Monday, September 28, 2009

"Living life without the Fear" Week 2 - Quotes

Here are some quotes from several of the books studied in preparation for this series;

“ [In the defeat of the Amalekites] Joshua & Israel clearly understood that the victory was accomplished by God, not the strength of the army. Joshua’s military action in the valley was necessary but it was not sufficient in itself to defeat the enemy.” - Downey

“[Joshua] did not selfishly desire personal advantage. There was no lust for selfish gain. His life was characterized by obedient faith, dauntless courage, indomitable perseverance and a total dedication to God & his word. He revealed cheerful confidence in the face of difficulties. Others gave him high honour because of his unselfish disregard of his own personal interests...In every circumstance he displayed a supreme desire to know the will of God...”

“ Joshua was [acutely aware] of the seen and the unseen worlds. There is no vast chasm between them; the unseen world is right here. The unseen world is always immediately present, not far off. Above everything and overshadowing everything is the reality of God in His glory. It obviously stood Joshua in good stead many times for Him to understand that God was close at hand, that HE is the God who exists and who is ‘here.’” – Schaeffer

“He has seldom been given the full credit he deserves as perhaps the greatest man of faith ever to set foot on the stage of human history. In fact, his entire brilliant career was a straightforward story of simply setting down one foot after another in quiet compliance with the commands of God.” – Phillip Keller

Hope these help.

In Him

"Living life without the Fear" Week 2

Week 2 of our Joshua series: "Living life without the fear!" Still in Joshua 1: 1 so we could be here for a while.
Whereas in the first week we noted some principles as to why the book Joshua was so important for us this week we sought to discern why Joshua was a
'3500 year old model for living life without the fear'

One thing I noted was this

"I think one definite reason so many of us get sucked into the culture of fear that surrounds us, a primary factor that draws us into living life according to the principles and fear-inducing beliefs of our time is the NEED to be someone and of course in a ‘celebrity-obsessed’ media-saturated culture that someone is better looking than us, more famous than us, more wealthy than us, more ‘happy’ than us."

Then I made this point -


Joshua to could have lived his life defined by inferiority, starting off as a slave and then living constantly in the shadow of Moses the great Jewish 'celebrity.' But he didn't he became a fearless leader who delivered the people of Israel into their promised land.

There are FIVE FACETS FOR FEARLESS LIVING that I believe we can glean from his life that will 'equip' us as followers of Jesus (or not) to live our lives without being sucked into the fear-culture in which we are immersed.
Here they are:

LIVED LIFE AGAINST THE FLOW – One of only 2 (Caleb) to actually survive the wilderness wanderings. (Nu. 13 & 14)
All 12 spies return with the same story. It is just that 10 spies “focused on the difficulties rather than on the promise of god...” See also Ex. 24 – 32 and the events detailed there.
While all Israel rebel & pursue idolatry again Joshua stands with Moses and for the Lord against the masses.

ENGAGED THE BATTLE– Ex. 17: 8 – 9 this is seen also in his report from Canaan.
In this he would have learnt that a life of following God is a lifestyle of warfare. (Eph 6: 10 – 18) “Victory is always possible but always depends on both faith in God & obedience to His commands.

PRIORITIZED GOD’S AGENDA – His agenda, his comfort was not primary. Humble submission to the leading of God to undertake the mission of God was what marked him. It is the same for us, if our agenda or comfort is primary we will get sucked into and tainted by the ‘fear-culture’ that surrounds us.

OBEDIENT TO GOD– He learned the lesson of “the terribleness of sin” in the camp Ex. 32.
Resisting the temptations of living in a secular culture and standing against the pressure to live according to its agenda is far better than disobedience & the destructive consequences of that lifestyle.

PURSUED INTIMACY WITH GOD – He knew the ‘reality of God’ & the ‘glory of God.’ (Ex. 33: 11)
Joshua loved lingering in the presence of God.
There is simply no more effective way of counteracting ‘the fear’ than a deep, personal intimacy with Christ. See John 15.

Are you willing to be a Joshua in your generation?


'I hide myself in you.'

