Summary: We must prepare for new seasons in our life when God gives us ideas.
Iliff and Saltillo UM churches
September 8, 2002
Preparing for a New Season
Introduction: Most of us rush through the seasons without giving much thought to where we’ve been or where we’re going. When we finally do look back, we wonder where the time went. It will soon be a year since 9/11 although we have been reminded of this constantly on the news all year. Other things are less obvious in our lives. We see another birthday or anniversary come and go. We see a few more gray hairs and a few more aches and pains develop. We see another Thanksgiving and Advent Season approaching.
The signs that fall is around the corner is evident by the leaves starting to turn colors and cooler weather approaching. The change of seasons is inevitable. Although the fall leaves are pretty, we know that winter ice and snow and cold weather is just around the corner. We may say, “I wish I had done this or that this summer, but I didn’t get it done.” We often miss out on the season.
There are also new seasons in our life, and God doesn’t shelter us from change. He uses it to prepare us for new seasons of opportunity and service. New seasons and experiences stretch us beyond our current comfort zones. Sometimes--maybe, far too often-- we rush right through the signs of the seasons and miss out on the things that God is trying to point out to us. This is sad because we have so much undeveloped potential in all of our lives. Productive seasons don’t just happen automatically. We must prepare for a new season.
Today’s scripture gives us some information about a man who experienced many productive seasons in his life when he was Moses’ aide; but after Moses died, he was placed in an entirely new season of productivity.
Let’s see how it applies to our individual lives and to our congregation today.
1. A New Vision for a New Season: Joshua already knew that he was to be Moses’ successor. He had been in training with Moses for forty years. He not only had EXPERIENCE as shown in Exodus 17:10-13 but he already had his COMMISSION for the future as seen in Deut. 31:1-5. This day had arrived in Chapter 1 of Joshua. God had given Joshua a new VISION of a preferred future for the Israelites. It was in the form of a general outline rather than a full-blown plan. He knew the first step he was to take, and he had certain signs of assurance that God would be with him just as He was with Moses.
Verse 2 says, “get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land that I am about to give them.” Joshua had earlier reports about this Promised Land.
Although God had given him somewhat of a general vision, it would not happen automatically. There were problems and barriers in the way of seeing this fulfilled even with Joshua’s previous training and experience. For one thing the Jordan River stood between them and the Promised Land and there was no easy way to cross over it. It was the flood season--probably the worst time to begin such a journey.
But the vision was still there. Do we give up on the vision that God gives us for a better job, or an improvement in our life or church because we see problems and barriers in the way? Maybe we say, “I can’t go to college. I couldn’t make it. I don’t have any money to get a better car. I can’t teach a Sunday school class. Can’t go to layspeaker school. Can’t change jobs. Can’t live in a better house.” We give up on any number of things.
Often as a result, the vision never gets out of the initial stage. Joshua didn’t let the vision die with Moses. He didn’t know HOW it would be fulfilled, but he was willing to give it a try.
When you have some sense of God’s leading, begin to GROW IN THAT DIRECTION. For example, if you would like to be a Sunday school teacher, what steps do you need to take to GROW IN that direction? If you want to have a college degree one of these days, how would you begin to prepare--to GROW IN THAT DIRECTION?
Many people say, “Oh, I would give anything if I could play the piano. I would give anything if I could understand the Bible.” How would you BEGIN to GROW IN THAT DIRECTION? That is PREPARING FOR A NEW SEASON.
You might first find a piano teacher if you want to play the piano and sign up for lessons.
You might start going to a Bible study.
Get additional training for a better job