Let it happen

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Rev. Tamara Williams reflects on what she has learned while Albion Superintendent.

TAMARA WILLIAMS
Superintendent, Albion District

I’ve been incredibly honored and blessed to be your District Superintendent for the past eight years. Journeying with you has allowed me to gain all sorts of “technical” knowledge and information that I didn’t have before, for which I’m grateful. The more I have learned, the more I have realized how much I don’t know – even, sometimes, when I thought I did!  Which, for me, has meant that I have realized how much I need to place myself in openness before God, and trust and follow wherever God is leading – even when I’m not really sure where we’re headed!

I totally believe this is also true of every local congregation.  Leaders in the church, both lay and clergy, need to position themselves to be open to listening to whatever the Lord is saying and following wherever the Lord is leading, even when you don’t have a full, clear picture of where that is yet.

All I can say with certainty is that ultimately Christ will lead us OUT, out of our church building and into the places where the people are.  If that hasn’t happened for you or for your congregation, then I would ask you whether or not you really have been placing yourselves in openness before the Lord and following the movements of the Holy Spirit. I would guess that the answer is no, not really, not consistently.

I’ve also learned in new and powerful ways that God didn’t stop creating in Genesis! God, through the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, continues to create, to form, to grow, and to bring to new life all kinds of possibilities for us to connect with and reach other people with God’s love and grace. But sometimes we (I include myself here) are so limited by what we’ve experienced to date, and by the boundaries of our own imaginations, that we stop God from creating in our midst.

Have you ever thought:

  • “No way that’s going to happen”
  • “What a dumb idea”
  • “We tried that before”
  • “But we don’t have enough (fill in the blank – it’s usually people or money)”

If you’ve said those things or something similar, you CUT OFF THE CONVERSATION before God ever had a chance to work with you. In my DS experience, that’s the primary way we church-folk stop God from creating in our midst. We simply shut down any further conversation about a ministry idea.

It may be a dumb idea!  It may be impossible for us to see how it can become reality.  We may have tried it before.  We may have limited resources of people and money.  SO WHAT?  We love and serve a God who is greater than all of those!  And God will make a way where there seems to us to be no way.

On a lighter note, let me share with you a few hilarious but real quotes about inventions that I came across recently:

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”  ~Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”  ~Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.”  ~A Yale University management professor, responding to student Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.  Smith went on to found Federal Express.

“Who… wants to hear actors talk?” ~H. M. Warner, founder of Warner Brothers, 1927

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”  ~Decca Recording Company, rejecting The Beatles in 1962

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  ~Charles Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents. 1899

Ha! Talk about limited imaginations! Good thing we listen instead to God, who says to us:

“Look, I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5, CEV

“You have given up your old way of life with its habits.  Each of you is now a new person.  You are becoming more and more like your Creator…Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” – Colossians 3:9-11, CEV

“Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.  All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17, GNT

“You must keep on loving with all your heart.  Do this because God has given you a new birth by his message that lives on forever.” – 1 Peter 1:22-23, CEV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” – John 13:34 ESV

“Look, I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5, CEV

“You have given up your old way of life with its habits.  Each of you is now a new person.  You are becoming more and more like your Creator…Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” – Colossians 3:9-11, CEV

“Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.  All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17, GNT

“You must keep on loving with all your heart.  Do this because God has given you a new birth by his message that lives on forever.” – 1 Peter 1:22-23, CEV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” – John 13:34 ESV

We love and serve the God who came to this world in a new and unexpected way, through the birth of the child known as Jesus, the Christ.  May we, too, be open to the new and possibly unexpected ways in which the Lord is beckoning us to step out in faith and connect with others!

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