Summary: This is a sermon that challenges the hearers to prepare for the New Year.

“CROSSING OVER” Josh. 3:1-8

INTRO – Here we are, 3 days from the year 2003. Time for new beginnings, new resolutions, new commitments. Folks will start dieting again, exercising again, trying to be disciplined again. I’m reminded of a fellow named Ralph who, after thoroughly enjoying his holiday meals and snacks, got on his bathroom scale and sucked in his stomach. Wife saw him, laughed, and said, “Sucking in your stomach doesn’t help.” Ralph said, “Sure it does. It’s the only way I can see how much I weigh!”

The new year is an opportunity for us to stop and take stock of our lives and determine if there are areas in our lives that need to be strengthened, priorities that need to be reordered, directions in our lives that need to be changed. It is an opportunity for us to cross over into new, uncharted territory in the realm of time, and new, uncharted territory in the realm of our relationship with Christ. We will be in the new land of 2003, and we face a decision – Will we go into the new land and claim the promises of God?

As we look at this piece of the children of Israel’s history several hundred years B.C., we see some comparisons that we can make to our lives today. As the children of Israel had decisions to make, so you and I today have decisions to make.


A. How many of you have ever been camping? How many of you enjoy camping? Can be a very enjoyable experience. Some folks have RV’s and campers. Others have tents. Can be great family time. Bonding time with kids. Or it can be a miserable time!

i. Mission trip as an 8th grader. Tent camping in Arkansas. Youth choir singing in the campground and doing BBC. Thunderstorms came up. Washed all of our tents, clothes, and sleeping bags away. Miserable! So homesick I thought I was going to die!

B. Children of Israel were camped out along the Jordan River right on the edge of the Promised Land.

i. Didn’t have RV’s and campers.

ii. Had been wandering in wilderness for 40 years.

iii. Had buried many of the friends and family members in the wilderness.

iv. And now they stand on the threshold of the Land that God had promised to them.

C. They look back on yesterday.

i. Lot of memories, both good and bad.

1. Times of victory and defeat.

2. Times of successes and failures.

3. Times of great experiences and disappointments.

4. Times that they are proud of and times of regret.

ii. Their 2 great leaders, Moses and Aaron, are dead.

iii. A young man, Joshua, untried and untested, has been put in charge.

D. They look forward to tomorrow.

i. Facing a fortress city called Jericho.

1. “Can we take this city? There are giants in the land.” “Can we take the other cities that are beyond Jericho?”

E. They looked at their today.

i. We will camp here for 3 days and get ready. We will get ready to CROSS OVER!

F. God called them to be “crossover people.” And He is calling us to be the same.

i. We stand here on the edge of 2003, uncharted territory, camped out for 3 days before crossing over.

ii. We look back on yesterday, on this year that is about over.

1. Times of victory and defeat.

2. Times of successes and failures.

3. Times of wonderful experiences and deep disappointments.

4. Times that we are proud of and times that we regret.

5. Look back on yesterday, but don’t linger there!

iii. We look forward to tomorrow.

1. Facing uncertain days.

2. Facing our “Jericho’s”.

3. Facing our giants.

4. Opportunities for growth and depth in our walk with the Lord. Opportunities for deeper joy, deeper meaning, deeper understanding of who God is and what He desires for our lives.

G. So here we are today. Will we be a “crossover people,” a people dedicated to following God’s leadership in our personal lives and in our life as a church body?

i. Hebrew word is abar, which means to cross over or pass over. Emphasizes the decisive nature of this moment in the life of the Hebrew people.

H. We all have those “abar” moments in our lives – those significant moments of decision:

i. Decisions about career, marriage, college, money.

ii. Crises that arise in our lives due to sickness, financial troubles, divorce, family difficulties.

iii. All of these are “abar” times, crossover times.

I. Another significant crossover time is those moments of spiritual decision when we open our lives up to Jesus in confession and repentance and receive His forgiveness and grace.

i. It’s the moment when we rededicate ourselves afresh and anew after days, months, or perhaps even years of wandering in the wilderness.

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