Friday, October 31, 2008

Wait on Him

I like to leave encouragement cards to the wait staff at restaurants. It normally includes info about our church or my blog. Have you ever stopped to think about this difficult job?

They start their work day introducing themselves to complete strangers. They serve a beverage and take an order for the kitchen to cook up. Then they deliver the food and make sure the guests have everything they need to enjoy their meal.

They wait for the first course to be finished and clear the plates. They wait for the glass to get half full and then refill it. They wait for the meal to end and they offer dessert and coffee. Then they wait for the customer to leave and the process starts all over.

When you become a Christian, you are stepping into a similar situation. You are no longer a "customer" to sit and be served. You wait--but it's not the resting kind of "wait". You find your niche at church and you wait on complete strangers who enter the building. (The only difference to me is that guests at a church are not required to put anything in the offering plate. It's the members who are responsible for tithes...but then that's a whole other blog!)

You may be the greeter and deliver a handshake or hug, which is like a refreshing beverage to most.

You may be an usher, who finds a good seat for them or brings a chair for extra guests.

You may be in the worship team who delivers a taste of heaven--an appetizer of what is to come.

You could be in the background or "kitchen", cooking up new ways to present the banquet that is served by the pastor.

You could be with the kids...making sure they get their "happy meal" tailored to their spiritual tastebuds.

Or, you could be a Pastor--who knows exactly what God has cooked up and presents it in such a way that it is tantalizingly good.

A Christian without a church is like a waiter without a restaurant. He's ready to serve and finds it very difficult to serve out of his own kitchen. He cannot do it all alone.

People are starving in this world and we are called to feed, tend and care for His children. What are you going to do for your church today?

We are called to "Wait for the LORD," (Psalms 27:14a) because He gave us the Ultimate Head Waiter: Jesus.

It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26-28

Monday, October 20, 2008

Promised Land

In Deuteronomy 34, we find Moses climbing Mount Nebo, all the way to the top of Pisgah. God was taking him literally to new heights, but He was also keeping His promise to Moses. If you remember, because of Moses’ disobedience, God promised he would never set foot in Canaan. (Numbers 20:1-13 ) However, God would show it to him.

And what a view he had! From horizon to horizon…we read, “And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.” Deuteronomy 34:1-3

God allowed him to see this wonderful sight, and then he died—at the vivacious age of 120. What a way to go—how many of us will ever get a view of what’s in store for our descendants before we die?

However, this man, this chosen servant of God, this one who knew the Lord face to face, this one who faithfully delivered the Ten Commandments and led a nation out of bondage, could only lead the people so far.

This task was for another—the only one whom Moses literally laid his hands upon during the blessing of Israel. (Deuteronomy 33) This is the one who received the “spirit of wisdom” and would be the one to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

This man’s name was Joshua, which means deliverer. Remember God is all about parallels. While you savor part of his name’s definition, let me explain a bit more…

Moses brought the Ten Commandments to the people directly from God. It’s pretty obvious they’re not ten suggestions, they are mandates.

It seems pretty sensible to follow. Children and nations have been reared on these laws. They’re very straight forward.

So let’s look at a couple…here is the whole scripture from Exodus:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;

Do not have any other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,
but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
For six days you shall labour and do all your work.
But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour
Exodus 20:2-17

Most have never killed anyone or robbed a bank. We should be pretty safe, right? But when the Bible teaches us that hate is the same as murder, and withholding your tithes is the same as robbing God…where can we run from that guilt that the law unleashes?

You see, the law shows us how much we are still slaves to sin. It is a mirror that shows every ugly shackle and chain we forged our self and how that keeps us in bondage to sin. It shows us how far away from the Promised Land we really are. We haven’t even begun to set foot inside the boundaries! And there is no way we can do this on our own strength.

Who do we look to for our Joshua—our deliverer?

The other definition of Joshua’s name is Jeshua or Savior. Yes, Joshua is a form of the name Jesus!

Is that hard to swallow, or is it sweet? Imagine! We have our own Savior and Deliverer who is Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can free us from our bondage and lead us into our own Canaan.

Why do you think Jesus said “follow me” so many times anyway? He’s moving forward to the Promised Land and we can either choose to follow Him, or be Left Behind.