History tells us that one reason we discovered the earth was round was the way ships disappeared over the horizon. Instead of just shrinking in the distance like they were moving in a straight line, people noticed that first the hull vanished, then the masts slowly sank, and finally the tops of the sails disappeared -- like something moving downhill or over a curve. And when they were sailing into port, the ships appeared in reverse order: the tops of the sails, then the masts, then the rest of the ship.
We've always wondered what could come over the horizon. It could be the sun to start a new day; it could be an invading army to topple the country. Beyond the horizon is the unknown, the promise of a future. When we talk about planning, we talk about looking towards the horizon, searching for what could come next. Brothers and sisters, it is time for us, as a church, to look to the horizon.
Almost all of you have, at some point, spoken to me about the lack of young people in our church. You all have, like me, wondered where we will be in just a few short years if we don't have more younger people attending our services. You look to the horizon and see two possible futures: one full of life as the church is renewed, and one where the deaths of our current members means closing the doors. Those are the only ways forward for any congregation; for us, though, they're looming large in the near distance, hiding just over the horizon.
We need to make plans. We need to make some changes. We need to decide the next generation, seeing them come to salvation in Christ Jesus and seeing them assume leadership of the church, is more important than being comfortable. We need to recommit ourselves to following the leadership of the Holy Spirit and trusting his plans for us.
Let's look to the horizon -- and plan to see a new sunrise.