- Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. --Harriet TubmanINTRO -
A couple of hunters hired an Alaskan bush pilot to drop them in a remote location, then return in seven days to pick them up. At the appointed time, the pilot arrived and loaded the hunters and their gear in the plane. “Wait a minute,” said the first hunter. “What about our moose?” “Sorry,” said the pilot. “We’re at maximum weight already.”
“But our pilot last year loaded our moose, and he had the same size plane as this one.”
“Really?” asked the pilot, not wanting to be outdone. “Well, I guess we could give it a try.”
With that he strapped a moose carcass on each pontoon. They sputtered to the end of the lake to get the longest possible takeoff. He shoved the throttle forward; they began to move, and finally, they lifted off the lake, just skimming the trees. But the pilot was right. They were seriously overloaded, and crashed just minutes into the flight.
Both hunters were knocked unconscious, but came to at about the same time. The first hunter looked around at the mess, moose meat and plane parts everywhere.
“Where are we?” he asked his partner.
“About 50 yards from where we crashed last year.”Doing things the same way will get the same results.Successful churches change with the times.Those that can’t or won’t may find themselves not winning souls and eventually closing their doors for the last time.
The intention of this verse seems to be that the men of Issachar had some skill in discerning the meaning of current political events, not an astrological skill (as in Esth 1:13) but resulting from shrewd observation.EST - Our text notes the advantage of observation and applied discernment by the men of Issachar.ESS - Our message will consider when change should start, how to identify what needs to change, and the importance of heritage.OST - Our message will challenge FBC Minneola to discern and make change necessary to keep our ministry alive and healthy.TRANS - Let’s turn to the OT and listen in to hear the word and wisdom of God that was good then and still has meaning for us today.What does it say?Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.What does it mean?A Good Beginning
In the 1800‘s the Shaker’s had colonies all over New England, but today, only one colony-the New Gloucester, Maine colony-is still active, and it has only eight Shakers keeping the “old way.” At one time, the Shakers were on the cutting edge of progress and technology and were consumers of new and useful products, in fact, they were inventors. Today, they are best known for their craftsmanship and the quality of the style of furniture that bears their name.The Shaker’s stopped progressing, they stopped developing, they stopped changing.Some day soon, they will only be a memory.The Shakers had a good beginning, but seemed to forget their reason for being.Do you recall Jesus’ warning to the church of Ephesus?They forgot:I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.It’s easy for us to forget that enthusiasm we have for Jesus.It’s easy for us to get so accustomed to being around God that we forget how amazing it is when we first come to trust Jesus.When we become a Christian its a celebration.Jesus says to the church, don’t forget love; don’t loose that feeling of love we share.But, there is more.When we let the message grow stale, we have to repent; we have to say “God, we’ve not even tried to lead someone to you in a long time.”Jesus wants to hear FBC Minneola doing evangelism because we want everyone to know the joy of Jesus.So, what is a good beginning for us?I’d say it started here last week when we prayed for Mark, Lisa, Cecil & Victoria.I’d say it was when we heard Pat sing and had tears in our eyes because we know its been hard for her this past year.I’d say it was when we started asking, “What are we going to do to reach young families.”I’d say it was when we said, “Jesus, we’ve tried and it didn’t work.” “Now, its your turn.” “We get it.” “Its not our church, but it is yours and we trust you to lead us to do whatever you want to see it grow.”So, there it is.That’s where we start.The men of Issachar understood their times and knew what to do.What about us?We start by loving, getting honest with God, and by becoming willing to do anything God says to us to get done.That was Jesus word to the church of Ephesus and it holds true for us too.A Good OpportunityIn an edition of Fast Company Seth Godin related an interesting story.
“After my first year at Stanford Business School, I went to see Jim Levy, then-president of Activision, Inc., which, at the time, was arguably one of the fastest-growing companies in the history of the world. Activision made games for the Atari 2600 game system and was rolling in dough. I wanted to work for Levy for the summer.
My bold proposal: “Hey, you’ve got all this cash and all these smart marketers and programmers. Why not go into the computer game business? You can dominate the PC the way you dominate the Atari 2600.
