Sunday, January 18, 2015

Audio of Surrendered To His Power And Sovereignty

Surrendered to His Power and Sovereignty

Joshua 4:23-24 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” 

The Parting of the Red Sea- The center miracle of the Old Testament
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ- The center miracle of the New Testament

Crossing the Jordan was going to bring them into a whole new life for the young nation. Crossing the Jordan would bring them into the Promised Land.
They would continue to need to listen to God's Word. God was speaking and is speaking all the time!

Crossing the Jordan this Word was given...

1. You Have Never Been This Way Before. 3.4

The Land. This  was new to all of them save Joshua and Caleb. Other than these two not one of them had set foot in the Promised Land. This was new territory for this young nation.

The Battles.They were now a nation a war. A War is made up of many battles. The Battle of Jericho would be the definitive one. It would be the one they could look back on and gain encouragement from as they faced new battles.

We are in a spiritual battle today. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of spiritual darkness in the heavenly realms.

There are things which we mentioned last week are new for us. Some of these challenges come in the form of spiritual battles.

Paul closed his letters to Timothy with the words, "I have fought a good fight..."
II Timothy 4.7 Paul spoke in these military terms a number of times.

II Timothy 2:3 "Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

In our battles, God is at work. He gives us the victory.

Sovereignly, by His power, God has brought to where we are now.

There was a new level of the need of trusting God in this place
Not just following the Pillar of Cloud but engaging in battles, warfare, fighting

The new year, 2015, is a like the Promised Land. We have never been this way before. 
There are spiritual battles we are fighting.
There are new challenges coming to us.
There are victories we can look back on.
There is the LORD before us.

We need to look back at His Provisions and His Power and His Promised fulfilled in the past to help us grow in our faith today.

2. This Year, This Very Week He is Stretching Us.

Leaving for Haiti. You all praying here. Bible Studies will not meet this week of or next. Please in that time we would be together for them, pray for us, for the work down there. 
We will come back and all celebrate together on Sunday, February 1st. It will be a Super Sunday! We will worship, take the LORD's Supper together and share about the trip to Haiti while also drawing strength from the Word of God to prepare for the rest of this year, 2015.

There are good things in the making.
*Families are beginning to call Good Shepherd Nursery School about this fall, to enroll their child.
*Kevin's Fledgling Young Adult Bible Study is going.
*God is speaking to a number of us about personal evangelism.
*More improvements will be made to the building because of your giving.
*Bridges are being built to the community like never before.
Gifts for Haiti, half outside of our church!

It is not too early to pray for God to use Holy Week to draw people to Himself.
Let's claim the verse in John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.”  
He is drawing people today.

Last year our Sunday Morning Message went to places like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, France, Poland, India, Germany, The Philippines, Russia, Ghana, Italy, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, China, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Spain, Ghana, Kenya, England, South Africa, Israel...
Where will God's Word, from this little church here, go this year?

We look ahead with faith, We look back with Thanksgiving1 
3. Revisit Memorials 4.4-7

Why I journal!
Go back over your life. Take a walk down your Memory Lane.
Recount the times God came through for you.
Number Your Days. He has been with you all the way!
All the way my Savior has led me.
Has the LORD failed you? Never!

I've been walking with the LORD for over 50 years now, over 30 have been right here as Pastor. It has always been a journey filled with challenge and victory. 

Joshua 4:21-24 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the Hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” 

Leave some monuments!

4.Watch Him Work as You Step Out in Faith 
Joshua 3:5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” 

Whether it is to witness or do something for Him and His Kingdom
You realize it is He working through you.
Psalm 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. 
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

See His power!

He is doing a work in your days. If He told you what was in store you would not believe it.

What is God asking you to do today? What step of faith is He speaking to you about? Where is He asking you to go where you have never been before? 

We never know what God may do through our lives.

Surrender to His Sovereignty and watch Him work in your life!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Being Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1.10-18

Joshua 1:18 "Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. 
Only be strong and of good courage.” 

Only Be Strong and Courageous
*Strong= to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore

*Courageous= to be strong, alert,  brave, stout, bold, solid, hard
secure (for oneself), harden (heart), make firm, make obstinate, assure
to be determined, to make oneself alert, confirm oneself, persist in, prove superior to exhibit strength,  feel strong

Joshua is being exhorted by the LORD and now by the leaders of Israel. He was leading the nation into unchartered territory. Actually, it was God  Who was leading them. The LORD leads us into unchartered territory in time. We have never passed this way before. While history does repeat itself and there is basically nothing new under the sun, it is new for us.

1. A Change In Attitude From Those Who Rebelled.
Rebellion in the wilderness was bad enough. Rebellion as they entered the land could not be tolerated. Unity was essential if they were to have conquest.
It always is. 
Paul urged the Ephesians: Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 
We have this in our church. Not all churches do. Guard this. It is most precious.
Continue to love one another deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. Keep short accounts.
Yet be wise. Don't let a guy be treasurer if he has a history of embezzlement.  Using wisdom can be more loving even though it might not appear to be on the surface.

