At Our New Home
I'm sure you posted them online they're free don't worry about it so I'm just curious did anyone else time yourself to see how fast you can get here this morning I did ten minutes and twenty three seconds anyone be any of the few people that I know a lot of people kind of excited about that but in thinking about last Sunday or last Sunday Union Hills I know that was it was a great Sunday motional maybe for some of us but I was just absolutely amazed and so encouraged with how quickly we got out of the old location into this new one it took us about three and a half hours to get everything from union hills to here on twelfth Street and member I was here was unpacking things and someone said yeah we're pretty much all done at Union Hills What's really yeah and everything is already clean so for those of you who stuck around thank you so much for doing this it made everything really nice three enough hours to move and fortunately it's going to take three and a half months to unpack everything but you know we're not in a hurry it doesn't really matter and now that this is official I mean you know this is our building I can now say I'm so glad that this is what happened and not buying our next door neighbor's house and renovating that for several months and doing multiple building projects over there something I also just want to remind everyone where you are sitting today this is now your permanent seat so no switching seats after today this is it this is where you're out obviously you know I'm just getting but also things around the campus are going to change we're still trying to figure out how to do things like even in a sense where we're going to do some decorations to make it look really nice on some functional things that we're going to be doing we need to do some things with the lighting so don't get used to the she and the leaders they might be going away OK.
Just waiting for revolts you know no revolts OK So anyway so there are going to be doing some things we're obviously going to be doing the children's play area so there's lots of things that we're going to be doing around the campus and I just thank you all in advance for your support unity and encouragement but this will be great you know as I was I thought about us last week moving a church of about not quite two hundred people five miles down the road I wonder what it was like for Moses so moved the entire nation of Israel and how that went you know this move how can very well was very smooth and I know we're still kind of getting settled in but it does make me wonder what it was like for Moses leading the nation of Israel to the Promised Land just imagine how much bickering and complaining he had to deal with right are we there yet you know how much further what's coming up next you know what kind of potty breaks they had you know that must have been difficult you know they didn't have like a McDonald's on the side of the road or they could just stop in and get all the food and so the logistics that was just something incredible but for our first Sunday here in our new building what I want to do is look at a passage in Joshua chapter four so if you don't in your Bibles right now
Joshua chapter four and I think there are some some similarities between what was happening in the nation of Israel at that time and what we're dealing with today
and to give you some context of Joshua chapter four this is after the Israelites had now entered into the Promised Land they're ready to take possession they have not fought any fights they have not tried to remove any of the the. The inhabitants of the land yet so this is the very beginning of when they're taking possession of the promised land and as soon as they crossed over the Jordan and they were officially in the land God wanted them to set up a memorial so that they would always remember what happened and so what I want to do for today is focus on the three things that I want us to remember as we begin our ministry here on Wall Street so if you will just read with me Joshua chapter four beginning in verse one Joshua chapter four beginning in verse one
it says when all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan the Lord said to Joshua.
