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Joshua 5 Leadership

By Dr. Kevin Dougherty –

At a recent Men’s Breakfast at the First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina, Pastor Marshall Blalock spoke on the leadership of Joshua. While the general topic is a familiar one, Pastor Blalock focused on one interesting and often overlooked aspect of Joshua’s leadership. This was the report in Joshua Chapter 5 of the circumcision of the Israelites at Gilgal.

Pastor Blalock reminded us of the story: As the Israelites had spent their forty years in the wilderness, the men who had been circumcised in Egypt had all died off and the babies that had been born in the desert had not been circumcised. As a result, the Israelites were not in obedience to the Lord. Joshua knew he had to correct this obedience, but the present moment seemed an inauspicious one. With the Canaanite kings quaking in fear in the wake of the Israelite advance, it would seem that now was the time to strike and take advantage of their enemies’ loss of courage. Instead Joshua forfeited this advantage and paused to circumcise his men and then remain in camp while they healed. As a leader, why would Joshua do this?

In The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner write that leaders who “model the way” take three important steps. To be this kind of leader, you must:

– clarify values by finding your voice

– affirm the shared values of the group

– set the example by aligning actions with shared values (16-17).

At Gilgal, Joshua was a leader who modelled the way by taking these three steps.

Kouzes and Posner explain that before you can influence others, you must know who you are and what your core values are. This is what they call “finding your voice.” In this case, Pastor Blalock told us that what Joshua had come to value was obedience to God. As one of the twelve spies Moses sent to explore the land of Canaan, Joshua (with Caleb) had implored the people to “not rebel against the Lord” (Numbers 14: 9). When they refused, Joshua had experienced the forty years of wandering that God used to punish the Israelites for their disobedience. When Joshua assumed the role of leader from Moses, God had reminded Joshua to “be careful to obey all the law” (Joshua 1: 7). Obedience was the voice Joshua had found and when God commanded him to circumcise the Israelites, he didn’t question it or hesitate. Joshua was clear in his values. He obeyed.

But Kouzes and Posner note that the leader’s values are not the only ones at stake. Because there are other people involved, the leader must affirm the shared values of the group. To do so, Pastor Blalock explained that Joshua drew on God’s covenant of circumcision with Abraham (Genesis 17:10). As descendants of Abraham, the Israelites at Gilgal were part of this same covenant and by it, Joshua secured the shared value of obedience with the group.

Pastor Blalock noted that Joshua not just heard God; he also obeyed God. In so doing, Joshua fulfilled Kouzes and Posner’s call for leaders to “set the example by aligning actions with shared values.” Joshua not only talked the talk. He walked the walk. Joshua himself was already circumcised, and by his leadership, all the Israelites took action and were circumcised as well.

By modeling the way, Joshua facilitated an alignment even greater than the secular version of Kouzes and Posner. By being obedient to the covenant, the Israelites regained the fellowship with God that their disobedience had diminished. God “rolled away the reproach of Egypt” from the people (Joshua 5:9) and they were now prepared to enjoy the blessings He had prepared for them in the Promised Land.

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This past week, my wife and I spent several days in the quaint little town of Helen, Georgia.  On one cloudy and drizzly morning, we drove north of town and up the mountain where we then hiked nearly a mile up the trail to see the beautiful Anna Ruby Falls that you see here.  They are actually two waterfalls that converge into one at this point.

It was a beautiful sight to see.  Yet, had we not put forth the effort to drive up extremely curvy roads on a mountainside and walk a very steep path (resting along the way!) to get to the top, we would never have seen the majesty of the waterfalls.

Let me remind us this week that we must sometimes make the extra effort in life in order to receive something good from it.  We must take the time and energy to climb the mountain in order to see the view from the top.  We must attempt the climb if we want to behold the majesty.

Draw close to Him.  Climb high this week.  The view is amazing!

Just a thought.

This Weeks Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I’ve written to you many times about trips to one of our favorite places – Washington, D.C.  On one of those adventures, I snapped a picture of this sign near the Capital Building.  It says simply, “Welcome to Washington.”

During this holiday time of the year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am always so very thankful that my brother and sister and I are all able to go home, as our parents’ children, and spend some time with them.  The older I become, and the more my own children are away from home, I’m very thankful for every moment they get to come visit us.  And, I imagine the vast majority of you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Imagine for a moment the joy, the excitement, the anticipation, and the love our Father holds in His heart knowing that one day soon, His children will all come home!  Imagine a grand sign welcoming us to Heaven and His presence!  Imagine never having to say goodbye again!

