Friday, October 01, 2021 - Sunday, October 31, 2021
Supplies Needed for Refugees As you may be aware, Northwest Arkansas is expected to receive a large number of Afghan refugees in the near future. One of our ministry...
This week in The Story we’re moving on from Moses and focusing on Joshua as he leads the people across the Jordan River and into the land that God had promised them. But before we do, may I share just one more quick reflection from the end of Moses’ life? You know that God told Moses he would not enter the land himself due to his disobedience that we read about in Numbers 20 (p. 79 in your books). It’s a difficult reminder that sin has consequences, and it leaves us in a place where we feel for him – all the work he’s put in, all the complaining he’s had to deal with, and this is how it’s going to end for him? But the beautiful thing about God is that there’s always grace, even in the midst of judgment. God is holy, but God is also merciful. That’s why I absolutely love how Ch. 6 of The Story ends, with this passage from Deuteronomy 34 (NLT):
“Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and climbed Pisgah Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him the whole land, from Gilead as far as Dan; all the land of Naphtali; the land of Ephraim and Manasseh; all the land of Judah, extending to the Mediterranean Sea; the Negev; the Jordan Valley with Jericho—the city of palms—as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said…Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever…There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”
Wow! What an amazing picture of a loving God. Rest assured, this is not God taking Moses up to the top of Mt. Nebo to scold him or remind him one more time of everything he’ll be missing out on because of his previous sin; this is God taking Moses up to reveal that because of him, God’s covenant will be carried out and his promises fulfilled. This is God saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Look out in every direction, as far as the eye can see; all that you see is the land promised to my people and you have faithfully led them here. Now the mantle of leadership is passed to your protégé Joshua who will take the next steps of the journey.” I hope you noticed that line in the text – “His eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever.” God gave him the gift of good eyesight, even at 120 years old, and the strength to climb the mountain. God wants him to clearly see the fruit of all the seeds he had planted the last 40 years. He may not taste that fruit himself, but his faithfulness and his willingness to say “Yes” to God over and over has made the fruit possible for future generations.
May that be so for you and for me. May we work faithfully for the Lord, planting seeds that we may never harvest and pouring into lives that we may or may not see changed in our lifetime. And may we give thanks for the grace and mercy of God, seen even in the midst of the holiness of God.
I wanted to give you a quick COVID update as it relates to us here at Central. Your Board of Trustees met earlier this week to review our mask policy and consider any changes. The good news is that every marker we’ve been looking at is moving in the right direction. Active case numbers for Washington County, daily new cases in the county, hospitalizations in Arkansas, and Fayetteville School district case numbers are all going down in a fairly dramatic way. Below are just a couple of the trends we’ve been keeping up with:
These trends, if they continue, will lead us to changes in our COVID mask policy sooner rather than later. We are watching the numbers carefully with the hope of making a change in the coming weeks, certainly by the end of this month. At the same time, if these trends are reversed over the coming weeks and the numbers begin to rise again, we will keep our current policy in place.
Now, on to other matters. I hope things are going well for you as you journey through The Story. This past Sunday I asked the question, “How’s it going for you so far?” If you have a story to share about what God has already done or a way he has spoken into your life through this experience, I’d love to hear from you – would you be willing to email me and let me know? This Sunday we get to the edge of the Promised Land only to see how fear can overtake faith and cause major detours on our journey. Hope you can be here as we explore this portion of God’s Story and our story together. Have a great weekend and see you Sunday!
Last week nine members of our staff attended the New Room Conference in Nashville, TN. New Room is a three-day time of spiritual renewal and revival, taking its name from the New Room in Bristol, England which was the first building built by John Wesley for his Methodist Movement. The conference was full of inspirational talks and powerful worship, all bathed in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We didn’t come back with, “Six ways to improve your church’s offering” or “How to grow your worship attendance” or anything like that – instead, we came back with renewed hearts and a renewed passion to live for Jesus every moment of the day, pointing others to him. One speaker lifted this verse in Acts 4:13:
“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.
They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
Then the speaker asked these questions: Would the world say that about us? Would the world recognize us as having been with Jesus? Just by looking at us, watching how we live and hearing how we talk, would people think, “Wow, that must be a Jesus-follower!” I had to admit in that moment, as maybe you do as you are reading this, that far too often Jesus is unrecognizable in me. For people to see Jesus in us, we need to love as he loved, live as he lived, serve as he served, pour out grace even as we speak truth just as he did, and have broken hearts for the things that break God’s heart. Would you be willing to pray for me as I seek that closeness with Jesus? I will certainly be praying this for all of you. Just imagine what kind of church we’ll be, what kind of witness we’ll have, when that happens!
Hope you’ll join us Sunday as we continue our journey through The Story. We’ll be in Ch. 5, New Commands and a New Covenant. Our focus Sunday will be on the 10 Commandments, but I’m going to cheat a bit and move us forward to Jesus as we consider them. If you want a hint of where we’re headed Sunday, read Mark 12:28-34. See you then!
Ever though you were not _________ enough to be used by God? You fill in the blank: qualified enough, good enough, smart enough, holy enough, old enough, young enough? This week we’re reading about God’s call to Moses to go to Egypt and redeem his people out of slavery and into freedom. Did you know that Moses was 80 years old when that call came? Now, before you start thinking, “Well, people lived a lot longer back then so 80 was still young!” let me remind you that Moses was 120 when he died. So, if in today’s world we live until we’re 90, then it would be like God calling us at 60. When I was a child, I thought 60 was ancient. As I have grown older and now am less than a decade away from this number, it’s looking younger and younger! Seriously, though, how many times have we thought we’re too old to do something great for God? Look at these numbers:
The call of Moses is a reminder of an important truth from God’s Word: You are never too anything to be used by God in powerful ways. I love what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10-11:
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
May you hear God’s call this week, and when you do may you have the courage to say “Yes” to that call, bringing glory to God through Jesus Christ!
I hope things are going well for you on this journey through The Story. This Sunday, we’ll be focusing on Ch. 3, “Joseph: From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh.” We’re already 37 chapters into Genesis, and by the time we turn to Ch. 4 of The Story we’ll be moving on to Exodus. As I’ve said before, this journey through the Bible is both a marathon and a sprint. It’s a marathon in that it will be May 15th by the time we finish reading, but it’s a sprint in that each week we must move pretty quickly through a lot of material. That’s why being in a group for The Story is so important – it gives you a chance to talk through what you’ve read, hear insights you may not have picked up on, and get your questions answered. It also gives you a chance to have community-- a group of people you can grow with and connect to. We currently have over 300 people doing The Story in groups, and that doesn’t include our youth and children! We also had to do a second order of books, which tells me there’s a lot of momentum and interest in studying God’s Word. If you would like to join a group, it’s certainly not too late. Almost all our Sunday School classes are doing The Story, as well as the Pastor’s Class in the Great Hall of the Activities Center. If you would like to join a class other than Sunday morning, here is a list of them. The registrations are no longer active, but you are welcome to just show up – none of them are “closed” groups. Some of them even have a hybrid in-person/Zoom option in case you’re not ready to come back just yet. If you need more information, please contact Susan Meek in our church office at and she can help get you plugged in.
My hope and prayer are that you will grow in your walk with God and one another as you take this journey with us. Joseph is one of my favorite people in the Old Testament, and I can’t wait to share part of his story and God’s story with you Sunday. See you here, either in-person or online!
We offer many areas of ministries available to help you grow closer to Christ and deeper in your faith. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at and a staff member will be in touch shortly.
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