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October 15th, 2018

What God Wants

God wants to be known, not understood.

Joshua 7:1-15

Not enough patience

When I went out to get the paper before church a few weeks ago on a Sunday morning, I met a neighbor I’ve never met before even though we’ve lived three doors apart for almost twenty years. Michael was out walking his little white dog (whose name is “White Dog”). Michael walks almost every morning with a man named Bill, who lives one street over. Bill is 88 and walks a mile every morning unless it rains.

Bill moved here about a year ago and lives down the street from his son. He used to go to church all the time, but now that he doesn’t drive he can’t get there. Since that day, someone has brought Bill to Corinth every Sunday. On the mornings Michael’s not able to walk with him, Bill walks with our men’s exercise group.

Bill has had both pain and blessing in his life, but he’s always so positive. “I only remember the good stuff,” he tells me. Read more »

October 7th, 2018

In the plan of God, judgment and grace intersect on holy ground, at the cross.

Joshua 6:15-27

October 7, 2018

Holy ground

When we left the story of Joshua last week, having crossed the Jordan River into the promised land, all the people of Israel shared together in two important rituals at Gilgal – circumcision and Passover.  They needed to be united in their identity (circumcision) and remembrance (Passover) after they crossed the Jordan River and before they began their occupation of the land at Jericho.

Before we get to today’s reading about Jericho, we can’t pass over a story that takes place between Gilgal and Jericho.  It probably happens while the vast majority of the men are healing from their circumcision.  Joshua, who was born in Egypt, had been circumcised early in life, so presumably he had some time to kill.  When he ventured near Jericho, he was startled by a man holding a drawn sword (Joshua 5:13-15).

Joshua asks the imposing soldier, “Are you for us or against us?”  The man replies, “Neither, but as commander of Yahweh’s army I have now come.”

Joshua falls down in reverence and asks, “What message does my lord (not the word for Yahweh) have for his servant?”  Joshua doesn’t worship, but he honors this man as having God’s authority and speaking God’s word.

The commander replies, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”  Joshua obeys.  There’s much about this story we don’t know – and many have hazarded guesses.  What we do know is that at this critical moment in the story, (1) Joshua has experienced the presence of God like Moses did, (2) There’s an invisible divine army at work, and (3) God’s message to Joshua is that God’s not taking sides.  You may misunderstand Joshua 6 if you skip over that story. Read more »

September 30th, 2018

There’s no “I” in “TEAM” and no “me” in “JESUS.”

Joshua 5:1-12

That nose of mine

I took a long weekend last week, and since I came back to church on Wednesday people have been asking, “What happened to your nose?”

Some of you have seen Facebook pictures of me climbing a ladder to install my Gutter Pro gutter guards. No, I didn’t fall off the ladder. Read more »

September 24th, 2018

When God does a wonder, don’t forget to remember.

Joshua 4:4-14

 

A clear purpose

Chapters 3 and 4 of Joshua record one of the most dramatic and important miracle-stories of the Bible. A highly skilled narrator wove drama and suspense into his account, but this is not just a well-spun tale of a supernatural intervention. This writer writes with a clear purpose in mind. Let’s not miss it.

If you find yourself immediately skeptical about the miracle, you’re quite likely to miss the point of the story. It’s equally true that if you find yourself defending the miracle, you’re also likely to miss the point of the story. Instead, I want you to feel what the writer wants you to feel, and to get what the author wants you to get. Read more »

September 17th, 2018

“By faith the prostitute Rahab was not killed with the disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31)

Joshua 2:1-24

 

More than just facts

Years or even decades from now, you will tell stories of Hurricane Florence. Your stories will be more than just facts. They will be colored by your own experiences. Did you live in flood ravaged areas or know someone who did? Did you own property that was damaged? Did your power go out? Did you host refugees fleeing the storm? How did this storm change your life?

We don’t just hear stories or have experiences. We interpret their meaning based on our connection to the story. Read more »