Alright, Joshua chapter one, we’re gonna start reading in verse one. In both venues, if you are there, shout, “Yes”![audience: “Yes!”] “After the death of Moses,the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’s aid.”
I would love to preach for just a month on those two words, Moses’s aid. When you write the autobiography of your life and you’ve just conquered the promised land and you can have any description you want: dictator, military leader, el presidente, viva el preside…you know. But Joshua chooses as his title, Moses’s aid. He’s like the new Pope.
“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan river into the land I’m about to give to them to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river the Euphrates or the Hittite country, to the Mediterannean sea in the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous”. Come back tonight if you like those words. “Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give to them”.
This is an amazing passage of scripture as god begins to speak to Joshua on the opening hours of his leadership journey as the leader of god’s children, the Israelites. As they are about to take a step into something amazing, and he speaks to Joshua at the outset of his leadership journey with this commandment: “Get ready to cross the Jordan River”. This phrase, “Get ready to cross the Jordan River”, this book, the book of Joshua , has been at the center of our journey, Arise’s journey, since the third year of our church. In fact, its actually been part our journey since my formative years as a minister when I was maybe about the age of twenty-one or twenty-two years old, when I began to read this book and this book came alive within my heart. And then in the early days of our church’s journey, I preached for an entire year from the book of Joshua, as we…as we had a year that was literally entitled, ah, “Posessing promises”. And now it has become a theme, an anthem, a continuing genre of our church. And as we begin this new series on this man Joshua, on this book the book of Joshua-and we’re gonna spend the next period of time as a church across every venue unpacking the book of Joshua-I wanna begin again by returning to the simple thought, “Get ready to cross the Jordan River”. On our stage tonight we have the one side of the Jordan, and we have the other side of the Jordan. As I wanna talk to you about the journey of faith that began centuries prior verse of scripture being written, when god spoke into the heart of a man by the name of Abraham while he was living in a place called Ur of the Chaldeans (later that place became known as Babylon). And god said to him, “I want you to leave your people, your father’s house, all that you know, all that is familiar, and I want you to set out on a life of journeying, sojourn, pilgrimage”. And Abraham was obedient to the word of god. As a result of his obedience he eventually found himself on the other side of the Jordan River, dwelling in the land of Canaan where god spoke to him. And god said, “The land upon which you are now standing, I will give to you and your descendents, it will become yours. And I will give you descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore”. Fast-forward to the end of his life and we know that Abraham died with only one child in the faith and his name was Isaac. Isaac dwelt in that same land. An heir, not of real-estate, not of family wealth, not of possesions, but an heir of something greater, an heir I know of what every parent in our church wants their children to receive, is greater than a university education, greater than a house that we might try to leave to them, is the promise of god alive in their heart. Every parent shout, “Amen!”
And Abraham was able to leave to his son Isaac that promise. You will be blessed of god, you will inherit this land. Isaac dwelt in a tent his entire life having only two children, their names were Esau and Jacob. Jacob finally began to get busy. He had twelve children, one of them, his name was Joseph. You remeber Joseph, he’s the guy with the technicolour dreamcoat right. Nice and bright coloured, thought the son shone out of him. And then eventully the Bible tells us that his brothers, despising the favour that was over Joseph’s life, sold him into slavery and so Joseph left that land on one side of the Jordan, and went down to the land of Egypt. There, he was sold into slavery to a man by the name of Potipher in charge of the palace guard. Potipher’s wife thought Joseph was a bit of a hot young guy. Invited him into the bedroom, asked him to change a lightbulb. He reached his hands up and while his hands were in the air she stripped his clothes of him. He ran from the bedroom, went naked down the street, got arrested for it. Hopefully in Wellington and Kapiti you would still get arrested for running in the street with nothing on.
God put him in jail with the butcher and the baker and the candlestick maker. Spent many years of his life there. Interpreted their dreams yet they forgot about him. And the the bible says that even though he languished for so long, that eventually came the day when Pharoah needed his dreams to be interpreted and no wise man and no counsellor was found in the land of Egypt and in one single calendar day, Joseph went from the prison to the palace. From literally living with chains around his ankles to being the one who governs, second only to Pharoah himself, the entire land of Egypt, which is why no-one hearing my voice this morning should judge their life in an instant, because in one moment the promise of god can come to pass in your life. Somebody get encouraged about that today. Yeah, c’mon.
God can take you from the pit and place you in the palace at any moment that he chooses. He is god and he is in control, if you believe that shout yes! [audience: “Yes!”] The Bible tells us that in a time of famine, now the entire family tribe of Israel-Jacob, as you know, had an encouter with God, and his name was changed from Jacob to Israel-and the entire family tribe came down to the land of Egypt. The bible says that…that over the next four-hunded years, that family tribe multiplied and grew and multiplied and grew and multiplied and grew until it was no longer a family tribe but now a nation of people. Church, I want to know that this nation of people was unlike any nation before or since in that they were a nation without a nation, a people without a land. They were defined not by the country of their origin but by the promise of god that was alive in their heart. They were like New Zealanders without New Zealand, Australians without ‘Straya. They were…they were Americans without the land of the free and the home of the brave. They were…they were a people without a land yet the promise of God defined them and made them the very people of god-which is so encouraging for me because the bible says that we have been called from every nation, tribe, language, every ethnic background, every demographic and we have been made not just New Zealanders but god’s own children, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, special, chosen, favoured, with a father watching over us – And they became a nation of people. The dwelt there, the bible tells us, for four hundred years. Four hundred years of bondadge, four hundred years of slavery. Which raises for me a question. How can it be that you are called god’s own people, god’s own children, favoured of the lord, let live for four-hundred years while Egyptian slave masters oppressed them and beat them. But I want you to understand that no matter what you might be judging your life by right now…by right now, god is still in control. God led them to Egypt for one simple reason and that is that a family tribe is unable to exercise nations and to conquer [and a] literally a whole geographical space. So god took them from where they were down to the land of Egypt and the slave drivers simply stopped the Egyptians from intermarrying with the Israelites. In other words, what was opressing them was in fact defining them, which means for me that no matter what is happening to you right now, god can make it work for you right now. It doesn’t matter.
We go through all kinds of stuff but our god is always in control. The bible tells us that eventually up came the man by the name of Moses, with a big beard, looked like a member of ZZ Top. Proclaimed to Pharaoh, “Let my people go”. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, plagues came on the land. And the bible tells us that eventually, when every first born son that did not have the blood over the door- and thats a message for another part of this series- was eventually, ah killed by the avenging angel, as god said, “If you will not let my children go, then I will not let your children go”. Never resist god, it does not go well.
And then the bible says that they came up out of the land of Egypt and they found themselves after parting the Red Sea in the wilderness. They were in the wilderness for only a matter of months, when eventually they reached the edge of the Jordan River. A camera guy, if we could catch this for our Kapiti people. We have on our stage the Jordan River. Give…give…give our…give our team a…a big round of applause for our…for our Jordan River. It’s amazing, it’s a work of art. We wanted running water but we’ve already been banned from that with baptism services but ah…because theres three-hundred thousand dollar pianos stored under the stage which our worship team love as well. But we have our…we have our amazing Jordan River this morning. And they reached the edge of the Jordan River. When you read what happened next, it’s an amazing story. The bible tells us that twelve spies were sent across to survey the land on the other side of the Jordan. A race of people who only three months before, had just come up out of slavery. They have lived in slavery for the last four hundred years-generations born, generations died, generations born, generations died- in a position of slavery and as much as god used it, it affected them. And it doesn’t matter what you’re going through in your life, the truth is, at some level the events of our lives do affect us. And they found themselves reaching the edge of the Jordan and sending twelve spies across to check out the land that was on the other side. When they came up…when they came back, the bible says that there came a different resport…report from the ten and from the two. Ten spies, the majority, looked at the land on the other side of the Jordan River and they said the obstacles are great. The challangers are abundant, the threats are immanent, and they said, “We are gonna die if we go over there, it will be the end of us if we go over there. We will experience defeat and ridicule and its too much and we can’t do it and we look like grasshoppers in their eyes.” Where that language was born I’m not quite sure but I know that it comes from something perverted on the inside of them, the way that they saw themselves as they looked at what was on the other side of the Jordan and said, “Somehow, somehow the people there are bigger than us, better than us, more qualified than us”. Two, the bible says, came back to Joshua and to…sorry…came back to Moses. Their names were Joshua and Caleb. And they said, “Man, god is with us”. His favour is over our lives. If god is sending us across this Jordan, then you know what, if god is for us, who can be against us. The hand of the lord is with us, it is been removed from them. Let’s go over because we can take the promised land. But the bible says that because of the report-you can read it in Numbers 13-because of the report of the ten spies, the hearts of the Israelites melted with fear and they failed to cross the Jordan. And so for forty years god said, “No adult man who saw the promises of god and failed to step into them will be able to walk into the promises of god”. And so for forty years they waited, they waited while a generation passed and another generation was raised up by god.
During those forty years, they wondered around and around in the same barren wilderness, the same fruitless place, the same miserable existence, their shoes never wore out, the mana turned up every day, god was always faithful, and I meet so many believers who just daily give god thanks, that he’s always faithful and yes he’s always faithful but it does not mean that just because we serve a god of providence, that we are obedient to his prompting and what he has for us in our lives. At the end of forty years-I want you to understand that the number forty in the bible is always very significant. There were…there were forty nights and forty days of floodwaters that came in the days of Noah. We understood…understand that when Goliath came out to taunt the Israelites, that he came out every morning and every evening with his taunts for forty days, which by the way is why the devil will always go after the first thought you think and the last thought you think, in the morning and in the evening. And for forty days he taunted them. We know that when Jesus went into the wilderness to fast, he fasted for how long? C’mon Kapiti, for forty days. Say it in Wellington too. He fasted for…[audiance: “Forty days”] forty days. And the number forty in the bible speaks to us of totality or of completion. And after forty days, four hundred years of slavery, forty years in the wilderness, I want you to understand this morning that something began to happen to the size of the Jordan River. As they continued to return to it time and time again, looking across it, seeing their land on the other side of it; perhaps even knowing the grass is green, the life is abundant on the other side of the Jordan. As they stood there and looked across it, I want you to understand that that river grew in their hearts. It became for them, over forty years, no longer just a body of water to be forded, but now a line of confinement marked in the sand. That Jordan river said for them, you can go this far, but you cannot go any further. It became for them something that hemmed them in, restricted them. It said for them: this is the distance…this is the lot, this is the boundary point, this is all you’ll ever have, and it became for them a mark of capacity in the sand. It said to them, this is your life. And I want you to understand that what happened to me when I began to read this passage in two-thousand and four, was god began to speak to me about our church, and he said, “John, every believer has a Jordan river. Every church has a Jordan river. Every Christian has a life that they are familiar with and then a promise from god that is calling to them on the other side of the Jordan.” And what god said in to my hear about our church ten years ago is what he is saying, I believe, at this time, as we are returning to this book, and that is to say that god is speaking to so many people in our church congregation, and I believe he is speaking to our church, and he is saying, “Get ready to cross the Jordan River.Get ready to cross. Get ready to leave the limits behind. Get ready to leave restriction behind. Get ready to leeave the familiar behind. Get ready to go somewhere new, somewhere where you’ve never been before.” How many people in this room and Kapiti believe that we serve a god who has no limits, if you believe it then shout amen.
