Call "Here am I, send me" the words of
Isaiah to God after God asked, "Whom shall I send." Words not
to be taken lightly, words not to be uttered unless one is
sincere, words of the faithful to the God of the universe when
Isaiah never set out to be a prophet,
rather he was all set to live his life as a scribe in the
royal palace of Jerusalem, but God had other ideas. God called
Isaiah to be his prophet, and Isaiah's vision of God became
unforgettable and compelling.
What's your response to God when he
calls? Is it "Here am I, send me" or is it "Go away, send
And you may already know, from your
own experiences, that God has an interesting way of getting
our attention sometimes; only many of us try to block out
God's call, his tug on our heart. Have you ever sensed God
calling you, or you just knew God was trying to tell you
something, but you did all you could to ignore his
instructions by thinking of something else, or by trying to
change the subject in your mind. Or perhaps you tried to cut a
deal with God, "Hey God if you let me by on this one I'll…" so
on and so forth.
And sometimes we act like we did when
we were children, you know those times when our parents called
wanting to ask us to do something that we know we don't want
to do, so to avoid hearing the call we put our hands over our
ears and block out their voice by singing loudly,
This act may work for the moment but
it didn't work for long because our parents kept asking. Well
guess what, God keeps asking as well. God is persistent with
his children, sometimes to the point of being a real nag.
As Christians we've been called to
live and speak the truth, which means following God wherever
he leads us. This is not a position of high pay or prestige,
but it is a life saving mission, a mission we're each called
to undertake in different ways.
Also know that when God calls he has a
tendency to call collect, he dials 1-800-c-a-l-l-G-o-d, hoping
we'll answer and respond. And when God calls, he many times
will call collect, meaning there will be a price to pay. So
there's a good chance something will have to change in our
life to fulfill the call.
For some it may mean moving to a far
away place, for others it may mean a career change, and still
for others it may mean simply doing more of what they've been
doing. Just like we each have different phone numbers, we each
have different callings.
But to receive God's call we have to
be within calling distance, meaning we have to be involved in
the life of the faith. We have to be aware of God's presence
in our lives. Now this doesn't mean God can't or won't reach
out and touch someone not active in a church, but often times
to receive God's call we need to be aware of God's presence in
I wonder how many folks live on the
fringe of the faith, so they're not available to receive God's
call, they're tuned out, or they stay safely out of range. And
some honestly like it this way, that way they have an excuse
for not answering God, or so they think.
How many folks put up signal proof
walls or install signal jammers so that God's call can't get
through? How many folks just hang up when God calls, like God
is some annoying telemarketer calling at dinnertime. Or still
how many answer the call by saying, "Here I am, but stop short
of saying, "Send me?"
When God calls he's calling those
individuals: 1. Who have a passion for people. 2. Those who
will be compassionate and faithful to the Word of God. 3.
Those who will be kind and loving, not judgmental. 4. Those
who will thank God for the miracles and blessings they receive
5. And those who will work boldly to love the hell out of
people. Are you open to God's call? Are you ready to say,
"Here am I, send me," or have you placed yourself on God's
eternal do not call registry?
Vision But what good is a call if you
don't know where you're going? This is where vision becomes a
key element of our faith. The popular television show and
movie series Star Trek had a vision, to explore strange new
worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly
go where no one had gone before. Maybe a science fiction
television show, but because of this vision millions of people
tuned into the television show and watched the movies to see
what would happen next. They wanted to be part of the great
Well God has a vision for his
children, which is articulated in our reading from Revelation
this morning, " Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for
the first heaven and the first earth have passed away…I saw
the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
from God…Now the dwelling of God is with his people, and he
will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself
will be with them and be their God." (Rev. 21: 1-3,
The author of Revelation is telling us
there will be a new earth after God's great judgment; a
magnificent new creation of which all who follow Christ will
be a part of.
Now we don't know what the new earth
will look like or where it will be, but we know God and his
followers will be united to live there forever, and the
covenant between God and his people will be executed in the
most celebrated manner. This is God's promise to us. What a
fantastic vision of the future we're given. A vision of hope,
a vision of life everlasting.
Now isn't knowing God's vision for the
future encouraging, isn't this a vision you can rally behind
and say, "Wow I see where we're headed and I want to be apart
of this wonderful journey." As Christians we ought to paint
this vision for those in our community, so they too can
embrace this divine vision of the future, make it there own,
and further their walk with the Lord.
So if this is God's vision for
humanity, what is our vision as a local church and how does
this vision move us towards God's glorious vision?
Many years ago there was a group of
men laying bricks in one area of a town. A news reporter was
sent there to see what was going on and to get some comments
from those laying the bricks. The reporter approached the
first man and asked, "What are you doing?" The person replied,
in a nasty way, "what's it look like I'm doing, I'm laying
bricks." The reporter moved on to the next man and asked,
"What are you doing?" The person responded gruffly, "I'm
building a brick wall." Then the reporter moved on down the
work zone and asked a third man, "What are you doing?" The
person replied in an enthusiastic way, "I'm building a
cathedral so people over the years will have a place to
receive Christ and worship God." So which person has the more
exciting vision, understands the big picture, of where their
work is leading? Which one do you think is more excited about
what they're doing?
How would you describe what takes
place here at Trinity to someone? What's your view of this
church, and its ministry?
Is it simply a place we gather in once
a week, maybe twice, to go through some planned order of
worship, and read some ancient manuscripts, or is it a place
where the meaning of life becomes clearer, and our awareness
of God illuminates and changes our hearts, and our outlook on
life becomes filled with hope?
As you can see, your view of what this
church is determines how you will communicate the good news to
friends and neighbors, and will influence your outlook on the
Who's more likely to be lifted up by
joining us on Sunday, one who comes expecting to follow the
bulletin, hear scripture, sing some songs, and listen to some
guy give his thoughts on what the Bible says. Or, is someone
more likely to leave this place lifted up if they come
expecting to hear about the meaning of life as revealed by the
scriptures, or if they come expecting to experience God,
through word, prayer, and song? Our view of what "church" is
and what faith is all about is driven by vision, or the lack
of, and vision in turn is driven by God's revelation to us.
Vision is what gets us excited about what we're doing, and
when we get excited, the word gets out and people become
interested in what's going on, and soon they too become
excited. And before you know it, we have a beehive of activity
praising and serving the Lord.
You know, people who are always down
on the world don't have a market on influencing people. People
who are excited and joyful can have a tremendous impact on
folks. Excitement is contagious and spreads like wildfire.
Let's consider two different
1. Hi, Jane. Would you like to come
to church with me on Sunday? We have a congregation of very
nice people, we sing songs, and we listen to our pastor
2. Hi. Jane. Would you like to come
to church with me on Sunday? What a place of joy and
celebration. We praise God through our music, we learn how
we can live joyful and fulfilling lives, and how the Bible
is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. And boy the
people are so nice and welcoming, I really think you'll
enjoy the experience, and get a lot out of it too. Which
scenario sounds more compelling and exciting, or inviting to
you? Does either one speak to how you currently feel about
your experience on Sunday mornings?
Let's face it, if we didn't understand
God's vision for us as his children, how many folks do you
think would be Christians today? If eternal life with Christ
were not in our future, how many of us today would be willing
to take up our cross and follow him? I don't think too many
Well if all we offer here at church is
a place to gather on Sunday morning with no clear vision of
where we're going and what we're about, how many people will
want to join us on this journey to nowhere, a journey with no
clear idea of where we're headed. We need to be a church of
vision, a church of God's vision.
Vision isn't about creating some
abstract destination with fancy words and catchy phrases; it's
about painting a picture of the future that God has painted
across our heart and in our mind. It's a snapshot of the
future from God's perspective, revealed to us as we pray and
reflect on God's word. Vision describes what it will look like
to fulfill God's particular assignment to us, here in this
I believe one reason many folks don't
respond to God's call, isn't because they don't want to do
what God asks, it's because they have no clear understanding
of why or where their going with God's call. Now we won't
always know where God is leading, but it does help to have an
idea of what direction we're going in. Vision is like a
compass, it points us in a direction.
I'm convinced more people will respond
to God, whether it's to God directly or by saying yes to God
through another person when they're asked to serve, if they
understand where we're going, and if they can get excited
about it, and claim the vision as their own. What's your
vision for the future of this church?
Are we being called to lay bricks, or
are we being called to build a cathedral?