Courage is needed to move ahead, and we will look at Joshua and how he had courage to take the land…
Open to Joshua 1
Last Wednesday in my quiet time I got this…
Joshua 1:11 (ESV)
“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.’”
We settled the new property on Friday, 3 days after the Lord spoke to me in my quiet time. Pretty cool!
Moving church is going to completely change the landscape for Ignite Church. We will go from a suburban church to an inner city church… from no office to a suit of offices, from the fringe of our community to the centre.
As we gear up to move into our new home, the world will look entirely different. A inner city church will attract different people. Finances will be different, security needs an upgrade, and the faith we need will have to deepen as we follow the Lord into our Promised Land.
So I want to inspire and encourage you as we look to improve the new building and get started down there at Short St. How can you prepare your heart now to be a part of making 2021 the best year in Ignite’s history
1. GET CALLED
If you are a believer, consider yourself called. Don’t sit around waiting for a light bulb moment, if you know Jesus, you are called to serve Him and the Kingdom. It may not be as a pastor or leader, but God has plans for you if you are obedient.
Some people experience a radical calling from God that transforms their life, but honestly, most do not. In fact, most people who become Christians have no awareness of God’s calling on their life beyond repentance and accepting Christ. If God’s sole purpose was saving you, you’d come to Jesus and go straight to Heaven. No, He has plans for you to serve and minister and reach this lost world.
Moses experienced a very dramatic and arresting call… the burning bush, Exodus 3. This was the ultimate, supernatural calling, and note how he responded…
Exodus 3:4 (ESV)
When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
However, you could argue that Moses experienced the calling of God long before the burning bush, because his whole life was a preparation for his divine mission. There’s a great clue in this. Often the calling of God occurs gently and subtly early on, sometimes even before you accept Christ, allowing you to develop into what God has for you. For Moses, the most significant thing was not how long it took, but that he replied “Here I am,” and so should you when God calls.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The Greek word for prepare beforehand is PROETOMAZO, which is derived from the ancient custom of sending envoys ahead of a king to make the road smooth for him. If carries the idea of a builder forming up a concrete pour, shaping it to allow the work to be done.
God has been and still is moving ahead of us to prepare the way for the good works He has called us to do. I don’t believe anyone here wants to live a life of failure. I’m sure most of you would love to do something significant and eternal for God, but perhaps you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you have a long held dream in your heart. Stick with us at Ignite and, in time, if you continue to be faithful, I know God will raise up unique gifts and callings in you. In the new building we will again run 101 and 201, which help to discover your gifts and where you fit at Ignite.
You don’t have to be clever or talented or gifted. God is more interested in your availability than you’re ability, so the first step is to say, like Moses, here I am, I’m available. You are all called to play a role in the Kingdom of God, so all you need to do is say, like Isaiah, here I am, send me.
2. GET COURAGE
Going to any new situation takes courage. Going into the Promised Land to take possession of his inheritance took courage on behalf of Joshua.
Joshua 1:6-7 (ESV)
Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
If we are to be successful in growing the church the Lord wants in Nambour, we need to have courage.
There is an epidemic of weakness that is sweeping into the church. Worldly, outside culture is infiltrating the church, leaving many leaders fearful of making decisions. Our preoccupation with “consensus”, with tolerance and political correctness, has a stranglehold on what we do and what we even attempt.
Nothing in life or in ministry ever happens apart from courage. Somebody has to pull the trigger. Somebody has to have a go, someone has to step up and try. Thinking about it, pondering, dreaming, discussing, that’s all fine, but ultimately someone has to step up to the crease and bat.
As we move to our new digs, we need to be inspired and to be full of courage. That passage says to be strong and courageous to take the land, but it says be strong and very courageous to be careful to do what the law says. It takes being “very courageous” to be obedient, and without actions courage is just a buoyant feeling.
James 2:17 (ESV)
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Three times God reminded Joshua to be strong and have courage. The Hebrew word for strong is HAZAQ, and it refers to “sound legs,” while the word for courage AMAS refers to “having a secure grasp.” Joshua’s success as a leader depended on standing strong and holding on tight.
