresses, cashiers, strangers in a line, you name it we encounter people daily and many of them are lost. So here is our chance to step up and all we really have to do is take the first step and invite someone to Church. From there, together as His Church we will disciple them, teach them and Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And more good news for those who struggle with the first steps is what he says at the end of verse 20; “And Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”
So take comfort in the fact that God is with you, and he will be with you every step of the way. So go ahead, step out on faith and invite that person to join us for worship. God will guide you and he will provide all you need to get the job done!
Fifteen years ago, I was at the house preparing for the next sermon when word came out about the plane crashing into the South tower of the World Trade Center. My wife and I watched on in horror and bewilderment while trying to settle our 15 month old into her routine. At that time, we wondered what kind of world our children would grow up in, but we were certain it would be different from our childhood. Fifteen Septembers later and our 15 month old is now sixteen, and has 3 other siblings. As we crossed that date again, I find myself in the postition that my grandparents were in trying to describe the impact of Pearl Harbor. It was my job to try to convey the feelings, emotions, and events to a generation that could not know. I wondered if my grandparents felt the failure that I felt in trying to communicate the impact. I also can’t help but think some day my children will be in the same place I am in and trying to communicate what will be so devastating in their generation.
According to Jesus, men bent on doing what is evil to others will be inevitable. Luke 21: 9 “And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” I am struck by the word “must” in his warning. It’s as if the tumults are following the laws of nature. Just as items must fall down due to gravity, so to the world must endure evil due to men’s free will. However, is it inevitable that Christ will also be demonstrated through people in these dark times? Just as our memories of tumult on 9/11, we will also remember courage and sacrifice of people to helping others. In the future evil acts, will our society witness the love, strength, and kindness of Christ on display? That question will be determined by our surrender to Christ today. Let our heart grow more fond of Christ and His words and Spirit, than any other competing ideal, object, or relationship. How about today? What can we do to meet the need of someone else today?
The well-known cliché, “The Waiting is the Hardest part” is no stranger to most of us. From the time we are born we all have a natural tendency to not be a fan of waiting. All of us who have had the experience of caring for a little baby understand that when it’s feeding time the waiting doesn’t go so well. As a child, I can remember many times where waiting was the most miserable experience that I could imagine. As we grow older that really doesn’t change for most of us though does it? Take a brief moment to think about the last time you had to wait and how you dealt with it. Maybe the challenge was waiting for some circumstance to end, an answer to be given, a phone call to be received, a letter in the mail or whatever it may have been that caused you to have to wait, patiently. Maybe some of us are living in that waiting period right now. We’ve become impatient, overcome with worry or anxiety, our independence is challenged and perhaps we’ve even become angry or bitter. The “struggle is real” so to speak and it is consuming your thoughts, emotions and even the joy of your salvation.
Nothing can be more trying to our faith than waiting on God to deliver us from our situation or circumstances. In the waiting we are challenged with finding ourselves having to truly live out our Faith in Him and praying for something that is beyond our control. In Psalm 25:4-5 we read “Make me to know your ways, Oh Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” God’s gives us direction and is teaching us His truths as we draw closer to Him in our waiting. It is in the waiting that we can learn to trust God through going to Him in Prayer and reading His word. In doing so we can learn how our relationship with Him is worth so much more than the object of our waiting.
So today, as we wait, let’s be mindful of the opportunity we have to draw close to Him. Let’s be challenged to faithfully proclaim through our lives what we proclaim with our mouths that He is indeed our Sovereign God, that He is in control of every situation and there is nothing that is out of His Grip. Let us ask Him to make His ways known to us and that He would be our salvation as we wait and patiently trust in Him as He transforms us into the image of Christ Jesus.