Then whenever we find a ceiling limit, whenever we find something that we do not believe that we can ever go beyond, there in our lives we find a Jordan River. See everybody has in their life a present that is familiar. Everybody has this environment that they’ve grown up in, this life that they’re familiar with, this set of circumstances that have become their normal. For many people in this room it’s living hand to mouth. Sometimes in our lives it’s like the presence of conflict in our marriage. Maybe, maybe a life that is somehow just always, always feeling like it’s filled with struggle. There is a present that is always going to appear familiar. And there is something so drawing in our lives about the familiar. My parents have moved a lot of times, Gillians parents are still living in the house that they moved to just after I met Gillian, ahhhh, twenty odd years ago, maybe longer, I’m not sure, and whenever I walk in to their home, even though it’s been redecorated, every time I walk in there, there is something so present and so familiar about it. But in every person’s life there is also on the other side of the Jordan River, there is a future that appears to us formidible, it calls to us, something within us yearns for the future. We wanna step beyond where we are right now but there is always going to be the sense of apprehension. C’mon, am I preaching to anybody [audience: “yeah”]. Oh man I don’t know about that, the wheels could come off, I’m scared about it, it all looks different. I mean, Christian can be like this just in general societal changes, and I’m not talking about moral shifts here, I’m just talking about technology changes, you know, style changes, dress changes, and churches can be guilty of living in the wilderness when god is saying no no no, where not here to be afraid of the future, we’re here to shape the future. C’mon, somebody say amen [audience: clapping]. Oh yes.
God is wanting us to not run from the future, he is wanting us to embrace it. Everybody has in their lives expreiences that are gonna define the one way. Our experiences define us, shape the paradigm of our expecations, cause us to think about our lives one way. Oh man, nobody in this room was orn in to this world saying, “My life will be a struggle, difficult, I will fail in relationships, I will encounter physical challenges, I will know depression. No, when you’re a child you’re a doctor, you’re gonna be a fireman, you’re gonna be a lawyer, a nurse, you’re gonna be…you’re a superhero, hello. You’re a ballerina if you’re a girl, hopefully…ahh…you know. I shouldn’t say that because you can be a be a ballerina and be a guy, that’s fine. Umm.
You know what I’m saying, I’m saying that when you’re young, your not shaped by your experiences, but living in the wilderness shapes you. It does. Everybody has experiences that define the one way but on the other side they have dreams and the dreams define them another way. The dreams say, “Oh man, I’m gonna do something amazing, theres a tomorrow for me.” There’s something that comes into our heart in that moment of prayer and that wild moment when we just go, “God, would you give me.” And it’s the dream that leaves our mouths. It is the experiences that live in the wilderness and it is the dreams that live in the promised land. Everybody has a current environment that is risk free, everybody does. We have an environment-supposed to be in brackets risk free-and we live in our environment. You know the longer you live there, the more you become accustomed to it. It’s like when you, when it’s the first time you are there, there’s alot of threats. First time we took our kids to Australia, you know we had to teach them, don’t play in the shrubs, because New Zealand kids, they just go in and out of every bush, every corner, of course because we have no poisonous spiders, no snakes. Going to Australia, you know, there’s all that. And there’s something risk free about the environment that we are familiar with, and we are adverse to risk, am I the only one? We like to know the risk, we like to, you know, check the risk, we wanna cover it off, we talk about low risk investment, high risk investment. The problem is that god, he doesn’t think about the wheels coming off anything he’s ever called us to do. He doesn’t think like that [audience: “Wow”]. God’s like, what if the economy turns? God’s like, “What, my promises turn, they don’t turn, they don’t turn, they don’t fail. No word ever left my mouth and fell to the ground.” So by very definition, by very definition, there is an environment with which we are familiar and then there is a new environment that god is calling us in to, and that one might be risk free but this one will always be, in brackets, “risky”. Cause god is calling us in to something new. He’s saying leave the old behind and step in to the new thing. And we’ve gotta, we’ve gotta grow don’t we. I’ve gotta grow to my point where I’m willing to accept that if god’s speaking to me to do it, that i’m gonna walk in there and I’m gonna go, “Oh my gosh! This could kill me!” Exactly, you’re right where god wants you to be, you’re in the promised land.
This is what it looks like. Everybody has an everyday reality and everybody has a heavenly calling. I need to get this for the Kapiti guys. Everybody has a heavenly calling [audience: laughing]. I said I’d preach close to the TV. Everybody has a heavenly calling, and the everyday reality of our lives and the heavenly calling of our lives are always gonna look diametrically opposed. And between the two of them there is this thing we call the Jordan River. And in order to step in to what god has got for us we have to be willing to leave behind this place that we’ve lived in for so long, and be willing to go somewhere new. It is a willingness to cross the Jordan that is going to define the very course of our lives. Man, this is the key to breaking generational cycles. You can live in the same family, in the same environment, go around the same circle, have the same problems, or you can choose to make your home not in the wilderness of where you’ve been, but in the promises of god. I’m afraid, I’m scared, it’s risky, it’s big, but I reckon somebody this morning is deciding to step out of where they’ve been and to go somewhere new. You can shape an new future, declare a new life, break a cycle. We don’t have to wear a well worn track. We can go somewhere new. We can step in to the beyond [audience: cheering, clapping].
It’s like a gym class. I’m going across the Jordan [audience member: “C’mon”]. That was for me, I just had to stay awake. See, a Jordan River, a Jordan crossing is not about geography. In the Old Testament it was but in the New testament it is about our philosophy, our paradigms, our thought patterns. I’ll never forget when I chose… [stuttering] …when god called Gillian and I to move to Wellington. And in Labour weekend of 2002 I got in to our car, a Holden Vectra. Never buy a car like a Holden Vectra. Even the dog and lemon guy had said don’t but one, but anyway we did, and god’s so merciful. But anyway, I drove this car to Wellington. The receptionist of a church in Auckland told me this quick way to drive to Wellington. And I’m not sure whether her instructions were terrible or my ears were terrible but either way I drove to Wellington via New Plymouth [audience: laughs]. It’s on the Friday of Labour weekend 2002. Never forget arriving here. I arrived at the very last minute to make in the door of the real estate agents to get the key to the house that Gillian and I had rented because the movers were coming the very next morning, first thing, and also I had nowhere to sleep. So, you know, I got to this house, I was in this new city. Hills, greenbelt, tunnels, one-way streets. You know, Wellington is this amazing collection of villages, you know, you’ve got the Brooklyn Village, the Kilbirnie Village, Churton Park Village, Khandallah, Ngaio, Wadestown. All these little villages. Karori, you know, P-town, you know, you’ve got all the little villages that define it and all of it’s new. I’d never been there before. In Auckland I could never get lost. You know, I had driven every street, I knew every suburb. I might be on the wrong street…I didn’t know the street, but I knew if I got to the end of the road I would know where I was, and I could not get lost. Suddenly I need, I need, I need a roadmap just to go to the diary, you know what I’m saying, like. I mean it took us ages to figure out how does Gillian get to work, you know. How do we do that here, and, and which is the best supermarket, and what the heck were these one-way streets, you know. And we’re just…everything was new and everything was confusing and the challenges that in moments like that, I know and you know too, It’s easier just to retreat back. That’s the reality in the natural but you know what, when you, when you’ve lived with a certain level of hostility in you family, in your marriage, you know, it’s hard when you’re trying to negotiate a road map that you’ve never negotiated before. What do you mean say sorry every ten seconds. It’s easier just to default. I know she’s getting arked up. Oh man, I’m just gonna get there before she does because I don’ wanna lose this fight. And next thing we retreat back to where we were. We’re back in the wilderness. And that’s why god’s saying to every believer, as we step in to the next ten years of ARISE, let’s not be wilderness dwelling believers a moment longer. Let’s leave where we are and step in to the promises of god, c’mon.
