Changing the World: One At A Time

by Sean Foster on February 16, 2014

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’
Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ But the Lord said to me,

‘Do not say, “I am only a boy”;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.’

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’


Have you enjoyed watching the Olympics? Canada’s athletes have been doing extremely well.

There was a wonderful story of interest that came out of the Olympics earlier this week, and it is possible that you have already heard about it; but it was a wonderful gesture of generous kindness.

Our cross country skiing Olympians were eliminated early in the event, but the coach wanted to watch to the end.

It was during the semi-finals, Canadian Coach, Justin Wadsworth is near the finish line watching the athletes coming over the final rise to the finish line. And coming over the rise at one point was Russian Olympian Anton Gafarov who was a medal favorite. But as he comes over the rise, he is struggling miserably.

Gafarov had crashed on a quick downhill corner and broke a ski, literally eliminating him from any chance at a medal.

Sochi Olympics Cross Country Sprint

You can see Gafarov coming down the hill, and he loses his balance going into the corner.

Sochi Olympics Cross Country Sprint

His left ski is broken.

Sochi Olympics Cross Country Sprint

You can see the thin layer of P-Tex has been skinned off his left ski. But he get’s up! He is determined to finish the race.

Now everyone is watching this poor guy. I mean, at this point he has lost the race. There’s no medal; but he strives to finish. To complete what he started.

Wadsworth, the Canadian coach looks around and no one is moving to help him. Not even the Russian coaches.

Later in an interview with Wadsworth, he said, you can’t just sit there and do nothing about it. So Wadsworth grabs a spare ski that he had brought for Canadian racer, Alex Harvey.


So you can see Wadsworth coming out onto the track to Gafarov

Gafarov stops and Wadsworth kneels down beside him.


No words are spoken. Gafarov only nods. Wadsworth pulls off the broken ski and replaces it with Harvey’s. And Gafarov sets off to finish the race.

Wadsworth said later: I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line.

Coach Lends Helping Hand

That’s the Olympics! Even though they are competing against each other, they still want each other to do their best. To succeed! Because when these athletes win, they want to know that they have beaten the best.

Well, today is Scout Sunday here at Hopedale. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers, Rovers. They are all taught to work hard, to do their duty. But also to help each other at all times.

Wadsworth is a good example of how a good scout should live. Works hard, does his duty.

Wadsworth a three time Olympian himself is prepared: the Scout Motto.

And he is ready to help other people. He is wise in the use of his resources.
• That is what Scouts are taught.
• That is what they strive for.
• That is what they are known for.

Today Michelle read to us from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. And in this opening chapter, the prophet shares God’s Call.

The word of the Lord comes to the prophet:
• That even before he was born.
• Even before he was knit together in his mother’s womb.
• Even before Jeremiah had breathed his first breath of air.
God had appointed him: that Jeremiah be a prophet to the nations.

And Jeremiah’s response to this word of the Lord. His response to God’s calling in his life, well, it’s almost laughable. So many of God’s prophets respond in similar ways, and give similar excuses to God. Lord, find someone else.
• I’m not smart enough Lord.
• I’m not educated enough Lord.
• I’m not eloquent enough Lord.
Lord to the prophet Jeremiah. Lord, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.

But God responds that God will fulfill whatever mission I want to fulfill – even through your weakness and inadequacies.

I am always amazed as I read the Scriptures how God chooses the most unlikely and the weakest to do his work.

Jeremiah, I need you! You, will be my prophet to the nations.

And I mean, really? What for? Break it down for a minute and think it through logically.
• The God who created the Universe.
o Needed Jeremiah.
o To be God’s voice to the nations.
• The God who created at least 200 billion stars.
• The God who created this Galaxy, the Milky Way.
• A Galaxy so big that it takes a ray of light 100,000 years to travel from one end to the other.
• And God created countless Galaxies
• The Universe God created, is beyond our comprehension.

This God, needed Jeremiah. Let that sink in for a moment.

But as mind boggling as it is…
As incredible as it may seem…
God needs us too!
• God not only loves us
• God wants to be in relationship with us.
• God wants us to be co-workers with him.
An amazing privilege.

It’s not because God needs us, it’s because God loves us.

Christianity has forever changed our world for the good in amazing and profound ways.

Christianity has changed the way that we view children. Children today are the most valued, prized and protected parts of our society.
• At one time children were often left to die of exposure.
• They were not valued.
• They were seen as a nuisance.
• They were seen as a burden.
• Another mouth to feed.
• Often they were sold into slavery.

But because of Jesus teachings and His treatment of children over the last two thousand years – throughout Christianity, attitudes towards children have changed. Children have become people: valued and prized.

Jesus and Christianity have changed the world and have given the world a love and hunger for learning. The largest Universities in the world were started by Christians. They were Christian Institutions. Although perhaps not recognized today, almost all of the Universities in Ontario were started by Christians to be Christian Institutions.
• The University of Toronto
• Queens University
• Western
• McMaster
• Ottawa
• Brock
• Windsor
All began because of Christians.

Jesus also taught compassion. And His teaching has forever changed our world. Look at the Christian Organizations.
• The Red Cross
• World Vision
• Good Samaritan
• Good Shepherd.

Hospitals. The idea of hospitals was a Christian idea because of Jesus teachings. At one time all hospitals were Christian Institutions. Jesus command to look after the sick and dying.

I could literally go one and one about how Jesus and Christians following Jesus teachings have forever changed the world.

Six Surprizing Ways – Ortberg

Scouting. The foundation of Scouting. It was built on the values of Christianity.
• The laws
• The promises
• The Moto’s
It is by no accident that they reflect the teachings of Jesus and Christianity.

I am so grateful for these young people here today. I am grateful for the leaders of the Ninth Oakville Trafalgar Scout Group. They are exceptional men and women.
• They teach these scouts to be respectful.
• They teach them how to be good citizens.
• They teach them to be helpful.
• And I know they have a lot of fun doing it.

All from a man named Lord Baden Powell, who loved Jesus.

The roots of Scouting, based on a mans love for Jesus. Look at the impact it has made on our world.

There is a well known story about the Patron Saint of animals: St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis invited a young monk to join him on a trip into town to preach. The young monk was so honored that he quickly accepted. All day long they walked through the streets, and rubbed shoulders and visited with hundreds of people.

At the end of the day, as began walking back home to the Abbey, the young monk who accompanied him said: Sir, you have forgotten that we went into town to preach.

My son, replied St. Francis, we have preached. We have been seen by so many. Our behavior was closely observed. Our attitudes were closely measured. Our words were overheard. It was by these measures that we preached today.

We Have Preached

I think of the impact that God has made on the people of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah.

Never think for a moment that you are:
• Not good enough.
• Or not strong enough.
• Or not smart enough.
• Or that you’re too small.
• That you are too poor.
• Or even that you are too young.

Just watch what God can do ….. through you.


God is not limited, it is we who limit God. – Sean J. Foster

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