Thursday, July 29, 2010


Faithful to His Promise- Part 2

Christians have heard that God is faithful to His promises. But what is a promise?

A promise is “a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified.” The word “promise” means “to set forth.” God sets forth what He will do throughout scripture. He told Abraham, “…I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

God is a God of promise and we are a people of promise. That is our DNA. We are not like everyone else because we have a prophetic birth, we are a prophetic people and a prophetic movement.

God speaks a word and things move and take shape. Ezekiel spoke God’s word and bones came together. We too are shaped by prophetic promise and this gives us direction. His word shapes and creates movement. We are a movement of a particular DNA and we live with prophetic promise.

We must be careful about taking on Saul’s armor. Let us avoid shaping ourselves after others who seem to be getting results we long for. The Church is a demonstration of the multi-faceted wisdom of God and we move along the road of the grand story to God’s fulfillment of His prophetic intention. However, as players on the field we have a particular DNA.

How do we really know God is faithful? First and foremost, God is true to His promise because you can’t separate His promise from God himself. Here is a personal example. In 1965 God gave me a promise… “I formed you and called you. You are mine. You will experience trials…but I am with you and will bring fruitfulness.” That word shaped me, gave me direction, created movement. Promises are not passively received but actively laid hold of. I took certain steps as a result.

Newfrontiers is also an example of God’s faithfulness as we are a movement of prophetic promise. John Groves, one of our leaders in England, gave a prophecy years ago of seeing a herd of elephants running toward an impenetrable jungle and making a path where none previously existed. “There are no well-worn paths. Together you can accomplish more than you could ever accomplish alone.” This word led to the coming together of a family of churches. Terry Virgo changed of name of his gathered churches from “Coastlands” to “Newfrontiers”.

Throughout the years we been shaped and given direction as God spoke promises to us. Promises are a call to action, direction and movement. They shape us.

God calls things that are not as though they were. We become what he calls us. We are people of promise and we travel on the road to lay hold of His promise.

For example, He calls us a “new creation” when we were the “old creation.” He calls us righteous and we are no longer unrighteous. He calls Peter (a reed shaking in the wind) “a rock.” He calls Abram (a 99 year old with one son, Ishmael) “Abraham, father of multitudes.” He calls Gideon (who is hiding his work) a “mighty warrior” and Jeremiah (a youth) a “prophet to the nations”. The Pharisee Saul becomes an apostle to the Gentiles. A people who were “not a people” are now a people through God’s spoken promise.

Promise is what we become and what we are. As part of God’s people, you are a prophetic person.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Faithful to His Promise

I want to discuss God’s faithfulness. Christians today are often exhorted to be faithful to God in sermons, books, etc; however, I’d like to focus on God’s faithfulness to His promises. In fact, knowing this is key to our being faithful. One must know God clearly and accurately in order to have a radical life that displays trust in Him. I believe we can uncover God’s faithfulness in the life of Joshua, Moses’ “right hand man”.

Joshua 1 reveals God’s people in a critical time of transition. Joshua has been Moses’ servant but God now comes and clearly speaks to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead” (v.2). God then tells Joshua, “Now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people to the land which I am giving to them…” This is a statement of responsibility. Leadership is taking responsibility. God is basically saying, “Joshua, you are the man! I have things yet to be accomplished. The land of promise has to be laid hold of.”

Joshua is in a difficult position. It would be difficult to follow Moses! Imagine taking leadership of a people who are accustomed to having a leader that received his call from a burning bush, or could cast down a stick and have it turn into a snake and then pick it up and it becomes a stick again. Imagine following a man who could stretch out that same stick and divide a sea…a man who could get water out of a rock when people were thirsty. Moses was educated, royalty, palace trained.

Also remember these same people, even with such an outstanding leader, were known as a grumbling group. They ended up complaining, backsliding and wishing they were back where they came from time and time again.

Three times God told Joshua to “be strong, and courageous” (vv. 6,7,9). Courage is a vital component of being a Christian and being a leader. I once heard a story about a man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocketknife. When asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied, “Someone had already done that.”

Joshua’s lion was still intact. One must face the lions that challenge our commitment to follow Christ. One summer evening, during a violent thunderstorm, a mother was tucking her small boy into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?” The mother gave him a reassuring hug and replied, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep with Daddy.” A long silence was followed by a shaky little voice, “That big sissy.”

Sometimes we feel like a big sissy. Our inadequacies demand to be the focus and we, along with our inadequacy, become the issue. However neither Joshua, nor the task at hand, nor the people were the issue.

The Central Figure is God.

The fact is this story is not really about Joshua. The lead character of this story is GOD (vv. 3-4). It was God who had chosen Moses and then Joshua to lead this people into the land of promise. It was God who had made a promise over 400 years earlier to Abraham that his descendents would receive the land for an inheritance. These people were people of promise. The first assurance Joshua received is that the central figure in “real life” is God. This is the key starting place of genuine faith.