In the back door that was it and then eventually we built and so we had it on the same sure in a gymnasium and so then we went from one key to our one key you were two doors to four doors we had the front the back and then two side doors but still the one key and then I moved here to Phoenix and Phoenix is not quite like the northern states especially with the temperature in the climate and everything up in the northern states usually when you have a building a church or whatever it is usually have a couple exteriors doors and then all the doors are inside well here in Phoenix because of the climate you can have lots of exteriors doors and so I counted the doors at Union hills and I think I have this right so when I came here I was given a set of keys and I think I had forty is on there there were fifteen doors and there were two different locks and so on my set I had four different keys into for the locks on the gate some of the gates in the front and then when we got here here's a little bit different and so when we exchanged keys they gave me this is giant bucket filled with keys. And this is about like an inch thick full of keys and we passed some of these out in the meantime but what it what the way that the church is set up here is the pastor you lived in the house it was the parsonage so that had its own set of keys and then our preschool room which was there they had an apartment for travelling people they can come they had a second set of keys and then everything else was supposed to be on one set but there was two sets of keys for all those and so Monday into Tuesday for every one that was working here were always taken out the key and OK which which door does is on lock and you try it no that's not the right one you put another one in we got everything reheat on Wednesday so things will be going better from here on forward but when you want to go into a room you want something to work you have to use the right key I think that makes sense to all of us as a church we are trying to do life the right way and the one key that works is this right here the Bible is the one true key that we must know and use and trust in order for us to do the minister that God is called to your soul and Joshua I want you to turn over the chapter one
and three just the first several verses of Joshua chapter one and this is a reminder that God gave to the nation of Israel in him here God is telling them remember remember the words that I spoke to you and to put those into practice so Joshua chapter one beginning in verse one
says after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun mosts assistant Moses My servant is dead now therefore arise go over this Jordan you and all this people into the land of and giving to them to the people of Israel every place that the sole of your feet foot will try to Upon I have given to you just as I promised to Moses from the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river the river Euphrates and all the land of the Hittites to the great sea towards the going down of the sun shall be your territory no man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life just as I was with Moses so I will be with you I will not leave you or for sake you be strong and courageous for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to get them so this is the promise that God made to the nation of Israel this is what God is going to do for them and then God tells them to do this for seven only be strong and very courageous being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may have good success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success and so what did God say they needed to do in order to have good success to be prosperous they needed to know God's word and to put into practice first night last verse Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go and so this is aren't He just like it was for them this is our key this is what we're suppose to turn to to find out the meaning of life to find the eternal truths that don't change even a society changes this is what we turn to to find out how we can have healthy relationships with each other how we can handle conflict how we can have our sins forgiven and tells us about the hope that we can have for eternity and on and on it tells us so many things and so you know you look at life in the world and you realize there's a lot of problems out there and you want to know why there are so many problems in this world because people aren't focusing their thoughts on God's word and just as important applying them as well and so the key that we need to use is a combination of knowing God's word and putting it in having the courage really to put it into practice so let's always remember that as a church we are a Bible Church so this is the first thing that we need to remember the next thing we must remember is point number two if church is worth doing it's worth doing together. If this is worth doing it's worth doing together how did the nation of Israel leave Egypt together they went together how did the nation of Israel cross over the Jordan they did it together they didn't do it in different groups how did the nation of Israel dispersed the nations that were in there how did they fight those nations they did it together and you know as you look in the Bible and as you look at all the different characters that God had in the Word of God you don't find many lone rangers people out there just kind of trying to do things all on the Rome own use usually when God puts a calling on someone's life it's to do that with other people and do it together you know think of Jesus' ministry you know we just went through the series on the truth of the four chairs did Jesus do his ministry all by himself you know what's one of the first things that he did when he began his public ministry he went out and he recruited and he trained the disciples when Paul went on his missionary journeys did he go by himself no he took somebody else he took multiple people with him so that he could train up others if anything is worth doing as a church than it's worth doing together and to be united you know I have a friend in ministry who gave me the same and it's very true and it applies to lots of things in life but especially for church and he said this If you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far go together and make such a big difference when you go with other people ecclesiastics for nine and ten says two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil for if they fall one will lift up his fellow but whoa to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up you know I have a saying about church and I'm not sure if I came up with this or somebody else did you know you ever have sayings like that when I hear this but I like to say when it comes to making decisions as a church things happen at the speed of church meaning it takes a while to get stuff done and the reason why it takes a while instead of just having one person to just make all these decisions that we need to be united we need to come together and have consensus and so we take sometimes our own personal opinions and preferences and we have to set those things aside and so that we do things together the Bible talks quite a bit about the importance of us doing things together one passage I want to look at isn't Romans twelve so the overhead and turned over to Romans Chapter twelve
Romans Chapter twelve and we will look at verse four and then a few other once or Romans Chapter twelve beginning was for
Romans Chapter twelve beginning in verse four
it says For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function so we though many are one body in Christ and individually members one of another so God has designed church and ministry to happen this way where we need each other and we need to depend on each other and that means that we need to behave according to how God tells us how to behave let's look at verses nine through eighteen these are some really great commands to tell us how to treat each other and how how we can do church together beginning in verse nine it says Let love be genuine. A… what is evil hold fast to what is good love one another with brotherly affection outdo one another in showing honor Do not be slothful in zeal be fervent in spirit serve the Lord rejoice in hope be patient in tribulation be constant in prayer contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality bless those who persecute you bless and do not curse them rejoice with those to rejoice weep with those who weep live in harmony with one another do not be haughty but associate with the lowly never be wise in your own sight repaid no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the side of all if possible so far as it depends on you live he simply with all you know Romans twelve the section that we just read is probably a passage that we should all read about once a week you know just dealing with all of our relationships now even just here in church but with all of our relationships this is how how we do this and so as we do church we must remember if it's worth doing it's worth doing together so that's what we're going to do and you're going to hear a lot more about this in the coming weeks but an excellent way for us to do church together goes beyond just Sunday morning and I've mentioned this before you're going to be hearing this a lot in the coming weeks we are going to be launching a home based small groups very soon in fact on next week the leaders of the first groups that we're going to have are going to start meeting and then in a few weeks we're going to ask all of you hopefully to join a small group through the spring and then in the fall we're going to launch small groups and hopefully this will be a very major part of our ministry moving forward but we need to do ministry together and do life together and so that's one thing that we always need to remember here is a church and so remember these two things certain First and foremost we're going to use the right key which is the Word of God If something is worth doing it's worth doing together and the surge thing the final thing that I want to remember at least for today is this might be the most important one this right here this is Christ's church. This is Christ's church before it's any of ours and it's wonderful for us to feel ownership and take ownership in a ministry but this is ultimately Christ's church I want you to go back to Joshua chapter five this is one of my favorite passages Joshua chapter five
and what we're about to read is this is before Joshua fought Gerry Jericho and this is before they really had fight anyone and so here is Joshua in the nation of Israel and they know they're going to go to battle they know they're going to or and they start taking maybe a little too much ownership over what they're about to do and so in Joshua chapter five beginning in verse thirteen Joshua has an encounter with someone and this is someone who might be familiar with this phrase this is most likely Christoph anie this is when the pre-incarnate Christ the second person of the Trinity came before he took on flesh and so this is very possible that Joshua was talking with who we know as Jesus so Joshua chapter five beginning verse thirteen
says when Joshua was by Jericho he lifted up his eyes and looked and behold a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand and Joshua went to him and said to him Are you with us or for adversaries and he said no but I am the commander of the Army of the Lord and I have come and Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him what does my Lord say to a servant and the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua take off your sandals from your feet for the place where you are standing is holy and Joshua did so. You know what Joshua did was very normal here but he forgot he thought that this was his battle that he was about to fight it wasn't his battle you know his battle was it was God's this is God's plan for the nation of Israel you know here a great Scrabble churches are very for Sunday and I look around and see pretty much a very familiar faces and um and I know that everyone here has a different relationship to the church some of you might be here this morning just visiting us being here for the first or should service or maybe you're just checking us out some of you say well you know Grace Bible Church of Phoenix that's where I go that's my church that's where I worship God Some of you might say Grace Bible Church of Phoenix that's my church family those are the people that I know and I do life with and there are some of you who Grace Bible Church of Phoenix is such a part of your identity and you've committed so many years and so much time and effort over the years to this church that it's hard for you to separate your faith from this local church and all of those thoughts and processes are very normal and natural and most of them are very healthy however what we all need to realize is that we are all as individuals and even as a church we are simply one leaf on the one true vine of Jesus Christ this is his ministry this is his church we are on Christ's side he's not on our side we're on Christ side you know a couple weeks ago and I preached a sermon on unity a lot of you came up to me afterwards and said that was a very preemptive sermon because I gave you an illustration Well I have another illustration that I want to share with you but just going to remind you of of that sermon a couple weeks ago on unity and I said the way that we stay united is that we're focused on our purpose that we lift each other up we encourage each other and that we handle conflict well and then I told a story about when we were going to paint our same she wearing what I call I got a call the night before from someone who's very upset because his group didn't get to choose choose the paint in the color of the carpet Well there's another story from back then and I've been waiting like fourteen or fifteen years to tell this one so I'm going to tell it I think the statute of limitations off so I can tell it and so this is kind of another bad example which is very normal for human beings to go through this but it's this is dealing with forgetting whose church it is all right well when I first got to my church in in Michigan Grace Bible Fellowship I guess it was kind of a small building and there was about eighty or ninety people there and I'm like This morning you know how we had everyone turning preacher neighbor while at G.B.'s that's what we call it we had this extended handshaking time that went on every Sunday for about two or three minutes.
