Challenged By Change!

Challenged By Change!

Hebrews 11:25; Malachi 3:6

Incredible changes have taken place in the past hundred years.
We are experiencing more change than ever in history.
The rate of change is so great that we barely catch our breath before another blast of change slams into us.
Everything we're familiar with is changing.


In my community people are coming and going so fast that I feel like I'm preaching to a parade.

We are forever on the move - doing things, eating stuff, working, jogging, writing, marrying,
divorcing, shopping -- you name it -- we're doing it!
The pace is somewhere between maddening and insane.
People are coming and going twenty-four hours every day.
The interstates and most of our streets are choked with traffic -- it never stops.

This is the age of the half-read page;
and the quick hash; and the mad dash;
the bright night with the nerves tight;
the plane hop and the brief stop.

It is the age of the lamp tan in a short span;
the big shot in a good spot;
and the brain strain and the heart pain;
and the cat naps till the spring snaps - and the fun's done.

Change is a constant companion in our fast-paced lives.

Every day in America:

Every day in America: Every day in America: Every day in America: Every day in America: More information has been produced in the last thirty years than in the previous five thousand years.
More than one-half the scientists who have ever lived are alive today.
Ninety per cent of all the items in the supermarket today did not exist ten years ago.
It is estimated that fifty per cent of college graduates are going into jobs which did not exist
when they were born.
It is also estimated that ninety per cent of the businesses in the United States today were
started in the last twenty five years.

These kind of changes are taking place in every field.

Travel has changed:

One man put it this way:
"My great-grandfather rode a horse, but was afraid of the train.
My grandfather rode on a train, but was afraid of a car.
My father rode in a car, but was afraid of an airplane.
I ride in an airplane, but I'm afraid of a horse
."

Since the thirties movies have gone from silent to unspeakable.
Since the fifties when we had three networks: NBC, ABC, and CBS; we now have 750 channels
-- so that by the time we find the program we want to watch -- it is already over! And so many, television talk shows have become just one big grab-bag of dysfunctional people talking
about their miserable lives.

Many changes have turned our world into a war game.

Our schools are in trouble: Recently in Florida a high school teacher observed a number of boys in the corner of the gymnasium
on their hands and knees.
Rushing up to the boys, the teacher demanded, " What are you doing?"
One of the boys looked up and answered, " We're shooting dice!"
The teacher responded with, " Oh, thank goodness. I thought you were praying."

Relationships are changing.
Fifty per cent of our marriages now end in divorce.
And the odds are, when a couple walks down the aisle to be married; their marriage will not last seven years.
One of them will walk out before the warranty on the refrigerator runs out!

Forty two per cent of our young people say they are sexually active;
and one of every sixteen teenage girls has a baby each year.

Our society has abandoned God's laws of relationships and has been writing their own.
We have reached a state where common decency is no longer common.
All our doing without God has finally outdone us.

With all these changes creating chaos and crises we, as a church, have been trying to hold on.
Just look how change has been impacting our churches:

We are facing years ahead when it will become increasingly difficult to minister -- probably already.
The church is dealing and will be dealing with issues that no one could have imagined fifty years ago.
So, as our world appears to be whirling out of control, racing toward a collision
with certain calamity -- what can we do?

We Must Remember That God Is Still In Charge And That God Never Changes!

Our world is in the grip of the infinite, all-powerful God of the universe.

God has a grip on the reins of the world and His purposes will be carried out.

The Scriptures speak of our changeless God in this changing world when they state
in Malachi 3:6: " For I am the Lord, I change not."

These words were spoken in a time of great change:

In that kind of world, the Lord was reminding and warning His people that He had not changed.

We must have a renewed vision.
We must have a passionate and clear vision of what God has called us to do and of what we need to be.

Too often we have taken our feet off the pedal and looked too long in the rear view mirror at past glories.
Someone has said: " When we have more memories than dreams, life is over."
When we have greater memories than dreams we will never make a difference in changing our world for God.
We must know where we are going and what we are going to do!

When he was eighty-eight, the late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was traveling on a train.
The conductor came by and asked for his ticket.
Judge Holmes searched his pockets and fumbled through his wallet without success.
The conductor was sympathetic: " Don't worry, Mr. Holmes, the Pennsylvania Railroad will be happy to trust you.
When you reach your destination, you will probably find the ticket and you can mail it to us
."

The conductor's kindness did not put Justice Holmes at ease.
Holmes said, " My dear man, my problem is not where is my ticket? My problem is: where am I going?"

Many of us are experiencing a similar problem.
We are sold on the ticket, but we don't know where we're going.

We must dream great dreams!
The challenge before us is to aim high.
Low aim is a crime - it's a sin!

God told Isaiah in Isaiah 43:18-19:
"Do not call to mind the former things,
or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new
."

God is a God of new ideas, of innovation.
God is a God who uses change.

We must pray for new visions.
We cannot be content with what is.
We must crave what can be!

That which holds our attention will determine our actions!

When we focus our attention upon the Lord: We can learn from Moses.
Hebrews 11:27 tells us: " By faith he left Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured,
as seeing Him who is unseen
."
Those last words are words which should instruct us.
Moses' eyes were on God and he was able to endure.
The Living Bible says: he " kept right on going!"

Moffatt's translation says, " He never flinched."

Moses had staying power - even with all the changes that challenged him.

"He endured! As seeing Him who is unseen."
He fixed his eyes on the Lord, and never looked back.

You and I can do the same!
We can endure by fixing our eyes on our Lord.
Then we will be courageous:

Whatever it is you are facing - look at Christ!
As you stand on the edge of a new change, a new challenge, a new commitment -- look at Christ!

We must fix our eyes on our unchanging Christ: " O Thou who changes not, abide with us in all changes. "

With our eyes on Christ we can go forward fearlessly -- knowing that the things which are shaken
will only reveal the Eternal and Unmovable God! Bring on the changes -- world do your worst!

"Why should I fear the darkest hour
Or tremble at the tempter's power?
Jesus guarantees to be my tower!

Tho' all the flocks and herds were dead,
My soul a famine need not dread,
For Jesus is my living bread!

Against me earth and hell combine
But on my side is power divine;
Jesus is all; and He is mine!

God uses ordinary people totally committed to Him to make a difference in a changing world.
One person can make a difference!

A Boston shoe clerk heard that " It yet remains to be seen what God can do with a man, woman,
young person, totally dedicated to Him
."
D. L. Moody said, " I'll be that man! "
God used his evangelistic meetings to lead thousands and thousands to Jesus.
He personally led more than 150,000 to the Lord.

And I can say today -- that it still yet remains to be seen what God can do with a man, a woman,
or a young person fully dedicated to the Lord!

So step out now - and say, " I'll be that one! "

Life gets exciting when we give God our all!
And when we do -- God will take us beyond where we thought we could never go -- to things we could never do!

THEN WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White