Question: Why did the turtle cross the road? Answer: I'm not sure he did. But he tried! On Monday, Shannan and I were coming back from running an errand when we saw a turtle poised to attempt the impossible. He (I'm assuming it was a "he" because certainly a "she" would have more sense) was at the very edge of the curb about to cross Palmetto Parkway, a six-lane divided highway. I figured the little guy was either testing new body armor or had a death wish . . . .
No sooner did I witness this unusual sight than the words of James Bryant Conant came to mind:
"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."
Thinking about the turtle got me thinking about my predecessor, David Nicholas. David was a man who was not afraid to stick out his neck for God. Thirty years ago he steered our church toward helping to plant new churches. What began as an investment in one church five miles away has grown into a world-wide enterprise on four continents and eleven countries.
In 2007, Outreach Magazine recognized Spanish River Church as one of the top multiplying churches in America. That was pretty cool. But even more exciting was the fact that Spanish River helped to launch three of the other churches in the Top 25. Over the years God has given us the privilege of partnering with others to help start over 245 churches. And here's the best part: because of those churches, the gospel is going forward to thousands of people who would not have heard it otherwise.
This weekend we are going to share two new initiatives at Spanish River that will have us once again sticking out our necks to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ through church planting. These big efforts are both exciting and daunting. But unlike the turtle I saw, this is not a rash "dash" across six lanes of traffic. We follow the dictum of Dwight L. Moody: "If God be your partner, make your plans large." I'm privileged to be a part of a church family that lives by those words because they know God's Word says:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)
God can do more than I can ask or think! Now that is a reason to get out of my shell!