RECAP: WANDERING NATION based on Joshua 1:1-9
It is not enjoyable at all to be in a place of wandering or to be stuck. Being stuck on a bus halfway up Afton mountain with a bunch of middle school children was not really the most pleasant experience I had on Friday! But that was only an hour and a half of being stuck on the side of the road. Now imagine being stuck in the same desert, wandering for forty years! It would be maddening or even deflating. Yet that was the experience Israel endured.
How did they end up in this place of wandering? Even though they had the instruction of the Lord to take the promised land, they allowed the fear generated by the spies’ report to take root. Instead of moving forward, they panicked, rejected God’s plan, and wanted to return to the place of bondage. Their disobedience and refusal to honor the Word of God resulted in a state of wandering. And we too end up wandering when we allow fear to dictate our lives over trust in God, when we disobey God’s plan, and refuse to walk into what God has called us to do.
We all from time to time allow fear to take root, exaggerate the obstacles and challenges, and discourage us from obedience. We all disobey or think our way is best at times. And we all have been stuck at one point in our lives. We could even say our nation right now is stuck and in an endless period of wandering. But how do we move on from the place of wandering? In the same way Joshua was encouraged to do so:
1) Take the step of faith. It was forty years later. Nothing in the promised land had changed. The obstacles and challenges were still there; the only difference was time. Moses was dead; the comfort of the people was gone. It was a new day, time to move forward and take the step of faith, or, as quoted in the movie Inception, “die an old man filled with regret.” Israel had two choices; they could either embrace their fresh start, take the step of faith and go forward, or they could reject it, refuse to act in faith, and remain in the place of wandering.
Do we want to leave our place of wandering? We need to take that step of faith, cross our river Jordan and watch what God can do! As soon as the priests hit the water, carrying the ark, the water at flood stage split in two like the Red Sea had done forty years prior. When we take the step of faith, we see God begin to work! Will we be strong and courageous to take the step of faith?
2) Remain faithful to the Word. When God spoke to Joshua, he did not discuss battle strategies; rather, the focus was calling the people back to faithful observance of the Word. Joshua and Israel were charged to be careful with keeping the entire law of Moses and not stray to the right or the left. Victory starts when we are obedient to the Word of God. Whenever Israel obeyed, they saw blessing; whenever they ignored the instruction, they saw consequence.
We need to remain faithful in order to stand strong. When we are willing to compromise, we say our faith can be negotiated. And it is through that weakness the enemy of our soul pounces! Part of the reason our nation is in crisis spiritually is that we have abandoned being faithful to the Word of God. Instead, we minimize it, delete the things we find uncomfortable, or even try to update it in the guise of “following the spirit.” But the Spirit (inner Word) will always be in harmony with the outer Word (Bible) and Living Word (Christ). Faithful observance leads to blessing!
3) Prioritize the Word. Being faithful to the immediate commandments was not enough; rather, the Word should not depart from the lips, and we should meditate upon it day and night, like how a cow digests his food multiple times by chewing the cud. The Word needs to become the centerpiece of our decision-making and how we live, the guiding principle behind all that we do. And that priority is for instruction in the Word as well. A reason why the church in the United States has suffered is the growing problem of biblical literacy and the lack of discipleship. The Word is no longer a priority; feelings have become the greatest priority! But when we put the Word first and foremost, we then have full access to the guide that lights the way and keeps us from sin. We can truly live!
4) Be strong and courageous. Three times it was stated to emphasize the importance of being strong. It takes courage to stand for Jesus and to do the right thing, even in the face of opposition! There are obstacles that want to keep us from achieving our promised land. But when we are strong and courageous, we can overcome any challenge because of our true source of power found in God!
Will we take the step of faith, be strong and courageous and live for God? Will we be faithful to the Word and restore priority to the Word? Or will be content to remain in a place of wandering?
Questions for Reflection
1) What fears are holding you back from taking a step of faith? Surrender them to God.
2) In what areas do you struggle in remaining faithful to the Word of God? What can help build faithfulness?
3) What adjustments can be made to your life to make the Word of God even more of a priority?
4) Where do you face the temptation to compromise and abandon doing the right thing?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “A Fresh Start” with the sermon titled, “A Wandering Nation,” based on Joshua 1:1-9. How do we stop wandering and move forward into the promised land God has given us? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for May 3 – 9
May 3: Numbers 12:1-16 What contributed to the wandering of Israel in the desert?
May 4: Numbers 13:26-33 What contributed to the wandering of Israel in the desert?
May 5: Numbers 14:1-25 What contributed to the wandering of Israel in the desert?
May 6: Deuteronomy 30:1-10 What can lead to the way out from wandering?
May 7: Deuteronomy 30:11-20 What leads to spiritual wandering? What leads to a fresh start?
May 8: Joshua 2:1-24 What led to Rahab’s fresh start?
May 9: Joshua 4:1-24 How did Israel commit to a fresh start in the promised land?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, May 8–Mother’s Day & Child Dedication
Sunday, May 15–Church Council Meeting after church
Thursday, May 19–Leadership Team Meeting, 7 pm
Sunday, May 29–Deed Signing
Sunday, June 5–Pentecost Sunday, Baptism & Summer hours begin
We will have a brief council meeting after church on Sunday, May 15. There are three items on the agenda: adopt a new official name for the church, approve the new constitution (needed for incorporation & non-profit legal designation), and begin the conversation on the color for new road signs for the church.
The Instachoir will rehearse over the next few Sundays for a few moments right after church. The Instachoir will have an anthem on Sunday, May 15.
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
If you are interested in water baptism, please email Pastor Ryan in the next few weeks!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Samantha Cooper (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Bill Eckard (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Alma Long (COVID)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (mental health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Tom Wilfong (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Joyce Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church