See guys, if we’re gonna live here there’s five things that we need. The first thing that we need if we’re gonna live in the promised land is a new way of thinking. To live in the promised land is gonna require, if we’re gonna cross the Jordan, the first thing that we need is a new way of thinking. Second Corinthians ten, chapter four, sorry, Second Corinthians chapter ten verse three and four says that, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but our battle is against…on the contrary…the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world, on the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments, every pretension that set’s itself up against the knowledge of god and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” In other words there are thoughts, there are pretensions, there are arguments, and finally there are strongholds. And this is the challenge of making a decision, “I’m going in to the promised land”, is that that our thinking has become faulty.
I’m on this theme in my mind at the moment because god spoke to me on my holiday this year and he said to me, “John, I want your thoughts”. And this is what I know, that if every thought in my life was obedient to Christ, then Jordan River, it wouldn’t exist, there would be no need for it. But because all of us have got a past, and man, you might not have slavery in your ancestry, but we’ve all got junk. The Americans say, “Junk in the trunk”. We’ve all got stuff, issues we have to deal with, and because of that, what happens is that we think a thought and then the thought, it’s wrong, the thought’s wrong. She’s selfish, my wife is selfish. Not gillian, I’m speaking in charcter here. The thought doesn’t get challenged, so you know what, then the thought grows and the Bible says it becomes a pretension. A pretension is a fancy word for an assumption, something that you believe without ever testing it. That’s why the Bible says that our thinking must conform to god’s book. We gotta return to this ’cause every time we return to it your thinking goes, “What, oh my gosh, I was wrong, I can’t hang on to that unforgiveness, that was thinking out of resentment.” Man I stood when he said, you know, when John Bevere said, you know, “The bait of Satan, have you got an offence”. I mean, if you sat down you’re probably lying because at the end of the day-c’mon, unless you’re a better Christian than me probably is what you are- but at the end of the day, man, we’ve all got stuff and the thoughts become pretensions. The pretensions, if we don’t pull down the things that exist in our minds without testing them, now they become arguments. This is where the rubber hits the road because once, once the faulty thought becomes an argument this is what it means, this is what it literally means. I come to you and say your life has no limits. You’re not bound by your upbringing. That generational problem doesn’t have to be your lot. And you know what, the church doesn’t have to fail. And as I’m beginning to talk, clearly out of what the Bible is saying, you’re there and something is rising up on the inside of you, you’re ticked off at simply someone telling you what the Bible says. Why is that? Why do believers do that? And the answer is because they’re thinking became a pretension, they lived their life out of it so long that the pretension became familiar and the promises of god, something that was estranged to them, and we always resis the new. And our arguments, if we don’t tear down our arguments, it goes to a whole ‘nother level, and now we’ve gotta stronghold, and that’s what a Jordan River is. It’s a place that literally you butt against and you say no way and it entrenches itself, but how many people are grateful that the Bible says, “Our weapons are mighty for the pulling down of strongholds”. And man, we can get a new way of thinking and liberty and change can come to a heart and we can step across this Jordan and we can go somewhere new for Jesus and live in a bountiful place, an abundant place, and live in the land of plenty. I’m not talking here about geography, I’m talking about in my home, it’s filled with love, in my heart, it’s filled with faith, in my mind, it’s filled with peace. C’mon, we can live in the promises of god [audience: clapping]. Number two. Not only do we need a new way of thinking but the next thing we need is a greater level of faith. If we’re gonna live in the promises of god, we gotta leave behind one dimension of faith that we’ve had perhaps in our lives forever, and we’ve got to step in to a whole new level. In Mark chapter nine verse twenty-one, Jesus is bought a boy by a father, and the boy is bound by a spirit that sends him in to seizures, and the father…the boy…Jesus says, “I’m believing generation, bring the boy to me”. Verse twenty, they bought the boy to Jesus. The spirit saw him, threw the boy in to the ground in to a convulsion. He fell around, rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus said, “How long has this been going on?” And the father said, “From childhood. It has thrown him in to fire and to water. It’s tried to kill him. But if you can do anything, would you take pity on me and help me?” And Jesus says, in verse twenty-three, “If you can, anything is possible for him who believes”. And the problem is that when we’re bound by the wilderness we’re waiting for somebody to do it. I gotta a message I’m gonna preach in this series, I gotta be careful, cause there’s so much I wanna unpack. But I’m gonna preach a message called, “When god stops doing it”, ’cause in our lives we like god doing it. I’ve got a six year-old son-boys, there’s something wrong with boys isn’t there. Like my daughter, you know, from the time she was three, she never split anything on her clothes. Will’s just still, at the age of six totally unaware that, you know, spaghetti bolognaise plus t-shirt is bad. He has no comprehension of that. And, you know, at the age of six he’ll still be like, you know, “Can you put on my shoes for me”, and it’s like, “no, you do it”. Then he’s like, “Oh…argh”, you know. But he always has a go, you know what I’m saying-and I think we’re all like that. We just like god doing…I’ve just gotta get out of that. But we need another level of faith. Cause at the end of the day we’re all waiting for god to fix the problem and he’s saying, “Hang on a minute, hang on a minute, get a greater level of faith, because I said to you that I will give you every place where you set your foot as I promised Moses. I already gave it to you, but you’ve got a part to play, and you need a greater level of faith and to step out and do what I’ve already told you to do”. Number three. We need a revelation of potential. If we’re gonna live in the promises of god we need a revelation of potential because at the end of the day, what this Jordan River does for us is it makes us think that theres nothing more in our lives than what we have known. I will spend my life preaching to this Jordan. I will spend my life telling you that if you’ve been abused it doesnt define you. If you’ve had a bad day, it doesn’t mean a bad life. If you’ve come from a tragic upbringing, you don;t have to have a tragic future. You’re destiny is blessing, you’re future is an inheritance. And god’s got something amazing, that the church is gonna continue to take ground. We will see the greatest days of revival in our nation in the days that are to come than we’ve ever seen before. If you believe it, give the lord some praise! [audience: cheering, clapping].
Oh my gosh, because at the end of the day church, what we do is we lower our potential. Jeremiah chapter one. God says to him, it says in Jeremiah chapter one, “I have formed you in the womb and I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”. Surely he’s gonna be like, “Great, you knew me, formed me, put me in my mums womb, gave me the [pravaten amen?]. Let’s do it”. But what does he say. “‘Alas soveriegn lord’ I said, ‘I dunno how to speak, I’m too young'”. And man, what god’s saying to him is he’s saying, “I’ve given you a promised church. I’ve given you a promise and it’s time to leave this life behind and step in to the purpose for which I have called you”. He goes on, he says ah, he says, “Man”, he says, “I have made you like a rock that will smash the…like a hammer that will smash the rock in pieces. I have set you over nations to tear down, to uproot, to plant, to build, to overthrow and to destroy. Just Jeremiah, from the words coming out of your mouth”. And god’s saying to every single one of us we need a bigger understanding of our potential. To cross the Jordan is to realise we’re pretty awesome in god.
Number five. The fifth we need is a willingness to be uncomfortable. I hope we’ve got this verse for this screen but in Numbers chapter eleven verse five is probably one of the most tragic verses in all the scripture. As the Israelites began to moan to Moses this is what they said, Numbers eleven verse five. “We remember the fish we ate”, the band can come. “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost. Also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite. We never see anything but this mana. Back it up, back it up. For four-indred years you have been opressed and beaten. Slave drivers have carried whips. New born boys were thrown in to the water and killed like kittens on a farm-not in Wellingon-. And now you’re saying hang on a minute, we got to eat some leeks onions, garlic…ooo…, cucumbers and melons and you wanna trade your freedom for that. Coud I buy you for KFC, you know what I’m saying. And we have to have a willingness. Nobody said crossing the Jordan was gonna be easy. But we have to have that willingness to say, “Man, I’m gonna go somewhere new. I’m gonna reach beyond. I’m willing to be uncomfortableto get into the promises of God.”