Joshua had already proven his ability to stand against opposition 40 years before, when he and Caleb stood their ground about invading the land the first time against the other spies. (Num. 13:1–14:45). As the people again prepared to enter the land this time, Joshua’s next steps required a secure grasp of God’s plans and values as explained in the Book of the Law (Josh. 1:8).
God’s message to Joshua urges us forward at this moment in our history. We need to stand strong and hold on tight to His promises and His Word.
3. GET CONNECTED
We have sadly seen a few people pull out of church because of our move. I want to urge all of us to stay connected at this time. Blessing is coming, impact on our community is about to happen, and I don’t want you to miss out! Now more than ever before, we need to be connected, because we cannot make this move in isolation. We must connect with the community, each other and most importantly, God.
God- Stay with your quiet times, keep worshipping and stay close to God.
John 15:5 (ESV)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Church- We need to stay committed to the people of God, to church. In our new position, we will be able to do so much more for the Kingdom, but only if we stand together in unity. I find the enemy constantly attacking unity, because He knows that if we stay together we are so much more powerful for God.
Colossians 2:19 (ESV)
holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
People- we also need to stay connected to people in this world. They need to hear the gospel, and we should be ready, willing and able to share it with them.
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Now more than ever let’s stay connected, not neglecting to meet together, but strengthening each other. Hebrews 10:24-25.
4. GET COMMITTED
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Joshua, about to invade the Promised Land, had to decide to see it through. He had to get fully committed to the program, to set his face like flint and get the job done. He couldn’t dabble, he couldn’t get distracted and he dare not start the job and give up. That’s the same Spirit we need right now.
Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Before us is one of the greatest opportunities you will ever have to grow your ministry. It’s like a blank slate, and whatever the Lord has laid upon your heart to do can happen, but only if we pull together towards a common goal of reaching our community for Jesus Christ.
5. GET CONCENTRATED
Joshua 1:7 (ESV)
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
It is so tempting for us to get sidetracked with things that might be good, but they are not God’s best for us. So whatever your pet thing or theology, your Christian bent, it’s time to lay it aside and remain committed to the main goal.
Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We will achieve nothing if we are not focussed on serving the Lord in unity. You can throw yourself into many things, but most things we strive for in life are actually worth nothing in eternity.
If we concentrate on nothing else, let’s seek the will of God for our lives, our families and our church. Joshua could not be half-hearted or self seeking if he was to take his people into their destiny in the Promised land. He had to forsake and side issues and keep the main thing the main thing. He had to press on to win the prize, and so do we.
Over the next few weeks there will be building works going on at the new place, but there needs to be building works happening in your heart too.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
God is building His church here at Ignite, and you are an integral part of it. I challenge you to put your shoulder to the wheel at let’s build something sunfish together. But we just always remember,
Psalms 127:1 (ESV)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It’s all about God and His Kingdom, not me, not you and not Ignite Church. We need to know God’s leading here and have courage and be single minded enough to follow it and obey.
SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM
With so many things to worry about, coordinate, arrange and sort out, I confess I am at times overwhelmed by the situation. I take heart from this verse…
Matthew 6:32-33 (ESV)
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
And as we face our destiny, we need to lay our agendas, whatever they might be, aside and seek in unity the Kingdom of God first and have courage. But how can we know God’s will and follow it?
It’s the same way Joshua knew God’s will and obeyed it…
Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
You see, Ultimately, success for a Christian or a church is fulfilling your God-given purpose in life. To do that, you (like Israel, like Joshua) must meditate on Scripture and carefully observe everything written in it.
We’ve got our Bible reading program, sure, but this verse goes deeper than just reading a few verses a day. Meditate is Hebrew HAGA, which means to mutter or growl. To repeat the words over and over under your breath. To meditate on something is to think about it, dwell on it, roll it over and over in your mind in much the same way that a cow chews its cud.
When you do this, the Word of God is driven deeply into your soul so that your actions can be directed and driven by God’s perspective rather than your feelings or opinion.
As we prepare to move, I am asking you to pray and ask God where you see yourself being part of this. Is it in prayer, or being on the welcome team. Is it in worship, or leading a group, or cleaning or street witnessing, or serving coffee, or working with kids or teens.
Every part, however small or humble, forms the whole, so what do you long to see happening at Ignite?