Sunday Service January 6, 2019
Good morning. And happy New Year. If we haven't met yet, my name is Pastor Carly and I'm the family Pastor here which means I get to work with the children's and the youth group as well. So I'm thankful this morning for all of our wonderful volunteers who are with the children this morning and everything's running smoothly back there so that I can be with you and in preached this morning. I'm excited to preach this new year are the first sermon of the year because the year so far is wide open before us we don't really know what's going to come but maybe we have an idea of where it's going or maybe we want to be by the end of it. So this first Sunday of year of the Year holds promise for us and I'm so excited and blessed to share that with you. I'm the kind of person who really enjoyed this make any New Year's resolutions. My personality traits my strength finders and various other personality tests all show that I'm the kind of person that is highly motivated to achieve my goals. This is a great strength, but I've had to learn how to use it and work with it because no matter what I choose to do. I will try to accomplish it. And sometimes I gets me into trouble for instance when I was in high school. I needed to raise money to go on this youth trip. So for the fundraiser, we were going to leave it to sell Schweitzer lift tickets at the Conoco station here. So that meant in the dead of winter in the middle of Blizzard. I had to stand outside with the first day of selling Spicer tickets sign. Was it freezing? Yes. Did I come down with strep throat a sinus infection and pink eye at the same time. Yes, but did I raise enough money to go on that trip? Yes, I did. What time that I learned that I should probably make sure that the goals that I set for myself are achievable and healthy and smart. So that is why this morning I am terrified about making the commitment that believe God is calling us to make this new year. It's nothing so out of the ordinary just to be faithful to him to follow him and to serve him only but making a promise to God that's serious business before I promise him anything. I want to be sure that I can follow through. Scott's a holy God he refuses to turn a blind eye to falsehood. So if I make this promise and not meaning it That scares me. He's a jealous God. He won't put up with anything less than my everything and if I promised him everything and under-deliver, that scares me. So what if God is asking us to do something in this new year that we don't want to do. What if God is asking us to surrender something. We don't want to surrender. What if he's asking us to go somewhere. We don't want to go. Are we sure we want to commit to that?
What if we fail are we sure we can follow through? Promises to God cannot be taken lightly. We'll get to it a little later. But the Israelites once made this exact same promise and their leader Joshua flat out told him he didn't think they had it in them to keep this promise. If they didn't know what they were setting themselves up for when they promise got to follow him. And so I know for myself when I look at my strengths and my weaknesses and my track record compared to what it's going to take for me to follow through on this promise God's calling us to make I'm already know. I can already tell you I'm going to come up short. I mentioned to someone earlier this week that I was going to be preaching this morning and they were encouraging but they told me this. Deliver what God puts on your heart and ask yourself if you are able to do what you're asking the church to do. Hope church this morning. God put on my heart for us to Covenant with him. In this new year to follow him to serve him until I think we should do this. Absolutely I do but do I think we can do it? That's the question that we need to wrestle with ourselves this morning before we make the commitment to follow God we found all the songs. And now we kind of ask ourselves if we really mean it. I think we should make this commitment because God has proven himself worthy of our devotion. The same was true for the Israelites God's chosen people. They have a long and complicated history. But the some of it is that God had a plan to reconcile the entire world to himself by building a unique relationship with these one people who in turn would be a living testimony of God's love and power and glory to the whole world it All Began one day when God appeared to Abraham and his wife Sarah who they were way past childbearing years are like a hundred years old and God came and told them through you. I'm going to make a great nation. I'm going to give you a son. And your descendants after that will be more than you can ever count more than the stars in the sky more than the sand on the shore. That's how many descendants you're going to have and you see this land were him all the same before you this beautiful man called Kingdom. This is going to be the lamb that I'm promising to you and your inheritance as your inheritance for forever. And so God was faithful he gave Abraham and Sarah son. And if we fast-forward quite a few Generations, we see the Bible tells us that God was faithful to his promise and their family tree had grown to around 600,000 people at the time and there was a problem though. They had all become slaves in Egypt. So God still remembered his promise to them and he sent Moses to go deliver them from Egypt and bring them out of there and take them to the promised land. So Moses went and brought them up out of Egypt, but then there was another problem. It's been so long since God had promised Abraham that the land of Canaan would be there. Since that time the Canaanites had moved into Canaan and reliving quite comfortably there. The Israelites were free and they were numerous people, but they had nowhere to go and they began to doubt God's promise of the Promised Land. The Moses decided to send a few spies including Joshua into the promised land to go check it out to see what it would take for them to overcome the Canaanites and to fulfill God's promise. So the spice took their time scouting and when they returned they brought back gifts and reports about