At least that’s what the reports indicate. It reminds me of the reports the “spies” came back with when they first explored the land God had promised the Israelites. In the book of Numbers, a group goes to discover this new land. Oh, it’s nice alright, but it’s full of giant, dangerous people. We’ll never be able to go there! The group said that and I’m sure a few other things to convince the rest of the people they couldn’t follow through with what God told them.
Thankfully, not everyone in the group agreed with that assessment. And don’t get me wrong, there’s truth within those statements (theirs and ours).
Later in the story we’re told Caleb and Joshua were ready to go to this new land. At first, though, we’re only told something significant about Caleb. What was different about him? You read for yourself:
But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.
Did you catch it? Caleb didn’t just have a different report. He didn’t merely hold a different perspective. He had a different spirit. And it was that spirit that helped him follow God “wholeheartedly.”
So, you see, you may not need as many ideas as you think to save the church. You may just need people with a different spirit to lead you. You may just need a new spirit yourself.
I was reading about the nazirite vows. These vows were made to set oneself apart for God. Read about it in Numbers 6.
It got me wondering about the kinds of vows we make to God and what prompts them. When was the last time you made a vow to God? Lent is approaching and I know you may be thinking of making a vow to not drink or eat something in particular.
Although I would always strongly encourage you to consider making a significant sacrifice, giving up Coke is fine.
More important, though, is why you’re giving something up. You’re supposed to? Tradition? Everyone else is doing it? Maybe I’ll lose a few pounds?
Whatever vow you make to God, whether during Lent or any other time, is an important element of your life with God. So, make sure to take it seriously. Know what you are expecting from God during your vow and, perhaps more so, pay attention to what God is expecting of you.
In this week’s episode I’m talking about how I’m not talking about something. The rest is about blessings and God’s glory.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Leviticus 9:1-7, 22-24
On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, ‘Take a bull calf for a sin-offering and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. And say to the people of Israel, “Take a male goat for a sin-offering; a calf and a lamb, yearlings without blemish, for a burnt-offering; and an ox and a ram for an offering of well-being to sacrifice before the Lord; and a grain-offering mixed with oil. For today the Lord will appear to you.” ’ They brought what Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting; and the whole congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. And Moses said, ‘This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.’ Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Draw near to the altar and sacrifice your sin-offering and your burnt-offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people; and sacrifice the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the Lord has commanded.’
Aaron lifted his hands towards the people and blessed them; and he came down after sacrificing the sin-offering, the burnt-offering, and the offering of well-being. Moses and Aaron entered the tent of meeting, and then came out and blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the Lord and consumed the burnt-offering and the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
I started taking advantage of the fact that I upload my weekly sermons. It’s been several years since I started doing that. There have been many weeks I’ve been faithful to that endeavor. There have been others that I wasn’t or when my sermon didn’t get recorded.
Even so, I’ve uploaded over 200 sermons. And here I was thinking about podcast topics!
So, as to not reinvent the wheel (for now), I’m adding a little bit to each week’s sermon podcast. There’ll be an introduction and a few closing thoughts after each sermon. I’m hoping it’ll be something you’ll find worth listening to.
My sermon notes tend to be pretty simple. Usually, I write 1-3 words to represent a train of thought or an illustration. Most of the sermon notes that I use are no longer than 1 page, sometimes significantly less than 1 page.
Most sermons include a recap of the biblical text I am using. That is, I retell the story. That’s important because I have found that a lot of people are not familiar with stories we are sharing.
When it comes to the part of the sermon, in my notes, I write the same words each time: TELL THE STORY.
And those 3 words give me a chance to relive and connect to the Bible every week. See if you can see what I mean. This week’s sermon was entitled My Strength, My Might, My Salvation.