Week 8: A Few Good Men and Women

We have been journeying with Moses in the wilderness, Joshua has just guided the nation of Israel into the Promise Land, and all in all it would seem like The Story is finally getting back on track after originally derailing in the garden of Eden.  Yet that is not the case, it seems that the Israelites just cannot win at life.  Just as with the golden calf they no sooner get on the God given pathway than they think they see a better way and take wrong path.  The Lower Story is that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, the Canaanites lives look so much better and the Israelites stop following God and fall into sin, and yet isn’t that a statement about our lives as well.  We want to do what is right in God’s eyes, but we struggle to do so.

Chapter 8 in The Story is all about the time of judges in the Bible.  A time when Israel would sin, fall into bondage, repent and cry out to God, and God would hear their cries and deliver them through the guidance of eleven judges.   Judges that ironically came not to put them into jail but to instead release them from jail.  This was their story and yet it is still our story.  The Lower story is one of human rebellion  against God’s provision in our lives, and the Upper story is God’s willingness to always save us when we are willing to cry out and confess our sins.

The truth is we need God all the time not just when we are  in desperate need and God wants to walk with us each and every day.  The challenge is setting aside all of our wants, all of the cultural expectations that we face each day and trying to live each day God’s way.

In what ways are you living your life according to your plans and your desires?

Drawing closer to God and God’s plan for your life means spending time with God.

What is the possibility that in the coming week you would began and ended each day with God, both in prayer, simply listening for God, and reading God’s Word?


The Story week 7: The Might Be Giants

What does courage look like?

For many of us it may bring back images of soldiers in uniform, and various historic battles might come to mind.  Perhaps images of football and a dramatic goal line stand come to mind and then there is the underdog or little guy taking on someone much bigger, like in the movie Rocky.

This week in The Story, we will see courage in a different way as we read about the Israelites  entering the Promise Land.  First, remember what the first spies said 39 years earlier about the Promise land that it was overflowing with milk and honey…….. remember that they also said the people, because of this abundance of food, where like giants.   To make matters even worse one of their cities Jericho is surrounded by a huge wall.   Giants and huge walls vs. God’s promise that the land was theirs.  God’s command was to be strong and courageous.  The Israelites failed the first time they took this test, and here they are a second time.

Here is where The Upper Story comes into play.  The story of how God again and again redeems his people.  for with God nothing is impossible not even giants and huge walls.   The people trust God, and this is true courage.  Believing and trusting that God will do what God says even when facing giant walls, with no military support, and no physical strength.

For us today as for the Israelites giants are those things in our lives that grow to mythical proportions because of our fears, doubts, or past experiences.   And walls are barriers that we put up and sometimes others created them as well.


What are some of the giants and walls that exist in your life?

I invite you to bring these places in your life  to God in prayer.  To place your trust in God.


Wandering – “Are we there yet”

WEEK 6 – The Story

WANDERING:   The place between where we are and where we want to be.  This “In Between” place.  This place between jobs, this place between wanting kids and having that first child, this place between wanting to get married and getting married, this place between wanting to buy a house and having a house, these are all places of uncertaintly, of waiting and waiting can be uncomfortable.  In a world that tends to be all about becoming or going someone or someplace.  We don’t like to be “in between”, we don’t like wandering.  Yet God does some of His most amazing work in this place.    

       This is exactly what the Israelites where doing when they left Egypt  with Moses they were focusing on what they didn’t have, how great life had been, what they wished they had.  Simply put they were WHINING.   They had also lost their ability to see what God was doing in their midst and so they were also WANDERING. 

Instead of giving thanks to God for freeing them from Egypt, from 400 years of bondage, for parting the Red Sea, giving thanks for saving them from pharoah’s army, giving thanks for daily bread(manna), for water.  They find themselves complaining.  They find themsleves wandering in the desert for 40 years until they learn to stop whining , until they learn to place God first in their lives, until they learn to worship God with everything they do and say each day. 

Question:  In what way are your or have your been wandering? 

Do you find yourself whining and complaining and if so what about? Is it about the lack of possessions, work, place of residence, other people, circumstances, expectations, broken dreams?   How did God react to the Israelites complaints? (read chapter 6 or Numbers 11-14)

When you are /were wandering – in that “in between” place did you lose sight of  God’s provision in your life? 

Take Home Thought:  Here is one way to refocus and remain faithful to God worshiping him each and every day.  Begin and end each day by giving thanks to God for something, the food you eat, the roof over your head, the sun, the rain, the everyday ordinary things in life that when we are wandering in the wilderness we take foregranted.

Blessing on your day,  Pastor Steve

The Story Week 5: Pillars of Fire and House Rules

This week we continue to travel along with Moses as he and the Israelite’s travel through the desert toward the promise land.    The Upper Story in the midst of this Lower Story saga is that God desires to be in relationship with the people that he created and made a covenant promise too.  God is the original Promise Keeper and while his first attempt ao commune with us in the Garden of Eden did not turn out as planned, sin entered the world.  Now his people are slaves in Egypt,  God hears their cries and frees the Israelites from slavery, he redeems them and God promises that he will be their God and make them his own.   He gives them proof of those promises by leading them through the dessert with a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day.  These serve as signs they are not just wandering aimlessly but are walking with God.  

God’s deepest desire is to be in relationship with us has not changed since the beginning of the Story.  Like the Israelites we find ourselves grumbling about life and taking our eyes off the pillars of fire and the clouds tha t serve as reminders of God’s promise.

 Question to ponder:  Are there signs you look for in your life that help you know when you are walking with God and when you are following  too much the devices and desires of your own heart?     What are they?

When Moses comes down from the mountain for the first time and gives the people the law they rejoice saying, “everything the Lord has said, we will do.”  Yet when Moses returns up the mountain and stays longer than they expect they quickly become afraid. They turn from  worshipping God to worshipping an idol they forge out of their melted down jewelry. 

Have there been seasons in your life you felt God had left you or found it hard to wait on God? 

What sustained you in those times? 

What parallels do you see between how God reaches out again and again to the people of Israel even as they repeatedly pull away from Him and how God acts in your own life in your moments of doubt or fear?