The Sacred Space Between Us

Jen Grubb

“I am not praying for the world, but for those ones you have given me, for they are yours”.          John 17:9

Those words come from Jesus’ heartfelt prayer for his closest friends and disciples, just before he went to the cross, burdened by the sin and shame of the world. It is such a direct and specific prayer and to me, it reflects so simply the heart of the ministry of Jesus.

Jesus was for everyone; he was scandalously inclusive; his influence has shaped the world more than any other individual’s. He was the hope of the world; that was his mission, but his method was the one. The way he would ultimately reach the world was by extending love to the individual. So he prayed, not for the world, because, as he had stated just a chapter before “take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). No, he prayed for the ones that God had given him.

The power of ministry, as demonstrated by Jesus, is in personal relationships. It is in the awareness that God moves in the space between two people. When we foster a relationship with one of the ones he has given us, we create space for Him to move. The discernment of the Holy Spirit is so vital in maintaining control of this space: sometimes, we may need to create more space for God, by getting out of the way ourselves.

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30

Sometimes we have to get our ego out of the way, sometimes we have to get our offence out of the way, sometimes we have to get our convenience out of the way to make space for God to work.

Sometimes though, we give him a little bit too much space! Sometimes we needs us to move a little closer, to close the gap a little bit, find some common ground. Sometimes we need to reach out, or take a step closer to someone. When we position ourselves according to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, that space is holy ground.

Let’s think about who the ones are that God has given us and, following in the footsteps of Jesus, let’s pray for those ones, because they are His.

 

 

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All-Terrain Faith

Everyone experiences ‘mountaintop moments’ in their spiritual lives. These are times when we feel close to God; we expect Him to move. Our faith is engaged. When we are in the midst of a mountaintop moment, we FEEL God’s presence surrounding us. Moses experienced a literal mountaintop moment when he received the law from God on behalf of the Israelites (Exodus 24:12-18).

 

Sitting on a mountain in prayer for forty days and forty nights is something you can only accomplish in the Faith Zone! Moses was literally surrounded by God’s presence, like a cloud. Undeniable.

When we are in the midst of a mountaintop moment, God’s presence, His existence, is undeniable. He is near; we are undeniably WITH the Almighty and He with us. For me, typically, these moments have happened for me on the cusp of big changes in my life. When I have felt lost or unsure, God has guided me.

The reality is that God’s presence has never left me since I invited Him into my life, so why is it in times of trial or confusion that His presence is most obvious to me? Because, when we have big choices to make, or face situations that we can’t handle, is when we seek God most desperately.

Psalm 63 was written at a time when David was desperately seeking God. As opposed to a mountain-top moment, David was alone in a desert wilderness. He was the King, but he was fleeing his son Absolom, who wanted to kill him over a whole other family drama.

The psalms are songs of worship. Although David was surrounded by desert, he didn’t praise like a man in the desert. He praised as if he was climbing a mountain, to encounter the very presence of God. His circumstances pulled him towards despair, but his heart went the opposite way: to hope, to God.

You, God, are my God,

earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

   my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

   where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

David’s worship prayer doesn’t ignore the fact that he’s in a desert, “a dry and parched land where there is no water”, he just doesn’t allow his situation to be the defining factor on whether or not he encounters God. David knew something that we all need to remember: God is the source of all life. Without God sustaining him, the desert would get the better of him. As long as God is with us, there is hope.

Although he FELT far from God, David still praised Him.

“Because your love is better than life,

   my lips will glorify you.”

Psalm 63: 3

Alone in a desert, under threat of death from his own family, David prayed “your love is better than life”! Why was David able to understand God’s goodness in the midst of a trial?

Because He had experienced it: I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Psalm 63:2

An experience is so much more powerful than a story. David wasn’t clinging to the stories in an ancient book. He wasn’t worshiping a concept. He wasn’t following a set of rules. He had experienced God – his power and his glory. His love, better than life!To sustain our faith between mountain-top moments we need to experience God. How though?

 

Firstly, by seeking Him. I remember, as a child losing a precious possession (usually a puppy from a puppy surprise toy) and going to my mother to see if she could magically make it appear. She always said “where did you last see it?” and sent me retracing my steps. Infuriating, but reading this psalm, I see the value.

