Joshua 1: 1-9 and Matt 28: 16-20
Over the last few weeks we’ve been thinking about our vision here at All Saints.
Our vision is to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead.
We want to be a people who KNOW God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and worship Him each day.
We want to be a people who GROW in our faith, becoming more like Jesus through prayer and Bible study and trust in God.
And we want to SHOW God’s love by serving our community and telling them about Jesus…that there is hope.
And to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church we need values that permeate and pervade every area of our life… values that shape and form who we are –
So in all we are and all we do, we want to be loving and welcoming, generous and prayerful, outward looking and missional, we want to depend on God’s word – the Bible, and be Spirit-filled – those who depend on God every day and invite his Spirit to fill our lives and lead us.
However, there is one last value – which I want to just touch on now:
In all we are and in all we do we will seek to be a community that has big dreams, courageous hearts, takes risks and is always looking to see where God is at work.
You see as a church, we want to grow and change, we don’t want to stay as we are, and we certainly don’t want to go backwards or reduce in size.
Growth is our future:
- We want to grow in numbers – we want to see people discover the love of God in their lives, know the truth that Jesus brings, and find healing and wholeness. We want to see more and more people come along to church each week.
- We want to grow in our spiritual commitment – this means we long that each of us, young and old, grows and develops in our relationship with God…that day by day we become more like Jesus, that our faith becomes stronger and deeper.
- And then we want to grow as we reach out across our community. We want our impact to be felt. We want to make a difference and see the whole atmosphere of our community change. We want our community to know who we are, what we stand for, to know God’s radical love and acceptance.
To do all this we need to be courageous…. We need to be able to see the big picture…to dream big… to trust God through thick and thin.
We don’t want to be courageous in our own strength, or our own abilities, rather we want to be courageous based on who and what God is.
And this reminds me of the story of Joshua…
you see Joshua exemplified courage and commitment to the Lord,
and God blessed and rewarded his faithfulness.
After God freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and led them to the brink of the Promised Land, He commanded them to go take possession of the land.
But the nation rebelled out of fear and argued that they would be defeated by the enemy inhabitants.
Only Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb were willing to obey God.
Joshua pleaded with the people, “Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid… the Lord is with us.”
Although Joshua recognized there were dangerous enemies in the land, he found courage and confidence in the Lord.
Unfortunately, the people didn’t heed Joshua’s warning.
As a result, they were not permitted to enter the land.
Only Joshua and Caleb were later permitted to lead the next generation into the Promised Land and enjoy God’s favour and blessing.
The rest missed the opportunity to see God’s inheritance for them because they responded to His call in fear.
Remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear (or timidity), but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Like Joshua, we may well face daunting circumstances, but we should find courage and confidence in the Lord, knowing that Jesus Christ is with us always.
Forty years later, God instructed Joshua to finish the mission.
God encouraged Joshua to courageously enter the land, trusting the Lord would give him the victory.
As Joshua prepared to lead the people into the Promised Land, God repeatedly challenged Joshua to be strong and courageous.
But God also repeatedly promised Joshua that He would be with him:
“Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Jesus Christ left the Church with a similar promise when He instructed His disciples,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
At times it may feel as though we’re marching into hostile territory as we go into the world, as we engage with our community.
Scripture tells us we are aliens and foreigners here because this is not our home.
However, the Lord Almighty has given you a mission – to serve as salt and light in this world, making disciples of all nations by sharing the love of Jesus Christ with those you encounter.
Be strong and courageous! Do not be dismayed.
Jesus Christ, the Son of the Lord Almighty, is with you wherever you go.
And finally, God greatly blessed and rewarded Joshua for his faithfulness and commitment to Him.
Joshua successfully led the nation of Israel into the Promised Land, and they temporarily experienced the blessing and rest God promised to them.
God honoured both Joshua and Caleb because they honoured Him with their lives and followed Him fully when others refused.
God will also reward our commitment to Him.
We may not always experience success or prosperity in this world.
But God has promised an eternal reward to those who follow and serve Him.
The Apostle Paul was motivated by this promise.
Paul wrote to the church, “Sisters, brothers, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
And so, for us individually and as a church there is an emphatic,
wholehearted call to be strong and courageous!
To dream big, to take a risk, to trust in God, as Joshua did.
Joshua had little idea what lay ahead…but he trusted God at each step – and encouraged others to do the same.
We have a clear vision – we want to grow – we want to see new things develop.
We want to see people’s lives changed as they encounter God.
We want to see people grow in their faith – as they follow Jesus.
We want to be a church that is welcoming, vibrant and alive – making a difference in this community.
We’re already engaged in lots of different activities… Alpha, Little Stars, Coffee mornings, Bereavement Group, Weddings, Baptisms, Sunday worship, Messy Church…. and much, much more….
But in many ways, we’re just getting started.
We would love to do and be so much more….
there are all sorts of things we could
- it would be wonderful to have enough money to be able to employ a part time families worker – someone who could lead our youth group and support all our various children’s work and outreach to schools
- It would be wonderful to have the money to develop our outreach through our bereavement ministry and pastoral care team
- it would be wonderful to have the money so that we could install a projector to enhance our worship and services
To keep growing, to keep developing, to keep moving forward we need your help and support – we need every person, each Saint here to play their part, to pray and to give – to give of your time and energy, to get involved with activities, to help with Coffee mornings or Messy Church, or serve tea/coffee on a Sunday, to help welcome people to our services, but also to give financially. To support the work we are involved with, and to cover future developments.
I’m going to hand over to Derek who is going to come and share with us our Stewardship campaign.