Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ordinary Steps of Faith

Sunshine brightly fills the sanctuary along with a large assembly of worshippers. After the service we will be sharing a chili dinner together as Pastor Brad kicks off his 1500 mile snowmobile adventure/fund raiser.

After beginning by saying "I'm grateful you're here," Brad shared how special this snowmobile trip is as a tool to raise funds and awareness for the faith adventure of building the new facility across the street. God is pleased when we step out. And when we step out, God will be found faithful. For updates on Brad's snowmobile adventure along the way visit the New Frontier Expedition website.

Darlene and Brad led us in worship this morning. The offering followed as we generously demonstrated our appreciation for God's generosity toward us.

A variety of needs were shared and lifted up during our prayer time.

Ordinary Steps of Faith

Wandering in the wilderness was not the endpoint of God's plan for Israel in its exodus from Egypt. They would eventually need to take new steps of faith requiring new levels of courage. The text Brad read from was Joshua 1. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.

One problem with courage is that we define it incorrectly. We think about extreme sports like those snowboarders doing flips over seven stories high.

God is not talking about that. He's talking about telling the truth. He's talking about the courage of being a single parent. He's taking about the courage required to ask for help with a substance abuse problem. Doing big things for God boils down to how to do the daily little things.

The second thing is that courage is not something you think about, it is something you do. Here are some ways God invites us to risk.

Joshua 1 begins, "After the death of Moses..."

Moses was the quarterback. Moses was the one who took responsibility, the one who did the leadership thing. But once Moses was gone, someone else would have to step up. This was Joshua's responsibility.

I don't think most of us have any confusion about where our responsibilities lie. For most, the problem is our not doing it, not dealing with things that need to be dealt with.

Avoiding responsibility, failing to take initiative, will lead to low self-esteem, insecurity and depression. God created us to take responsibility, to take initiative.

Israel had become accustomed to wandering in the desert. After 40 years this was their "normal" existence. All of a sudden they are being told by God to move into the land and settle there. This was a scary thing because there were other people already living there who didn't want them there.

Change stirs up fears. For Israel it was the Canaanites. But we all have different "giants in the land" that seem bigger than we can tackle because we forget how big is our God.

Sometimes walking away from a situation seems the easiest thing, but the greatest act of courage in many situations is to stay put, to not change.

The closest I came to leaving ministry was when I was in Bloomington, Brad said. He received scars, but stuck it out and learned so much more than he could have imagined. God could do so much through even the smallest acts of everyday courage.

We're also called to courageously take God at His word.

When Israel crossed the Jordan, the first barrier was the walled city of Jericho. God instructed them to march around the city for seven days, which they did. They took God at His word, and He delivered the victory.

The best model of taking God at His word was the first century carpenter Jesus. Jesus practiced this every day, even to the cross. Interestingly, "Jesus" is the Greek version of the name Joshua. And He certainly felt it profoundly when He read those opening words, "As I was with Moses, so will I be with You, Joshua."

Yes, God made a promise to Moses that He would be faithful to His word, the same promise He made to Joshua and to Jesus. And to this day He makes it to you. When we feel weak, God gives us His strength, and the courage to cross that river from wandering to purpose, courage and faith.

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