SOMEDAY . . .

I spent some time this morning pondering the biblical story of Caleb’s boldness in Joshua 14:6-15.  The essence of the story is that at eighty-five years of age, Caleb was chomping at the bit to claim the land that was promised to him by Moses forty-five years earlier.  He was not afraid of the giants, the Anakim, who occupied that land.  He knew he could take them because the Lord had promised him.

Verse 12 gives us a little of his gumption:

So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities.  It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.

Remember, that is an eighty-five year old man saying that.  Lest you think that is some kind of ‘well everyone was older in the Bible’ stuff, even the Bible makes a big deal here about how old Caleb is.

Someday, I"ll . . .
Someday, I”ll . . .

This time period in biblical history is hard to get a handle on, because things are fluid, and it is hard to reconcile Christian ethics with the warfare and genocide recorded in the conquest of Canaan.  However, that aside, four things jump out at me from Caleb’s story that are inspiring.

1.  Caleb never forgot what his goals were.  I can imagine that everyday for forty-five years he went to bed thinking, ‘Someday, I’ll take that land.’  There is probably something missing in our lives if we ever lose that feeling of, “Someday, I’ll ….”

2.  He was thinking of his children, grandchildren, and lineage.  He knew he’d never enjoy the land for long, but he wanted to secure it for the generations.  If only people in church, in business, on the streets, and in the government would make decisions based on what as best for the generations that come after us.

3.  He kind of liked it that the Anakim were in the land he wanted.  The Anakim were giants, and Caleb liked the challenge.  The bigger they are, the harder the fall.

4.  Even though he was strong-willed, he still submitted himself to his leadership for permission.  “Give me this,” he asked his old friend Joshua.  Joshua knew it really wasn’t his to give, because in God’s eyes it was already Caleb’s by promise.

It is tempting to draw an equal sign between Caleb’s desire to claim his promise of land with our spiritual inheritance of eternal life.  There is some level of truth there, but a more applicable truth is that Caleb is an encouragement to us to pursue our dreams, never give up on our goals, and to take responsibility for securing a better future for ourselves and our offspring no matter what our age is or what obstacles might be in our way.

I hope and pray that I have Caleb’s fire every day.

ALIVE IS FINISHED

Yesterday I finished my ALIVE sermon series that started on Easter.  The series was topical as it focused on essential issues in in life.  These issues are universal, but the way Christ-follower’s deal with them is unique.  In a nutshell, here are the five sermons.

#1–ALIVE FAITH–this was the Easter sermon.  I decided to preach not on the resurrection of Jesus so much as the resurrection of our faith.  Many people who attend church on Easter have a connection to church and God, that is why they come.  The problem is they let their faith die.  This death can be because they are brain dead (logical problems) or because they are cardiac dead (they’ve been hurt.)

#2–ALIVE FAMILY–Far too many families, Christian and otherwise, are broken and near relational death or on the morgue slab.  But there are some concrete things that families can do to be alive again.  Part of this involves a broad definition of family, investing time, and creating boundaires.

#3–ALIVE DREAMS–By far and away this was my favorite sermon in the series.  Sometimes our dreams are dead because of life and we need to revive them with concrete actions.  Other times, our dreams are needing to be euthanized so we can dream new dreams.

#4–ALIVE FINANCES–One of my key goals this year was to preach about money more.  So far I haven’t lived up to that, but I’m doing better than int he past.  One third of Jesus’ lessons were about money.  I’m nowhere near that.  This sermon used five words to highlight how we can bring our finances back to life:  Wait, thrift, ant, give, record.  My favorite part was the ant–based on the instruction from Proverbs 6 for us to observe the hard work and preparation of the ant.

#5–ALIVE CHURCH--I used Revelation 3 and the church at Sardis to talk about the things that can bring a church back to life again that is dead as well as keep a church alive in the first place.  A fun part of this sermon was that I read, straight from my iPhone, a part of a blog post from a friend who pastors in Florida.  Thanks David for helping our church keep it real.