Crossing the Commitment Line (Camp Meeting, 8/12/18)

Posted by on Aug 13, 2018 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

Richwood United Methodist Church hosted the Pitman Camp Meeting on 8/12/18.   Experience from previous Camp Meeting Summers tells us that when Richwood comes, it means that that the entire auditorium stage will be covered with musical instruments and equipment.  It means that the whole Grove will filled with the sounds of prayer and worship lead by Richwood’s Praise band, “Sanctified” (and that the music will begin long before the 7:30 PM opening of the service!) 

Richwood’s hosting also means that we will hear a great message from Rev. Steve Herman, the pastor of Richwood UMC.   

Richwood is one of the annual host churches for the Camp Meeting; we’ve come to expect a powerful effort from them.  And once again, they teamed up with the Holy Spirit and delivered!

 

Music

Richwood’s praise and worship band, called “Sanctified” (“Like” their Facebook page!) is one of the most established in our area… and probably the largest and most equipped musical group that comes to the Grove during the Camp Meeting Season.  And this year, they didn’t disappoint!  With about 10 members and a large screen displaying the song’s lyrics, their presence on stage took a “concert” and turned it into a true experience of prayer and worship.

They opened the service with a couple of songs (including, of course, “In the Garden”), and then lead a prayerful time of music after Rev. Herman’s message.  Here’s a taste of some of the titles and lyrics:

  • You Are the Hands of God
  • Let’s Go Down to the River
  • In My Broken Prayers (You want my tears)
  • My Hope is in You Alone (Dedicated to their hospitalized bass player)  I know You are able (to heal), but even if You don’t, my hope is in You alone…. It is well with my soul!
  • Tonight (Your love is deep and wide…. I will rest in Your arms tonight… Oh, I’m found in You)

 

Message

Rev. Steve Herman is one of the “regular” speakers at the Pitman Camp Meeting.  For many years he has been asked to serve, and for many summers he has said “yes.”  Speakers are lined up in March-April, and when someone agrees to take an evening they are committing to be at the service in July or August.

Commitment.  There’s a point where there’s no turning back.  We like to say things like “someday”, “I’ll think about it”,  “sounds like a great idea,”  or “Let me get back to you.”  But we can’t stay in that limbo land forever.  There comes a time when we must say either “Yes” or “No.” 

In this year’s church softball season, they tried to make things safer by avoiding collisions at home plate.  So they have a rule which places a “tag plate” up the third base line from home plate  There’s no sliding into home plate; everything is a force play.  To differentiate between “rounding third base” and “running to home plate”, they drew a “Commitment Line” in the dirt just past third base.  Once you cross that line, you’re on your way to home plate.  If you don’t get to the tag plate before the ball does, you’re out.

Commitment.  There comes a point when we have to say “Yes” or “No.”  We see many examples in life:

  • Sports
    In any sport there are examples of when you’re committed to stealing a base, or taking a shot on goal, or diving off the board.  Once you take that step, or run, or jump, there’s no turning back.
  • Education
    Once you choose your major, you’re committed to complete the 2, 4, or 8 years it takes to earn your degree.
  • Marriage
    Once you say “I Do” you are committed until “death do we part.”
  • Military
    When you join the military you swear to support the constitution.  You also commit yourself to serving for a certain number of years and to defending your country with your life if called upon.
Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, our country needed a victory to demonstrate that we could and would defend ourselves. We wanted to show that we had the capability to strike Japan on their own homeland.

The problem was, at that early point in the war we DIDN’T have the capability to strike Japan on their own homeland. 

And so they came up with a daring plan to fly some bombers off of an aircraft carrier and conduct a raid on Japan.  These bombers could take off from the carrier… but they couldn’t land on the carrier.  There was no return.  Instead, they would continue to China and hope for the best. The mission went beyond dangerous; it was likely that these pilots would never return home safely.

But, led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolitle, the planes completed their mission.  And 70 of the 80 crewmembers eventually made it back home by the end of the war (after spending years in a Chinese or Russian POW camp). 

But imagine being on one of those planes the moment when the pilot throttled up to take off from the carrier? You don’t have any fighter escort.  The Japanese had just shown the power they had over us at Pearl Harbor.  You’re headed into an unknown future.  But once the plane is at full throttle and it’s zipping down the runway, there’s no turning back.

 

Commitment to God

Sports, school, military, country; they’re all important commitments.  But they’re temporary.  They inspire hope, but they’re not a sure bet.  Jimmy Doolittle’s commitment to his country paid off (in a symbolic way), but it didn’t have any permanent strategic value. 

The Bible is filled with lots of examples of people who were called to a commitment line with God. 

 

Abram left his homeland for the land that God promised, but Lot didn’t

(read more)

Lot left Sodom and its sinful lifestyle, but his wife looked back

(read more)

Moses killed an Egyptian and gave up his privileged position in the royal family,

but many of the fleeing Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt. (read more)

Elisha slaughtered his oxen and burnt his farming equipment when Elijah called him.

(read more)

A group of fishermen from Galilee left their boats and followed Jesus.

(read more)

A man sold all he had so he could buy a field that had a pearl of great value.

(read more)

Sometimes you’re called to do things that squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube.  Once you commit, you can’t go back and put things back where they were.  Imagine what Jesus was thinking when He ticked off the Jewish Leaders by overturning the tables in the temple.  He knew He was passing a point of no return.

Jesus said that anyone who “looks back isn’t fit for the Kingdom of Heaven.”  (Luke 9:61-62).  There’s a commitment line, and we need to cross it.  And Jesus did.

We all want a Savior, but do we want a Lord?  In the softball analogy, having a Savior might be like going to third base.  But to have a Lord we must we cross that “Commitment Line” and commit to home plate.  The problem with that analogy, though, is that in softball you can still get forced out.  But once we commit to God, we’re guaranteed to be safe at home. 

Committing to God is a sure bet.  But too many of us stop with our toes wiggling just short of the line.  Are you ready to cross the Line?  Are you ready to open the door?  Are you ready to commit to God?

 

 

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