Practical example, I’m thirty-nine years old, I turn forty next month. Yeah, I thank you for the wow, that was amazing, that was really encouraging actually. Really, yeah. I said to Gillian, I said, “Sweetheart, you know, forty is when you start decaying, you know”. I’m sorry, but it’s actually true, You know, doctors say that after the age forty, your body’s alright, but from the age of forty, unless you resist it, that your reflexes slow down. That why guys who buy harleys die becaue they think their reflexes are fast. C’mon, it’s the truth, you don’t like it but you need to hear it. We still think that we had what we had. I’ve finished a sermon like this one, had nothing left. I was tired ’cause stamina, had no physical health, and I said to Gillian, “I gotta do something, I gotta change the way I eat, I gotta change the way I exercise”. She said, “Alright, you better do something then ’cause…”. People think Gillian’s full of sympathy [audience: laughs]. Na, she is, and fire. Nasty combo. Great combo, I’m sorry, I’m just…[audience: laughs]. So one Tuesday I said, “You know what, I’m gonna ride to work from now on, on my pushbike”. I live twenty-six kilometers from the church office, in Porirua. So I got on my bike the next morning and I rode to Johnsonville carpark, because I had to come up a hill to in to Johnsonville. Pulled over in to the KFC carpark, found a drain, hopped off my bike and vomited the entire contents of my guts in to that drain. Sat there for fifty…fifteen finutes until the, you know, stopped spinning. I got baack on the bike, went down the Nauranga Gorge on the footpath. Rode to the office, late for my first meeting, but my breath smelled of vomit so everyone was like, “That’s okay”. Had a shower, brushed my teeth, went home, died that night, you know. Got on the bike the next day, did it again. Three weeks later I said, “Right, it’s time sweetheart, I’m gonna do both ways”. So I rode in to the office. Didn’t vomit, praise god. Got on my bike again, rode back up the Nauranga Gorge, made it home. Next morning, got on, did it again. Rode back home. Praise god it was a Friday. Got the weekend off, thankyou Ray, appreciate that. I hope the ambient mics pic that up for Kapiti but he’s got a loud laugh, I love him. So I got on, got on the bike, did it the next week. Do you know for three weeks, three weeks, I was in pain in my legs all day and all night every day. It was so blimin uncomfortable. But nobody ever said that living somewhere new would be easy. Today I’m the fittest I’ve ever been I think in my adult life. Feel the best, drinkiing less coffee, and it costs something to make the right choices. Now before you, don’t clap for me, let me just say this. Some people decide to come to a church like this one. You know it was just so easy, and when you were in that other church, and you knew everybody and there was no one new and you didn’t have to queue for the carpark and now we want you not just to attend church but we want you to go to lifegroup and help join the team. But at the end of the day we’ve got to decide what do we want, what do we want because if we’re gonna live in the promises of god, we gotta leave the Jordan River and live in uncomfortable until your legs stop aching [clap, clap] and you’ve found something new. You need enough reserves of sorry to turn that marriage around. You need to say, “I’m gonna say sorry til it just hurts. I’m gonna say sorry till it pains me. I’m gonna say sorry till it degrades me, but I am gonna fight for this thing. I am gonna turn this environment around. I am gonna turn this wilderness in to an abundant place of plenty and joy and hope and love and promise. I’m gonna get this book and I’m gonna put it in to my mind and say, ‘Anxiety, you can’t live there anymore’. I’m not living with defeat and I’m not living with sorrow and I’m not living with dispair ’cause I’m changing my life. I’m gonna make my life count”. C’mon, somebody in this room is deciding, “I’m gonna have a life of promise, I’m gonna have a life of blessing. I’m gonna change my future. The devil may have impacted my past, but god’s got his promises. I’m gonna live in an abundant place. I’m gonna live in a bountiful place. I’m gonna change the world. My church is gonna advance. I’m gonna change a nation for Jesus”. C’mon, somebody begin to give god some praise together this morning.