One of the features of the recent trip Jody and took to Ireland was the daily sightseeing of natural wonders and ancient buildings and ruins. Each day was highly anticipated as we didn't know exactly what we would see and how it would affect us. At several locations we were enjoying cliffs or ocean vistas only to snap a picture and then move on to see things from a different angle. At one locale, the Cliffs of Moher, we walked a long path with other tourists that steadily climbed higher and higher. We were tempted to stop and head back to the visitor center but there was curiosity in us, spurring us on to wonder, "what does this place look like from higher up?" And so we climbed, ever higher, getting, not only a view of the cliffs but also of where we had already climbed. At one spot on the trail we had to circumvent a large muddy area. At first glance it looked like a huge mess that would take time to work around. Once we reached the pinnacle of the trail and looked back, that spot of mud looked insignificant and upon our descent, was much less intimidating than the first time we'd seen it.
What is valuable in sightseeing is also applicable and valuable in life. There is value in climbing steadily higher in our goals and aspirations, not only to see what's next but also to look back and see where we've been. For the Road, it's important that we look back at the last 9 years and realize all that God has done, the hurdles we have leaped, the struggles we have overcome and the muddy spots we've mucked our way through. But we must also look ahead to where we want to go and how far we must travel to get there.
In both campuses we have found permanent homes in buildings. We have stabilized in terms of attendance and finances. We have achieved goals we set in the past. But . . .
Now, it is time for a new season of exploration, challenge and vision. There is no time to rest or succumb to the idea that we have somehow arrived and can rely on our permanent community presence to reach the lost with the Gospel. We cannot be satisfied with our view from here. We must climb higher, seeking ever greater heights for the sake of Jesus Christ. It is time to set some goals that are IMPOSSIBLE without God's intervention.
There is no verse in the Bible that allows for retirement from God's work or that implies we ever arrive at a point of completion (at least in this life). I want each person at the Road to begin prayerfully considering how they will respond to the challenges coming in the next few months. "What challenges?," you may ask. As your pastor, I am still praying about these things and trying to ascertain all that God is leading us to do. So I can't specifically answer that yet, but what I do know, is that the Road is ready to push forward. Doing what God wants and opening the door for him to perform impossible feats does not come without sacrifice. I just read this morning the account of David facing Goliath (1 Samuel 17). We all know David won a massive victory that day through the power of God. But David also had to walk onto that battlefield willing to risk everything.
I am excited about where God is leading us. My prayer is that you will enthusiastically come along for the ride.