And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.”
Habakkuk 2: 2 (ESV)
Inspiration is a wonderful word. Inspiration is something that causes someone to do something they might not normally have done.
That something is often an idea.
Often, an idea that is greater than us.
In the last several years Hilltop has been called to an inspiring vision.
The fact it is inspiring doesn’t make it less scary.
But it is clearly inspiring.
Your leadership has developed a vision for Hilltop to be an incubator of new church life. The imagery of Hilltop giving birth often comes into our discussions. Our language has led to practices that have been prayerful, scriptural and, we hope and pray, leading all of us here to do something we might not normally have done. What we are doing in our conscious decision to give birth to a new church is refreshing and bold. And after we are refreshed from that first birth, we plan to do it again and again. We hope to be an incubator of new church life in this fastest growing state in the United States.
What has happened here is nothing short of a call. God has called our name in the night, and we have responded with “Here we are, send us.”
It is biblical and it is also literary. In the Lord of the Rings, the Wizard Gandalf says to the hero Frodo, "you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and hearts and wits as you have."
Hilltop must use all of that – wits and heart to be sure we have the strength.
Our vision of seeing Hilltop as an incubator of future church life also calls Hilltop to focus on our own health. The health of the church and the health of the church child must be factors in our vision. Health here cannot be either/or. Health must be both/and. Hilltop Home as mother and our refreshing child must both be healthy, as well as Hilltop’s loving mother, the Rocky Mountain Conference.
Where we are in 2017 is exactly where Hilltop was called to be.
Last year, your leadership urged our mother, United Methodist leaders in Denver, to see the urgency of now rather than the tyranny of later. Mother listened and prayed, and was compelled to act by the inspiring and inspired leadership in Sandy, Utah.
We have spoken of this call in words that we hoped would compel you to follow your leaders in this call. We have some work to do to bring that call into line with insuring grandmother, mother and child are healthy. We are going to spend some time in February coming back to you and inspiring you with the call we are on – an incubator of new church life while keeping Hilltop the mother healthy for future births.
The road we are about to trod is not going to be easy. In fact it will be scary. We must reject the negativity in our history and continue to talk, inspire, and lean in because we are called to do so. I confess we are now at a place where we could exercise caution when the situation calls for us to be bold and brave, when the situation calls for us to be inspired. We must choose bold, brave and inspired.
Let me ask: Does the world now need our witness and call less … or more?
It is my fervent belief and hope that we can exercise a theology and practice of passionate biblical Christianity that will continue to push fervently ahead where the rest of the world would issue a call to pull back.
We can do this inspired, compelling church birthing work, and keep Hilltop a healthy parent, while continuing to keep our mother in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado strong.
All must be in our focus.
All of those must be in our vision.
I encourage us to now be worthy daughters and sons of Hilltop, of Methodism, and of the Lord.
I commented earlier that your leaders urged our mother, that is key United Methodist leaders in Denver, to see the urgency of now rather than be satisfied with the tyranny of waiting for later.
I pray we are inspired – now – by the example of your leaders to go preach love, stand fast against traditional wisdom, and renew the face of the earth. I invite you in February to listen to your leaders, and answer their call with a faithful, inspired response.
Selah, Pastor Dennis