As the time nears in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas!
I am compelled to start this message with scripture that has changed the way I look at God. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 tells us through Paul’s teachings, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
Most profoundly, my dependence on the Holy Spirit is what assists me in all I do. In my time alone with God, I turn all that is on my agenda over to Him. Galatians 4:9 tells us best, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”
Getting to know Christ, depending on the Holy Spirit and walking in the light of truth is not trouble free. Years ago, I struggled with the idea that Jesus walked the earth to tell the story of His Father, to save us from all of our sins and to make us better human beings. I also struggled with reality that the Bible was so full of truth, Old Testament and New. I guess you could say I was angry at the way life had treated me as a youngster and young adult. I didn’t know how to surrender to God. I tried numerous times to turn my life over to Him. I came to the altar several times to no avail. I kept waiting for a sign resembling lightning or thunder from God. Anything that would tell me He existed! That He was real…For 16 years I brought my body to church, hoping my mind would follow. For 16 years I still doubted…
One day, nearly 6 years ago, I started to feel as though an outside “force” was telling me what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. I started listening to these thoughts that entered my thinking process, and everything, I mean everything, changed. I got more involved in the church and everything I was participating in had more meaning. I got into the Word daily and began to understand truth. I took time alone with God to have Him help me stay on the correct path. I joined Bible studies so I could interpret better what the word was saying. I involved myself in Ministry and learned how to let the Holy Spirit guide me in all that I was about to do.
As most of you know I have had the opportunity to serve God, particularly in Congregational Care and the Senior Ministry. Shortly after retirement I had a dream. I was walking down this street made of beautiful brick. It was in a neighborhood of well-kept homes. I noticed how clean and sparkling everything was. You could eat your dinner off the street! Everything was immaculate. As I walked, I came to a corner and was particularly interested in this house nestled there. I was able to look into the house through a gigantic front window. I could see through the interiors of the home all the way to the back of the house. Another huge window was in the back portion of the home that gave me a view of the backyard that seemed to go on forever. Somehow I was so attracted to this home I didn’t want to leave. However, my dream wouldn’t cooperate and I found myself starting to walk away. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a sign conveniently attached to the house that said “Help Wanted, No Experience Necessary.”
After reading the “Help Wanted” sign, I woke up. I immediately questioned myself what the dream was all about. God gave me an answer the following Sunday at church. Pastor John approached me and asked me how I liked retirement. I told him it was ok, but that I needed some purpose in my life. I wanted to wake up each day and have a plan. Pastor John invited me to join the staff at Crosswalk, under the title, Director of Congregational Care, as a volunteer. He also agreed later that it would be good to serve in the Senior Ministry. Eventually some other responsibilities followed. I told Pastor that I would go home and think about it and also talk to my wife. When I went home all I could think about was the dream I had seeing the “Help Wanted, No Experience Necessary.” As most of you know, I accepted the challenge Pastor John presented me some five years ago. I do believe God wrote the dream I had, for me. He gave me purpose to grow closer to Him and to be able to walk alongside Jesus Christ. It has been the best five years of my life.
Matthew 7:7-8 shares, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened.”
God talks to us so much about perseverance and running the race till it is complete. Now, I will never believe that all the years I attended church, thinking I had to see a miraculous sign, were ever a waste of time. But one thing I know for sure, God was with me the whole time. All I had to do was let Him in! I surely hope that the Lord is in your heart, helping you make decisions in life, showing God’s compassion to others as we follow Him. I only wish you blessings in your daily journey with God.
Thank you for letting me share with you. Can’t wait to see you on Sunday!