Tuesday, October 18th Jeremiah 29:1-7

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  Jeremiah 29:1-7

 

Robert Schuller was one of the most innovative and effective pastors our country has ever known.  He was much more than a “TV preacher.”  He was a visionary – one of the first to start a new congregation based more on what it would take to actually help people than simply building another denominational franchise.

 

He had the courage and the creativity to begin his ministry by preaching from the top of a drive-in movie concession stand, with the cars parked backwards, Schuller’s words broadcast over the car speakers.  People turned on their headlights if they wanted to receive Holy Communion. 

 

We could call all of that silly but it was a central theme that carried over to the building of their first sanctuary – Schuller built a parking lot with humps and loudspeakers for those who still preferred drive-in worship.  He carried the same idea to the next sanctuary – the Crystal Cathedral – with glass walls so that he could still see the cars in the parking lot.

 

Instead of bemoaning his lot to be working in pagan Southern California, Schuller dreamt of what it would take to connect people with faith.  He rethought basic theology, turning “original sin” into “low self esteem”.  Then he became the first ministry with a national reach and reputation to share his ideas with thousands upon thousands of pastors in his annual evangelism conference.  Again, we can differ over the fine points but Schuller one who did just as Jeremiah counseled the Israelites in bondage in Babylon to do – make the best of it, for their welfare was intrinsically tied up in the welfare of the land to which they had been sent.

 

Today, the Crystal Cathedral is bankrupt.  Poor leadership and poor planning failed to adapt to the changing realities of life.  First they lost their vision and their purpose and then they lost their influence.

 

John Maxwell says, “When you fall down, pick something up.”  People in recovery pray, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

Life can take all kinds of quirky and painful detours away from the way we thought things were supposed to work.  Exile can take many forms.  Thus we pray that the Holy Spirit breathe inspiration and guidance into our lives, regardless of our circumstances.  We pray for a vision of the path down which we ought to walk, and the courage to stay the course.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, life often surprises us with painful detours and dead ends.  So we pray that you would guide us that we might see your possibilities rather than our impossibilities.  Be our vision and our light.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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8 Responses to “Tuesday, October 18th Jeremiah 29:1-7”

  1. Terry B. Says:

    Thanks, Pastor Kerry. This is excellent. We are in the middle of a study of Daniel (through the Beth Moore Bible Study), and your message (and Jeremiah’s) speak to all of us. God Bless You.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you Pastor; exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

  3. Tina Says:

    Are you really Pastor Kerry?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks be to God for the message this morning. I’ve been so distressed in the impossibilities of my current situation and “blinded” to the possibilities. The message this morning reminds me of the 23rd Psalm which comforts me …reminding me to “let go, let God”!
    PTL!

  5. Judy Says:

    I also needed to hear this message. This is a period of what my pastor calls “transitional” in my church. It is not what I would prefer, but I will try to adapt.

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