Heritage Series: The Sky Is Falling
We have all heard of the fable of Chicken Little running around the yard crying out, “the sky is falling; the sky is falling.” Interestingly, this ancient folk tale told with many various details has two endings, both sad and happy. As the story resolves in the version I prefer, the sky isn’t falling and Chicken Little in his self-centered perspective learns he is wrong but along the way, he convinces several other animals who join in the paranoia. Whether the ending is sad or happy, the underlying fact is the sky was not falling.
We celebrate our 150 years of continuous ministry here in Visalia, First Baptist/GateWay Church and remind ourselves where we have been and how far we have come. It is crucial we focus on the one true constant. Dr. Howard Clark spoke this weekend and painted a picture of a time in our shared experience where it did look like the “sky was falling.” Pastor Clark served our church as Senior Pastor from 1999 to 2003. I have listened and learned from many excellent pastors in conferences, seminars, various churches, in multi-media formats, and in my home church. I have had many great “one time” experiences but week in and week out, Howard was the best. He taught me with depth, knowledge, experience, kindness, practicality all with a silky smooth presentation. And at the same time I felt the assurance and confidence God was speaking through Howard. My personal relationship with Howard was no different and much more. My heart and head were very happy to have Howard and Kathy with us this weekend.
Dr. Clark recalled the horrible events of September 11, 2001. We all know where we were when we heard the news of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC. Skillfully weaving events of that day with those Hezekiah lived through over two thousand years ago using the Biblical text of Psalm 42 and 2 Kings, I was again, unmistakably left, with the ultimate truth that God is. The sky seemed literally to be falling that day and the days following yet as I know today, as dark as it was, the dawn came. Getting past and moving forward depended much on who was speaking into your life. This is still true today. Howard asks all of us, who is our God and how do we see Him. This is the ultimate question since the beginning of time on Earth.
When hardship comes, when my bad choices abound, when tragedy falls or injustice strikes, where do I turn? Do I hide from Him as Adam and Eve did after their bad decision? Do I scream outrage towards God and demand an explanation of how He could allow “this” to happen? Do I walk away and live on denying the existence of God or do I curse God and die? A better but difficult path is to walk with Jesus, engage in conversation, and wait on Him to speak into your life and open the next door.
I stated this path is difficult. But praise and glory be to God, He did not intend us to walk alone but in relationship. First, as Christ-followers we walk with the ever present Holy Spirit residing in our hearts. Second, our paths are designed to be trod connected with family and friends. And third, as we have done for 150 years here in Visalia, this path can be traveled with a Christ-centered, Bible based, friendly and warm church known today as GateWay Church of Visalia.