Rally around the Church
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
I think most of us have been through a myriad of emotions over the last couple of months. We've felt joy. We've felt pain. We've felt confusion. We've felt loss. We've felt uncertainty. And many have wondered what the future holds for Eastside Baptist Church.
Several years ago IBM stock sold at an all-time high of $175 a share. But those of you who owned that stock may have watched in dismay as the price of that stock inched lower and lower. Perhaps when you heard that Louis V. Gerstner, the former chief of RJR Nabisco, had become the CEO of IBM, you were extremely interested in his vision for the company.
But do you know what Gerstner said as soon as he became the head of IBM? He said, "The last thing that IBM needs right now is a vision."
When asked to explain, he said, "A vision is often what somebody turns to when it gets hard doing what's required, namely good, solid blocking and tackling. Remember, the wizard of Oz was a vision."
And there is a sense in which the last thing our church needs right now is a vision. In fact, God has not given me a new vision for Eastside, but He has given me something better. He has renewed within my heart an old vision, a vision of blocking, of tackling, a vision of going back to the fundamentals, back to the basics, a vision of doing the difficult things well.
Nehemiah was a man with a vision. And I think at Eastside we need to strengthen our commitment, and restate our vision, and get back to basics, and prepare ourselves for the days ahead.
In the book of Nehemiah, we're told that he had a dream of a rebuilt wall around Jerusalem. And it appears to me that in the days ahead we have some rebuilding that we're going to have to do here at Eastside.
Nehemiah was in captivity hundreds of miles from Jerusalem. He was a servant, a cupbearer to king Artaxerxes of Persia. The holy city of Jerusalem had been captured and much of it had been ...
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