Is God calling YOU to Las Vegas?

 
In 2006, I received a phone call. The voice on the other end of the line informed me that I was being appointed to Brice United Methodist Church. After a moment of silence, I replied, “You want me to do what? You’re sending me where?” You see, Brice is a church that was served by a dearly loved pastor named Randy Stearns. Dr. Stearns had served the Brice congregation for eighteen years. During his tenure, the church grew eight times its original size. A five day a week preschool was started. From there a Christian elementary/middle school was established. God had performed amazing things through Randy Stearns. And, to follow in the shadow of someone like that is nothing shy of professional suicide. To compound my concern, the church had fallen on difficult times since Randy’s departure‒‒financially, emotionally, spiritually. And now, I was being asked to step into a pretty formidable challenge.
 
So, there’s a good part of me that understands just how Titus most likely felt when he read Paul’s letter for the first time. “You want me to do what? You want me to go where?” You see, Crete was a pretty tough place. The people of Crete had a pretty formidable reputation. They were notorious for insurrections and murderous uprisings. Their sexual exploitation of women and men was disgusting and foul. Crete was the modern equivalent of Las Vegas. It was sin island. And, it was the context in which Titus was to preach. His job was to complete the sanctifying work of Christ that had been left unfinished.
 
Now, the reason I share this word of Scripture with you today is this. You may be currently living in your own personal version of Crete. Perhaps Crete is a marriage to an unequally yoked partner. A spouse who fights you tooth and nail when it comes to expressing your Christian faith. Or maybe your Crete is your present place of employment. you find yourself surrounded by foul speaking, back stabbing individuals who wish only to use you to get what they want. Or possibly you are attending a church that itself is struggling, has little to offer, and pales in comparison to what other congregations are doing.
 
And, you may have caught yourself at some point saying, “Gosh, the Lord wouldn’t place me into a situation like this, would He?” Of course, Titus would be just one of a cloud of witnesses like Moses or Esther or Daniel who’d be the first to correct you by saying, “Oh, don’t be too sure. “…who knows but that you have come to [such a] position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?
 
You know, there’s a misunderstanding that I often hear Christian state. It is this: there is no safer place to be than in the will of God. Friend, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there is no more perilous prayer than to say, “Lord, use me.” Yet, it is in the midst of God’s will, in the middle of the danger zone that God can use you more powerfully in your currently appointed role than in any other you might choose for yourself. So, the question that you and you alone must answer is “Am I willing to stay and fight the good fight? Am I willing to persevere?”