Joshua 1-4, Psalm 65
In any group of people, there is generally no shortage of both ideas and complaints. There are many things that I love about our church, Calvary Chapel of Old Bridge. Among them are the teaching and the fellowship. An area which may go more unnoticed is the ability to serve and form and participate in ministries. In many other churches, ministries are established by the pastor and those in the church have the ability to volunteer if they so desire. People have the tendency to sit on the sidelines and complain in any fellowship thinking how they would do something better or pointing out something which they perceive to be lacking. Here we don't put our time in and do our duty. When we serve, we serve God, and the various ministries allow us to do that. If there is an idea or a complaint, the leadership at the church will ask you to step out in faith, put it into motion under the guidance of the pastors, and form a ministry. There are many ministries represented in our church, many started by those in the body who did more than complain. When I approached Pastor Lloyd a couple of years ago about my concern that many seemed to be less interested in reading or wanting to talk about the Word of God, he allowed me to put together ideas and by the power of the Holy Spirit, begin the One Year Bible Challenge ministry.
We read in Joshua 3:13-16, "And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap. So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of the harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away...and the people crossed over opposite Jericho." We read in Hebrews 11:1,6, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." God was teaching His people a lesson in faith. He does the same for us, if we want to see God work in our lives we too must step out in faith and get our feet wet. If we want to see God work in our lives we must take these risks of faith and see the river part. We will see in tomorrow's reading in Joshua 6:10, "Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, "You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, 'Shout!' Then you shall shout." God knows that often when things don't make sense from an earthly standpoint our tendency is to complain or state how we would do things differently. In God's battle plan of marching around the walls of Jericho for 6 days in total silence, he prevented the people marching from murmuring to each other complaining how ridiculous the battle plan of God seemed.
When it comes to the Spirit-filled life we all need to step out in faith. It is easy to stand on the sidelines and complain or grumble about how things could be done better. Many avoid stepping out in faith fearing they will look foolish or things will not turn out as planned. God is working behind the scenes in ways we can't even begin to understand. God often acts after someone steps out in faith first. God uses every opportunity to teach us as we step out. The opportunities to serve Him in our daily lives, in our families, in our churches, in work are endless. All of us have a choice: cower in fear or step out in boldness and see what God will do in our lives. Paul encourages Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Mordecai encourages Esther in Esther 4:14, "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" We should all ask ourselves that last question, perhaps we are in this church, this workplace, this neighborhood, etc, for such a time as this. We will only know this if we are willing to step out in faith.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: