Following a Legend

A couple of announcements:
1) Remember to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night (and enjoy the extra hour of sleep).
2) This Sunday, we will be taking up a special offering to assist the family of little Tinley Ward. Tinley has been on our prayer list for several weeks now. She is a child with leukemia who, as I understand it, had a bone marrow transplant. She ended up in the ICU for encephalitis following the procedure. The financial hardship on the family is overwhelming. Our offering will not solve their problems but it will help a little and it will be given with our love and prayers for them all. That is gift no money can buy.  And, it is who we are at HCC! Thanks!

Joshua 1:1-11

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying, 2 “My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, to the Great Sea in the west shall be your territory. 5 No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. 9 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, 11 “Pass through the camp, and command the people: ‘Prepare your provisions; for in three days you are to cross over the Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God gives you to possess.’ ” NRSV

Following a legendary leader is an extremely difficult challenge. Most who try, fail.

Whenever a beloved, long-term minister retires or resigns, regional ministers encourage those churches to call an intentional interim minister to serve a minimum of one year before starting the search process for a new pastor. When this counsel is not heeded, the new minister who comes in on the heels of the previous minister will almost always end up being an interim minister.

Congregations are emotional systems. They require time to sort through the grief of losing their beloved pastor. They need time to let go of the habits and nuisances of ministry that defined the previous pastor. The new minister will most certainly have his or her own unique habits and nuisances of ministry that will be very different than his or her predecessor. Without the interim period, the new pastor will be unfairly judged and kept at an emotional distance for not doing it the same way as the previous pastor. I saw this play out way too many times. We emotional creatures need time to grieve, to heal, and to prepare ourselves for the new. Most of us will get to that ready state with time and intentionality.

Knowing this to be a fundamental aspect of human nature makes Joshua’s leadership that much more remarkable. I mean, he followed Moses, for God’s sake!

And, it was for God’s sake and by God’s sake Joshua was such an effective leader. God promised to be with him, guide him and protect him if Joshua stayed true to the promises of God. Joshua did. With God’s constant direction and assurances, Joshua and the children of Israel conquered and occupied nearly the whole landscape God promised God’s people in Joshua’s lifetime.

God’s constancy, direction, and assurance are not reserved for the folks like Moses and Joshua. They are promised and available to all who stay true to God. As we have been reminded this past week, that means loving God and loving neighbor. That is the “book of the law” Jesus gave all who follow him.

Be a blessing to someone today!

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