I’m thinking a lot about transition these days. Today is my last Sunday at Petersburg, and it’s also the last Sunday for Alexandria and Barree as seaprate congregations. Next week, these two congregations will become one new church, "Hope UMC."
There’s a lot of transition in the Scriptures, too. Today, we’re going to look at one case, in partciular. Twenty-five years after entering the Promised Land, Joshua who has been the leader since their entrance, is nearing the end of his time as the leader of God’s people.
There are some great challenges for God’s people, including us, in Joshua’s words …
- Honor God
- serve God wholeheartedly
- Serve the Lord alone!
- Choose today whom you will serve!
- Get rid of your idols! "Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped" and "Destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the LORD."
Times of transition are good times to …
- Refocus our vision
- Re-evaluate our ministry
- Remember our purpose
As Followers of Jesus we are Jesus’ missionaries to the world! As the Christ’s body, we are his hands and feet in the world, sent to proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ to a world in need of transformation!
And, speaking of transitions, as Jesus prepared to ascend into heaven, he also spoke some challenging words of challenge to those he was (sort of) leaving behind. Jesus said, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28.18-20).
Questions for reflection:
- Will you serve the Lord alone?
- Will you serve the Lord wholeheartedly?
- Are their "idols" in your life that you need to put away?
- Where is God calling you to serve and to be a pioneer for Christ?
O God, as we take on new responsibilities and prepare for new things, we pray that your Spirit will stand in front of us, walk in front of us, and always go before us. Help us to follow the leading of your Spirit in all we do that that in the future when our spiritual descendants look back on us, they will be thankful and challenge by our pioneering spirit! Amen.