Glencairn Methodist Church
November - 2011
On two occasions, separated by a period of 40 years, did Moses bring the Children of Israel to within sight of The Promised Land, the land of Canaan, the land "flowing with milk and honey". The first occasion was soon after the Exodus from Egypt and you can read about this in Numbers, chapters 13 and 14. Moses sent spies into the land and while they reported that it was very fertile and a good place to settle down, they were afraid of the tribes living there - they were big and ferocious! Of the twelve spies sent, only Joshua and Caleb presented a positive picture and encouraged the people to cross the Jordan and take the land. But the people believed the 10 doubters and decided not to, even though God had promised that he would give the land to them.
They needed more time to grow in faith and to learn to trust God more. So they turned back into the wilderness for the next forty years. None of that generation, not even Moses, was to enter The Promised Land, save for Joshua and Caleb. And forty years later, they came back. Joshua was now leader and they were ready to cross the Jordan and to face whatever lay in front of them. This was a big step for them. It would take them out of the comfortable bubble they had lived in for all this time, and into the unknown. The only certainty was that God would be with them and that they would succeed. Read about this in Joshua chapter 3.
Where are you and your church in your faith journey? Are you facing changes in parish life? Are you approaching your Jordan with some trepidation? Do you stand on the east bank and say, "Do you know, I quite like it here. I like things the way they are. I don't want to risk crossing over this big scary river." Or you may be thinking, "It looks good on the other side, but I don't have the courage to step out in faith and to trust God. Maybe I need to go back to the wilderness for while and to grow in faith. "Or you might be shouting, "Bring it on. Let's rock and roll! Where is my swimsuit?"
Individual Christians need to grow in faith and knowledge, and churches need to change to meet the challenges of evangelism and ministry in the 21st Century. Change is on the other side of the Jordan. You need to trust God and to cross over.
Joshua led the people into the Promised Land and God gave them victory as they conquered the tribes and made the land their own. They prospered and grew strong, going from strength to strength, joyfully worshipping the Lord.
3 November 2011
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm