ANSWERING LIFE'S CALL
There was once a church named God Almighty Tabernacle. One Saturday afternoon, Pastor Dave, the minister of God Almighty Tabernacle, was at his church office putting his sermon together for the next day. Saturday afternoon turned into Saturday evening, which quickly turned into Saturday night. Before he knew it, it was 10:00. He decided he'd better call home to let his wife know that he was still working at church.
He dialed his home number, but got no answer, and thought that to be very odd -- it's 10:00 at night, his wife certainly ought to be home -- so he hung up and redialed. This time, she answered immediately. He asked if the phone had just rung and she said "no," so he decided he must have dialed the wrong number and forgot about it.
The next day, after the service, he was having a quiet moment in his office when the phone rang. No one else was around, so he answered it, "God Almighty Tabernacle, this is Pastor Dave."
A very, very shaky voice on the other end of the phone said, "God Almighty Tabernacle? Is this a church?" The minister answered, "Why, yes, it is. How may I serve you?"
With this the man started to laugh and to cry all at the same time and said: "You already have! Last night, you saved my life. You see, I had reached the depths of despair. I was in the darkest place I have ever been. I had nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. I was even contemplating suicide. It was around 10:00, when the only thing I could think to do was to fall to my knees and pray to God for help, not thinking for a moment I was worthy of God's help, but I was desperate. While I was still on my knees, my phone rang.
"I got up to answer it, but when I saw the words, 'God Almighty,' on my caller ID display, I was too afraid to pick up the phone!"
That story perfectly illustrates what we are going to explore this morning.
I want you to know that GOD -- LIFE with a Capital "L" -- is calling you -- It is calling you right now! Are you willing to pick up the phone!?
And to continue the theme for this month -- "What Shall This Year Bring?", our question this morning is -- Will You Answer Life's Call? Will 2019 be the year you answer Life's call?
And what is that call? Well, last week we had a chance to identify it. If you weren't here, I strongly encourage you to go to our website and do the exercise we did in the service to set your course for this year. We each set an intention and a theme for our lives in 2019. What did you decide for yourselves?
Not only did we set personal intentions/themes, we also set them for the center. Thank you all so, so much for your input - "Living as God in Abundance, Faith, and Joy!"
So, God - Life - has called you - is calling you right now! Will you pick up the phone, or will you just let it ring?
I want to share with you four ideas this morning that will take you a long way in answering that call. Today choose to answer the call by:
"L" - Letting go of the past;
"I" - Imagining a greater life;
"F" - Freeing yourself to choose; and
"E" - Expressing your Divinity.
"L" - LETTING GO OF THE PAST
"L" - Letting Go of the Past
We cannot answer the call to a greater expression of life if we are holding onto the past. You can't climb to the next rung of the ladder as you hold on to the one below. We must let go of the old before we can call forth the new.
Hanging onto the old only tarnishes the new and keeps it from developing in our life. Jesus told us you cannot put new wine in old wineskinsa -- remember?
Ernest Holmes in the Science Of Mind, tells us: "Nature demands we change in order that we may advance."b
In order to be the true person that we were intended to be, it is necessary to let go of old ideas/patterns, etc. It is as we let go of what we were - only then can we become what we are.
Luke 9:59-62 "Jesus said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." And Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."c"
What does this mean? Simple: You can't move forward and hang on to the past! As Ernest Holmes Practitioner Victora Papke used to say: "You can't travel north and south at the same time."d
What for you, this morning, what might you realize it is time to let go of in order for you to answer the call - to live the intention and in the theme that you identified last Sunday?
"I"- IMAGINING A GREATER LIFE
"I"- Imagining a Greater Life
One day a little old lady was walking down the street carrying a small box with holes punched in the top.
"What's in that box?" Her neighbor asked.
"A cat," the little woman answered.
"I've been dreaming about mice at night, and I'm scared of mice. The cat is to catch them."
"But the mice you dream about are imaginary," said the neighbor lady.
