In July 1978 Laila and I and our two children were serving a church congregation in Wytheville, VA. We had bought our first home. Partnered to buy a tract of land. Laila and I had both finished our Master's degrees. I was teaching at the local college and one of the highest paid lecturers. We had purchased land and relocated the congregation to prime real estate. Bought a nice car. Life was good.
We drove about 80 miles to a camp meeting. Enjoying family. Thinking we would live in Wytheville for the rest of our lives.
The minister completed the sermon. I found a place of prayer. By the time I left the altar about eleven PM there was no one but our family. Laila sat on the front row with our two children in a vast tabernacle with only a single bank of lights on.
Later that night when the children were asleep I shared with Laila that we were going to resign as the pastor's family. Both of us would enroll in doctoral programs at Virginia Tech. Over the next few months we moved into a third-story apartment, sold our home, traded down in cars, and proceeded to adopt Josh, our youngest son. We spent our savings and borrowed over $50,000 for education expenses (in today's currency over $200,000).
God in one July night dramatically changed our lives.
Fast forward. Last Sunday I shared a sermon with Covenant Church about change. The challenge was for each person to think of giving 5-7% of their flex time to Kingdom work. Lines formed. Cards were made available for individuals to prayerfully put in ink what they would like God to do in their lives.
I do not think God moves in our lives until we are ready to move.
Covenant is birthing a new future. Soon we will have occupancy of one of the most wonderful church worship complexes in our city. Our location is premier. The possibilities of expanding ministry are beyond imagination. Prayer will guide us.
We have never been here before. The Lord has blessed us. We are strong. United. Evangelistic. Missional. Generous to serve our community and our world. Excellent Holy Spirit leadership.
We are not operating by any one person's personal vision or the vision of two or three people. Over the years we have wisely resourced leadership. With prayer and being true to Scripture we have crafted VISION that is ours as a congregation. Our DNA is corporate!
There are times when the Holy Spirit raises up from within the Body leaders, e.g., Elisha, Minor prophets, the Shepherd Boy David. There are times when the Holy Spirit moves apt leaders from other places to a congregation for a time and a season.
Our prayer is for men and women to yearn for the CALL of God to become engaged in Kingdom work. The Shepherd Boy David, possibly age 17, was insulted by Goliath. David defeated the enemy of Israel while a whole army cowered in trenches. Samuel, age 12, answered to the call of God: "Here am I."
My hope is that your life is joyful. Your family is blessed. You have good health. You prosper.
Transcending all these blessings, my hope is that you will live in the knowledge that no investment will return dividends to compare with the CALL of Jesus to serve His Church.
I feel safe to prophecy. Over the next few months we will witness miracles as persons choose to deny temporary pleasure for the joy of sacrificially following Christ.
Change is coming as we weep for the harvest and plan to reap a bounty of souls.
Have you had your Ebenezer (I Samuel 7)? What change do you desire in your life? What do you want God to help you do that you cannot do by yourself?
Lord Jesus, Change me to be like you.
Lord Jesus, Give me wisdom to use my time for eternal investment.
Lord Jesus, Bless me to be even more generous for the cause of your Church.
Isaiah 43:19 "Behold, I will do new thing..."