When you lose something, you go back to where you last had it. Now, David had not lost God (God is very hard to lose, one does not simply misplace the creator of the universe). What David had lost was the feeling of closeness with God.

Feelings don’t always reflect truth. Our feelings are affected by so many things that God is unaffected by: our health, other people, the weather, finances, videos of cute animals on the internet, the news.I could go on all day about things that I’ve cried about in the last week that do not change the goodness of God one little bit. But I won’t.

“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“He remembered us in our weakness.

His faithful love endures forever.

He saved us from our enemies.

His faithful love endures forever.

He gives food to every living thing.

His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His faithful love endures forever.”

Psalm 136:23-26

You haven’t lost God because you FEEL distant from Him. You may have just lost the feeling of closeness, so like my mother, probably your mother and every other mother said: go back to where you last had it. Go back to a passage of scripture that deeply impacted you. Re-read your old journals. Listen to a song that led you to the presence of God before. Go to the altar, let someone prophesy over you. Sit in your favourite place and just LISTEN for His voice

SEEK Him.

Go back to where you experienced Him in the past. For David, it’s the sanctuary.

 

You will ALWAYS find life in scripture. When you seek God in His Word, you will ALWAYS find a fresh, God-breathed word for today.

I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. Proverbs 8:17

To experience God in the desert, we must SEEK HIM.

On my bed I remember you;

   I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,

   I sing in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;

   your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:6-8

Secondly, David committed to remembering God, even in his darkest hour. Times of darkness will come. We cannot live on the mountaintop. Our commission is to go into the darkness to bring the light. Dark times are part of this abundant life that Jesus promised us. He didn’t say, I have come that they might experience comfort and happiness at all times. He said “I have come that they might have life and have it in all its fullness”. (John 10:10)

It’s the habits that we build in the light that sustain us through the darkness. We need a reservoir of revelation.

My best friend and I live in different states now. We both have small children and are involved in our churches. Plus she is literally the most disorganised person I know. Sometimes, I don’t hear from her for months at a time.

BUT, I never doubt that she loves me.I don’t doubt she is still my friend just because I haven’t heard her voice for awhile. Why? Because of the fight we had after I laughed at her for walking into the boys toilets in grade 7. Because of the legendary practical jokes we played on our teachers at the end of grade 10. Because when I used to argue with my sister and storm out of my house I would go to hers. I could go on and on and on. I don’t doubt her, because we have years, decades of shared history. A couple of months of silence will never change our history. It’s the same with God.

I may feel as though He is silent, but when I open the Bible, the truth is still there. There are still thousands of years’ worth His love. It is still life-changing. I may feel as if He is distant, but I still remember the night at a Connect group run by ill-equipped but enthusiastic 14 year old, that I decided to take a risk on Jesus. I still remember praying for a woman in the Philippines, whose heart was failing, and seeing the colour come back into her face and hear her praise God without pain for the first time in months. I still remember seeing God move in my school when I was in year 11 and 12 at a public school and seeing three people praying once a week at lunchtime turn into a group of 80 running a service at lunchtime. I remember being called into the principal’s office to be told I was doing a great job but could I please stop because too many people were getting saved.

I remember God coming through. Again and again. When I am in the darkness, I remember what I saw in the light. That’s what it means to testify. That’s why David was able to praise in the desert.

A reservoir of revelation.

A mature faith doesn’t rely on every moment to be a mountaintop, because, if there were no valleys, there would be no mountains either. That’s geography, but it’s also life in abundance.

I cling to you, your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:8

We often hear of people who’ve been able to just hold on: hold on to hope against the odds, that sort of thing. David takes it a step further; he clings. What’s the difference between holding on to God, and CLINGING to Him?

There are two ways that I walk my dog: without her harness and with her harness. She pulls like a steam train and the harness works by putting pressure on her shoulders if she pulls too hard. When I walk her WITH the harness, I hold the lead, but when I walk her WITHOUT the harness, I CLING to the lead.

Think of a rock climber holding onto a cliff face.

imageone

He’s pretty happy. Not too far up, looks like it’s a wall he has climbed before, maybe he’s just super skilled. Whatever it is, he’s got it under control, he’s not bothered.