The little lady turned to her friend and whispered, "So is the cat."
When we live out of our imagination, we live out of our potential.
Are you willing this year to open yourself to new ideas, dreams and possibilities? Are you ready to answer LIFE's call by allowing your imagination to bring in newness?
Ernest Holmes: "The latent Divinity within us stirs our imagination and, because of Its insistent demand, impels and compels our growth. It is back of every invention; it proclaims itself through every creative endeavor; it has produced sages, saints, and saviors, and will, when permitted, create a new world in which war, poverty, sickness, and famine will have disappeared."e
Are you ready to THINK BIGGER?
Michelangelo wrote: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."f
The danger is not in having false hope rather it is in having no hope or low hope. The world is full of people who have aimed low and thought small, who want to impose small thinking on anyone who will listen and accept. The real challenge is not giving up or setting standards of smallness for ourselves with low expectations.
In the new year, we again have the opportunity - as we do every new day - to aim high, dream larger, attain the impossible, and realize we are the vehicle through which Life expresses itself.
Don't be afraid to think Big! Remember, a dream, by definition, is an idea that transcends present circumstances and known limitations.
Robert Browning: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"g
What big dream is contained in your intention and theme for 2019? And are you ready to IMAGINE it?
"F" - FREEING YOURSELF TO CHOOSE
"F" - Freeing Yourself to Choose
Someone once said: Destiny is not a matter of chance. It's a matter of choice.
EH: "The power of choice with which man has been endowed is either his greatest blessing or his greatest curse. Properly understood, it can lift him to the heights; misunderstood, it can drag him to the depths. He is free to choose anything which he wishes, but he must accept the responsibility for his choices, because inexorable Law will create his experiences according to his choices."h
Job 2:28: "You will decide upon a matter and it will be established for you."i
We don't get to control the consequences of our choices - but we do get to control our choices.
So, to answer LIFE's call we must,
Let Go of the Past
Imagine a Greater Experience
Free Yourself to Choose
"E" - EXPRESSING YOUR DIVINITY
"E" - Expressing your Divinity
It is important to remember, though, not to forget who you are in the process! For example, . . .
A Jewish Talmud student left the old country for America to follow his dreams of a greater experience. After many, many years, he returns home to visit the family.
Upon seeing him, his mother asks, "But--where, son, is your beard?"
"Mama," he replies, "my beard is in the past -- in America, nobody wears a beard."
"But at least you keep the Sabbath?"
"Mama, you've got to really work to achieve your dreams and in America, everybody works on the Sabbath."
"But kosher food you still eat?"
"Mama, in America, there are so many different foods to choose from -- it is very difficult to keep kosher."
The old lady ponders this information and then leans over and whispers in his ear, "Isaac, tell me - you're still circumcised, aren't you?"
Don't let go of who you REALLY are! And who you are is DIVINE -- a Divine Expression of God.
The last and really most important idea this morning for answering life's call is to remember to EXPRESS YOUR DIVINITY!
If we view the Last Supper with mystic significance rather than pure literal acceptance, we can see it as a true "call to remembrance," a transcendent experience available to us all. Through the symbolism of eating and drinking, Jesus urged the disciples to follow him in appropriating the idea of the whole being. He said "do this in remembrance of me." This "remembering" is that we are perfect spiritual beings.j
EH: "We should constantly vitalize our faith by the knowledge that the Eternal is incarnated in us; that God goes forth anew into creation through each one of us; and that in such degree as we speak the Truth, the Almighty has spoken!"k
So, this morning, God - LIFE - is calling. Are you willing to pick up the phone by . . .
Then, say with me, will you: TODAY I ANSWER LIFE'S CALL!
- Letting go of the past? YES!
- Imagining your greater life expression? YES!
- Freeing yourself to CHOOSE? YES!
And finally, and most importantly,
- are you willing to pick up the phone by remembering to EXPRESS YOUR DIVINITY? YES!
And so it is!
bErnest Holmes Science Of Mind p. 385