"I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."
What might God want to say to YOUR church? That's what 7 churches in Asia Minor are about to find out in the first 3 chapters of the very last book in the Bible: Revelation. God has written "letters" to 7 specific churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. If God had one thing to say to your church, what might it be? How might God need to call you (back?) to faithfulness?
Evidently, the church in Philadelphia had some kind of divine opportunity they were struggling with. Feeling like they were a small and feeble church, some must have questioned if they really should proceed with whatever this specific endeavor might be. While we don't know exactly what they were wrestling with, we do know that God wanted to encourage them. "I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut."
I think most of us who are followers of Jesus earnestly desire to know this. We want to be following God's guidance and direction, but sometimes (often?) aren't sure if an opportunity is of God or not. Such is the case right now for us at Aiea UMC. Over the past 3+ years it has felt as though God has been moving our congregation to a point where we are ready and able to start a new satellite ministry - reaching out to a new set of communities to help draw them into relationship with Jesus. The SPRC (the "HR dept." of a UMC) concurred... we got tentative approval from the Ad Council (ie. Church Board) to proceed... wrote a funding proposal... and received a UMC grant of 75% of our first year expenses! Now that it's time to give our final approval, however, the Ad Council isn't yet ready to do so. Questions and concerns still abound in the eyes of some. I, in turn, wonder if I've been hearing God correctly? Is this something that I'M interested in on my own, and truly haven't been following God's lead? Good question. Any time we think we know 100% what God's will truly is, we probably should be concerned. I'm not that arrogant.
But as I read these words in Revelation 3 this morning, it seemed to me that God might be wanting to encourage me (and our church at AUMC). If this is an "open door" given by the Lord, then no one will be able to shut it! If God has prepared the way for us to begin an endeavor that will connect people to him in real and powerful ways in the near future, who are we to oppose it?
What might God be saying to YOUR church?!?
PRAYER: Continue to guide and direct our steps, Lord, as we seek discernment in our potential satellite ministry. We want to do your will, not our own desires. We want to listen to your voice, not be overcome by our fears (or arrogance!). Come, Lord Jesus! AMEN.