_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ April 21, 2013 - Pastor Dale Lloyd
There is nothing more certain in our lives than change. Yet many of us fear change and make elaborate plans to avoid it. We fear the new and find comfort in the stability of the known and familiar.
Scripture Reading: Joshua 3: 1 – 7
With this present series of messages I have been primarily making application to where we are corporately – where God has us right now as a faith community. However, what I urge each of you to understand (and especially any visitors among us) is that this entire teaching has a personal application; you do not need to be a member of KCF to glean the benefit of these messages.
As a Fellowship we are in a significant season of transition; a time of crossing over. The first chapter of the life of this Fellowship has come to a close and we are now looking to the new chapter that God has written and is calling us into. None of this can happen without generating real change.
The Holy Spirit has directed our attention to the Joshua record – especially the first few chapters of that record – as the scriptural grounds of our present experience. He has also brought to our attention a book called, ‘Crossing Over’ written by Paul Scanlon. We are making this book available to our small group leaders as well as all those in leadership. We are making this investment and strong effort because of our deep conviction regarding and serious commitment to this new chapter God is bringing us into. We are committed to crossing over our particular Jordan (whatever that may be or look like) and entering into our Kingdom ministry inheritance (whatever that may be and look like).
Last week I spoke on the theme of, ‘Preparing to Cross Over’. The first stage of that preparation is separation from the past. All of that was communicated to the new leader Joshua in the first word God spoke to him: “Moses my servant is dead.” Backing up to that Joshua experience I want us to consider the following theme: The First Two Core Realities of Change.
Here is where we are: We are on a journey from being yesterday’s church to becoming the church of today and tomorrow. There was nothing wrong with yesterday’s church yesterday. But it’s no longer yesterday. God is now calling us out of the past we have lived through and into the future we have not yet experienced – a future that past prepared us to possess.
On (date) we made a crossing over. We journeyed from that white church at the north end of this property to this new building. When we stepped into this new building we did much more than step into a building; we stepped into a new chapter of Kingdom purpose – we stepped into our future. Hear this with much care: Our future is not about this building, but this building is about our future. In making that journey across that parking lot we were saying, “Yes!” to that future. The question we are called to answer this morning – including myself – is a simple one: Where do I now stand with respect to that future? Where is my heart in relation to that future? What is my attitude toward that future? What is my faith concerning that future?
This is not a negative confession; this is not a negative prophetic utterance. I have exercised great care regarding what I am about to speak. This morning I do have liberty in my spirit to share with you that not everyone is going to journey into the future God has for this house. I can tell you that sifting has already begun. I can also tell you that before this is done each and every heart is going to be revealed as to where it is with respect to the future God has for this house.
Jesus, in the days of His flesh, spoke some things that left his listeners thinking and saying, “This is a hard saying.” I have a “hard saying” this morning: There are good people who are not going to cross over with us, and we must understand that when good people stand between us and God’s best we must push into God’s best.
Returning to our theme: The First Two Core Realities of Change – what exactly are those changes? The first is structure; the second is culture. It is impossible to change a culture without first changing the structures that support and maintain that culture. We claim that we want things to be different while at the same time refusing to open the heart to different things.
In the life of Joshua the structure changed forever that day Moses went to the top of the mountain and never returned. When God declared to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead...” he was confirming the fact that the 40 year “Moses structure” had come to an end. The structure of leadership would never be the same. Joshua was not to duplicate the “Moses structure.”
The wilderness demanded certain realities of structure; the journey through the wilderness called for a certain leadership style and structure. But all of that came to a close at the edge of the Jordan River.
That’s what Joshua chapter 3 is all about; structural change. In the wilderness everyone saw the cloud and the pillar of fire. But here in Josh.3 there is no cloud or pillar of fire. What there is is a gold covered box carried on the shoulders of the priests. The structure has changed, and moving forward now requires trusting God in the leadership.
A couple of months before Pastor Dave passed away I met with him and Pastor Robert, (Pastor Robert has provided apostolic covering for KCF from its beginning). We met in a hospital room in this city. In that room Pastor Dave made declaration with his mouth that God had released him from his role as the senior pastor of this Fellowship. Beyond that he declared that he and Robert agreed that God was calling me to fill that place of leadership. Right there the structure changed. And I can tell you with certainty that the sense of peace and authority in that room was sobering.
Shortly after that event Pastor Dave went home with the Lord. With that the structural changes he got to speak with his mouth were now settled; there was no going back. Then at an appropriate time, Pastor Robert returned and installed me as the Lead Pastor of this house, and Pastor Adam as the Associate Pastor.
All of this to say, the structure has changed and if you intend to have any peace in making the journey into the this new chapter you will need to find grace to accept and embrace the structural changes that are here and those that are coming. If not your soul will remain disturbed and unhappy.
In the Joshua experience the structural changes in leadership inevitably pointed to a cultural change. Old structures cannot produce a new culture. We cannot with any measure of honesty claim we earnestly desire a new culture while at the same time protecting the old structures.
With that change of structure from Moses to Joshua the culture changed from wilderness culture to promise land culture. It changed from a culture of unbelief and fear to a culture of strong faith and courage. It changed from a culture of defeat and death to a culture of life that overcomes and takes possession. The new culture was one of victory, of dispossessing the enemy and possessing the promise of God. We are told that on the day – the Bible says, ‘on that very day’ – that Israel ate some of the produce of the land of promise the manna ceased. This speaks to a change of culture. For 40 years their daily supply of manna was miraculously delivered right to the door of their tents in the night. But the culture of Canaan was different. God was no less present in Canaan, and every good thing in that land had been provided by God. But the way they entered into and partook of that provision was different. In Canaan they became personally responsible for the state of their vineyard, the state of their house, etc.. The new culture is a culture of personal responsibility.
The really vital fact concerning all this new culture is that the first manifestation of it was seen in one thing – one reality: the crossing over of a generation. I think it is right and proper to conclude that the first characteristic of the culture of that Joshua generation is that it was a “crossing over culture.” This was their heart, their passion, their attitude, their faith: Let us cross over into the future God has called us to.
Let me speak with strong conviction. Let me speak with boldness. Let me speak prophetically. God Almighty – God our Sovereign Potentate has a future for you. He also has a future for this house corporately. I can tell you right now that the culture of and in that future is a new culture and will not look like the cultures of the past or even of this present moment. But – and this is absolutely vital – all that cultural newness in the future is entirely dependent upon structural changes in the present and the attitude of my heart regarding those structural changes.
Here then, is where we are: The First Two Core Realities of Change – The first is structure; the second is culture.
Let me now point out the beginnings of the practical application of this message. (Call the deacons forward).