However, check out this guy!

imagetwo

He is clinging, not holding on. He’s not having such a great time. He really desperately doesn’t want to let go of that rock. So what is the difference between them? Other than the potential for a horrible death.

What’s the difference between walking my dog with or without her harness? What’s the difference between hanging on the a cliff face or clinging on for dear life? What’s the difference between letting your relationship God tick along comfortably and clinging to Him desperately, with all you have?

RISK.

When Saskia and I go for a walk without the harness, there is a risk that she might pull the lead out of my hand and take herself for a walk. When a climber switches the local indoor climbing wall for a real live mountain, the risk increases exponentially.

If you haven’t experienced the reality of verse 8:

“I cling to you;

   your right hand upholds me.”

Could it be that you are living a life where you don’t actually need God to uphold you?

Perhaps God is calling you today to take a risk on Him!

Climbing the same indoor climbing wall over and over again with the same group of friends might be fun and it might keep you fit, but how much more exhilarating is it to explore real mountains? Attending church every week is a good thing to do, you get to be part of an amazing community, there’s food, good music, it’s all good. BUT how much more will you get out of it if you take a risk: join a team, lead a connect group, speak prophetically into someone’s life, invite people into your world.

Putting your spare change in the offering will certainly help the offering be bigger, but if you take a risk and add some faith to your giving, if you make your generosity hurt just a little from time to time, add an element of sacrifice, you will see God move and bless you.

“I  will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;

   with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalm 63:5

Sometimes, we will feel close to God, on the mountaintop and sometimes, we will feel far away. Sometimes that’s a result of seasons and circumstances and sometimes, our own sin causes us to withdraw from God. Whatever is going on, we never lose God, only our perception of His presence. He never abandons you, He never will. He promises unfailing love.

When you lose the feeling of His nearness, resist the urge to withdraw. Don’t let the enemy reduce your faith, which the Bible says can move mountains, to something as flimsy as a feeling.

Seek – go back to where you last found His presence.

Remember – Remember His goodness when you find yourself in the dark. Testify – tell yourself the stories of what he has done in the past.

Cling – take risks. Live a life that needs His right hand to uphold you.

Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

Matthew 7:13-14 MSG

Above all, remember. He never gives up. He never abandons you. He is always faithful and His love is better than life. He is the beginning and the end; the same, yesterday, today and forever.

– Jen Grubb

 

A Note From Dave

Hi all,

We are all familiar with sacrifices in life. Some sacrifices are large and significant; others are more everyday. Sacrifice could mean anything from forgoing the last piece of pizza for your friend to giving up a kidney for a family member , just like a member of our Energizer family did a while back.

Making sacrifices is a noble pursuit. As a nation, on ANZAC Day, we remember and honour the sacrifices made by thousands of service personnel throughout the various wars our country has been involved in. Parents sometimes remind their children of what the sacrifices involved in raising them.

We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus; He was born so He could be a Holy sacrifice for humanity.

“And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” John 17:19(NLT)

That Holy sacrifice is at the very core of Christianity; without it Christianity would not exist. So as Christians, we are very familiar with the concept and see it as noble. As we embrace a new era, I believe we will have a greater understanding of sacrifice.

Often we pursue and celebrate the various acts of sacrifice, but miss the real heart and motivation behind it and take on a martyr-type spirit. To make real and genuine, life-changing sacrifice part of our lives in a new era, we need to understand what God desires from us most.

Interestingly, He doesn’t ask for martyrs but, as King Saul found out, He rates obedience above sacrifice.

“But Samuel replied, 

“What is more pleasing to the Lord: 

    your burnt offerings and sacrifices 

    or your obedience to His voice? 

Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, 

    and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

Our submission to God and our obedience to His voice should be our sacrifice to Him.

Our submission to Him will always trump our various acts of sacrifice, which all too often, in our humanity, we live to resent. Submission to God brings freedom; seeking acts of sacrifice alone can become religious.

In our world I’m humbled by the amazing sacrifices you all make to see our church grow and lives impacted. Let’s keep making the source of motivation our obedience to His voice and submission to God, then we will continue to live in freedom and true joy.

See you at our services this Sunday and let’s keep making intentional pre-service prayer part of our culture!