God was calling Joshua and Joshua was calling the people  and the people were calling Joshua to be strong and courageous. 

They needed as they left the wilderness. As difficult as it had been it God had fed them with manna, provided water from the rock and led them visibly with the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. This was all going to change. They were going to have to step up now and take on more responsibility. They would be at war for a while.

They needed it as they entered the land. The first thing they would face was the Jordan River then the city of Jericho. 
The battle of Jericho featured one of the most astounding miracles in the Bible, proving that God stood with the Israelites.
Hebrews 11.30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
Joshua 6:15
On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.
Joshua 6:20
When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

Jericho stands for things that are huge obstacles in our lives for fulfilling God's will. Jericho stands for impossibilities. It stands for things that unless we follow God we will never fully enter into His Promises.

There are some Jerichos facing you today and us as a church. We can go in and conquer them in Jesus' Name if we look to Him. He makes walls fall!

They needed strength and courage for future conquests beyond Jericho.

Taking the land was work, God's work. Their work was to trust what He was saying and obey Him.

Obedience to God brings us in the center of His will and His provisions. It is the best place to be!

2. The Ability To Do This Because of The LORD.

God often calls us to things beyond ourselves, to overwhelming things.
The spies were overwhelmed by the power of the enemy.
Deuteronomy 1:26-28 But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’” 

We need to be overwhelmed with the power and faithfulness of God1
The faithless say, "You underestimate the power of your enemy."
The faithful reply, "You underestimate the power of my God!"

His power 
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might. 

They would have all died out in the wilderness like their forefathers if it had not been for the LORD, His love, His power, His plan.

In your life it has been these things which have brought you this far. It is Him and His Love, power and plan which will bring you to heaven.

We have no idea what God may do in your life.
Habakkuk 1.5 If He told you, you would not believe it.

Bob Pierce and Franklin Graham... Samaritan's Purse and World Medical Mission

World Medical Mission was founded in 1977 when two surgeon brothers, Drs. Lowell and Richard Furman, approached Franklin Graham and expressed their desire to volunteer for a short-term assignment in a mission hospital during their vacation. Not wanting to duplicate efforts, Franklin researched the field for other organizations that might already be involved in this work. To his surprise, there were none. While stilll a student in college, Franklin accepted the challenge to lead this organization, and World Medical Mission was born.

He took on Samaritan's Purse from Bob Pierce, who was dying of leukemia a few years later and today the two organizations are together... 
Dr. Aileen Coleman
Dr. Nelson Bell's book
Dr. Stevens

Dr. Kent Brantly
Dr. Kent Brantly, a U.S. medical missionary who contracted Ebola in July while working as a doctor in Liberia and survived the deadly disease after treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, appeared at a joint Senate hearing September 16th examining the Ebola outbreak.

September 9th Boone, NC Samaritan's Purse HQ
One of the most powerful moments of the praise service occurred unnoticed by many, when Dr. Brantly turned, looked straight at his young son on Amber’s lap, and sang to him some of the opening words of Matt Redman’s anthem, “Ten Thousand Reasons.”

“Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me/
Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

Franklin Graham prayed before Dr. Brantly spoke.

That moment summed up Dr. Brantly’s message to the staff, based on Deuteronomy 6. In this familiar passage, God urges the fathers of Israel to remind their children of all the LORd has done for them.

“I will never grow tired of talking of this,” Dr. Brantly said. “I’m going to keep telling my story, so I can remember what God has done in my life.”

Later in his address, Dr. Brantly encouraged all staff to reflect on their own lives, see what God has done, and tell others about it.

“I want to encourage and challenge each of you,” he said. “Never think you’re just a normal person. If you’re pursuing God’s calling in your life, He will use you. Even if it’s a challenging calling, even if you find yourself in difficult circumstances, He will give you what you need to be faithful to Him, even if it’s a whole army of people praying for you."

“Share your story over and over and over so you can remember we serve a mighty God.”

Habakkuk 1.5 If He told you what He was going to do in your days, you would not believe it.
If the LORD told me I would be going to Haiti once a few years back I would have wondered how... Adly and I were  neighbors long before he came to church here.  a year ago I would have said okay I can see. But if He told me I was going to go back a second time in a 5 month period I would not have believed it. If He told me I would personally have $1,225 given to me by friends and placed in the offering for the church there today I would not have believed it. If you told me a year ago the children of Good Shepherd would support little  5 year old Bettina in Haiti so she could attend Adly's brother's school I would not believe it, but I will be bring her tuition with me when I go.  It started with my daughter when she first took over Good Shepherd. If I was told I would be going where Franklin Graham just visited and doing some of the same things he just did (Shoeboxes) I would not have believed it!