the land that were too good to be true The Book of Numbers Chapter 13 describes the strip and says when they came while they were there they cut one single cluster of grapes to bring back with them and it was so large that two men had to carry it between them on a pool when the whole assembly of the Israelites gathered to see the spies and see what they had brought in here the report the spice called out to them. God was right. This Land Is Awesome it's better than she could ever have expected and Israelites it and then he started packing their bags so they could go get more of these great living in the promised land in the spies said hold on we can't move there and they said and they said there people living there who are very strong their cities are fortified and some of them are so gigantic that we felt like grasshoppers standing next to them. All of the Spy said this except for Joshua and his friend Caleb who said no, we should go up and take possession of this land for we can certainly do it. But sadly Joshua and Caleb were outvoted and Moses and the Israelites listen to The Faceless spies because of their unfaithfulness denied their entrance into the promised land for 40 years to see if maybe their children would be willing and trusting to receive the promise. Moses was an old man and he died before got off at the Israelites another chance. So when the time came it was Joshua who had the honor of leading them into the Promised Land by then. Joshua was also an old man, but when God gave the word Joshua was still ready to trust. That he would help them face the Giants and fill his promise. Joshua's trust in God Was well-placed God was faithful to them and fought the Israelites battles for them. He gave those grasshoppers victory over all the Giants. So finally when Joshua was 110 years old God's promise was fulfilled Israelites moved into the promised land and at that time Joshua gathered all the Israelites around him and he spoke to them one last time cuz he knew what he was about to die his speech or rather. His final challenge to them is recorded in Joshua chapter 24 and invite you to stand with me as we read the words of God. Is Joshua chapter 24 verses 1 through 28? Send Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at second. He summons the Elder leaders judges and officials of Israel and they presented themselves before God. Joshua said to all people if this is what the Lord the god of Israel says long ago your forefathers, including Tara the father of Abraham and Nae or lived beyond the river and worship other God, but I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the river and let him throughout Kanan and I gave him any descendants. I gave him Isaac and Isaac. I gave Jacob and Esau I sign the Hill Country of Sayre to Esau but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron and I Afflicted Egyptian. So I what I did there and I brought you out. What I brought your father's out of Egypt. You came to the Sea and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and Horsemen as far as the Red Sea, but they cry to the Lord for help and he put Darkness between you and the Egyptian. He brought them to see he brought the sea. Over them and covered them you saw with your own eyes. What I did to the Egyptians. Then you live in the desert for a long time. I brought you to the land of the amorites who lived east of the Jordan they fought against you but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them before you and you took possession of their land when bae like some of the poor that can blow I prepare to fight against Israel. He sent Balaam son of beor to put a curse on you. Listen to bail him. So he blessed you again and again and then you cross the Jordan and came to Jericho the citizens of Jericho fought against you as did off of the amorites perizzites Canaanites Hittites girgashites advice and jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the Hornet head of you when you drove which drove them out before you also the two amirite King you did it with your own sword and bow, so I gave you a lamp on what you did not Toil and cities did not do and you live in them and Vineyards and Olive Groves that you did not plan. No, fear the lord and serve him with all faithfulness throw away. The gods your forefathers worship be on the river in Egypt and serve the Lord but if serving the lord seems undesirable to you then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve by the gods. Our forefathers served beyond the river or the gods of the amorites and who's Lance your living, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Then the people answered far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods. It was the Lord Our God himself who brought us in our fathers. That's out of Egypt from that land of slavery and performed great signs before he protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled in a larger about the 4th all the nations including the amorites who lived in the land because he is our God Joshua said to the people you're not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion in your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve for and God said he will turn to bring disaster on you and make an end of you after he's been so good to you, but the people said to Joshua know we will serve the Lord than Joshua said you are witnesses against yourself that you have chosen to serve the Lord. Yes. We are witnesses there apply. Now then said Joshua throw away the form. That are among you and you told your hearts to the Lord the god of Israel. The people said to Joshua we will serve the Lord. Play him know I'm not say Joshua made a covenant for the people and their second me dhruba up for them to Kris and laws and Joshua record at these things in the book of The Law of God. Then you took a large Stone and set it up under the Oaks near the holy place of the Lord. See he said to all the people this Stone will be a witness against us and his hers all the words. The Lord has said to us, it will be a witness against you if you are on tutu, you're gone. This is the word of God for the people of God and together. We say thanks be to God.
