Summary: Is the church willing to risk to move into the Promised Land

The Promised Land

October 30, 2016

Deuteronomy 1:19-40

I was working on a sermon for today, was about 3/4 done, and then I was prompted to throw it away. I really don’t like it when God does that to me. It usually happens a few times a year. I thought I had a really good start to an election oriented message. God said NO! I don’t always like to listen!

As I thought about how to proceed, I could think of no better opening than to look at the Chicago Cubs. Yes, I’m a Chicago fan! Raised on the north side, went to countless games as a kid, and I even had a neighbor who was a Cubs player and took me to games.

As I write this, the series is tied 1-1. As of now, the series is __________ . Win or lose, the Cubs have made a huge impact on Major League Baseball. They’ve been loveable losers for so many years, that it kind of became cute to become a Cubs fan, it was fun to attend games to see the park, but not the game. That’s not the case any longer. Now, if you want to attend tonights game, the cheapest ticket, for standing room only is $ 2,170.

The best value tickets are selling for an average of $ 7,500.

And if you just want to spend money, you can spend up to $ 75,000 for one ticket.

So, how did all of this happen? NOW, work with me. We’re using the Cubs as a metaphor for the church.

They took some risks. They wanted to get to the Promised Land, but after so many years of futility the ownership said enough is enough. We’re going to get creative, we’re going to shoot for the moon and if it does not happen, nobody will be able to fault us for trying and doing some things that shocked people.

Now, I think the church, as a whole is stuck in futility. The world looks at us as pretty weak, ineffective, and wonders what good is the church. That’s how I looked at the Cubs for years!

They stole away Theo Epstein, this young upstart of a General Manager from the Boston Red Sox. He was 28! The youngest in history, by far. The Red Sox were like the Cubs, mired in futility. The red Sox, the Cubs and the White Sox had the longest drought of wining the World Series. But he made bold, daring, risky moves, and he helped lead the Red Sox to 3 World Series Championships.

Epstein came to Chicago and began to make bold, daring and risky moves. And the Cubs steadily improved. They made some risky moves this post season. They have a young kid, Kyle Schwarber, who played 2 games in April, make the World Series roster and has become a sensation. How do you know to play a kid who had major knee surgery in April, who is not even medically cleared to play the field, but you have him bat and run the bases?

It’s an easy answer, you take some risks. OK, you’re tired of hearing about the Cubs, what does this have to do with church? Glad you asked! I want to read a long section of scripture. It’s from the Old Testament. It’s a combination of a story from Deuteronomy 1 and Numbers 13.

You see, after the Israelites left Egypt, they wandered in the desert and eventually came to the Promised Land, Israel. Here’s the story . . .

19 “Then we set out from Horeb and went through all that great and terrifying wilderness, on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us. And we came to Kadesh-barnea.

20 And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us.

21 See, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’

22 Then all of you came near me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may explore the land and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come.’

23 The thing seemed good to me, and I took twelve men from you, one man from each tribe.

24 And they turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and spied it out.

25 After 40 days they returned with some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again and said, ‘It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.’

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