WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE...
Those words are of course spoken by Captain James T. Kirk as he chronicles the adventures of the Starship Enterprise in the introductory scenes of Star Trek. When I was growing up in the mid-60s I loved to watch the original Star Trek series. I often tell people that if it were not for Star Trek, I probably wouldn't be married to my wonderful wife of 47 years. You see, Star Trek was in "color" and my wife's parents owned one of the only color TVs in the community. We only had black and white at my house. It seemed reasonable that Cindy and I should "date" so I would have an excuse to be at her house every Thursday night when Star Trek came on. Well.... 50 years, two children, seven houses, 27 cars and trucks, and 8 grandchildren later I would have to say it HAS been (and continues to be) an adventure into the unknown.
As we begin 2017, I'm reminded of those words from Star Trek because we are all going where no man has gone before....into our future. That of course is true with every breath we take, but we are more aware of it at appointed times, like the beginning of a new year. When the crew of the Enterprise went into unknown territory they did so with confidence in their vessel, their leader, and each other. We as Christians are the most blessed and privileged people in all the earth. We have been called, chosen, equipped, and sent into "all the world". The vessel in which we travel is "The Old Ship Of Zion". She is a tried and tested vessel of "safety" which we know as "Salvation". It was not built by the hands of man, but was designed and built by God himself out of the finest of materials, the body and blood of His Son. When we answer the call to " come unto me", God opens the door for our personal entrance into that ship then "seals" us in by His own Spirit such that the dangers encountered in our journey cannot threaten our safety. Jesus said it this way: "Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one."
The Captain on our journey is Jesus himself. He said "follow me". He does not tell us ahead of time where it is we are going, what we will encounter in route, or what new and strange beings we will meet along the way. But he did say, "low I am with you always, even unto the end of the world". Is that not exciting? To get up every day and follow Him into the unknown. To be completely without anxiety for your own safety, because your ship is secure; to simply follow the coordinates he gives you; to take every sight, sound and encounter as an adventure; and enjoy the ride. The problem with most of us Christians is that we want to know the plan ahead of time, we want to plot the course, and we want to steer the ship. Where is "following" in that? If we learn to be good followers and good listeners for instructions, the journey will be much more exciting and a whole lot less stressful.
Finally, we must know and perform our personal area of the service well; we must work together with our crew (Church) in harmony; and always have each other's back. Jesus, our leader, gave us a special command that is essential for us to successfully go into all the world and complete our mission of taking the Gospel to "all creatures". That command is: "Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." There is no greater danger to our mission than when there is disharmony and division among the crew. Let us reflect on what a privilege it is to be a member of the Lord's Church and resolve that in 2017 and beyond we will do our part to insure the success of this great journey into the unknown. We need to pray for one another. We need to show up and man our stations. And most of all we need to listen and follow the voice of our Lord as he speaks to us via His Spirit.
My name is Daniel (Danny) Chandler and I am the Pastor of Sulphur Fork Missionary Baptist Church in Sumner Co. TN.