Going Into the Promised Land...

3. This Can Only Be Done By Keeping Your Eyes Fixed on Him.


Read the Word.

Do not look at circumstances.

Do not be distracted by the devil.

Do not be discouraged by the opposition. 

Strength for the day
Deuteronomy 33:25b  your strength will equal your days. 

Keep your heart open, your ears open, your eyes on Jesus. He will lead you to do things in your life, in your prayer life, in your witnessing...  Sow those seeds of kindness, pray, cry out to Him.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the wildernessand streams in the wasteland. 

For the audio version click here:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Audio Version A New Year And New Beginnings

A New Year and New Beginnings

Joshua 1.1-11

Moses, my servant, is dead, now...
An new era, a new time, the end of one portion of Israel's history.
Crossing the wilderness is over, the Promised Land is before them.
Under the leadership of Moses the nation had journeyed to the border of the Promised Land. Due to unbelief what should have taken a month took 40 years. 

New Years offer a chance to start anew, an opportunity to reflect, a time for making changes and a time to worry about what lies ahead! Given the time we are in it can be a time of anxiety and even dismay.
As always we need to hear what God's Word has to say. God's Word is for today. This verse speaks directly to us about things on the horizon in 2015.

Israel was in a transitional time. Moses' leadership was coming to an end. God had already prepared Joshua. He spoke through Moses to keep the people calm during this change of national leadership. His Word through His servant encouraged and challenged the people.

The word, "Now" in verse 2, is power packed. It is part of this transition of leadership but also giving instructions and promises for the immediate future and the distant future. You see how the LORD transcends time? This was a culmination of years of Israel's history-v.6 Promises made to Abraham, Issac and Jacob were about to be fulfilled. Let's look at the truths for us here as we have begun this New Year.

Joshua 1 has been used by many pastors to encourage their congregations to lean on the LORD and trust Him for victory in life’s challenges when facing a New Year. I myself have used it many times.

The known and unknown had frightened Israel and turned them back from the portal of entry into the Land God promised them.

Jesus said He was the Truth. He prayed to the Father for our sanctification, and said that the Father's Word was Truth.  He tells it like it is!

1. Moses was Dead but God was Still Moving. v.1

Still is
End of an era. 
Visit to old church building yesterday. Mayor MacDermott's wife, Mary runs one of the Girl Scout troops which meets in our church. She invited me to go over.
I thought of the past, our past.
I had a memory rush.
I thought of God's Sovereign Hand. 
I thought of the Good Hand of the LORD was upon Pastors Restrick, Cubie, Bedell and Pastor Utter and Arey and Pastor Rapalje (I don't feel  worthy to be associated with this list at times).
I thought of how God got us here as they asked me the story.
I thought of the incredible passage of time.
Only 5of us were ever even in that building when it was our church.
I thought of how my grandkids are now as old and older than my girls were when I came 30 years ago.
Steve and Cindy Lai asking me in Target yesterday if I have retired!

Beginning of a new one.
I thought of my nephews getting married and how they used to romp around my home for their vacations, of Pastor Murillo's kids, who used to come to my house on a regular basis... and have lunch or dinner or a late snack... the youngest is now married and  will soon become a mom, her brothers are married and fathers now.

Often the with the death of a leader the movement he led dies.
It could be that it was just for that time.
It could be the movement get stuck in the past.
It could be that the movement adapts and continues in new ways under new leadership.

Let's find where God is moving and join Him this year.
We know He is working among the children (and through them)
Suitcases for Haiti Girl Scouts involved with Haiti

The technology is amazing. You may not like it but God is using it... using it in powerful ways these days.
France, Poland, India, Russia, Germany, The Philippines, South Africa, Nigeria, Italy have read or listened to Our Sunday Morning Message- at the click of a button they can translate the whole thing now.
Malaysia, British Isles. Holland, Sweden, China and Viet Nam and others throughout the year.

Spoke to friends from 40 plus years ago... I want to write yoou a check for Haiti, through the technology we have today.

2.Joshua was called to lead. v.2
A new day which would lead to a whole new life for the nation
A new land Haiti
A new segment of the population around our Jerusalem. Unreached.
A new leader or  was it?.... God was still leading.
Different human instrument same God.

God has ways of working and things He wants to do we cannot even imagine.
Be yourself.
Let Him use your gifts and your pain. Joshua grieved but took it and led the nation, not casting aside Moses work at all but continuing on with it.

3. The Promises made to and through Moses would be fulfilled v.3
To Abraham
Isaac's birth
Jacob's name change
Joseph's saving of many lives including Israel's present and future

He was going to work through Joshua in ways like Joshua never knew.
The Israelites were about to see God work in ways like they had never seen.

Let's pray for our community, for this Island and for the whole Metro Area and our nation and this world.