Summary: Montgomery Hills Baptist Church: Built around the five "God is" statements of Avalanche Ranch Vacation Bible School, and punctuated by "Wahoo". God is real, God is with us, God is strong, God is awesome, God is in charge.
And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed.
Not one thing has failed. It would be wonderful to say that about the things you have tried to do, wouldn’t it? Not one thing has failed! No F’s on the report card, no mess-ups in the piano recital, no arguments on the school playground, no scoldings from Mom? I am thinking about my junior high school days, when they made us jump over high hurdles. I never did get the hang of that. Hanging up, yes, but not the hang of how to hurdle. Wow, if I could have said then, “Not one thing has failed,” wouldn’t that be a Wahoo?!
Joshua, about whom you learned so much this week, was now old. He knew it, he felt it, in every bone of his body. Joshua knew that he did not have much time left. He could no longer lead Israel into rigorous battle, as he had once done. Our Avalanche Ranch students know that as a young man Joshua had been named by Moses to take the people into the land of promise. And Joshua had worked hard. He had rallied the people behind him. He had summoned all their energies, he had won stunning victories.
But now Joshua was a senior citizen, and he was measuring the years that had gone by. He was taking stock of what he had done. Joshua was asking, “Has my life been a failure?” Once he had shouted, “Wahoo!,” but Joshua was now murmuring, “Who, me?”
Avalanche Ranch was filled with young people. When I came over here on Thursday night for the closing session, I knew that I hadn’t seen so much youthful energy in one room in a long time. Jumping and shouting, whooping and hollering, even dancing! In a Baptist church! Wahoo! And that’s just the adult leadership!
What a good thing all of you are doing with your lives! You are learning, you are positive, you have good things to do, probably some of you have dreams about what you want to do in the years to come. That’s super. In fact, that’s a Wahoo!
But you will not always be young. You will not always be a child. You will not always even be a grandmother whose moves make her look years younger! Some day, in the providence of God, you will be at the other end of life. You will be a grownup, and then a senior citizen. And so today, I want to think with you about this man Joshua – the young man you studied this week – and I want you to go with me to the end of the story, when Joshua grew old . What did he feel? I think he, like many of us, was asking, “Has my life been a failure?” Too many people wonder that. Too many feel nothing but emptiness as the days grow shorter.
So I want to bring some good news this morning to young and to old. The good news is that it is never too early nor too late to succeed. It’s never too early nor too late to get a life! In the immortal words of that esteemed theologian, Yogi Berra, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. If we are asking, “Has my life been a failure?” Joshua has something to teach us!
First, when Joshua asked whether his life had been a failure, he could answer, “No,” because Joshua had learned to live by faith and not by sight. Joshua had learned that if you live knowing that God is real and that God is involved in this world, you will be a success. But if you thinking that you have to make everything happen on your own, you will never succeed! If you live without believing that God is involved with us, you will feel a failure. You will feel a failure if you measure your life by what you have done on your own. But you can be a success if you will live within the purposes of a great God, a God who is not just an idea, not just a theory, not just a nebulous notion, but a God who is real. Wahoo! Listen to Joshua:
You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you.
You have seen what God has done. You have been a part of God’s plan. Discover that God’s will includes you. Find out that God is real. Wahoo!