Are you ready for the crossing?
Are you willing to get your feet wet?
The Children of Israel were standing on Jordan’s east bank gazing at the land so long promised by God to Father Abraham about a millennium earlier! Can you imagine the excitement? Mixed with that excitement, I’m sure there was some apprehension. After all, Canaan didn’t look like it was there for the taking. In front of them was the raging Jordan River at flood stage, and beyond that was the already ancient and well-fortified city of Jericho.
But rather than letting them focus on those obstacles, the Lord God focused their attention on himself. Rather than having Joshua tell them to build rafts and sharpen swords, he instructed them to “consecrate themselves” – to prepare spiritually, to be “strong and courageous.” That meant focusing on God and his Word. “This Book of the Law [Read: “Bible”] must never depart from your mouth, and you are to meditate on it day and night.” Their trust was to be in the Lord which meant listening to what he says, believing it, and following it totally. Before crossing, Joshua told the people, “Come close to me and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the Living God is among you… the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth [which to Israel was the presence of the Lord among them] is about to cross over ahead of you.”
Once on the other side, having passed over on dry ground, more spiritual preparation: The rite of circumcision was practiced and they celebrated the Passover for the first time since they’d left Egypt.
Today you and I stand on our “Jordan’s bank” getting ready to cross over into our “Land of Promise” – a mission field that makes a Hispanic outreach pastor drool, flowing with the milk and honey of souls to win for Jesus. On our FIRST try in calling that Hispanic outreach pastor, the Lord provided us with Pastor Tim Otto who is fluent in both languages. He is coming in June. He will lead us into this mission field of promise – and the Lord will go before us and destroy the obstacles that will face us. Only be strong and courageous! It is amazing to see how the Lord is guiding us toward this goal!
What should we be doing in the interim? It’s time for spiritual preparation. We need to redouble our efforts to be in the Word and be an active part of St. John Congregation so that we do not turn to the right or to the left so that we will succeed wherever the Lord takes us. St. John is not going away. St. John has hope and a future.
God gave Israel the Promised Land but God did not leave Israel in the bleachers to watch. He involved them. They had work to do. So do we. When our Hispanic outreach counselor spoke to us on March 27, he said that Pastor Otto needs to see a congregation behind him – a congregation that has his back – a congregation that does everything it can toward the success of this ministry. But before we are in a position to do that, we need to prepare spiritually. Otherwise, we will not be the strong and courageous people God calls for.
So, come! These are exciting times. New life is being breathed into old St. John Congregation. This ministry will not only be a blessing to the Hispanic community, it will be a blessing to you and me as well.
To God be the Glory!