Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crossing Over Part 2

This week, we discussed the last step in God’s process before we are ready to begin seizing the promises of the “Promised Land.” After crossing over the Jordan river and before Jericho, God gives Joshua a very strange instruction. In Joshua 5:2 He tells Joshua to have all of the men circumcised. Ouch! 


Does God realize that the odds are already stacked against them since they are not a trained army? Then they will be expected to go to battle after being circumcised?!? But, as He always does, God has a reason for His instruction.  You see, the Israelites had been in the wilderness for 40 years. Very few of them had been circumcised – and it was time to get things in order before the action begins. But why was circumcision so important to God?

 In Genesis 15:18, God made a covenant with Abraham that promised him descendants as well as this land of Canaan. Then, after Abraham had tried to get God’s promise HIS own way (Hagar / Ishmael), God spoke to him again in Genesis 17 about doing it the right way. He then said that all of Abraham’s household must be circumcised. Ouch again!

 There are a few reasons for this. One is that blood is always tied to covenant--Abraham with an animal sacrifice and circumcision, Moses the same (as well as animal sacrifices in the tabernacle), and even Jesus who, as our perfect high priest, not only made a sacrifice for us but BECAME the sacrifice for us. His blood seals the New Covenant.  So blood seals covenant. But why did God want blood from that particular place? Well, He also says that circumcision is a mark or a sign. But why put that mark in a place that no one else is going to see (except for the one person in a covenant relationship with you, your spouse)? The sign is for you – not others.

 But this still does not answer why this mark needed to be on the reproductive organ. It was a sign and reminder to man that we are in partnership with God. We create and produce together – not apart and not with other gods. Just as when a married couple joins together, and (if the woman has not been with any other man) there is a blood exchange. That exchange seals the covenant relationship, and it says that this womb and this seed are one. No one else will sow into this womb, and this seed will not be sown in any other womb.

God wants us to be in that kind of relationship with Him. Before we go and seize all of the promises, we need to be reminded that we are in partnership. We create together. God is going to give us some seemingly strange methods to obtaining victory. We must trust Him and stay in partnership with Him if we are to experience success. 

Now, for us, physical circumcision is not the sign or mark. Now, it is a circumcision of the heart. God said in Deuteronomy 30:6 that the time was coming when He would move the location of the circumcision to the heart of man. Then in Romans 2:29, Paul states that we are not children of God not by an outward mark, but a circumcision of the heart.

Our heart is the core of our being. It is where the things we create begin. We must remember that our heart is circumcised for God and that we should only allow His seed into it. If there is seed that is in conflict with His Word in there, it needs to be washed away in the blood of Jesus. If the wrong things have been sown in our hearts, we need to stop watering them and pray for “crop failure.” Make the commitment to be much more careful about what gets sown in your heart , and you will see that you begin to create a much better life in partnership with Him.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Crossing Over Part 1

This week, we started a new series called “Crossing Over.” It picked up where we left off in the previous series. We are now crossing over from the wilderness into the Promised Land in our spiritual journey. In this first part, we did a general overview of some of the concepts related to Promised Land living.  Just as there were lessons to learn in the wilderness to prepare us for successful Promised Land living, there will be more to learn and enemies to defeat in order to thrive in Canaan (the Promised Land).

 One of the most profound differences in this phase is that we transition from operating from a defensive posture to an offensive one. In the wilderness, we relied on God to help defend us against enemies. But in Canaan we rely upon Him to lead us to victory in seizing territory from its current occupants.  Another drastic difference is that instead of everything being provided for us, we are now expected to follow His direction in supporting ourselves. The moment the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, the daily manna stopped. They were transitioning from being nomadic herders to being farmers who sow and reap and trust God to protect their crops.  In the wilderness, they lived in law with limited resources, and in the promised land we have unlimited potential by grace.

 The crossing over the Jordan river in Joshua 3 was also a test of whether they learned one of those important wilderness lessons – to have faith in God. The river was at flood stage, and God instructed Joshua to have the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant to the river and, AS they stepped in the river, it would back up in a heap and they would cross on dry land.  God’s people passed the test and crossed over. Joshua then had each tribe take a large stone from the dry river bottom and bring it to the west side and place them there as a memorial – or reminder of what God had done. He knew that in days would come, it would be easy to forget what God had done in the face of a new challenge. They would need this reminder.

This is an important picture for us.  Jordan means “destroyer,” and it begins at a place called Adam (where our sin began) and ends in the Dead Sea (all sin leads to death).  Sin backed all the way up to Adam when they crossed and kept it from getting to the Dead Sea (sin no longer leads to death).  Jesus was also supposedly baptized very near this place.  The priests walked on dry ground (no sin still there) when they crossed.  The power of sin was dead and gone.


 It was also important to remember for them, as well as us, that the Ark, or Jesus, always goes before us. When we follow Him, He will ALWAYS lead us to victory!


As we ended we went over some attributes of Promised Land dwellers:

1)      Spirit of God is on your life

2)      Prepare for and go to battle (we know we win if we don’t give up)

3)      Actively sow and reap (in all areas of our lives, not just financial)

4)      With blessing, it’s easy to become selfish and fall into the me, me, me trap

5)      Exercise perseverance and self-control, even when they’ve been defeated

6)      Things could turn to thorns and thistles because it turns into work (another trap to watch out for)

7)      Loves the thrill of the fight because we know we’ll win

  To listen to the entire sermon go to  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is This It? Part 6

We continued again this week in the “Is This It?” series regarding our growth in the wilderness phase of our Christian walk. This week we discussed the importance of transitioning from slave mentality to servant-ruler mentality.
In Exodus 25, God begins instructing the people to build a tabernacle for Him to dwell with them. However, after a few chapters of “you shalls” and “you shall nots” He makes this assignment an “If you want to.” There is a reason for this. Remember that the Israelites had been slaves for 10 generations. They knew nothing but being slaves. Everything you did was because you had to. Now they find themselves free in the wilderness with no “have tos.” He needed them to change their “want tos” to the right things. He wanted them to WANT to build His house.
Keep in mind that all of the things He asked for them to contribute came from what they took from the Egyptians on their way out. And the wealth of Egypt came from what Joseph, a slave with a ruler mentality, had wisely acquired.   
God wants us to want to serve Him and give to Him. In Genesis 4, God looks with favor on the offering of Abel because it was the best he had to offer and it took faith to give the best he had. It took trust in God that giving the best of his flock was not going to diminish the quality of his flock moving forward. Cain gave of what he had gained, but not his best.  God did not reject Cain's offering. He simply did not look at with the same favor that He did Abel’s. Abel’s offering moved God. The Hebrew word for the phrase to look at with favor is sh’ah. In ancient Hebrew it paints a picture of God looking at the offering, consuming it and sighing. It moved Him.
God wants a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). He doesn’t want forced, compulsory giving. He wants us to give him our best because we want to – our best resources, our time, energy, finances, etc…
Finally, we serve. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us that we should work as unto the Lord in all things. Stop working FOR your boss and stop working hard if you don’t think you are being appreciated. Work for God. He WILL see and you will be rewarded.
 To listen to the entire sermon go to  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit