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The More Things Change...
by Tom Goodman
September 11, 2009

Mildred "Babe" Stathos celebrated her 93rd birthday this week.  She's one of our greeters along the Senior Adult hallway on Sunday mornings.

She gave me a copy of the "Happy Birthday Times" prepared for her by a friend.  It describes life in 1916, the year of Babe's birth.

In September 1916, Woodrow Wilson assured women that they would soon be granted the right to vote.  Allied forces beat the German military at Somme in the first battle to use tanks.  The Academy Awards wouldn't begin for another 11 years, but Charlie Chaplin was popular in the silent film, "The Pawn Shop."  Dario Resta won the Indianapolis 500 -- at an average speed of 84 mph.

Gas was 8 cents a gallon, and went in cars that cost $500 on average.  A new home would set you back $5,000.  You could get a gallon of milk for 36 cents; throw 7 more cents on the counter and get a loaf of bread.

A lot has changed in our nation in the last 93 years.  And, if you're a church leader, you know a lot has changed in the way we do church work.  But at least one thing remains the same.  Christ expects his people to take the Great Commission seriously:  "Go to the people all nations and make THEM my disciples.  Baptize THEM in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach THEM to do everything I have told you" (Matthew 28:19-20, CEV).

Notice how I highlighted the word "them."  You can't even begin obeying Christ's Great Commission until you identify who the THEMs are in that command.  They aren't just people across the sea; they're also people across the street.  In other words, the THEMs in that command include your co-workers, neighbors, friends and relatives.  In fact, its hypocrisy to focus on the THEMs across the sea if you're ignoring the THEMs across the street.

So, the first step in obeying Christ's Great Commission is simply to open your eyes.  Jesus said, "Look around you!  Vast fields are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest" (John 4:35, NLT).

To that end, you need to have a specific list of THEMs you're praying for.  And, as a Hillcrest leader, you need to always be challenging our people to identify their own THEMs.

We can do a lot more after we open our eyes; we can't do a thing until we open our eyes.



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