Open: Week 5

Open to Commitment

Week of November 15, 2021

Opening Prayer:
Spirit of God, thank you for being here and thank you for the community you have grown in this group. We have been blessed with a great vision for new generations, invitation, innovation, and transformation. God, we want to delight in bringing this to fruition. As we discuss and consider new commitments, align our hearts with your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Historical Context:
The Old Testament book of Joshua is the first of 12 historical books. Moses has died and a new generation of Israelites are entering into Canaan under new leadership. Joshua served as an understudy to Moses and is framed as a “Second Moses”. Many of his experiences parallel Moses’. A key feature of this book is God fulfilling the promise to Abraham as the people cross over the Jordan river into the Promised Land. Among many others, themes of instruction, trust, and follow-through are explored.

Read Aloud:
Joshua 1:1-18

Orders from the Lord
1 After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord spoke to Joshua, Nun’s son. He had been Moses’ helper. 2 “My servant Moses is dead. Now get ready to cross over the Jordan with this entire people to the land that I am going to give to the Israelites. 3 I am giving you every place where you set foot, exactly as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will stretch from the desert and the Lebanon as far as the great Euphrates River, including all Hittite land, up to the Mediterranean Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you during your lifetime. I will be with you in the same way I was with Moses. I won’t desert you or leave you. 6 Be brave and strong, because you are the one who will help this people take possession of the land, which I pledged to give to their ancestors.

7 “Be very brave and strong as you carefully obey all of the Instruction that Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t deviate even a bit from it, either to the right or left. Then you will have success wherever you go. 8 Never stop speaking about this Instruction scroll. Recite it day and night so you can carefully obey everything written in it. Then you will accomplish your objectives and you will succeed. 9 I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua gives orders
10 Then Joshua gave orders to the people’s officers: 11 “Go through the camp and give orders to the people. Say, ‘Get supplies ready for yourselves because in three days you will be crossing over the Jordan to enter the land and take it over. The Lord your God is going to give it to you as your possession.’”

12 Then Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh: 13 “Remember the command that Moses the Lord’s servant gave you: ‘The Lord your God will give you rest and give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, children, and cattle may remain in the land that Moses has given you on the east side of the Jordan. But all you brave fighters, organized for war, must cross over in front of your fellow Israelites. You must help them 15 until the Lord gives a rest like yours to your fellow Israelites and they too take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you may return and take over the land that belongs to you, which Moses the Lord’s servant has given you on the east side of the Jordan.”

16 They answered Joshua, “We will obey everything you have commanded us and go anywhere you send us. 17 We will obey you in the same way that we obeyed Moses. Just let the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses! 18 Anybody who stubbornly opposes what you declare and doesn’t obey any of your commands will be put to death. Be brave and strong!”

Engaging Scripture:  
  • The Israelites are on the edge taking a big step into the unknown. What does Joshua say to the people to encourage them to move forward?

  • What examples of God’s faithfulness do you see mentioned in this passage?

Application Questions:
The best things happen on the other side of risk. This story of the Israelites going into the promised land is just one of many examples of God calling God’s people to step out in faith. When we commit ourselves to God we will experience the abundant life we have been promised. This week we all have the opportunity to step out in faith and make a financial commitment to the church.

  • Have you seen risk play a role in your faith journey? Share times when you took a risk and saw God show up.

  • Pastor Matt has shared a vision for where God is calling our church. What vision do you have for where God is calling you? What is on the other side of your personal riverbank?

  • Throughout these last 5 weeks how have you become more open to God? Are you considering things today you would have said no to at the beginning of this journey? Name your yes. Share some of your hopes for how God will use this yes.
Closing Prayer:  
Jesus, you have once again given us the opportunity to be who we say we are: a courageous, generous, open church. Bless us with a fresh awakening to your mission. Move us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength in the season ahead. And help us to remember that every gift of time, talent, and treasure are offerings to love our neighbors well. We pray this through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Taking it Further:
  • Leviticus 25:35-37; Proverbs 11:24-25; Luke 21:1-4; 1 John 3:16-18

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