This Christmas season, celebrate the first-coming of our Savior.  But take a moment and celebrate the second-coming that we as children of the King anticipate.  And lest we get too wrapped up in the busy-ness of it all, remember there are still many around us who have yet to become part of this grand and glorious family.  It is our job to invite them.  Won’t you take a moment and do that this week?

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

The holiday season is upon us.  What is it that you want for Christmas?  It might be some material item, or it might be some inanimate object.  It might be a new 98 inch mega large wall-size high definition clear screen changes-the-channels-all-by-itself television.

This simple photo of a friend’s house from a couple of years ago shows the damage and destruction that can come in an instant to our material things.  Storms come and go in many forms.  Thieves break in and steal.  Items are lost or misplaced.  And those once-important things remain just things.

My prayer for each of us this wonderful Christmas season is that we will stop and reflect on what is most important.  Are the children safe?  Will we be together for the holidays?  Are we enjoying relatively good health & happiness?  Those things are treasures indeed.

In this world where material things can and will fade so quickly, be thankful for the “un-material” blessings.  God is so good and gracious to each one of us.  Treasure what truly matters, and share the love of God with those who seem to be missing the point every single day.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

You’ve not heard from me via these “thoughts” in a week or so, and I have a fairly good reason. Among several other things that have been going on in our small little world, our eldest daughter was married this weekend to the love of her life, and we couldn’t be more proud.

This simple little sign was attached to their back window as they drove off the other evening. Just two little words, but they mean so much — “Just Married.” Of course they mean that the couple just got married. But think of it this way — Am I “just” married? Do I “just” do what I have to do and no more? Do I “just” call myself a Christian, or do I live like one?

My wife and I were “just married” nearly three decades ago, but it has been so much more than “just” marriage! There have been ups and downs, laughter and tears, and happiness and sorrow. We are so much more than “just” married. We are in love.

So let me ask you one simple thing this week. Do you “just” call yourself by His name, or are you in love with Him?

“Just” a thought!

Just a thought to help start your week.

We have adjusted our clocks to reflect the time change.  Autumn has officially arrived.  Just look around you at all the beautiful mums in a variety of colors, such as this bright yellow one.

I don’t know why this particular plant is called a ‘mum’.  Perhaps someone looked at one and said, “Mmmmm, that looks pretty,” and the ‘mmmm’ eventually turned into ‘mum’.  Or maybe some kid said, “Hey Mum, I like your pretty flowers!”

Well I doubt either of those scenarios is really true.  But regardless of why this plant is called a mum, may it never be that we Christians are called mum.  We should be quite the opposite – speaking up, speaking out, and making a difference in this world.

There is no time to be mum!  We have an increased urgency to share the Good News with the world around us – a world so dark most days that it desperately needs to see the light.

Enjoy the bright mums this fall season.  But even more so, pledge with me – No more mum!  I have a story to tell!  And folks are truly dying to hear it.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Fall is in the air.  Temperatures are slowly dropping.  Even the warm water in the pond has a mist settled over it because of the cooler air.  The colors of the leaves are changing, and everyone I meet on the street seems to have a new spring in their step, similar to the one they get when winter has finally disappeared and warmer weather arrives.

So, if a change in seasons can be so beautiful, so uplifting, so encouraging, why are we so scared of changes in our lives?

Jobs change.  Families change.  New little ones arrive while others have gone on to leave us behind for a little while.  These changes can be scary, or at least make us uncomfortable, so we dread the changes.

Isaiah 40:8 tells us that “the grass withers and the flowers will fade away, but the Word of our Lord will stand forever.”  While the uncertain ever-changing world spirals all around you this week, hold close to the fact that God’s Word will never change.  When He tells you He loves you, He means yesterday, today, and forever.  When He promises to walk beside you, guide you from ahead, and push you from behind all at the same time, believe it!

God is good.  God is love.  That doesn’t change.  Try to be the one who provides stability in your circle this week.  Folks need to see “no change” for a change!!

Just a thought.

