If you’re looking to dive deeper into what the Bible says about this topic, here’s a suggested Reading Plan, one passage per day for a whole week, based on the sermon:
- MONDAY: Numbers 14
- TUESDAY: Joshua 3
- WEDNESDAY: Luke 8:40-56 (especially v. 52)
- THURSDAY: Mark 4:35-41
- FRIDAY: Matthew 6:25-34
- SATURDAY: Romans 6
- SUNDAY: Psalm 23
eGroup Discussion Questions – Great for personal reflection/journaling, too!
Sermon Notes: “When God Says Stop” ⤵️
Preacher: Steven Furtick
Passage: Joshua 3:1-5
Title: When God Says Stop
Date: March 22, 2020
Today’s sermon notes were taken during the 9:30 livestream from the Ballentyne campus.
1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.” 5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Joshua 3:1-5, NIV
- “If two of you on earth agree about anything” (Matthew 18:19) Church isn’t activity. It can’t be cancelled. Here comes church.
- God is in the house!
- Get in position. We are positioned for a miracle.
- Not minimizing that the world “is a mess.”
- NMNM = No mess, no ministry.
- God does his biggest ministry in our biggest messes.
- WWW = Worship, Word, Wisdom
- We want the miracle without the mess.
- Jesus creating mud with spit to heal a man of blindness.
- Desperation is the set up for revelation.
- Fear is to our spirit what weight is to our muscles. Fear gives us an opportunity to exercise faith.
- Staple scriptures: The verses you always go to in the face of trouble.
- When God steps into hopeless situations, he positions us for miracles.
A. Camping at the Jordan
Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.
Joshua 3:1, NIV
- What God meant for destiny, the Israelites saw as disruption.
- To come into one new thing, you have to leave another.
- Stop looking at God as the means, but as the end. It’s not where he takes me, it’s what he shows me along the way.
- We don’t know how long the Coronavirus is going to last.
- We don’t know how long the economic impacts will last.
- Stop acting like you’re the only one…
- with questions
- Not just America, either
- We’re always going through something. We may all be in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. We’re experiencing everything in different ways: One person feels relief, the other has to lay off 150 people.
- Self-centered = short-sighted
- God is positioning us for the miracle of empathy.
- We will sit in a miracle and not recognize it as a miracle.
- We have a hard time appreciating a miracle when we’re in it.
- We want to be anywhere but here.
- So God gives us a moment to stop and just be here.
- [Nick: This is the importance of the Sabbath, the command to stop and rest.]
- Jordan River = Where God shows you who you are
- Israelites go through the Jordan to get to the Promise Land
- Jesus is baptized in the Jordan, “This is my son whom I love.”
- Better on the other side of this. The Israelites spent 40 years on the wrong side of the Jordan.
- They didn’t get stuck… they just stopped.
- [Nick: The story of the Israelites in the desert is more complex than this. The people did not want to enter into the Promise Land because ten of the twelve spies made a bad report (Numbers 13-14). As they grumbled, God told Moses that no one would enter while they held God in contempt, that he would not go with them. In fact, at the end of Numbers 14, some of the Israelites did enter the Promise Land, but those who already lived in the land fought them off (Numbers 14:44-45). They weren’t stuck until they stopped… and they stopped because they stopped trusting in God. After that, though, they were stuck, because God would not lead them into the Promise Land.]
- “Everywhere I look it’s bad news” … Then stop watching it!
- You’re going to feed yourself fear and then ask God for faith?
- “Well, I need to stay informed.” You know enough about God to get you through this.
- I usually preach about go, go go! But what about when God says stop? Stop living by feelings, start living by faith.
- God had them stop/camp before bringing them in to the Promise Land.
- Stop wasting today’s strength fighting tomorrow’s battles.
- Make decisions, and God will give you the wisdom for those decisions.
B. Knowing Which Way to Go
2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
Joshua 3:2-4, NIV
- “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
- More relevant now than ever before.
- Requires us to stop and pause
- Doesn’t mean it’s never happened before
- Matthew 6 – Stop worrying about what God is already working on!
- When God says stop, the storm has to listen. (Matthew 8)
- The disciples are scrambling.
- Jesus is sleeping. He knew something they didn’t.
- God’s name is I AM, not “I was” or “I will be.”
- Faith doesn’t keep me from having to go through a storm.
- We have to get through it together.
- We will learn how to live in our marriages again.
- We will learn how to be a church better.
- We’ll listen to a sermon on a Sunday morning because the club was closed last night and here I am.
- Stop expecting the testimony with out the test
- The pects without the push-ups.
- The triceps without the try.
- Follow the ark but don’t follow too close.
- The gift of distance
- God is teaching us that when he feels distant, he isn’t
- If God doesn’t feel close, that’s completely normal. That’s completely human.
- We may be having to stay physically distant, but we are being invited to spiritual depth.
- Don’t just get me through it.
- Why doesn’t God still do miracles?
- He does still do miracles, they’re just easier to see in the distance.
- Miracle #1: We’re watching a sermon on our phones
- Miracle #2: Every breath
- Miracle #3: Our sins being nailed to a cross and not bearing it anymore is a miracle
C. Tomorrow the Lord with do Amazing Things
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Joshua 3:5, NIV
- Tomorrow is God’s job.
- We trust God with tomorrow’s problems.
- We work on today’s process.
- Pastor Steven tells a story about visiting Australia (across the international date line from North Carolina) and his son asks, “Will you tell us what happens tomorrow?” Let God, your heavenly father, be in tomorrow.
- God’s going to see us through (the Jordan).
- God makes me stop. Makes me lie down. (Psalm 23)
- The size of the problem is the size of the opportunity.
- Connection is about depth, not breath. God wants to connect with us in a deep way.
- Jesus calmed the storm outside the boat and addressed the doubt inside their heart.
- God is using distance to help us get closer to him.
- Right now… a miracle can happen.