Ps. Dave

A Note From Ps. Dave

Marketing companies spend a lot of time, effort and money developing packaging, because packaging sells; we’re attracted to the bright and shiny.

At times the packaging can be even more exciting and durable than the product it contains. You probably still have shoe boxes that contained shoes that have long since expired!

And of course, the beautiful iPhone boxes: all part of the “Apple experience”: too beautiful to discard, they mostly outlast the phone they once carried.

Collections of Grange Hermitage, the famous Australian red wine, have sold for over 150 000 dollars. However, to those uneducated in the world of wine, a bottle of Grange worth thousands of dollars may look less impressive than a ten dollar bottle, even though the contents are worlds apart.

“We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us.”

2 Corinthians 4:7(CEV)

Another version says earthen vessels, meaning common everyday crockery. All of us can feel rather ordinary and feel like we fall well short of the perfect package, even cracked or broken like a clay jar or piece of everyday crockery.

Our God’s power is not limited by the size, quality, or finish of the container. His power can’t be contained and was never supposed to be contained. Out of your imperfection or brokenness can flow a power that can’t be contained, managed or even fully understood.

Out of our imperfection flows true perfection.

Let’s not see our brokenness as a limitation, but rather an opportunity and channel for God to do something magnificent through us.

Let’s be specific with our prayer this weekend, especially in our pre-service prayer meetings. Pray for new people, salvations, breakthrough in giving and for powerful life-changing encounters with God.

See you Sunday!

Ps. Dave

The Magic Cupboard: A Lesson in Generosity

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:35

Just over a year ago, we moved house. As with any new abode, there were a few little adjustments we wanted to make and, for me at least, the addition of a dishwasher was top priority.

So yesterday, I got my dishwasher installed; I obviously need to work on my prioritising skills!

There is nothing more relaxing, as far as I am concerned, than the gentle hum of a magical cupboard doing the dishes for me. It is a far better use of space, IMHO, than the boring old regular cupboard that was there before. My husband is very good at a lot of things, but carpentry is not really one of them. Sadly for us and our new magic cupboard, this is also true of me.

So on Tuesday we had this dishwasher delivered, and, unsure of what to do with it and how to get it from sitting in the hallway to performing its miraculous function in the kitchen, I left it where it was. Tuesday night is the night we host Connect Group at our house and so when “the homies”, as my three year old calls them, arrived, I proudly showed off my new dishwasher to them and explained my problem of how to get it into a kitchen which had no dishwasher-shaped hole, without breaking said kitchen.

Now one of our Connect Group homies is also one of our dearest friends (they all are really, but this is a story about one in particular). Josh is the person who first went out of his way to befriend and welcome us when we first showed up at Energizer Church, close to a decade ago. He has helped me out of plenty of tight spots, from picking up children from care when I was stuck in traffic, to changing flat tyres, and many other situations. It is in his nature to be generous, and I have seen proof of that time and time again.

Without hesitation, Josh offered to come and install the dishwasher for us later in the week, which he did. He did an incredible job and, true to form, found three other things to fix in my house while he was here. “Uncle Josh has done a great job!” declared Jasper and he was right.

When we discussed how we might pay him, Josh said “in beer, but only if you drink it with me”. This says so much about him and so much about what it means to be generous. The goal of his generosity was not to get something; it was relationship. True generosity has no ulterior motive other than to love.

Josh is a skilled tradesperson and his time is valuable, but he demonstrated that relationships are more valuable by helping us out when he didn’t need to. Generosity doesn’t always mean giving large sums of money. It means being free with whatever is in your hand. For Josh, what was in his hand that day was super tradie skills and a couple of “spare” hours (let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as free time, just time we make free). He took what he was good at and was generous with it.

What I am best at is writing, so, inspired by Josh, today I am using that gift to be generous with my honour. My bank account looks pretty sad (maternity leave life!) but I have a “spare” hour, so I can donate that to write this article. Hopefully, you read it and decide to take whatever is in your hand to show some generosity today as well. That’s how it works; generosity breeds generosity.

