SOUTHGATE, MI – I heard this line today while watching a webinar. “The One who Sees the Future, will Seize the Future! I think it might be our theme for 2018! This past Sunday we talked about the richness that heritage can bring, and that reminded me of my parents and my parents’ parents. I have nothing but wonderful memories of my grandfather. He drove a great car – usually pretty fast – and one day he set me in his lap and let me drive it. At some point I swerved a little and took out a trash can that was set by the side of the road. In those days, all trash cans were metal – and it made a lot of noise. Unfortunately, a policeman had pulled in behind us and was probably thinking “Drunk Pastor!” Sure enough, the lights came on, and the officer came walking up, long before my grandpa could put me back into my seat. Grandpa just laughed and told the officer he was teaching his grandson how to drive. I think he was able to get out of the ticket, but he might have had to replace that trash can.
Anyway – my grandfather started a church 63 years ago, and when he passed away, they asked my dad to become the Pastor. He said he’d do it until they found somebody else. 31 years later, they found me. I live in the shadow of a heritage they provided.
I carry the same name as 5 generations of William Walker’s before me, but with 2 daughters, it looks like that one stops with me. Unless there is some type of Abraham & Sarah miracle that takes place (Just kidding, Laura – “Father of the Bride 1 & 2”). At times - just being real - that has been a heavy responsibility; but for the most part it has been a joy and privilege that benefited me far more than I deserve. But here’s the deal – while heritage has its place, if we simply look to the past, at what has happened, and we are not planning and preparing for what God has in store for the future, we do those who have come before us a great disservice. More importantly we stand to miss out on what COULD BE while we look at what HAS BEEN. And that’s when we (people, organizations, churches, athletes) become HAS-BEENS!
In Matthew 16:18 – Jesus said to His disciples, “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” When I was growing up, we had a gate about halfway up our driveway. While it swung open to allow us access in and out, it was permanent, and not meant to be moved. So, it would seem to me, that gates being a defensive measure, must mean the church is on the offensive. And be honest – it is so much more fun to be on offense (Batting, shooting, passing, dribbling, throwing, scoring). We are the ones moving forward, seeking to make a difference in the next generation and beyond. That means new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new methods of outreach.
While the message of the Gospel remains the same, the approaches we use today are a lot different than they were at the time of Acts 2. But the same God who delivered miraculous results for those early believers, still desires for His Church to be on the move and to see those same results! And His promise still stands, too. Nothing will be able to stop it. There is nothing wrong with remembering, but we must not endeavor to relive it. Whatever happened during these first 6 + decades at Calvary has been awesome, but it happened while the church was moving forward. To relive it, means to head backward and the Church doesn’t have time to do that.
Raise the Bar of Expectation
Raise the Bar of Personal Discipleship
Raise the Level of Outward Focus
For it is the church that Sees the Future, that will Seize the Future!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Billy Walker is the lead Pastor of Calvary Church in Southgate, MI. He serves as the President of the BSCM Pastor’s Conference, and the Vice President of the Billy Walker Evangelistic Association. He lives in the downriver Detroit area with his wife Laurie. You can read more at www.billywalker.org