When Your Mistakes Land You Before a Judge – Chapter Eight

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Have you ever had to own up for something you did wrong? Maybe you remember sneaking out to see an
R-rated movie and then confessing the truth to your seething parents after you crept in the house past
curfew. Or maybe, more recently, you lied to your boss and had to face the consequences once you were
found out.

We have all had to come face-to-face with an authority and own up to what we’ve done wrong. Palms
sweat, stomach twists and turns. It can feel like you’re going before the judge in a court martial.
Judges elicit a sense of fear, don’t they? They never call you in for something you have done right.
We think of them as someone who harshly tells us what we did wrong. And they seem to be everywhere
these days on television. There’s Judge Judy and Hatchett. Mathis and Christina. Judge Brown.
Then there are some judges you may not know. They even have a book in the Bible with their name on
it. Judges. These judges appeared on the scene to help sort out right and wrong. They also helped people
get out of trouble.

God’s people kept putting themselves into a never ending cycle of disobedience, discipline, declaration
of wrong, and deliverance. Judges like Deborah and Gideon and Samson helped them find their way back
to God.

What did the people do that was so bad they needed judges? Two things. First, they failed to put God first
in their lives (Judges 1:28). And secondly, they did not teach their children to know God (Judges 2:10).
These two “sins” led to their downfall and ruin.

Are you making the same mistakes they made? If so, you have a judge that can help you––Jesus.
The good news is that when he “calls” you into his office after you’ve messed up, you will look up to see
your judge’s face and see your savior there.

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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Face Your Battles with Strength and Courage – Chapter seven

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

When someone keeps telling you to “be strong and courageous,” you might suspect you are up against
something big. And the Israelites were.

About to enter the land that had been promised them 600 years before, they had a giant-sized task awaiting
them. Literally. Forty years earlier ten spies had come back and told the Israelites that the inhabitants
of the land were so big they felt like they were the size of a grasshopper in comparison. Fear took them
captive without a battle and sent them off as a group to wander around in a wilderness where they took
their chances against wild animals rather than face their giants.

They wandered so long that those who had grasshopper-sized faith died out. Forty years later their
children were ready to take the land. They were physically no taller than their parents had been. The
enemies in the land were no smaller than before. But the Israelites’ faith muscles had grown.

There were two spies who had reported the land was theirs for the taking. One of them, Joshua, is now
the Israelites’ leader. He was courageous. And God wanted to keep him that way. So God tells him three
times in the first nine verses of the first chapter of Joshua: “Be strong and courageous.” He also reminds
him “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
My guess is you have a few giants in your life too. Some uphill battles that appear insurmountable. A task
demanding more than you think you have to give. One too many things on your “to do” list than you
have the time or energy to do. Unemployment is staring you down. Depression has a grip on you. Bills
have raided your bank account and left it empty. An illness hovers in your life like a threatening storm.
You’d rather just run and wander.

Instead, be strong and courageous. You have a Joshua that will lead the way. The New Testament equivalent
of the name “Joshua” is “Jesus.” And he has promised to be with you always (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus knows how to lead you through battles. He had a few of his own while he was on this earth. Enemies
attacking him with accusations (Mark 3:22). No home and no bed (Luke 9:58). Crowds and expectations
pressing in on him (Luke 8:45). The religious establishment eventually insuring he was sentenced
to a brutal death. (Mark 15:14).

Yet he took on the most barbaric giant there is, death, and lived to tell about it. He can help you do the
same. You need only be strong and courageous in your faith.

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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Stay in the tent

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Check out this video from Pastor Peter Wilson on “Developing Quality Time With God”

Awesome thoughts: Pastor’s and Leader’s, we have to “Stay in the tent.”

Pete Wilson says, “There’s no way to microwave spiritual transformation.”
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Decisions You Make Affect Those Traveling With You – Chapter 6

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Every parent has been there. The trip ahead is long. The travel schedule is tight. You hit the road with
a full tank, confident the plan you have crafted beats anything AAA could muster. But twenty minutes
down the highway you hear a small, squeaky voice from the backseat. The artillery begins to bombard
you. The questions.

Some you expected. Are we there yet? How much longer? Can we get something to eat?

The next barrage is unexpected. Who was the first person to decide to squeeze those things on a cow and drink
whatever came out? Why does our dog get mad at us when we blow in his face but when we take him on a car
ride he sticks his head out the window?

Every parent has been there. Questions from the backseat. You come to expect them. Every journey to a
destination includes them. The same is true for the journey of faith.
Just like kids on a trip we get tired of the journey. We want to know when we can stop. We get tired of
serving. We get tired of waiting. We get tired of the people we’re traveling with.

And we grumble. The Israelites did. They complained about the food, about the place they were traveling,
and about their ‘driver’ Moses.

Grumbling does not set well with God. In fact, our grumbling can lead to our wandering. When offered
the chance to leave Kadesh and enter the Promised Land, the Israelites listened to the fear-filled report
from ten spies instead of the faith-full report of Joshua and Caleb.

Kadesh means “Spring of Decision” and it was time for one. They were in the right place to make the
right decision. But the majority made the wrong one. The people wished they had died in the desert. So
God told them they would get their wish. They would wander until the unbelieving generation
died out.

And they did. They wandered in the Wilderness for forty years. And their children were impacted by
their decisions.

The decisions you make affect those around you, just like the decisions the Israelites made at Kadesh.
You can decide to grumble or be thankful. You can decide to turn away from God or turn toward God.
You can decide to wander without purpose through life or follow God’s vision for your life.

Just don’t forget that those in the backseat will be affected by your decisions.

David Whiting of Northridge Church in  Rochester, New York said, “We may choose our sin, but we can’t choose our consequences!”

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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The Home God Wants for His Presence – Chapter Five

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

It was perhaps the greatest opportunity ever. God tells Moses that he wants to come to his people and
dwell right in the middle of their camp. Not on the outskirts. Not in the ‘burbs. But right in the middle
of where they were living.
You might wonder, “What preparations would a people need to make for God to live in their midst?”
Would it be like getting ready for weekend guests or someone special coming to dinner? You feel compelled
to make sure your home looks as good as possible. You want to make a good impression and you
want your guest to feel welcome.
God anticipated the question and told Moses what needed to be in place for his coming. First, he wanted
to be close to them but there was the problem of sin that created a breach between them. So God provided
Moses with instructions about the practice of sacrificing, offering a covering for the people’s indiscretions
before a Holy God. Sin is serious stuff, not to be taken lightly, and the sacrifice of unblemished
animals was necessary to give the people a picture of sin.
Second, he wanted to stay close to them. Moses was given the blueprints for the building of the Tabernacle.
It’s a big word for “tent.” A portable place of worship. Kind of a mobile Motel 6. And he wanted
to camp out right in the middle of where they were camping. God wanted to be close to his people.
But he also wanted them to be close to each other. So he declared a third thing to get ready. He gave
them Ten Commandments concerning relationships. The first four commandments focus on how we are
to demonstrate our love to God. The second set of six have to do with how to show love to other people.
In seeing these relationships of love it was God’s desire that people would come to know Him too.
Jesus said the same in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. . .
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
God gave the Israelites guidelines so that, when they sought to live by them, other nations would see
them as different and know that they were God’s people. God gave us Jesus so that, when we live like
him, others will know that we are his people.
For those who know him, God took care of our sin through the sacrifice of Jesus. He tabernacles in the
hearts of those who have drawn near to him. Could it be then that the degree to which we are obedient
to him in this command to love each other is the degree of his presence we will find among us? It could
be our greatest opportunity ever.

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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