I know it's kind of hard to understand but two or three minutes is a long time we do ours not every Sunday and we just shake the hands of people around us and it goes on for maybe twenty or thirty seconds just imagine every Sunday doing it for like two or three minutes and when I first got there it was enough time that everyone could literally shake hands with everybody else in the same it was that much time and know those that were extroverts they loved it you know it was great and as a pastor I like that you can shake everyone's hand just so I had a chance to see everyone well over the years and this took place over the years over the years we heard from some visitors that they didn't really feel comfortable with that and I can understand if you walk into a place and you don't know anyone and for two or three minutes you're shaking hands it's kind of awkward right so we're like yeah for twenty seconds it's awkward so you know we don't do it every Sunday but this would go on for two or three minutes and our worship leader God bless him you know he would stand up and say Norris go sell Sisco's west we're going to do the G.B.'s shuffle and then we'd all shake hands in the band would come down they'd shake hands and newsgroup for the people who liked it but over the years we heard from visitors in fact we had visitors say I kind of like the church but I'm so uncomfortable with the hand-shaking time I'm not going to come back and you hear that from one person and you're fine that's that's fine not everyone's going to like everything and then you hear from like five people you're like OK And then you when you keep hearing it over the years in your research start to say maybe we should rethink this maybe it's not accomplishing what we're wanting to have a cup O. Blish and so I and the elders we talked to the worship leader we said hey this is what's going on can you just kind of scale it back a little bit you know we're still shaking hands but you know it's making people feel uncomfortable Well after a few of those conversations and nothing ever happened eventually we said hey why is that why aren't there any changes and so we said OK the elders feel that we need to cut back this handshaking time because it's making people feel uncomfortable while the worship leader an official got with his group and they made a decision when they decided was and this is not word for word but this is basically what they said they felt that the hand-shaking time it was SO DO YOU NEED to our identity and our church culture it's what distinguished us from every other church in West Michigan that they refused to change it handshaking right now you really this really did help in everywhere the time I thought you got to be kidding me what are you going to do and so basically they said here's a line in the sand you're either with us or you're with them either we're going to do it like we've always been doing it or not going to do it at all that's the attitude that they had and so we said we're not going to do it. And eventually we shook hands for like twenty seconds and then we got over it and that was about a year to a year and a half before that same group called me and said hey you chose the color of the walls and it was so sad to see so on one hand you want people to take ownership in church but you don't want them to get to the point where they say this is the way I do it this is mine and it's more important than anyone else's feelings you know this kind of thing it happens all the time it happens everywhere we are naturally Hopefully you understand what I'm saying but we are naturally selfish people and if we fail to remember that this is Christ's church what we will do is we will take ownership over something that's not truly ours to own and we're going to ask people Are you with me or are you against me and that's not what God wants us to do when I was a bad example No I have a good example something that happened this week so on Sunday we moved everything over here and we're putting everything away and a lot of you you went back home and there's some people here and stuff and there was a handful of us here and there were a couple teenage boys out in the parking lot and they're right near bikes around and as an old fuddy duddy guy my first thought was are these kids are they going to fall they going to hurt themselves you know what's in our insurance policy you know Mike Thompson you know are we cover for this or are you are they going to do some like vandalism in fact rebel and I rebel and I we're going to talk about the what we do with these kids and and then it just kind of you know the libel comes off and says wait a second this is exactly why we're here to be Christ's examples in this community so they were our first unofficial visitors and I was so glad as they're riding their bikes around aside it out that Hakim to them in my can fathom went up to them said hey guys who are like hey dude where do I know you said there's your I get there dude So how do you guys do and we ask them their names and you know what the kids are actually pretty nice they're not bad kids they're good kids and we invited them they come to church with us someday