Looking back 25 years, that wasn’t such a bold proposal. After all, the PC market was only an inch or two away from the market that Activision was already in. But Levy disagreed with my proposition and almost had me removed from his office by force. He told me, “We’re in the cartridge business—and those machines use floppy disks. Forget it.”I’ve had my share of 20/20 vision looking back.If only I’d invested in Microsoft, WallMart, or even Disney some decades back.If I’d just stuck with my education when younger, put more time in at the gym, stuck with my diet.Yeah, that list can go on and on.It’s a bit like shaming myself and it stinks of smoke.It does more to keep me from moving than it does to make me move.Opportunity usually comes with the risk of not knowing the future.Unless you have a vision of prophecy, and I believe in a closed cannon (no new Bible being added), then we are all in this “must rely on faith” ship.The worst opportunity is the one we don’t make use of, not the one that went bad.Sure, some opportunities are bad ones.But, without trying, opportunities are not bad, but lost.The men of Issachar were trusted and wise and people followed them.What if their relatives started muttering among themselves, “He things he knows, but I’ve seen that fail one too many times.”Or, perhaps they say, “I’ll just wait and see.”I wonder how those relatives fit into God’s plan?Sure don’t want to be one of the naysayers when Jesus asks, “Church, what did you do with all I gave you to do in my name?”A Good HeritageI think some people are just afraid of change.Now, I’ll admit that I tend to fall into that group.I know we are all aware of the Emergent Church.You might not know it’s called that, but you know about it.That’s the church that throws out things like, hymns, men-only senior pastors, and thinks everyone must be cool to belong in church.Their idea of church is someplace to make people “feel” good about themselves.Truth is, they want nothing of talk of sin, nor reminders of evil in the world, or to have a discussion of what the Bible means.Discussion about doctrine, church history, and the place of morality in the life of a Christian are part of our heritage and important for keeping the church from falling into heresy.If we don’t stand for something we will fall for anything.Let me tell you a story.
In the mid 18th century, wealthy Massachusetts colonists built an elegant house to reflect their status in the new world. Over the next two hundred years, the same house sheltered all kinds of Americans, including revolutionaries who took up arms against the British, a family of abolitionists, a mill worker and her Irish mother, and finally, a family of frugal Yankees who fought World War II on the home front.
Forty years ago, the neglected and sagging house was marked for demolition when the city of Ipswich needed a new parking lot. Residents of the area recognized the historic value of the old home, and fought to save it from the bulldozers. They feared that the destruction of the old house meant losing touch with the past. Today, the house is a permanent display at the National Museum of American History. Though visitors can not actually go inside the structure, they can look through windows and cut away walls to get a sense of what it was like to live in the house during various periods of American history.
Museum historian and one the curators of the show, Lonn Taylor says, “In my opinion, it’s the greatest artifact in the museum.” Shelly Nickles, one of the other curators adds, “It should inspire people to realize the connections between themselves and their home lives and something greater. It surprises visitors how much history can be found by traveling through time and the lives of people in one house.”What do we change, keep or preserve?What’s a classic and what’s junk?What is the difference between fad and trend?What’s eccentric and totally crazy?I don’t always know where the line is, but I know there is a line.Consider that there are more 66 Mustangs than 72 Vegas being restored.Kids don’t get pet rocks or Cabbage Patch dolls for Christmas these days.But, children still get Barbie dolls and GI Joe action figures.As we see change in our church, as we reflect on the past and rethink our future, we have opportunity to change what that future will bring.We can separate out the things that need to change and hold on to those things that need to stay the same.Sometimes a house needs to be torn down and put in to a museum.Some things have to change and others stay the same.We’ve considered beginning, opportunity, and heritage.The process starts when we take an honest evaluation of who we are.What will I do now?What are your values, the things you’ll fight and die for?What is it that makes you yourself?Get past the outside and look at the core.Now, can you do the same when looking at FBC Minneola?Do you see a healthy church?You know, no one person can stop FBC Minneola from getting old and worn out.If we look at who we are and recall God’s word in Isaiah:The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.When we know the anchor of our soul is Jesus:Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.He is the only one not changing.Jesus is always the same, but you and I, the church, the world, it all changes.Let’s look at what does need to change.Perhaps its spiritual, or relationships.Maybe the temple God gave you needs some work?We must take care of ourselves, family, and one another.The men of Issachar had a discerning spirit.They knew Israel and their times, and what needed to be done.I pray God will give all of us a discerning spirit.You see, I believe this is a defining moment in your life and in the life of FBC Minneola.Let’s commit to not waste, squander the opportunity we have today to dedicate ourselves to a better tomorrow.Let’s commit to hold our values what we should, but resolve to change those things that need to change.(end)
1 Chronicles 12:32ESV
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