Standing at the Crossroads

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May 29, 2016

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    This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

         - Jeremiah 6:16

    Introduction

    Crossroads is a metaphor for when you are in a time of change and transition. It may be a time of crisis. It is a time when you must make a choice between options. You must know what to do. Individuals, groups, organizations, and even entire nations have times when they come to a crossroads. God gives clear guidance on what do to at such times. This message can be used for your personal situation. It can be used for any organization you are in. I am using it for the time of transition that is upon us at Living Word.

    1. Stand and Look

    The focus is on the Present, Here and Now

    Life is fast, busy, distracted, and full of urgencies and emergencies. Being reactive is a problem. To STAND means you slow down. LOOK. Look around. Once you are standing, you can now get some perspective. You can pay attention. You can notice what is going on. There are times when you may need to experiment at different standing points. For what you SEE depends a great deal on where you STAND. See the movie Amazing Grace for illustrations of how Wilberforce had to “force” the British people to see slavery. You will also see how an original group of people had to “make” Wilberforce see slavery. As you stand and look, you must ask Crucial Questions so you will actually SEE:
    • What is happening around me?
    • What is happening to others?
    • What are the needs around me/us?
    • What are the opportunities?
    • What are our times like?
    • What are the brutal facts (the hard things) that I don’t want to see?
    Comments on our Post-Christian times and what that means for followers of Jesus. Serious times V.U.C.A. times (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguity) is the nature of life today. Isaiah 43:18-19 and 44:3 are incredible promises about the work of God that is going on NOW. God’s promises create our Vital Optimism in the midst of “brutal facts.” Here are the questions you should ask:
    • What is God doing?
    • What are the new things, the unexpected things of God?
    • Where is God bringing life, even if the circumstances seem barren?
    • What is God inviting you to “join in with Him"?

    2. Ask for the Ancient Ways

    The Focus is on REMEMBERING the Past

    The ancient ways are the values, the belief system, the stories, the accounts of God’s faithful presence and work with us. This is our heritage and history. Individuals and organizations have a tendency to forget our story. We become disconnected from our roots and tradition. We are often told to “remember.” See Psalm 77:9-15 and Hebrews 12 for the power of memory. We remember: (1) to stay rooted in our story, (2) to be encouraged to continue on in that story, and (3) to trust God’s faithfulness as the story continues. There are some things that should not change. As Living Word stands at our crossroads, some things will not change. Our theology, our core values, our sweet spot (grace, missions, people matter most, the purposes of God, commitment to the next generation), our staff, our mission and vision - none of this changes. We remain faithful to the ancient ways of God in our past.

    3. Ask Where the Good Way Is

    The Focus is on Envisioning the Future

    See 1 Chronicles 12:32, 38; Psalm 40:5, 8; and Jeremiah 29:10-12.? Rooted (but not stuck) in our past, aware of our present and how God is at work, we now prayerfully discern what God is inviting us to NEXT. God is doing a new thing. Some things do change and must change. What will change as Living Word moves into the future? We will have new goals, new plans, new strategies, new emphases, new programs, new staff will join our team, new opportunities (many which we do not even yet see). Your ministry and involvement could look very different in the season ahead. We will have new additions to our facilities. We have many new opportunities to be a place of:
    1. Finding God
    2. Healing
    3. Growing-Maturing
    4. Serving-Giving
    5. Leading
    • What do we want?
    • What do we dream of doing with God and for his purposes on earth?
    • What prayers will we pray?
    • What steps of faith will we take?
    • What is our intention?
    There are Comfort Zones. There are STRETCH Zones. There are Stress Zones. Crossroads_zones

    4. Walk In It and Find Rest

    Now there is a call to action. Everything up to this point has been preparing God’s people to make a decision, put a plan into place, get moving, get going, apply, implement, and do what must be done. See Nehemiah 1-6 (especially 4:6 and 6:15-16) for an example of this entire message. The result of seeing, remembering, envisioning, and acting is the blessing of God upon His people and the world He loves. We find rest which is a near equivalent of the SHALOM-peace of God.
  • Songs We Sing
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    • Because He Lives (Amen)Matt Maher 
    • All That I NeedChris Smith 
    • Man Of SorrowsHillsong Live 
    • One Thing Remains (Video Café)Passion 
    • At The Cross/Love Ran Red (Video Café)Chris Tomlin 
    • From The Inside Out (Video Café)Seventh Day Slumber 
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