In 1926, by an act of Congress, inventions were put up for sale that had been accumulating in the patent office for over 125 years. They sold things like an adjustable pulpit for preachers. It was supposed to automatically lift the speaker up or down so that he could be seen. One preacher in Ohio was supposedly using the adjustable pulpit while preaching a hellfire and brimstone sermon. He was really into it when he slammed the pulpit with his fist and shouted, “What about you, where will you spend eternity?” Unfortunately, the slam also triggered the device and down he went!
Inventors have always dreamed about the great potential for their contraptions but, what about the dreams _ the goals _ the hopes for your church? The good news is that we don’t have to rely on gimmicks to reach our potential. We simply need to use what God has already given us. So I wonder: What does God have in mind for your church? How can it be accomplished? How can it be paid for? Who will do the work? How is the power of Christ being unleashed? How do we fit into God’s plan for making our church a great church? What will we do when opposition arises?
Those are questions we ask because the church has been given a huge responsibility _ go, make disciples, baptize, teach _ summed up _ prepare people for The Day. That is quite a daunting task especially when there are so many who stand opposed to the church. In the face of such opposition sometimes it’s tempting to throw in the towel and quit.
When Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of England he was asked to speak to a kindergarten class. After a long introduction, the Prime Minister stood _ went to the podium and gave this great speech: “Never give up _ never, never, never!” Then he sat down _ he had said all that needed to be said.
Sometimes we need to be told the same thing. Now if you don’t think Winston Churchill is the right person to quote then how about the Apostle Paul? “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) And so, I ask: Are you living up to your potential _ as a family, as an individual, as a church? And, a second question: If you aren’t then why not? There are all kinds of excuses: shyness, fear, lack of resources, lack of ability, not enough time, someone besides the person we looked at in the mirror this morning is not doing enough _ on and on it could go. Well church, those excuses just won’t cut it.
When Joshua was about to lead the Israelites across the Jordan and enter the Promised Land God told him: “I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous.” (Joshua 1:5-7) Does that sound familiar? It should. When Jesus gave the great commission to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach He said this: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) So, when we get knocked down, and we will get knocked down from time to time we must get back up, brush ourselves off, and get after it again and while we’re at it we may as well throw the excuses in the dumpster.
Church, stand strong, follow the Lord’s lead because as it says it in Exodus 15:6, “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.” And in Isaiah 41:13, “I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” And nothing is too difficult for God.