Do you collect things? I do. Well, I don’t know if you would call them things. I mean I used to collect baseball cards, and programs to basketball games I’d been to, and stuffed animals, and ticket stubs for concerts and stuff like that. But I really don’t do any of that anymore. I think I’ve traded that in for a collection of memories with people I love and I also collect quotes. Do you ever find yourself collecting things people say? My “notes” section in my phone couldn’t possibly ever make sense to anybody but me because it is a collection of random thoughts, book ideas, sermons starters and the oddest quotes that somehow stick to me from wherever I have been. Sometimes they are in a conference setting, or from a book, but most of the time they are just really cool things that people say to me in regular conversation that just offer wisdom in some way. I feel like I need to give you an example, so I’ll give you two. The problem with collecting quotes is that I’m often in such a hurry that I don’t always capture who they came from, but that’s ok because you know they didn’t originally come from me.
- What is the Genesis of your Exodus?
I think this one came from a pastor friend of mine in Concord. He was doing a devotion on deliverance. He challenged us to think about the things that we were actively praying that God would deliver us from. He commented that so often the same things pop up on our list over and over and over again, and we continue to ask God to deliver us from something that we may not have done our part to work with God to reach deliverance. So he was asking, “What is the Genesis of your Exodus?’ Where does your Exodus or deliverance from this thing that is causing you pain or trouble, begin. Genesis of course is the book of the bible that describes “the beginning” and Exodus is the book that talks about God delivering the Hebrew Slaves from Egypt, through the wilderness to the edge of the promised land. One of the most unique things that we believe about the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus is that God is active in the world. God isn’t passive or impotent. God is All powerful and Almighty. We discussed in our Home Run Life Sermon series that Home Plate is about identifying God’s purpose for our life and finding God’s Power in living it. God’s power is delivering you from that which harms you and delivers into provision. Think about the Gospels and how Jesus was the Genesis of countless people’s exodus from their infirmity, their sin, their fear, and their failure. He longs to be that for us too. What is the Genesis of your Exodus?
2) Teamwork makes the Dream Work!
‘Nuff said, right? Yes it does. It’s the thing I love most about our church community - that teamwork for us makes the world go round. We take seriously when Paul says that to be the church is to be a part of the Body, a part that has to work with other parts to accomplish its task or its mission. I continue to be in awe of how God brings people together with different voices, experiences, gifts, passions, and resources to accomplish the work of the kingdom. And the dream takes all of us, every one of us. Don’t ever think that your part doesn’t matter, even when you think it’s small. Jesus speaks about the importance of even the smallest gift when a widow brings a “mite” in for offering up against all the big gifts of the church leaders, and Jesus says God values her gift because it had more sacrifice and more heart in it. That’s what God wants after all, our heart. And sometimes that’s the last thing we want to give. But when we do - we find our fit!!! Sometimes what God calls us to give feels big and other times it feels small, but giving is who God is and who God is calling us to be. I was speaking with a person who had just visited a large megachurch in their area as they were seeking to find a church. She was commenting that they had done all the right things on paper - nice welcome gift, parking lot attendance, great follow up email from the pastor etc. “But more than all that, what I really wanted is for somebody just to sit with me and ask me how I was doing and really want an honest answer.” She reminded me that all the “stuff” around welcome is important, but it doesn’t replace one person just simply expressing love and concern to another person, which is so important. Teamwork makes the Dream Work! Let’s all do our part.