“The world of the generous gets larger and larger;

   the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;

   those who help others are helped.”  – Proverbs 11:24-25

 

  • Jen Grubb

A Note From Dave

One of my favourite passages of the Bible is found in Ezekiel 47, where the prophet saw a vision of a small stream that became first a creek and then a river. Wherever that river flowed, there was life and vitality, even as it made its way east, through the desert, eventually bringing life to the once lifeless dead sea.

Life will flourish wherever this water flows. Fishermen will stand along the shores of the Dead Sea. All the way from En-gedi to En-eglaim, the shores will be covered with nets drying in the sun. Fish of every kind will fill the Dead Sea, just as they fill the Mediterranean. But the marshes and swamps will not be purified; they will still be salty. Ezekiel 47:9-11 (NLT)

Marshes remain salty because only a small amount water flows in, but is unable to flow through and flush out impurities, hence the swamp remains toxic. Therefore, the best way to deal with a swamp is not to try and remove all the impurities and toxins, but to introduce adequate fresh water and provide a path for it to drain away. As the fresh, clean water flows through, toxins, salt and sludge are washed away, making way for life to return.

Purity is not so much about living to certain standards and ideals; it is more about living in such a way that impurity is flushed out of our lives by the life-giving spirit of God. That flow is increased as we allow that spirit to flow through us, removing contamination and bringing life to those around us.

This Sunday we’re going to look at what purity really is; what are the benefits of purity and how do we find it?
See you in Church!

Remember, pre-service prayer before all services: let’s make it a priority!

Ps. Dave

From the Pit

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:1-3

A while ago I shared a God Story in one of our Sunday services, a snippet of the works of God in my life: how God has taken myself and my family from a complicated and unpleasant living situation to a much better one. Truthfully, there is so much more to the story. It was one of those “when it rains it pours” type scenarios. Throughout this time, I have really had to learn that waiting, exercising patience, is a verb. It’s not something you do passively all the time. As the psalmist says, “I waited patiently for God,” but, like him, I still cried, at times literally. I think the relentless crying out is what gets God’s attention. Any parents out there know there is only so much crying out a parent can bear before they act on their child’s behalf. Perhaps it’s not all about the getting what we want, or even need, as much as these experiences shape who we really are.

Not so many months ago, four to be precise, we found ourselves moving into what we thought was to be a very good home. It didn’t turn out that way, sadly. One thing about this house was that its foundations were bad. Regardless of everything else that was the matter, this particular experience seriously challeged my own foundations. As a result, I have thought and prayed long and hard about faith.

Nothing says, ‘draw near to’ or ‘lean on God’ like hard times, right? Well, not always. Life is about choices and it really can go either way. Now, I am not saying that’s how I was heading. To be honest, I am beginning to feel like I am majoring in difficult life situations, one after another. Faith is now my go-to; it’s my only life boat; it’s all that I have. Even with faith as my faithful go-to, I couldn’t seem to activate my go-go-gadget faith arms and get anything flowing. During this period, my frustration was beginning to grow very wild. We had a green light to leave this hideous house as soon as we could and yet, for the first time in our lives, finding another property was hard. At times it felt impossible. We’ve never before had to look for seven days, let alone seven of the longest weeks of my life!

Luckily for me, I have a friend named Jen. She is a storyteller and is often on the hunt for stories just like mine. She messaged me one morning and asked if I had or if I knew of any God Stories. Because I am hilarious, I half jokingly said “if we get this house we are applying for today, I will stand up and be your God story Sunday”. Well, who knew that was all that it would take to get my prayers answered and we would be approved that very day. Note to self for future reference! Funnily enough, it just so happened that I had listed Jen as a character reference for the real estate agent as well!

For my faith to be activated, I had to activate my faith, myself. I had to be willing to step out of myself: and step out I did. At that moment, just like the psalmist, my feet were totally steadied and not only was my burden lifted, I felt like I had a new song and that it would be completely true, that many would see what he has done and be amazed. I don’t know that anyone was that amazed but it is amazing and I am amazed all the time at the faithfulness of God in my life.

If you read Psalm 40 in its entirety, you will notice two parts. The first is David praising our God for pulling him out of the pit. Like every good rescue story, he went on to live hsppily ever after… not. David found himself in another pit, only this time he was strengthened by the truth he acquired in the first pit. His response is probably how we all should respond: remembering God is our helper and our saviour, as proclaimed in verse 17.

