Summary: The first in a series on the book of Joshua. This sermon focuses on how change in our lives is an important part of God’s work.
1. Have you ever wished during an especially wonderful time in your life that you could freeze things right where they were? I remember having that thought a number of years ago my family was spending time with my parents, they were healthy, the children were doing well, the family was in good shape & everyone was happy. I had the thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could hit the pause button on life & just stop everything right where it is at this very moment.
2. Of course it doesn’t work that way. I’ve since come to realize more than ever that when things are going wonderful in your life you can’t expect them to remain that way, but the reverse is also true. When the most difficult moments of life confront you, those moments don’t remain the same either. Sometimes things get better and at other times things get worse, but things never remain the same. Life just doesn’t work like that.
3. The only typical exception is that when we’re young we usually can’t wait for things to change. We want to grow up, and be given more freedom. Then it happens and we discover that while we wouldn’t want to go back, those changes bring a whole new series of challenges into our lives. We want things to be good for us and stay that way, but they don’t. You can relate to what I’m saying can’t you? I thought so.
4. But like it or not change comes into our lives. We can fight change, but we cannot stop it. Change is one of the few things in life that is a constant. It’s not going to go away.
5. I had to laugh recently when I came across a nurses list of duties in a hospital in 1887. Let me tell you I’m glad there have been changes. Consider a nurses duties 118 years ago. In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations: 1. Daily sweep & mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient’s furniture & window sills. 2. Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day’s business. 3. Lighting is important to observe the patient’s condition. Therefore, each day fill kerosene lamps, clean chimneys & trim wicks. Wash the windows once a week. 4. The nurse’s notes are important in aiding the physician’s work. Make your pens carefully, you may whittle nibs to your individual taste. 5. Each nurse on day duty will report at 7:00 AM & leave at 8:00 PM., except on the Sabbath, on which day you will be off from noon to 2:00 PM. 6. Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go regularly to church. 7. Each nurse should lay aside from each payday a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you make $30 a month, you should set aside $15. 8. Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions & integrity. 9. The nurse who performs her labors & serves her patients & doctors faithfully & without fault for a period of 5 years will be given an increase by the hospital administration of 5¢ a day, providing there are no hospital debts that are outstanding.
6. Hospitals have changed in incredible ways since 1887, but so have churches. In fact as much as we are tempted to resist it, change must take place in the church as well.
7. The same was true during ancient times. Moses had faithfully served God as Israel’s leader for the last 40 years. He was there in the good times & the bad, during that period he was always there. Then, he died. We’re never quite ready for death even when we see it coming. We don’t want to lose those we love. The truth is that we don’t want our lives to change even when we see those changes on the horizon. Most of us love it when things remain the same, but let’s be honest, they don’t ever truly remain the same.
8. Churches that refuse to change die. We may not like it, but it’s the way it is. I begin a series of sermons this morning called, "Possibilities: The Dream of What Lies Ahead." The landscape of the young Jewish nation has just changed. Moses had just died & change was on the horizon. Let’s read our text—