New Challenge? Be Strong and Courageous! (Camp Meeting, 8/20/17)

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons | 0 comments

On August 20 2017, the First UMC of Glassboro hosted the Pitman Camp Meeting.  Their Praise Band (Magnify) roused us up with their music, and their Pastor (Rev. John Inverso) inspired us with his message….


Pastor John’s scripture reading was Joshua 1:6-11…

6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.

7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

10-11 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people:  “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.'” NIV


It’s Easy to Find things to Worry About…

Rev. John Inverso, First UMC of Glassboro

Sometimes we need to resist the temptation to post something about our life on Facebook.  It’s not that it’s too personal or that we want to keep it a secret.  But, sometimes people are quick to point out the negatives about a new challenge or event  in your life.  You might post a picture of you new car and talk about how much you love it.  But then someone might post a comment saying something like,   “Oh, I bought one of those a few years ago.  Worst thing I even did.  Nothing but trouble, and I couldn’t wait to trade it in.”

We don’t need that, do we?  It’s easy to find things to worry about.

Think about Joshua.  Moses had led the Israelites for years.  The people looked at his leadership and remembered that it got them out of slavery, across the Red Sea, and even let to water gushing out of a rock.  God was working through this man.  But now Moses is dead.  This leadership is gone, and the people have to be wondering if God is gone too.  What’s going to happen going forward? 

Wouldn’t it be easy for Joshua to have the same fears?  The heavy burden of leading these people was being placed on Joshua’s shoulders.  Would God be with him as He was with Moses?  Would Joshua be able to carry the load?


But God Stands with Us in the Challenges!

Joshua was going into a land of the unknown.  But God reassured him with a promise of His presence and a challenge to be faithful. 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God promised to guide and support Joshua in the same way that He did with Moses, Joshua can go into the land of the unknown certain that God is with him.  God’s holding his hand: along every rock desert path, around every enemy’s walled city, in the midst of every complaint and opposition from his people- God is supporting Joshua.

And so there’s no need to focus on the worries! 


Don’t Give into Fear!

And just as God’s presence guided, comforted, and motivated Moses and Joshua, God reaches out to US to give us the same strength.  There’s no need for US to focus on the worries; God’s got it all under His control.  Instead of worrying, God commands us to GO!

Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 6:25-33:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.        NIV

In every challenge we face, focus on God’s presence and seek His kingdom FIRST. 


Don’t worry about acceptance:  God is already there!

Be brave and speak up!
Open up and seek forgiveness!
Take a risk and help!
Keep hoping- God is the ultimate Healer

In the face of things to worry about, don’t retreat and give into fear.  Instead, “Be strong and courageous” because God is there.



My Lighthouse…

“Magnify” (the Praise Team) pulled us into their rendition of the song “My Lighthouse”  (lyrics).

As we keep our thoughts away from the worries and instead focus our eyes on God, we will be able to GO and take possession of the “Land” that God has given us.

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea, oh oh
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence, You won’t let go 
In the questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea, oh oh
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My Lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, my lighthouse (oh oh)
I will trust the promise,
You will carry me safe to shore (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore



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