Life is tumultuous of that there is no doubt. We may be living in the 'noisiest', 'busiest' generation ever, and resting or finding peace may be harder than at any time before.
Where do we go? How do we counteract the rush? Where does the rat go to get out of the rat race?
We are facing different difficulties than generations before us: we are devoid of war on our turf, health care and social structure has eradicated numerous problems that would have afflicted generations before us. Our difficulties are more about stress, overwhelming time demands, cultural pressure to conform at all costs, community fracture and internal conflicts. They are difficulties all the same.

Sometimes you cry out for an 'all-embracing' solution to all your problems, something that would maybe be your rescue. Well how about doing what David did 3000 years ago: HIDE YOURSELF IN GOD! Psalm 143 in the OT scriptures tell us that David did exactly that, he writes,
"Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you."

Immerse yourself in the presence of God, revel in His love and compassion for you. Hear His well, dwell in His promises. I assure you there is no 'safer' empowering place.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Living life without the Fear" Week 1 - Further Quote

Here is another great quote which gives some background and insight to the strength of the book of Joshua to speak into our Christian lives:

"The book of Joshua has a very practical application to the believer today. The Promised Land cannot be a type of heaven since heaven is not a place of conflict & conquest. Heaven is received as a gift of the grace of God. Rather, the Promised Land represents the place to which believers are brought right here in this world today. The book of Joshua corresponds to the Epistle to the Ephesians in the NT where we see that the believer is blessed with all spiritual blessings. The practical possession and experience of them depends upon conflict and conquest. These are never attained through the energy of the flesh, but through the power of the Holy Spirit in the yielded life of the believer."


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Mars Hill Blog | Blog Archive » Luke’s Gospel: Where We’re Going

Just found this as it came into my rss feed from The Resurgence Network. What a powerful confirmation to us that we are taking on a challenging but right thing as a church on this journey through Joshua.
Thank you Lord.

The Mars Hill Blog | Blog Archive » Luke’s Gospel: Where We’re Going

Posted using ShareThis


"Living life without the Fear" Week 1 - Quotes

I will share three quotes that I mentioned on Sunday morning (in fact one I did not get to share) as a help for all of us considering the book of Joshua and what it means for us today.

“Spiritual victory comes through obedient faith... [T]he believer who wants to defeat the enemies of his soul – the world, the flesh, and the devil – must believe God’s promises & obey God’s instructions.” - Paul Downey (click author's name for link)

“While wandering in the wilderness in fear & disobedience may characterize the lives of many believers, it is not normative Christian living.” Paul Downey

“While in the wilderness, although they had been redeemed by blood, they were not in the place of their appointed inheritance... Because they did not believe that God could give them the land in the face of all the giants and walled cities they died in the wilderness... Like them, through unbelief and disobedience we too can miss the wonderful fullness and the blessed nearness of the Lord Jesus, indwelling and enthroned, possessing, controlling and motivating our lives. We too can die in the wilderness of blighted hopes and unfulfilled aspirations, of inward battles and outward failures, of sad defeats and wasted years... That weak, ineffective Christian life is most certainly not the inheritance which we have in Christ.” - Colin Peckham

Hope these help.


"Living life without the Fear" Week 1

Well we have kicked off what I believe will be a truly significant series for us as a church but hopefully for many individuals beyond the walls of screen 7 of Vue Cinema Watford. It is quite a landmark for me as a pastor as it will be the first time I have committed to take on a whole book of Scripture. It can be an ominous thing as you carry concern that people may see it as oncoming monotony - "What a whole Old Testament book of scripture?" - and their dread that they are destined for hours of sleep on Sunday mornings at X1. Also it is extremely demanding of the preaching & teaching elder(s) of a church to earnestly, faithfully, and effectively draw out of a book of scripture the life changing, transcendent truths that are most certainly within the text.

I hope we had a good start. We did not even complete Joshua 1: 1 as we introduced this series. Videos will start going up at in the very near future and I will be sure to give relevant links if you have any desire to join us on this journey with this great OT man of God, Joshua, both an inspiration and provocation to living life without the fear that stains, and drains so many of us in our faith.

