When God Shows Up
“This is Christianity: The Lord appears! Suddenly, in the midst of the drudgery and the routine and the sameness and the dullness and the drabness, unexpectedly, surprisingly, he meets with you, and says something that changes the whole of your life and your outlook lifts you to a level that you had never conceived could be possible for you… There is always this glorious possibility of meeting with him in a new and a dynamic way.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones (Excerpt from Living Waters)
This quote hit me like a ton of bricks. Martyn Lloyd Jones is commenting on the passage of scripture that recounts Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). He talks about how Jesus shows up at times when you least expect him. This woman at the well was going through the routines of her day (probably what she did every day). She wasn’t expecting anything new to happen when she woke up in the morning and walked to the well. She figured it was “just another day”. Little did she know that this ordinary, average day was going to forever change her life. At the well this woman met Jesus and what a meeting it was. Her encounter with the Lord himself forever changed her life becauase she was offered the living water of Jesus Christ, or in other words… salvation.
This passage is relevant for you today. How often do you wake up in the morning and expect nothing significant to happen? When you enter through the doors of your church do you actually enter expecting nothing? Is your attitude, “Ho hum it’s just another Sunday I will endure the message of the preacher and sing a couple of songs and then go home”? Is your expectation this low? May you learn from this Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus Christ to never expect nothing to happen. You should always expect to encounter the King whether in the mundane and menial tasks of the day or in your faithful attendance to worship on Sunday mornings. Be expectant for God to show up and severely change you for his glory.
Excuse Me, But That's My Seat!
I think it is safe to say generally people are resistant to change and some are downright opposed to it.
Many years ago I asked a family what brought them to the church I was pastoring. They looked at laughed and told me of their first experience at the church. The husband told me that he and his family were looking for a local church and after much thought and prayer that he and his family finally decided to "try out" our small church in rural Wisconsin. On the Sunday they decided to visit the husband, wife and their two children came to the small white church. They were greeted kindly by a few members and proceeded to sit down in a random pew. A few moments before the service started a woman came up to him and said, "Excuse me, but you are sitting in my seat." The family was taken aback but they got up and moved to another pew. Surprisingly they decided to come back the following Sunday and try it out again and they made sure to not sit in the pew they chose the previous week. I was mortified! I breathed a breathe of fresh air when I found out this all happened before I came to be the Pastor. I then thanked the family for being good sports and continuing to attend the church
When I heard this story I thought to myself, what would ever posses someone to ever do something so rude as to what the woman did? The answer... Change. She didn't ant to change her seat. The woman was more concerned with sitting in "her seat" than she was with this new family who was visiting. She plain refused to change.
Why do you think people resist change?
Why people generally resist change
Why it is generally more difficult to implement healthy change in churches
How to Proceeded Before Implementing change
Aye, Aye, Ai
Here is the transcript of the message I preached this Sunday (11/12/17) at First Pres Bradenton. I thought I had the audio for it but it never was recorded. I hope you enjoy reading the message.
Joshua 1 - 8
Last week Pastor Dino started the next series titled “Insurmountable Odds” in our year-long sermon series “Fear Not”. Throughout the Bible God repeatedly tells his people, which serves as a constant reminder to us today, that they/we are not to be fearful, because He is always present with His people. In his first sermon, Pastor Dino talked about how Israel, under the leadership of Moses, overcame their insurmountable odds as they fled from Egypt and Pharaoh’s army. We saw how God orchestrated every detail so that Israel would not only face their insurmountable odds, but that they would be successful in overcoming them.
Today, we pick up approximately forty years later. Moses, has died at the ripe ole age of 120 years and it is now time for his successor, Joshua to step up to the plate. From the time of his commissioning by God to his death, Joshua faced and overcame many seemingly impossible odds in his life.
To begin with Joshua as he was commissioned to take over as leader of the people of Israel after the death of their iconic leader. This was a big task. Moses was highly respected and revered by the people of Israel and surrounding nations. Filling the shoes of a great leader is always a challenging task and is one that is not always done successfully. However, he not only had big shoes to fill but he was commissioned to complete what Moses had begun. In some ways Joshua is charged to do greater things than his mentor, he was to lead the nomadic people wandering in the desert into enter and to settle into the land God promised Moses 40 years earlier. He is tasked with the overwhelming responsibility of strategically planning military tactics so that Israel could overcome the cities that 40 years prior they would not face because they were paralyzed with fear.
(Read Joshua 1:1 -9)
For today’s message I will begin by giving a brief overview of Joshua 1 – 8, as we look at this book and see how God commissioned and successfully led Joshua and the people of Israel to overcoming their insurmountable odds. I would encourage you to read through the book of Joshua sometime this week to see how God worked…
Chapter 1 – God commissions Joshua as Moses’ successor. He promises victory and protection as they fearlessly and boldly go to the land of promise. God confirms and affirms Joshua’s leadership. God repeatedly (three times) says, “Be strong and resolute (courageous)”
Chapter 2 – Joshua sends spies into Jericho and they meet Rahab. She gives them protection (insurmountable odd) from the king of Jericho, in exchange for the promise that Israel will not harm her and her family during the raid of the city.
Chapter 3 & 4 – Are the accounts of the Israelites crossing the Jordan river (insurmountable odd). In this miraculous crossing God proves his power and presence in their midst, thus giving the Israelites the boost of confidence and faith in God’s power and promises.
Chapter 5 – The men of Israel are circumcised. The males born in the desert were not circumcised and now as a way of being cleansed and prepared for the battle ahead of them they were circumcised.
Chapter 6 – The Israelites go to Jericho and defeat the city. God tells them to go and conquer but all the silver, gold, objects of copper and iron shall go to the treasury of the Lord, they are not to keep any plunder for themselves.
Chapter 7 – A man named Achan secretly kept some of the plunder for himself. His sin constituted in the failed attack on the city of Ai. The Israelites looked at Ai and said there was no need for the full army (kind of a Cleveland Browns) to attack, so they sent 3,000 troops and unfortunately about 36 men were killed, and the Israelites were defeated. This really upset Joshua and he complains to the LORD about why God would ever let this happen?
God answers him and tells him about the sin of Achan. The Israelites deal with Achan and then God commissions Israel to go back to Ai and attack and face this city that defeated them earlier.
Chapter 8 – The Israelites defeat Ai.
When we look at chapters 7 & 8 we can imagine that the people of Israel are perplexed. God promised victory, but they were defeated. God exposes the person responsible for the defeat and then tells them to go back into battle against the same people who pretty much had no problem whatsoever defeating them.
However, chapter 8:1 – 2 show us that God is with the Israelites and victory is imminent.
(Read 8:1 – 2)
As we have briefly looked at the first 8 chapters of Joshua we see that he and the people of Israel faced numerous insurmountable odds, and they will continue in the preceding chapters. I think it is important for us to stop here and sum up what we can learn about Joshua and his insurmountable odds up to this point. I think it could be helpful if we could break it down into the “don’ts” and “do’s” of facing insurmountable odds in our lives today. Let’s be realistic, we all have or will face seemingly impossible situations in our lives… Whether they be physical, emotional, financial, spiritual or relational they can loom over us and cause us to lose hope and in some cases, give up all together. However, when we are faced with insurmountable odds I believe it is important, if not necessary to begin with prayer. We need to ask God to search and speak to our hearts to see if there is anything hindering us from worshiping and trusting him fully. Once we have done this, the following Don’ts and Do’s will be more true in your life.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
Preview or purchase Jeff's Books