I pray that my email finds you knowing that you are blessed because you are blessed. If you have received Jesus the Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are already blessed beyond what you deserve. I know that I am and I pray that you do as well.
In being blessed by God, we have the unique opportunity to hear from God. It is a privilege. It is also a responsibility.
A good sermon preached and a good lesson taught are ways to hear from God. Sometimes God can speak to us in the midst of our daily routines; but, let us never try to water down the expectation that scripture has given us to assemble together by saying God can speak to me anywhere and anytime. That is true; but, we, as the Body of Christ in general and as Zion Memorial specifically, are supposed to come together.
I pray we will all value our time in coming together as a church family. We may have family and friends in other houses of worship; but, as my great-grandmother used to say, "Don't wear out your welcome."
I have found that can work in two directions. You can overstay your welcome in a place you visit. And, you can tarnish your welcome (reach out to me for further explanation if you need to) by staying away too long from a place where you are supposed to come. So, do make every effort to come into YOUR house of worship as consistently as you can so that we can all hear from God together, grow together, love together, and serve together.
"Leading By Serving" is our motto and is on our church banner.
And, we serve as God leads us.
But, whether it be in the sanctuary, while you are cooking and cleaning, working on your job, studying, or whatever activity that you have purposed to do, how do you respond when you hear from God?
He is always leading us somewhere to do something that will bring Him praise, honor, and glory and therefore bring us blessings in our service unto Him.
The question is "If you heard from God, what would you do?"
The Apostle Paul, also known as Saul, heard from Jesus and had to decide what to do.
Acts 9:3-8 tells us,
"Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' He asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The reply came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.' The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus."
Beloved, many of us know this story as the conversion of Saul who became the Apostle Paul.
Let us not lose sight, no pun intended, of the fact that it is really the story of how one man responded to hearing from God.
Saul was headed to Damascus to bring back Christian Jews for persecution.
Jesus stopped him and spoke to him.
Saul heard and had to respond.
We know that he went to Damascus, met Ananias, regained his sight and began preaching the Gospel.
But, know this, he did not have to.
He could have heard the word and gone his own way.
It would have been easy to follow the path of least resistance by ignoring the Jesus he had been persecuting and simply have gone home - blind and blaming this same Jesus for taking away his sight.
How often have we faced difficult requests from God and decided we were not going to do what was asked?
Have you neglected your spiritual, emotional, mental and/or physical health because it was easier to keep doing what you are doing than trying to live healthy day by day to embrace a new lifestyle that God has empowered you with the knowledge of?
Have you stayed in a job situation that is work but that is not really working because it is easier to stay than to pursue that new path that God has revealed?
Have you stayed in a relationship that is making you bitter and not better because staying is what you know how to do while God has told you to let it go?
If Saul had gone back home, he would have still been resisting Jesus, as he had been accustomed to doing, and he may have still remained blind.
Instead, he embraced Jesus and he got up. He decided to obey. He was blind; but, he was learning to be faithful. He could not physically see at all; but, he was beginning to see how to follow Jesus.
Are you willing to follow Jesus like Saul?
Are you willing to get up and get going in the direction that God is leading you in spite of the fact that you may not be able to see it all clearly?
Is God speaking to you right now about something? How are you going to respond? What are you going to do?
To help you in your journey, meet with us this evening at H.O.P.E. (Hour Of Power and Encouragement).
If God is telling you to stay away, then stay away. Listen to God.
If God is telling you to come, then come. Listen to God.
Know one thing. The men standing around Saul stood speechless. What they had to say was irrelevant.
The moment was truly between Saul and Jesus as it is between you and God.
The choice is yours. We, the church, will be waiting for you.
Why? Because through the Holy Scripture, God told us to love each other. We heard Him and we have decided to obey Him.
Hope to see you this evening.