Blindsided

By Cortland P Hill, MME PE

Raised in a strong Christian home in the 50’s, I thought I believed in the Bible, but had seldom read it. I knew all the famous stories, including, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

But I had a Mechanical Engineer’s inquiring mind that needed to know HOW God did it. In college and later I kept aware of some of the advances in “scientific” thinking that led me to believe that because some distant stars were billions of light years away (due to the red shift of their light now reaching earth), it seemed to me that additional time was needed for them to get there in the first place. Why didn’t the astronomers talk about that additional time when they calculated the age of the universe? Of course, billions of years from the Big-bang to the present gave all the time necessary for life to start and evolve into the wondrous variety and balance we enjoy now!

Busy with a career, I never did resolve that lengthy time conundrum. I figured God did it, probably using the Big-bang, and some physics I did not yet understand. It never really bothered me – until the day, now some 13 years ago that I encountered Him and his Son, Jesus, in an unforgettable conversion experience. It wasn’t long until I began to understand that all along I had been asking the wrong question: it wasn’t HOW God did it; it should have been WHY did he do it? I had been BLINDSIDED by what had been presented as “science” all those years, by not asking the right questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Why am I here?
  3. How did I get here?
  4. Where am I going?

Come to find out, philosophers had been asking these questions for millennia. Theologians of my cultural persuasion had answers for some of these, scientists had answers for others, but as yet I had not found a coherent set of answers to them all. The biggest problem for me from the “science of evolution” was that there was no answer to the Why question; there was no PURPOSE in a universe filled by chance and time. I then began to understand that science cannot answer questions of purpose. Science deals with cause and effect; or effect and cause. Science does not admit to an Ultimate Cause, perhaps because science will not admit to the existence of God.

The Bible starts out “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, ten of the most profound words ever written. The point I had missed for 65 years was that Creation was a SUPERNATURAL event; it was not a NATURAL event or series of events as science attempts to describe. I had become so wrapped up in NATURAL propositions as to how God did it (or might have done it) that I completely forgot about how the Bible speaks of Creation. It was accomplished SUPERNATURALLY, in six literal days, recently!

So, if you are like I was, searching for NATURAL explanations for the above four questions (or even only one of them), try spending some time understanding SUPERNATURAL and the power of God. Perhaps God is bigger than you have yet imagined!

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

On display in the museum adjacent to The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, are many items relating to that battle and the people and area around it.  Among those items are the ones pictured here – Sam Houston’s sword and David Crockett’s rifle.  Both of these men, long gone, are remembered for their refusal to back down and their stance for their beliefs.

My wife and I are proud owners of a handful of old Bibles given to us along the way from now deceased relatives or their family members.  These precious items remind us of loved ones long past and their stance for their beliefs as well.

In the end, a sword is just a sword, and a rifle is just a rifle.  But a Bible – well that’s a different story entirely.  This is mainly because God’s Word never changes.  It does not rust or decay.  Once hidden in our hearts, it is kept and not forgotten.  Even the pages of those well worn Bibles will one day be gone, but His Word will stand forever.

This weekend, my family and I were able to attend a homecoming service and I was blessed to preach at the church where my father pastored for nearly three decades.  Older ones have gone on.  Younger ones sit in their pews.  But the Word was still the same!

As you stand this week, stand on the memories of those gone before us.  Stand on the fact that their causes were great.  But stand even taller on the Word of God, and allow it to lead your way in the week ahead.

Just a thought.

To Kill Sin – Attack What Lies Beneath

By Ryan Kelly –

Most people only see sin when it results in a noticeable outcome like divorce, theft, bankruptcy, or some other painful outcome. The result of the sin is seen, but often the source is unseen.

Biologically, a fungus is only seen when the reproductive portion of the organism rises above the surface. This is seen most often with mushrooms. The mushroom is not the body of the fungus itself, it’s the evidence of the rootlike mycelium body under the surface. This mycelium is the true organism, not the visible mushroom. If you tear off the mushroom, the fungus lives on. To kill the fungus, you must kill what is underneath.

For us, we can fix the visible result of sin. We can force people to be sexually pure, to not get a divorce, to not steal or make bad choices. But unless we eliminate the evil and sinful desires of the flesh, we are fooling ourselves to assume that sin is not with us.

We must attack what is below the surface and in the name of Jesus destroy the sin within us. Through the power of Jesus darkness cannot stand against the light (John 3:20). Draw to Him, and sin will have no choice but to flee from you. This is one important step at seeking righteousness through your relationship with our Savior.