When Steve and I lived in Nashville, we attended a small church plant in the Old Hickory area. Although I had been a Christian for many years, it was here, under the pastoral care of Larry Ferris and his wife Lisa, that the gospel was first given "flesh". Eighteen years later, I still think of Lisa asking me, on several occasions, "What are the practical implications of the gospel in this situation?" These two, whom I affectionately think of as my Mother and Father in the faith, were active, aggressive, and deliberate about translating what they believed into what they did, in every area of life.
Larry had a gift for coming up with great sermon illustrations. He could make seemingly far-off, abstract concepts suddenly clear and relevant. This particular illustration still comes to my mind often, and always brings with it a thrill of excitement....
You remember how when you were a kid, and the evening weather forecast predicted snow? You hoped against all hope that it would snow and snow and snow all night, maybe even a foot, and that school would be cancelled the next day. You went to bed anxious with anticipation, finding it nearly impossible to sleep. Your ears strained for the faintest sound that would indicate the coveted snow had finally arrived. You snuck out of bed, peeped out the window - nothing. Finally, exhausted and fearing morning would bring only disappointment, you dozed fitfully off to sleep. And slept, and slept, and slept. Until...
The next morning, Mom came into your room, same as she always did, to wake you up so that you could begin getting ready for school. Only this morning, as she shook you gently from your sleep, she didn't say, "Wake up - time to get ready for school." She simply whispered, "Go look out the window!"
Instantly, you were wide awake, your heart pounding! Throwing off your blankets, you planted your feet on the cold floor and bolted for the window, a jubilant smile plastered across your face. "Go look out the window!" Those words elicited a spasm of pure joy! You danced! You squealed! It was absolutely impossible to conceal the excitement you felt.
Dear Reader - after a long and dreadful night, God, in Christ, has whispered to us, "Go look out the window!"
4 days ago