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Thursday, September 24, 2015
Union Mill Acres
"Knowing The Way To Where We're Going"
Note: Due to illustrative story today's message is a bit longer than most.
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“Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (John 14:5).
Yogi Berra passed away this week at 90 years of age. Anyone who follows American Baseball surely has heard of Yogi Berra who played for the New York Yankees on more winning World Series teams than any other player, a feat very unlikely to be repeated. When I was a kid my dad would take us into the old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City where the Athletics played. I recall the special excitement when the Yankees were in town. Kansas City was often referred to as the Yankee's Farm team!
Yogi Berra was also known for his colorful wit often revealed in short pithy statements known as yogisms. "When you come to a fork in the road ... take it." "I didn't really say everything I said" (A favorite of many politicians!). "You can observe a lot by watching." Referring to a popular restaurant in Saint Louis, his home town, he said, "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." Or my favorite, "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."
But he has one that prompts a spiritual message today. "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."
In John 14 we have one of the most familiar teachings of Jesus to His disciples beginning with these words, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that's where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going” (John 14:1-4).
But amazing to us was that the disciples didn't know! Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (John 14:5).
I recall a story I read many years ago about Billy Graham who will turn 97 in November. Even in his later years he has demonstrated his remarkable communication skills. Civic leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina invited him to a luncheon in his honor. He initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you." So he agreed.
After wonderful things were said about him, he stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, "I'm reminded today of a story concerning Albert Einstein, the great physicist. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger.
When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.
The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively.
The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'
Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'"
Having said that Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.
You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I'm going."
Knowing where we are going and the way to get there is important for any journey. This of course is vitally true in regard to our eternal destination. In the section of Scripture in which our daily texts are found the disciples had asked two questions: "Lord, where are You going?" Peter asked in John 13:36. "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?" Thomas asked in John 14:5.
Jesus answers this question with one of the most memorized and quoted verses in the Bible: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). In His answer He doesn't give either a specific geographic location as to where He is going but He does give the route. He states, "I am the way" and the destination is "to the Father."
He gave this word of direction and assurance as He was preparing His disciples for the climactic events over the next several days. He knew their hearts were troubled. However His words are very applicable to any situation or trouble that His followers all through the ages deal with. Let us again hear these solemn words from our Lord: "Do not let your hearts be troubled".
Just as Jesus knew all the events that would transpire for the disciples, He also knows the events that will unfold in our lives. He will lead us through the perplexing mazes of life as we keep our focus centered on Christ who is "The Way". He will reveal to us that which we need to know when we need to know it though our full understanding may not come at the same time, just as we saw with the disciples. Above all He offers "peace of heart" in the midst of troubling circumstances because His followers know where they are going and the way to get there.
"Trust in God; trust also in Me," Jesus said. The key to having peace in our heart in the midst of trouble is to keep our trust and focus on the Lord. Today we pray that trust and assurance will flood your heart so that you will be filled with the peace that even transcends understanding as through Christ we can know the way to where we are going.
The antidote for a fearful heart is a trusting heart. "O for grace to trust Him more!"
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, help me not to be anxious about perplexing matters before me, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I want to present my requests to You so that Your peace which surpasses human understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Keep my eyes on Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life because that is the way to You, our Heavenly Father. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Stephen's note: I went to my first Billy Graham Crusade as a child in 1967 at the old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri (the same stadium the Athletics played in). Throughout my lifetime I've attended several other crusades and was always blessed by Billy Graham's simple and earnest presentation of the Gospel. I continue to be inspired by his faithfulness to God's call on his life. As he nears the end of the race he has maintained his integrity, a great example to all of us, and in particularly for those in vocational ministry. Just prior to his death Paul made an assessment of his Christian testimony; "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). That should be something we all aspire to.
Brooksyne's note: Reading Stephen's note about Billy Graham who has maintained his testimony and integrity, now nearing 97 years on earth, made me reflect on yesterday's message regarding steadiness. Interestingly, the very day we posted that message, we learned of two individuals who have lived for Christ many years, but both of them have returned to a lifestyle that dishonors God. They've disgraced themselves and even forsaken their families. My heart has been heavy upon awakening today as I consider all the devil robs us of when we forsake the ways of the Lord. Friends, I'm reminded that, as believers, there is never a time when we can simply coast in our Christian walk. I Peter 5:8 warns us, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Am the Way" - John 14:1-4,6" Video Truth Songs by Zander and Janine, a married couple, who write and put music to Scripture text. They have numerous selections and all are very well done. For those who want to memorize Scripture their songs will bless your heart and aid you in memorization.
"I Am The Way To The Father (John 14:6 & 10:2-4)" Video Faithful Heart
"I'll Prepare A Place For You (John 14: 1-3)" Video Faithful Heart
"I Am The Way, The Truth and The Life" John 14:6" A short video teaching on today's topic.
Yogi Berra quotes
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