I love how. She was speech is a story after story after Story of all the ways that God has kept his promise to the Israelites since the beginning but afterwards when Joshua challenge them to choose to follow God and be faithful to him. There was no question in their mind that they should do. So clearly God was worthy of their full devotion the given the option between serving the god whom and faithful to them or otherwise serve man made Idols mirror smoke screens of greatness, the fictional gods of the surrounding Nations. There was no question who they should serve this morning. There's no question in my mind either who we should serve. In fact, the first version of this sermon was much like Joshua speed full of story after story after story of how God has been faithful to us and faithful to me personally. I could talk for hours of all the ways that God has been faithful to me. How he was with us and my dad was very sick and we didn't know if he would recover or how God prepared the way for my family and I wouldn't he called us to move here or how God has provided for me so many times I've lost count. I could talk about how God sent his son his own son. Jesus to die for us that he could bear the weight of arson and how Jesus rose from the grave. So if we follow him death and sin can't have the final word in our life. God has proven himself faithful to us over and over and over and over again. He is our creator Our Savior and absolutely deserves our love and devotion. But can we follow God as he deserves? That's the real question and I believe the answer to that is also yes, but not because of Any right living or power or strength or mites on our part, but because God's faithfulness to us can Empower us to be faithful to him? When God promised the Israelites that he would give them the promised lands the Fulfillment of that promise was never about how great they were in battle how strong they were or even how worthy they were to receive it. It was always about having faith that God would follow through for them if they were just willing to commit to following him. I think Joshua understood this and that's why I even though he was old and some had given up on God's promise. He and Caleb remains faithful and sure think of God's promise. That when Gods told him it was time to go. They were still ready. We're still trust in the God would help them. Empower them silver come the Giants he knew what got he need that got to find a way forward just as God always has found a way for them in the past. And that's why when the Israelites were ready to pledge their allegiance to God Joshua told him that he didn't think they could do it. Not that it was impossible just that he had learned that they couldn't do it in their own strength.
On our own we don't have what it takes to achieve God's promise to us or to follow him like he deserves. We look at 2019 is our promised land and what is God promising us as we is he going to this new year of unknowns? Can we follow him? But I think it's not about achieving the promise. It's about receiving the promise. God is a holy God and a jealous God, but that's also a faithful God and because God is Holy and faithful rather than staying away from us and leaving us to our sin. He got right in the mess of us and reverse the curse that has on it because God is a jealous and faithful God instead of withdrawing and leaving us to alright Dollar Tree. He entered our world as a baby to be near to us. Therefore when God asks us to commit to following him. He never expects us to do it on our own in our own strength. He will help us be faithful. We just need to trust him.
I like to be careful to only make promises. I know I can keep this town should serve God unwaveringly in the New Year's teams daunting and even impossible when I try to calculate how I will be able to do this in My Own Strength, but it's not about what I can do or we can do but about what God can do in me and then us.
