Wednesday, October 12th. Isaiah 25:1-8

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt.  Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.

 

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.  And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:1-8

 

Kennon Callahan has long been one of my favorite congregational ministry consultants.  He was the first person I heard point out how many great Christian hymns of hope were written out of the depth of poverty of Appalachia.  Suffering people find hope in the promises of God calling them into a good future.  That is precisely what is going on here in the 25th chapter of Isaiah.

 

While life now is hard, God is preparing a new future.  Count on it.  Live in it.

 

Way back in 1989 we began using Callahan’s “12 Keys to an Effective Church” as a diagnostic and planning tool for congregational ministry.  Many good things happened and many lives were touched because of the influence of his thoughts on the congregations I have served.

 

He was also the first one to point out to me the difference between the four worst missional questions and the four best missional questions that congregational leaders can ask.

 

The four worst?

1.  What are our problems?

2.  What are our needs?

3.  What are our concerns?

4.  What are our weaknesses and shortcomings?

 

He said these are the worst questions because every congregation has them and you can spend all night talking about them without getting anywhere.

 

The four best missional questions?

1.  Where are we headed?

2.  What kind of future are we building?

3.  What are our gifts, strengths and competencies?

4.  What is God calling us to accomplish in mission for the sake of families, the community, the world and our congregation?

 

These are the best questions because they are rooted in God’s faithfulness.  They lean into a future full of godly hopefulness.  They draw forth our best as we follow the one who has promised us eternal life, now and in the world to come.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, brighten our vision into the world to come, that we might bring the light of your love into the world today.  Thank you for the promise of a good future and help us live today in the light of where you are leading us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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One Response to “Wednesday, October 12th. Isaiah 25:1-8”

  1. Kirk Childress Says:

    Yes that is a very positive approach.

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