The God of Unusual Victories

Screen-Shot-2013-04-25-at-11.27.07-AMThis week we study the amazing account of Joshua leading the people of Israel to conquer the mighty Canaanite city of Jericho.

Or, as you may be more familiar with it…

Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho…

Don’t let the fact that this historical account has been shaped into one of the more beloved children’s Bible songs cause you to miss seeing just how incredibly powerful and trustworthy God truly is.

Take time this week to consider that none of our circumstances are too big for God. And remember that when he works mightily in the midst of a seemingly insurmountable circumstance, he gets all the glory! And that is a good thing.

…and the walls came tumbling down.

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Jesus Triumphs

Logo-1.0-Easter15.jpgHe Is Risen!

He Is Risen, Indeed!

This great call and response rests at the very core of our hope as Christians. Our Jesus is alive!

This week, we desire to press the trajectory of Christ onto our hearts. This trajectory begins with Jesus sharing glory with his Father from eternity past. It then moves downward as Jesus humbles himself, becomes a man, and then goes to the cross. Finally, it turns sharply upward when Jesus is resurrected and exalted.

Hallelujah, Jesus is Alive!

The God Who Goes Before

stones-of-remembrance1“What do these stones mean?”

That is the question God wanted Israelite children to ask their parents when they saw a heap of 12 stones set up by the river. God gave families an opportunity to rehearse the faithfulness of God by recounting the ways that God had worked through the years.

We love to hear stories of our past, our parents’ pasts, and even beyond that. We learn much and are often shaped greatly by these stories. This was the intent of the 12 stones for Israel. Parents would tell the story of God to their children and God would use that story to shape the hearts and lives of these young ones.

God has given us a story to tell as well. This is the story of Christ; his life, death, and resurrection. To help us get the story going, Jesus gave us some ‘stones of remembrance’. We regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper. By taking the bread and the cup, we are reminded of how God has saved us through Christ. And when we take it together, this Supper often provokes our children, and others, to ask, “What do these things mean?”

Thank God for giving us ways to remember and ways to tell the story of Christ.

The Bronze Serpent

bronze-serpentNow faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

And without faith, it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

This lesson is all about God. (I hope all of our lessons are.)

A perfect God richly provides for his people. His people grumble, complain, grow impatient, and even go so far as to hold in contempt for his failure to work according to their whims and wishes. God then brings judgment upon the people. Harsh judgment at that. But then God shows incredible mercy as he grants his people relief. He gives them a way of escape. He provides rescue for their sin and punishment.

We are reminded this week that the rescue he provided to his people in the wilderness was a shadow of the definitive and eternal rescue that he offers us in Christ. Jesus bore our sins as he hung on a stake, lifted up from the earth. His cross would symbolize the punishment we deserve and become the means of our deliverance.

We are reminded that as those who are saved through this beautifully horrible cross, we now serve as ambassadors, bringing the message of the gospel to a lost and dying world around us. We plead with those in our lives to be reconciled to God.

Israel had to look upon the bronze serpent by faith and in faith. We look to Christ today in faith. We call upon men and women to place their faith in Jesus alone.

When we encounter God in his holiness, and we see our wretched sin, and we understand that judgment is appropriate, and we grasp the fact that God sent his Son for us to rescue us, and we look upon this Son in faith, we receive the gift of eternal life from God himself.

Faith is at the heart of this lesson, but this lesson really is all about God.

Unit 3_Session 2_The Bronze Serpent from Eric Scholten on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

When Faith Fails…

Tissot_The_Grapes_of_CanaanTHIS IS SO GREAT!!!!

IT IS EVERYTHING THAT GOD HAS PROMISED!!!!

YOU SHOULD SEE THE BLESSING!!!!

IT IS EVERYTHING WE HOPED FOR AND MORE!!!!

GOD HAS DONE A GREAT THING!!!!

but there is no way we could enjoy it…we have no answers but to turn and run…

What?!?!?!?!?

What just happened there? How did the thinking above move from rejoicing in what God had done and how great he was to a faithless, scared, defeated mentality?

The answer stands staring back at us in the mirror, doesn’t it? This is a plain old, common experience of our lives as Christians. We are constantly exhorted by the Scripture to believe in God, to trust God, to have faith in God. And yet the very presence of these constant exhortations is a reminder that we need exhortation. We regularly stumble about in faithlessness.

1 group of 12 spies entered the land of Canaan. 2 groups, one of ten and the other of two, exit Canaan. Ten were faithless and led the people to feel the same. Two trusted God.

Let’s remind our people this week of God’s promises and his trustworthiness. And let’s remind them of the One, our Savior, who never fails.