Summary: This sermon encourages our church to trust the promises of God in reaping a harvest of milk and honey even with two different perspectives in the church.
As I review this past year in the life of our church, it is apparent that God has been speaking to us in a language of promise just as He did with the people of Israel. I did not review the past year from a standpoint of what went wrong and what went right. No instead I reviewed this year from a point of what did God say to us as a church?
We started 2007 concluding with our series of teachings from Hebrews 11. The question to ask ourselves is what did we learn from these series of lessons?
1. We learned that faith is the key to successful Christian living (of which I believe to be the theme of Hebrews 11).
2. We learned that in faith we must trust God through impossible situations.
3. We learned that in faith we must obey God even when we don’t have all the details.
4. We learned that those who kept the faith were rewarded for their faith.
5. We learned that we don’t have to be perfect for God to use us.
6. We learned that doubt is a natural response to things we don’t understand.
7. We learned that what seems impossible to us is not impossible for God.
Bottom-line for FGMBC: Faith is the key for the future success in the life of our church. We will never understand God’s power to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think if we don’t trust God enough to step out in faith and try Him.
We also studied from the life of Joshua and his leading the people of Israel into the promise land. While this was a rich study for me personally. I believe it was beneficial for us a church in this season of ministry transition. There are some key themes that I believe are worth mentioning in this address.
→ Progress: Joshua chapter 1 – God encourages Joshua and the people of Israel to move forward. God is not concerned with so much as to where we’ve been but where we’re going. Yes, it is true, we will never forget our rich history here at FGMBC but we can never forget that what’s ahead is much brighter than where we’ve been.
→ Wait: Joshua chapter 3 – Joshua and the people of Israel are at the Jordan River on their way to the promise land of Canaan but could not cross because the water was too high. The only way to cross the Jordan River is that God had to perform a miracle. Church, there are some miracles that come immediately like the crossing at the Red Sea. But then there are some miracles that God makes us wait for until we’re ready. I believe God has us at the brink of miracle but there is still a little more waiting we have to do.
→ Obedience: Joshua chapter 6 – God commanded Joshua and the people of Israel to march around Jericho’s walls for 7 days to bring down those walls to take the city. This sounds ridiculous! But it’s never our job to question God about what He’s doing. It’s our responsibility to hear and obey the voice of the Lord no matter how ridiculous the command may seem to us.
→ Fight: Joshua 7-12 – We see the Joshua and the children of Israel in battle after battle to possess the land of promise. What this says to me, as your pastor, is that sometimes the blessings of God don’t come easy. There are going to be times when we must fight to possess and laid hold of all that God desires for us. Understand church, in every battle that we have to fight, God is fighting for and with us, we never fight alone.
→ Adjustments (Change): Joshua 13 – God tells Joshua; “You’re old and there is still much land to possess”. Joshua did one of the smartest things in his life time he didn’t try to do everything himself. Instead, Joshua recognized his age and his inability to complete all that needed to get done. So he divided the land has God gave direction. What smart leadership! I know many times people in the church are afraid of growth for fear that because of their age they maybe left behind and pushed aside. Growth in the church does not necessarily mean a pushing away of older members. Please understand that for every job completed there is still more work to be done. As the times change so do we. Methods change every day but the message remains the same.
Oh dear love ones, I know God has us in a strategic position to make a difference for His kingdom and to receive all that He has for us. But let me summarize all that has been said and it is our theme for 2008: