Thursday, October 18, 2007

GOD SPEAKS IN THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

Here are some gleanings from my recent journey through the book of Joshua.

  • This book helps you understand why "land" is such a big issue for the nation of Israel. They lived for 400 years in Egypt away from their homeland and then another 40 years in the wilderness. 440 years without a home.
  • God's military strategy for Joshua--no survivors. Why? Because the 13th century BC culture was one of child sacrifice, sacred prostitution, practices that used children and virgins to manipulate the gods. There needed to be a total cleansing.
  • God promised the land to His people, with Joshua as the leader. What "land" is God promising to Chapin Baptist Church?
  • The key to success in fulfilling a vision--meditating on God's Word and obedience.
  • The people completely bought into the vision God gave Joshua.
  • God used a prostitute (Rahab) to accomplish His purposes (and even allowed her to serve a role in the messianic line).
  • We must consecrate ourselves before we will see miracles.
  • We must take the first step, a step of faith, before the miracles come.
  • There is great value in the people of God remembering key events that demonstrate the hand of God.
  • When the leader leads with obedience to God, the people respect the leader.
  • One of the interesting parts of Joshua's job descriptions was using stone knives to circumcise. Ouch! That was under the section "Perform other duties as assigned."
  • One sin in the camp can remove the blessings of God.
  • After the victory of Ai, an altar to God was built, giving Him all the credit.
  • Chapter 9--you better check with God before making decisions.
  • It's not wise to go up against the God of the universe. He can send hailstones bigger than bowling balls. He can even extend the hours of the day if He so chooses.
  • Joshua didn't completely wipe out Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. This came back to haunt the people of God later (Goliath was from Gath).
  • About Caleb, 85 years old: "He gave himself totally to God." That's the way I want to be when I'm 85.
  • Chapter after chapter about the distribution of the Holy Land to the people of God. Again, great evidence as to why Israel serves such an important role in history.
  • God lived up to His promise that He would restore all the land to Israel.
  • Chapter 22--great example of how to handle problems. The tribes went directly to some of the other tribes when they saw a possible problems. Instead of jumping to conclusions, gossipping, and attacking, they went directly to the source of the issue and got everything clarified. Oh, that all Christians would do the same. They used the bucket of water instead of gasoline.
  • We must engage our culture; but we must also guard our souls against its ungodly influences.
  • God's past blessings should always be a motivation for total commitment.
  • God's hand of judgment always falls on those to decide to serve other gods.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

MILLION DOLLAR QUOTES

Sometimes in my reading I will come across quotes that jar me into some deeper reflection. Here are a handful. See if they hit you like they did me.

  • "Churches today are using more methods to do more ministry in more different ways to accomplish more different results to reach more people and to involve more workers."
    (from 11 Innovations in the Local Church)
  • "Don't be content by doing things 10 percent better; do them 10 times better by jumping to the next curve." (Guy Kawasaki)
  • "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." (The great theologian Woody Allen)
  • "If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave His church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment." (Pastor Francis Chan)
  • "The church doesn't need to handhold people who are moving along in the later stages of the spiritual continuum." (Cally Parkinson in Reveal)
  • "Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God on earth." (John Wesley)
  • "I've always found that God is seldom at the forefront of what is possible. If it's possible, we don't need God. However, I've always found God in the impossible." (Bill Easum)
  • "Vision is the most powerful tool in the church outside of the Holy Spirit. It moves people toward what is right, what is biblical, what God wants for our lives. But the very nature of vision puts a big ol' bull's eye on the leader's chest." (Ben Arment)
  • "Where there is light, there are bugs." (Chuck Swindoll)
  • "Remember, it is only when the whale rises to the top that it is harpooned." (Rick Warren)
  • "It's the worship service, stupid!" (Ed Young, Jr., {remember Bush's campaign slogan, "It's the economy, stupid?"})

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."