So now I know that I’m not just becoming skilled at dealing with difficult situations; God is building my faith. He’s allowed me to be wiped off my feet at times so I can find him on my knees. While I’m walking around flapping like a duck, God is using my last test to prepare me for the next one. I look forward, strangely, to the next one.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4

– Tenille McNamara

The Discipline of Transformation

I really like guitars, but I also really like my wife, who really likes not being broke. Buying new guitars and staying married (or at least not being broke), can sometimes mean selling old guitars. Saying goodbye to old ones, means saying hello to new ones.

Changing into my work uniform works a lot better if I first remove my pyjamas. Being ready for a new day, means leaving behind the night before.

When I first moved to Hobart, I missed Launceston, I wanted to hold on to my life up there, but my future was in Hobart, and I couldn’t stay in Launceston and also live in Hobart. I had to leave Launceston behind.

Stepping into a new era as a church is going to mean embracing change for each of us personally. It’s going to mean leaving some things behind. Lately, I’ve been asking myself what I need to leave behind to enter a new era?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The sin that trips us up will be different for all of us, but all of us have the same decision to make: will we leave it behind to step into a new era? This isn’t something that just happens; we need to make plans and be strategic. What determines your success at throwing off the things that would hold you back is what you plan to replace them with. Deciding not to do something is much harder to stick to than deciding to do something else instead.

Throw off gossip, take up kind words.

Throw off self-medication, take up supportive friendships and healthy habits.

Throw off bitterness and take up thankfulness.

Throw off laziness and take up discipline.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 God transforms us from one glory to the next glory. Transformation is a process of change. If we hold on to what God did years ago, living in ‘the glory days‘, we risk holding up the process of transformation, and missing out on the ‘ever increasing glory’ God wants to bring us into. Let’s not forget what God has done for us in the past,  Rev 12:11 reminds us that “they (that’s us) have defeated him (our accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony”, but let’s always seek God for what he’s doing next. Where is the next victory? What’s the new ground to take? Where is God leading us right now?

“So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.’” Mark‬ ‭7:5-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Tradition isn’t inherently bad, but tradition for its own sake can distract us from the spiritual reality we live in; we miss the point! Some of the things I was taught growing up in a pretty conservative church environment were much more ‘man-made ideas’ than ‘commands from God’. Let’s measure everything we hear against God’s word, and throw out anything that doesn’t line up.

“This is all that I have learnt: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.” The simpler your faith in God is, the more robust and effective you will be. Don’t be weighed down!” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭7:29‬ ‭

What are you leaving behind?

Simon Grubb

YA Leader

A Note From Dave

Hi all,

Joshua and Caleb were the only two, out of all the Israelites, who came close enough to the promised land to actually walk into the promise. Imagine the disappointment they must have felt as a whole nation had to turn their backs on that promise and just walk away. Imagine trying to live the next forty years full of faith and expectation, when they knew they had come so close.

But, they did it! They were the only two to walk into a new era, In fact, it was Joshua who was given the big job of leading his nation through their previous disappointment and into the promise. God spoke to Joshua as he embarked on this new era and his first words were:

“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people…”

Joshua 1:2 (NIV)

Often, to fully embrace a new era, we have to let go of the past. For Joshua, God was saying more than the obvious. He was telling him to let go of the disappointment; let go of the old thinking; see yourselves differently. See yourselves as owners, rather than borrowers; see yourselves as inhabitants, not wanderers; see yourselves as thrivers, not survivors!

For Joshua to make this shift he had to let go of the Moses era, which was an era of survival; it was living day to day and hand to mouth. That era was over. However, the thing Joshua had to do was be courageous enough to walk into and lead a nation into the promise.

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”

Joshua 1:6 (NIV)

Three times the Lord said to Joshua “be strong and courageous”. We know that God is our strength; we know that when we are weak, He is strong. God did amazing, powerful things that Joshua could never have dreamed of, but what only Joshua could do, was use his own strength and courage to leave the familiar, leave the disappointment and walk across that river into a new land and a new era.

What is God asking you to leave behind as we walk into an exciting new era?
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:7 (NIV)
Let’s remember to be filled with faith, courage and expectation this Sunday!

Ps. Dave