“I Don’t Know This!”
A couple of years ago, I shared with you this story by Marsha Medley, a friend and former co-worker:
I have a funny, smart, six-year old piano student who plays well, once he learns a piece. But, EVERY TIME we open the page to a new piece of music, he says, “I don’t know this.” EVERY TIME! And EVERY TIME I say, “Why are we here at your lesson?” He then says, “To learn????” Inwardly, I think, “Could we skip this and get to the learning part?” Contrast this student with an inspirational man in my first choir 30 years ago. Dr. Weber (PhD bacteriology) was a small, quiet, retired, 75-year old. He had never sung in a choir but decided to give it a try. It was a struggle for him and for the choir, but after a while he got the hang of it. At the same time he had started taking German at the community college and was doing independent research on bacteria (for which he later received an Einstein award). As I got to know him, I thought to myself “I want to be like him when I am 75!” He was a lifelong learner before it was a trendy phrase.
As I look back over my life, there have been many, many times when God has turned a page inviting me to go with Him on some new adventure or to the next level of growth in my relationship with Him that I have responded like the young piano student. I have informed God that, because what is being asked of me is new and unfamiliar, I don’t think I want to try. I would rather stick with the comfortable than risk stepping out in faith. But, there have been other times when I have responded like Dr. Weber and found that God, like the patient piano teacher, walked with me through those unfamiliar lands and along the way led me to a place of great discovery and was able to use me to do things I never thought were possible.
Right now, here at TPC, God is to asking us to go to some places that we “don’t know.” God is beginning to stretch us in ways that may not at first be comfortable. The question we need to answer is “Are we willing to take those steps with Him, or are we going to shut our music book and stick only with the familiar?” I believe that God is already at work in our midst here at TPC. New people are showing up in our worship services, looking for a home like the one we have found. With Emily’s arrival, new programs are beginning. Summer Fun Company was a big success. We will be starting an after school program two days a week to meet the needs of families in our community and connected with that will be a community meal. Our Spanish language Bible Study is going strong. We are taking our theological discussions off campus, and we are opening our facility to the New Theological Seminary of the West, with those classes being available to the community at large. There are more things on the horizon for us as we seek to follow God’s leading.
You can be a part of this in a variety of ways. First, look for people you don’t know and make it a point to go to them first during coffee hour to welcome them and include them in your conversations. Second, you can volunteer to help with the various programs when they put out requests for help. Third, you can support this work through the upcoming Stewardship season. God is at work transforming us into the kind of place that God can use to reach out to our community. In the years to come if we refuse to resist the temptation to play it safe and step out in faith, God will teach us new songs and ways to be God’s people here in Tustin, but the choice really is up to us. I am ready to go, how about you?
Pastor Steve Ranney