If you are afraid to make this commitment this morning because you know your own weaknesses or you're afraid of the unknown Giants. This is what the Lord says be strong and courageous do not be terrified for the Lord. Your God is with you wherever you go. Those Joshua 1:9. God will go before us and prepare the way he always keeps his promises and he will not fail us. Our God has proven himself worthy of our devotion. And today he asked if we will follow him with his help. I know that we can and that's why this morning like Joshua I can say to you with confidence choose this day whom you will serve but as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.
Long ago the great preacher John Wesley wrote A Prayer that's often used to guide God's people and making a covenant to follow God and I believe that God is calling us to make this our prayer and our promise this morning too trusting him, of course to help us keep it. In a moment the words of this prayer will be on the screen and invite you if you're able will you pray it with me? Will you stands and make this our covenant?
At 3 o most holy God, we cry to you are faithful Savior. We confess that in the past. We have each gone our own way. We have fallen away from you by our own sinfulness and are by Nature children of death and sin, but in your abundance and infinite grace, you have promised Mercy to us in Christ if we will turn to you with all our hearts. Therefore in response to the good news of Grace that you have given to us we come now and bow our hearts before you and surrender Our Lives to your love and mercy, we renounce all our Idols by your grace set us free from sin Deliver Us from all evil. We do here take you the Lord Jehovah Father Son and Holy Spirit as our portion and do give up ourselves Body and Soul as your servants promising and vowing to serve you each day in Holiness and righteousness. We renounce our own worthiness and claim your righteousness. As our own. We renounce our wisdom and asked you to be our only guy we renounce our own will and take your will as our law. We will share in your sufferings. We will meet every hardship and challenge with you knowing that neither life nor death can separate us from you. We plead with you that if you see any wicked way in us that you will reveal it and help us to put it right you have now become our covenant friends. And we threw your infinite grace have become your cabinet servants in this Covenant that we have made on Earth. Let it be ratified and remembered in heaven. Amen. You can be seated.
Me that prayer be so for us this year. After Joshua, and the Israelites made their Covenant to God, he placed a large Stone before them as a Silent Witness to their promise and God's faithfulness five baskets of stones here and those are not large. I hope that they will be meaningful to you and your family also have copies of the prayer that we just prayed if you'd like to take it home.
Kobe is going to come and play one of the songs. We sang earlier called follow you. I asked him to play the song for us again because I feel that it sums up our prayer. And I promise to God that we will follow God's into the promised land of 2019 that we don't know what it's holds. We know that God will be faithful and so I invite you to the song to your prayer this morning as well. And as you do so as he plays invite you to come forward and take a rock. And with a sharpie marker, would you write your family's name on The Rock? And let this Stone be a reminder to you of your family's Covenant here this morning and take it home and put it somewhere where you will see it and remember it and recognize that today. You promised to follow God also wrote Joshua 24 online to remind me that only because of God's faithfulness. Can I say with confidence as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Will you come and take a stone?
You live at least of these the weary and the weak.
A tragedy for me to turn away.
Give it away so freely.
I'll follow you.
I'll follow you.
Use my hands use my feet to make your kingdom come.
I'll follow you.
I'll follow you into.
in dog years
and I get
and now you
Yes, I do.
Oh my God. 2 years old
I'll follow you.
I'll follow you.
That you said but words that you truly mean and promise because only the only way we're going to make it through this year is going to be if we follow God and we follow God together. He's already gone before us and it's already has a plan for those giants, you know about and maybe this time that you don't know about the follow God and trust him to be faithful to you. Cuz you I promise to be faithful to him. Let's pray father God. Thank you for meeting us here this morning. Thank you for reminding us of all of the ways that you have been faithful to us in the past. I pray that you bring to mind those times where you were with us and where We relied on you and you know, you'd never let us down God and I pray that you'll be with us as we face is Giants at this new year and this unknown only knowing that you're calling us forward calling us to follow help us to follow God in Jesus name. I pray amen. You're just missed to go this morning. But I pray that you don't go without recognizing that you think with God this morning and that he goes before you ask you leave and if you would stay and join us for the potluck after God blessed.
I'll follow you.
I'll follow you into the hole.
I'll follow you into.