I am fully certain that Joshua's embracing of the challenges and the warfare necessary to delight in the fruits of the 'promised land'is a type and a picture of the faith-filled, obedient, conquering lifestyle essential for us as 21st century Followers of Jesus to live out our Faith without being overcome by 'The Fear' grasping the culture in which we are immersed.

Join us, if you'd like.


Monday, September 14, 2009

12 Marks of a Christ-like church.

We have spent the last 2 weeks of our life as a church seeking God's heart for His vision for us as a people. We have been literally battered by Satan in the interim but have also sensed the Lord speak so powerfully into where this local church is heading.
I spent yesterday preaching into the truth that God has called Christ First as a local Christ Community into the stunning ongoing story of His Global Rehab project. We as a church are an essential section of the great tapestry that is God's Universal Redemptive initiative.

My thought is that as much as a church can seek to create a community that is a 'foretaste' of the CITY we see in Revelation chapter 21 the closer we are to being fully on board with the Missio Dei. It is a stunning thought! 70 people meeting in a cinema in Watford, England are spirit-empowered, spirit-gifted ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.

A charge I set before us as a people (that which I hope God would say to us) was this:

"A body of believers most like Christ is the 'most healthy' church."

These are just 12 marks that I feel would reflect that:

I hope to maybe expand each of those marks in this week. But hope they will be helpful.


I said, "Teach them the fear of the Lord."

I am pretty certain this is not what God meant when He called me to teach His people 'the fear of the Lord.' This didn't even scare my 2 year old munchkin.

Well thought I'd give it a go....


Thursday, September 10, 2009

15th Century Thoughts on 'Confirming Faith with Experience'

Juan De Valdes was a 15th century Italian reformer, coming to the revelation of Justification by faith through the grace of God in Christ alone without any knowledge of Luther and his ongoing revelations elsewhere in Europe. I am just getting caught up in some of his writings so share some here with you.

These regard the importance of confirming our faith with experience;

"Supposing someone asks me, 'How shall I, a believer, confirm my faith by experience?' I would reply with two things.
First of all, let him divest himself of all Christless modes of justification, both of those that are negative and those that are positive. Let him only embrace the justification that is in Christ, which consists in believing. Let him strive in prayer to God ans ask that He would cause him to feel peace of conscience, that He would mortify him, and that He would quicken him.
In the second place, let him keep the strictest reckoning with himself as to his works, words, and thoughts. He will know by these means what progress he has made in mortification and quickening. Let his purpose be to increase every day in his experience of mortification and quickening so that he strives to acquire that Christian experience by which faith is established.

Basically die to self daily and seek only to pursue all Christian works with your righteousness in Christ as the only basis. Not easy, but no one ever said truly living this faith was.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Doing Something Right?

Oftentimes in our journey of faith, particularly in Christian Leadership we encounter seasons where we feel we are literally at war. This reflects the reality revealed to us by scripture that there is an enemy of those who follow Christ. He is the 'father of lies' he comes to 'steal, kill & destroy,' he is the 'accuser of the brothers [follower of Jesus' and he is constantly at work to distract us from the mission and to steal our joy and assurance in the great love of Christ!

Spurgeon alludes to this with fantastic words here:

"[if anything] makes me believe the work [fruitful ministry] is genuine is just this - that the enemies of Christ are exceedingly mad at it! When the devil roars at anything, you may rest assured there is some good in it. The devil is not like some dogs we know of; he never barks unless there is something to bark at. When Satan howls, we may rest assured he is afraid his kingdom is in danger."

We war against a conquered foe.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This is mum's 'sad face'

The face Malachi pulls when symbolizing mum's sadness!


Oh no someone's taken over the church office.

He just pushed me out the chair and told me he could do a better job. Who am I to argue?


Gosh makes you want to give all you are to the church

People, people, people if you are a part of God's church, you have been called to be a part of the greatest organism in all of reality. What a joy. Just let Driscoll in this video EXPLODE your mind about what is the church!

What is the Church by Mark Driscoll from Vintage21 Church on Vimeo.

Thank you Jesus that you died to make such a glorious bride!