that's why we exist we must remember that this is Christ's church and it's our on are to serve him you know from of a pastor's perspective as people they come to a church for the first time I'm sure every pastor feels the same way there's a process of ownership and usually when someone comes to a church for a few weeks they ask questions like this hey I've got a question for you how do you guys do this whatever it. And then eventually I love it when they start using this word hey I've got a question for you how do we do this and I love that because it means that they've taken ownership and they say it's not me and you it's it's us this is now my my body of believers as well but we need to just make sure that we are careful and not let it slip into further and say this is how I do this and either you're with me or you're against me again pride and selfishness can subtly creep its way into our hearts and our minds and we take ownership over things that are not ours to own and one of my favorite parables is found in Matthew twenty five I'm sure many of you are familiar with it it's the parable of the talents how the Master went on a trip and he gave his talents to three of his servants I'll just read a couple of verses for you don't have to turn their message twenty five fourteen it says for will be like a man going on a journey who called the servants and intrusted his property to them to one he gave five talents to another two to another one to each according to his ability then you want to weigh whose property was it it was the owner's right and when he came back from the journey he called all of them and they had to give account for what they have done could you imagine what it would have went like if the first person said all right give me an accounting of what you don't my talents and say oh wait a second no no you left and I made five more and so I've decided that these talents are all mine how do you think that what I won over with the owner probably not too well our job is not to own anything or to say it's us against you our job is to just be faithful First Corinthians four two says moreover it is required of skewers that they be found faithful and so my hope for us as a church is that we will all be passionate we have to be passion about what God has called us to do and to take ownership for what God has called us to do but we need to take pride and do all those things but never let it get to the point where we cross the line and we say this is mine are you with me or are you against me. Well here we are this is our our first Sunday in this new building I'm excited you know I didn't even get nervous arrears weird for this Sunday I was just excited and I look around at the same faces you know just a just a different building I'm also absolutely amazed at how fast and smooth this relocation took place things shouldn't happen this easy and maybe there's a reason for that night and I've I think I've mentioned this before but sometimes I sit and I think how fast and how smooth this took place it's like the hod when we decided to meet with our next door neighbor on twelve or on union hills when we decided to meet with him we started to take a step moving in a certain direction gods kind of like he took our head and said No no that's not what I have for you it's over here I don't want you to waste your time with multiple building projects I have work for you to do I have ministry for you to do and so Grace Bible Church of Phoenix this is Christ's church in the Bible is our key and we're going to do this together
I want to read one last passage for you today articulations lation six nine and ten it says and let us not rule weary of doing good for in due season we will reap if we do not give up so then as we have opportunity let us do good to everyone and especially to those who are of the household of faith
so here we are we're on twelfth Street this is our opportunity so let's do it together let's close a prayer.
Dear Father thank you so much for what we have seen you do in our midst just in the has David last week talked about the forty fifty year history of our church how you brought us to this point and you brought to the people to the church at this point Florida we're excited for this ministry that you've given to us thank you for this transition thank you for allowing it to go smoothly even with just physically getting everything from union hills here to troll Street well or we're anxious we're eager to do your work and so father as we're beginning our ministry here help us to remember these things help us to remember that the Bible is the source of our authority it's the source of everything that we need to do for ministry or to help us to remember that unity and teamwork and partnership is the way that we should do ministry if if it's worth doing it's worth doing together and most importantly help us all realize that you have invited us to join you with what you are doing this is your church father for the years and years and years to come in the ministry that you call this to hear Risperdal church of Phoenix on trial street or we do this for your honor and for your glory and it's in your precious name we pray.