We looked at Joshua 24:14-28. We all are familiar with Joshua's declaration: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" This challenge caused the people of Israel to reconsider what they were saying (possibly their heart's desire) and how they were living (probably their fleshly desires).
Joshua did not accept the immediate positive response of the people. They all said, "Hey, we're all about serving God." (My paraphrase.) Joshua said, "You can not serve the Lord." He reminded them that God was holy and jealous (24:19) and that He wasn't one to mess around with if you are not authentic in your walk before Him.
The best part of the challenge came in the alignment of Joshua's challenge, God's character, and the people's desire to serve the Lord. After Joshua's challenge, the people replied saying, "No, we are determined to serve the LORD!" Joshua said, "You are accountable for this decision, you have chosen to serve the LORD." "Yes," they replied, "we are accountable."
"All right then," Joshua said, "destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." (It's time to make some lifestyle changes if you want to authentically serve the Lord.) The people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God. We will obey him alone."
Soon after this occasion, Joshua died. But, the record shows that: "Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the leaders who outlived him — those who had personally experienced all that the LORD had done for Israel." It wasn't about Joshua or being an Israelite. It was all about God and serving Him.
On Sunday, hundreds of people responded to the challenge to put away their idols and realign their lifestyles in order to serve the Lord with authenticity this year. It isn't about the preacher(s) or the church. It's all about God and serving Him with authenticity.
What a way to end 2007! Moving into 2008 with a group of people who are positioning their lives to authentically serve the Lord is beyond exciting. For many, this is a major turning point in their lives. How appropriate it is that Clay will be kicking off 2008 with a series entitled "Turning Point."
Ready for 2008!