Step Across The Line


Pastor Joe Elick 1940-2021

Several years ago when I was still with Youth For Christ in Tacoma we took a group of teenagers on a Christmas retreat. The camp was in Eastern Washington at the upper end of a valley with mountains on two sides and a beautiful river running down through the middle. Among all the things we packed in with us was a "boom box," or "Ghetto Blaster" as they say in Chicago, and a good number of Christian music tapes provided by several of the kids. During free time, and in-between sessions we allowed the kids to play their tapes. Since our retreat ended on New Year's Day we planned a New Year's party in the wilderness complete with games, food and noise makers, for the midnight countdown. One of the tapes we had with us was by Don Francisco, who at that time, was quite popular among Christian young people on the West Coast. On the tape was a song entitled "Step Across the Line" which turned out to be one of the most popular songs at the retreat.

At midnight on New Year's Eve after all the cheering and whistle blowing, someone put on Franciscio's tape cued up to the song, "Step Across the Line." Then a bunch of the kids lined up on the main floor of the lodge with their arms around each other and began to sing along with the tape. Every time they got "Ya gotta step across the line," They would all, in unison, step across an imaginary line. It was great. For them New Year's marked a "new beginning" in their lives. They had stepped across the line for God.

Genesis 12:1 ("The Lord said to Abram...")

There was a stomping of feet on the front porch as the old farmer attempted to free his muddy boots from the moist farm earth that clung to them before entering the house.. "Wife," he said, as he entered the house, "we gotta talk!" "I can't hear a word you're sayin!," she responded, "as long as you're stand-in on my clean floor in them muddy boots. Put 'em on the porch while I pour us some coffee". The man grumbled a well-worn grumble as he retreated to the porch to remove the offending footwear. He took a sip of the fresh, hot coffee, and looked across the table at his wife of many years. "We gotta move," he said matter-of-factly. "We gotta pack up and git!" "What on earth are you talking' about?" she said, almost scoldingly. "I've heard the voice of God," he said in all seriousness. She looked at him suspiciously: "God who? What God?" God! "The God of Creation. The God I've even seeking. The one and only God," he said. "He has spoken to me. Today! This morning! We must go!" She placed her almost full cup carefully back in its saucer. "Go where?" She asked. "I don't know," he said reflectively, "I just don't know." AND "The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.'"


1. THE CLAIM: God "lays claim" on people's lives. We do not choose Him, He chooses us!

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last...Has God laid claim on your life? If you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you know that Christ lives in you. If you sense the Spirit of God dealing with you then God has laid claim on your life. God lays claim on ordinary people regardless of background, religion, or "good-enoughness." It has been said of Abram "In himself, there was not much to make him worthy of such distinction. His choice was all of grace." God laid claim on Abram's life.

2. THE CALL: When God lays claim on someone's life He calls them out from where they are to where God wants them to be. There is a dividing line of decision and He asked Abram to step across it. To follow by faith. It is by faith because we can't see the end from the beginning. He says, "I want you to go where I will show you."

God challenges us to step across the live like we've never lived before, to be what we've never been before, to go where we've never gone before. To step across the line and follow Jesus.

3. FOLLOW God will carry us through what he calls us to. Genesis 12: 4-5  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. He went as the Lord told him and arrived there. What a tremendous statement. In Verse 5 God gives us a glimpse of things to come. It's almost like turning to the last page of a book to see how it comes out before we start reading. God didn't stick Abram in some kind of celestial microwave and "nuke him" to success. God's callings upon our lives are lived out one day at a time. It took Abram the rest of his life to live out what God called him to.

I don't know where God is drawing a line across your life. When I was growing up by dad used to ask us kids on appropriate occasions if we had ever heard of the "Mug-Wump" bird. Of course we had, but just to hear it again we'd say "No." "The Mug-Wump bird," he would say, is a bird who sits on a fence with his Mug on one side of the fence, and his Wump on the other!" He never takes off in either direction. He just sits there. Not to be true of the Christian life. When God lays claim on our lives He calls us to a whole new way of life. Step across the line. How is it with you today? How will it be with you by this time next year?

Until Next Time,

Pastor Joe Elick 1



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