The story of Ezra is an encouraging story about the grace and mercy of God. Continue reading “Ezra: a book about starting over.”
The history of Israel is both an inspiring story of victory and faith and a cautionary tale. Repeatedly they moved from faithfulness to indifference; from outright rebellion to humble repentance. The story of Israel is a single story about a nation who struggles to live in a relationship with the all-powerful God of heaven. Continue reading “Step by Step: an introduction to Ezra and Nehemiah.”
What is the difference between a diamond and a gold nugget? The most obvious differences are visual. One looks clear and the other is yellow in color. The biggest differences are not visible but material. One is soft, malleable, while the other is hard, able to cut through almost anything. Both can be shaped into amazing and beautiful jewelry but each is different in their own special ways. Continue reading “Different kinds of rocks.”
Success in any endeavor is almost always attributed to the team. No one person can secure the win, the victory; success, without the help and support of the entire team. Could a football team win a game without its defensive line? Could it succeed without the receivers? We all agree that no team has a shot at winning a game if the entire team doesn’t work together.
Success is always a matter of teamwork.
In Numbers 32, we have an important story of Reuben and Gad. As Israel traveled to the promised land and was winning battles against other nations; they reached a place where the land was perfect. It was everything these two tribes could have hoped for; a great place to live and a great place for all of their livestock. Looking around they decided that this was the place they wanted to settle and make homes. So, they approached Moses and said this land is perfect for us, we have lots of livestock, and this place is perfect for it. They wanted to settle in the land of Gilead, build their homes, and not cross the Jordan into the promised land.
Moses response was serious. He was outraged that these two tribes wanted to stop traveling and fighting with Israel and settle in this land. He said, how could you seriously sit here comfortable and safe while the rest of us have to march to war. He said that doing so would incur God’s wrath but also discourage the rest of the people. Two parts of God’s people wanted to quit the game, sit on the sidelines, and let everyone else do all the hard work. Never mind the fact that they were choosing to settle outside of God’s blessings they were abandoning the rest of God’s people.
Alone, they would have surely failed.
We need to be reminded that success for the Lord’s church is a matter of God’s power and the teamwork of the entire group. No one person should be able to sit on the sidelines and watch as the team keeps playing. Winning the game is almost impossible at this point. Not only do they get tired, face losses, but it is also extremely discouraging. The team that continues to fight, just to keep going, has to deal with the increased workload of those who are sitting and watching as time after time they either barely make it or fail.
Church, your team needs you. They need you to step up and get back in the game. They need you to get involved and help win some games. Once Reuben and Gad were aware of how much the nation needed them they quickly agreed to march with them to victory. They didn’t want to be the ones responsible for the failure of the entire team.
I hope this has encouraged everyone to get involved in the work and fellowship of the church. I hope it has encouraged those who are still in the game to keep trying but also that it will encourage all of us to get involved. When you sit down and let everyone else do all the work it discourages everyone and it becomes a self-propagating problem. As more people sit down, discourage and failures rise, as failures and discouragement rises, more people want to quit.
We need you. Our success is dependent on your willingness to get back in the game and fight with us.