Where are you from and where are you going?
I am so thankful for the opportunity to pastor this wonderful church family. Over my nearly four years of leading Zion Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, I count it all joy as the victories and blessings have far outweighed the defeats and challenges that we have collectively faced. Through it all, we have grown stronger, better, and wiser in the journey that we have had together.
And, it is a journey.
On Sunday, I had a conversation with a man who had to tow our car from the side of the highway after we had been driving for almost three hours and had two more hours to go. You see, the engine in our car locked up on the highway and we were somewhere between Columbia, South Carolina and Orangeburg, South Carolina. The man said that sometimes God interrupts our lives because God sees farther down the road than we can. I appreciated the words of wisdom. Frankly, I appreciated the tow even more.
Yes, believe it or not, the pastor sometimes has problems too.
We sat for nearly two hours waiting for the wrecker to come. And, right where we had come to a stop, over to the right of us, in a field, was a sign on a billboard that said, "Jesus will save you from your sins."
In the middle of nowhere, we got a word from the Lord.
We had started our journey right after church service, planned a five hour trip which turned into a ten hour trip, and our disruption put us under a sign that said, "Jesus will save you from your sins."
Can anything good come from being in the middle of nowhere? It can if you trust in Jesus.
You see, we had a good time in the Lord in worship service and planned to have a good time on our way for a week of vacation. And then, something else happened. We met with Jesus in the middle of nowhere.
Where do you meet with Jesus?
Is it in the hospital room when you or a loved one is sick? He is there.
Is it in the unemployment office or the midst of sending out resumes or applications when you are trying to transition from unemployment to employment or dissatisfaction with your current employment to a better situation? He is there.
Is it when you look at that person who you settled on and are no longer willing to settle in being your less self with them and have a yearning to be your best self even if you have to be by yourself? He is there.
He is on the journey with you because Jesus knows all about the in-between situations of life. And, Jesus knows what it means to question where you are and where you are going. And, Jesus knows that some people will question where you are going because of where you are from.
In John 7:41, some questioned if Jesus was the Messiah, "Others said, 'This is the Messiah.' But some asked, 'Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?'"
Beloved, Galilee was not a place where the victorious Messiah was supposed to come from. It was supposed to be Bethlehem. Now, we know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. So, they were correct and all was fulfilled; but, their perspective was all wrong.
God can do anything for anybody, anytime, and anywhere. And, God would send the Messiah from Galilee.
And, God would send the Messiah to the side of the road in the middle of nowhere between Columbia, South Carolina and Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Beloved, I challenge you right now to look at your nowhere situation in your life and then to look above "See Level" and to look to the Lord. Trust God enough to give you a sign like God gave me and First Lady a sign on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere.
Yes, Jesus will save you from your sins.
And, Jesus will give you the John 10:10 abundant life too.
No matter what you are going through right now. No matter where you started from that may have been beyond your control. You are on a journey to Heaven. And, sometimes, in the journey, you will find yourself in the middle of nowhere despite your best efforts to be somewhere else.
And, nowhere is right where God wants you to be in that moment so that you can learn that no matter where you are, God is right there with you.
Long story short, we did make it to our destination to a beautiful place with a fantastic view...but, we could not see the view when we arrived because instead of arriving at 5pm, we arrived at 10pm - tired and worn out.
Hallelujah!!! We made it. We got to where we were going after all. It was all good and going to get better.
And then, and then, and then, we found out the washing machine did not work, some fuses had tripped, and we had no hot water. But, that is another story. Please laugh and smile as you read this and do not cry or feel bad for me. God's grace is sufficient and we are fine.
You see, life happens but more important than life happening, Jesus happened. And, because of Jesus, from Galilee and Bethlehem, we have the Messiah.
Beloved, we should always carry the Messiah in our minds, hearts and spirits...if we remember that it matters less where we are from and matters more where we are going and matters most that we know that Jesus is with us all the way, saving us from our sins, and delivering us through our trials and tribulations in the sick room, in the unemployment line, through our dysfunctional relationships, and wherever we find ourselves on the side of some road in life's journey.
I am from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I could not help that.
Praise be to God, I am going to Heaven. Jesus helped assure me of that.
What a journey my life has been, is, and will be!!!
Beloved, journey well with Jesus.
In your journey, connect for Noonday Prayer. In your journey, connect for the sermon broadcast on The Light radio station and internet. In your journey, connect for Sunday worship service. If you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, know that you may be right where God wants you to be so God can speak into your life.
I close with three things I need for you to remember.
Remember that we will not have HOPE Wednesday this evening.
Remember that God loves you.
And, remember that I love you too.