We Must Serve Our Generation
In Acts 13, Paul is preaching the gospel utilizing the Old Testament. He uses Psalm 16:10 to show that the resurrection of Jesus was prophesied by David. There David writes, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” Paul points out that David cannot be speaking of himself, since he in fact did decay in the grave. In Acts 13:36 Paul declares, "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay” (NASB).
David died, but before he died, he lived. David was born for his time. God birthed him to serve the purpose and will of God in his time. What was true of David is true of us. We were born for a purpose. We were created for such a time as this. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to be alive today.
It is a privilege because God had other options, but He chose us. There were literally millions of other options that each could have resulted in a different person being formed in the womb. But God formed you. You are alive today because God wanted you here to help accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven. What an awesome privilege.
We have a responsibility to do the will of God in our generation. In the plan and purpose of God, there is no one who is ahead of his or her time. You were born when you were supposed to be born. The date of your birth, the life experiences you have had, the space that you occupy, and the burden that God has placed on your heart are all designed to accomplish His will during your time on earth.
Marsalis is celebrating 90 years because nearly a century ago, people served the purpose of God in their generation. We are celebrating 90 years because people like G. C. Washington, Willie Hooper, Tempie Locus, Johnson McGilbra, Miller Jones, Eula Randle, S. W. Washington, Emma Garner, C. R. Langley Juanita Owens, Rutha Mae Lacy, and A. T. Miller served the purpose of God in their generation. And if we are going to endure for even another 90 days, those of us who are alive and remain must serve the purpose of God now in our own generation.
The Marsalis Avenue church building has been under renovation for the last few months. We were anticipating that the auditorium would be completed in time for our 90th Anniversary Homecoming. However, as is often the case with construction projects, things are taking longer than anticipated. We will still have homecoming services in our auditorium, it just won’t be a finished auditorium.
While we could have rented a facility to hold worship services for homecoming, I believe that worshipping in a space that is still under construction is reflective of our journey as a congregation. It is also indicative of our march towards spiritual maturity. We are not where we used to be, nor are we where we want to be. We are on a journey towards completion.
Construction projects are an object lesson for life itself. In construction and in life, we have to live through the inconveniences of advancement. There is demolition work. What is has to be broken up to make room for what will be. Sometimes it is a stronghold in our lives that must be torn down. At times we must get rid of the good so that we can do the great. The demolition is messy and can be emotional, but it is necessary for growth.
There are new discoveries. During the building renovation project, we have learned some things about our building. Some of these discoveries have added to the challenges of renovation. Some of them provided reassurance. As we discover what lies beneath the surface of our hearts, we may find that we are more resilient than we initially thought. We may also find some areas where more work needs to be done. Although these self-discoveries may catch us by surprise, they do not surprise God. Psalm 139 teaches us that God knows us wholly and intimately. He has searched us, scrutinized our path, and is aware of all that we are and all that we do. These new discoveries are all a part of God’s design to lead us in the everlasting way (verse 24).
Often, the construction process will take longer than anticipated. In those moments we learn patience. We learn that there is very little that we can control. We learn that the one thing we can control is perhaps the most difficult thing of all to control: self. We often attempt to coerce, bribe, prod, persuade, and even force people to do what we want them to do. But the evidence of the Spirit of God in our lives is not control of circumstances, environment or other people. Self-control is evidence that the Holy Spirit is ruling our hearts (Galatians 5:22-23).
What are some life lessons that you have learned from construction? We would love to hear you.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year, about 6 million women will be victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, spiritual and financial abuse that occurs by one person in a relationship to control another. It is the mistreatment of one family member by another. It can include name-calling or putdowns, keeping a partner from contacting family or friends, withholding money, stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job, actual or threatened physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, and intimidation. It is the pattern of behavior that establishes control and power over another person through fear and intimidation. Studies indicate that battering escalates over a period of time, beginning with behaviors like threats, destroying property, and name-calling, then escalating to life-threatening assaults.
It is estimated that one out of four Christians is a victim/survivor of domestic violence. Many abusers will misuse and distort God’s word to justify their sin of abuse. But the truth is that when the Bible speaks of submission and the man being the head of the wife, it has nothing to do with abuse and everything to do with love. Men are called to love their wives. Women are called to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33). Love and respect are in no way abusive. No one deserves abuse. It is not the victim’s fault that she or he was abused. Being more submissive or obedient will not end the abuse!
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence you may call 911 for immediate help or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). There is help available for abusers through the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program by calling 214-692-8295.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.