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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scriptural questions

For the last several months at Central Lutheran in Elk River, we've been walking through the book of Joshua. Not many preachers get a chance to preach through this amazing Old Testament book. There are so many powerful lessons in this book for the life of the church today! From the first chapter and God's admonition to Joshua to "be strong and courageous," to the observation that the Israelites need to follow closely after the Ark of the Covenant because "you have not been this way before" to Joshua's dying challenge to the Israelites to "choose this day whom you will serve" -- the church has a lot to learn from Joshua.

So I've been impressed all summer with these lessons; but now we are anticipating a change of focus. September 12 we will kick off into new territory -- we'll be spending the next program year (September through May) preaching through the book of Acts. With the groundwork of the book of Joshua, I think Acts is going to come alive!

Currently I'm anticipating the next time I personally will be preaching at Central. It will be the very last Sunday of our Joshua journey, and the text will be from Judges 2. There we see the consequences of Joshua's failure to effectively pass on the faith. We read that Israel faithfully served God during the life of Joshua and during the lives of the elders who had served with Joshua. But then, tragically, a generation grew up who did not know the Lord.

How appropriate is this for us, when so many of our churches are populated by elders and we struggle to connect with younger people? How appropriate for us when, in the last generation or two, the church has drifted from the center of people's focus and consciousness out into the margins of society, where we compete on any given Sunday morning with sports leagues and golf courses and Nascar? A generation has indeed grown up which, by and large, does not know the Lord. This speaks volumes about how our witness has fallen short.

What are the solutions? Or to ask the question differently, where is God leading in this time? I don't believe any of this takes God by surprise. So what's he up to?

More thoughts on this in the coming weeks, I guarantee it ...

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