Back on the Wagon
SAM HARVEY ( a summaried transcript from conference)
I was going to speak tonight to those who are all in, who have said I want to go hard for God, I want my life to count. I want to look at the life of Joshua and have a look at 2 things that were in place in his life that enabled him to do what he did. He’s one of the heroes of the faith. He’s the guy the led Israel into the promised land, he is extraordinary in his faith and in what he pulled off. He saw God do extraordinary things, but There were 2 things in place in his life enabled him to carry what God asked him to carry.We find this in Joshua chapter 1:7-8. God Says to Joshua
“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 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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.” Heres the number one thing, point one tonight, that If you want to be successful and prosperous for Jesus, then you need to read this book all the time. Reading the Bible is key to being used by God, it’s one thing having passion for Jesus, and passion is awesome, as you can tell I’m passionate. I’m all over it, I’m like how can you not be passionate about Jesus? He’s awesome! But if you want to move from passion to power and you want to live a life that really matters, then you got to get into this book.
Now two weeks after I asked my beautiful, amazing wife out for the first time, she went on a mission trip for 6 weeks. 6 weeks. I cried and cried. Now she was in rural Nepal, and occasionally she would get internet access in a local café. So what we began doing was writing emails. So I would write her these long emails. Sometimes Jen would say that she would hop into an internet café and see so many emails she knew she couldn’t read them so she’d print them off and read them later.
Here’s the thing, over that time, we revealed our hearts to one another. And we shared our fears and our dreams, and we shared our lives, and we just revealed ourselves to one another via email. And it was the most fantastic start to our relationships because not only did we not only have the whole year just as friends. But the first part of our relationship was just written communication. 3 months later, we got engaged, and 3 months later we were married. 9 years later we’ve got 3 children, and we love each other to bits.
This is God’s love letter to us. This is where God reveals his heart. This is where God reveals his nature. This is where God reveals his desire for everyone to know how lovely and beautiful he is. This is where we discover what he’s like. Jesus says in Matthew 4 that we don’t live just by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the father. So there are 2 types of food that everyone needs. One is physical food like Burger King. And as you can tell I like it a lot. But here’s the thing, the Bible is the Word of God, and it feeds our souls. The more that you eat it, the stronger that you get. If you want to be like Joshua and take some land for Jesus, you can’t be a scrawny little anorexic warrior for Jesus, you’ve got to eat some food and get big and strong to be able to fight the battles that God wants you to fight. Right.And no here’s the thing. I know that it’s not an easy book to read. That’s why interestingly. If you want to win some battles for Jesus, the first thing you’ve got to do is win the battle of getting into this book. Cause there are two things that the enemy doesn’t want you to do. And the first is the read the bible and the second is the next point.
Listen to this “how can a young person stay on the path of purity” (Psalm 119). How big a question is that! How do you stay clean in a dirty world? How do stay clean when you live in a sewer? How can you do that? By living according to your world.
“I seek you with all of my heart. Do not let me stray from your commands. Listen I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you Lord, teach me your decrees. I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes. As one rejoices in great riches.”
How beautiful is that? I think about the word of God, revealed here, it’s like this is like great riches.
“I meditate on your precepts. I consider your ways, I delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your world.”
How many of us are neglecting the word of God? What he does is he invites us into a rich, deeper more beautiful life. And so what He’s doing in the room tonight is saying guys, read this book. Read it cause it will give you such a rich life. If you want to translate the passion of worship that you’ve got for Jesus, into a life that is long and faithful and impacts many, then get into this book. If you want your children’s children bragging about how Godly you are one day. Get into this book. If you want to make an impact for God, read this book. Joshua could handle the weight of the responsibility because he knew this book. He knew this book. He got into it. Treasure it. You can read your bibles, you can read it every day. I know you can. And here’s the thing. If you’ve fallen off the wagon, let’s get back on again. Today. Tonight. Why not. If you’re serious about going hard for God. ‘Alright, I’m going to dust this thing off. Sorry about that God, we’re back on the wagon. And I’m going to read this book.’ One of the things I do every day is the Bible in a year app. This is an easy way of doing it! We live in a great age, we can just start today! Join me in reading the bile in a year!
The second thing that Joshua did; hold onto something or someone; he loved he presence of God. He would just linger and spend time with God every day. He loved the presence of God. Exodus 33; This is before Joshua has done anything. I know we want to do significant things for Jesus, but Joshua before he did anything significant for Jesus, he loved just being in the presence of God. He was nobody, but he loved the presence of God. So Moses would go into the tent, where Gods presence would dwell, and God would meet with Moses face to face, but it was interesting that Joshua would not leave the tent. He loved the presence of God. So Moses would go back because there were all these jobs to do but Joshua just loved it so he would linger in the presence of God. Guys, it’s the most beautiful thing you can do. This is why I love your hearts for worship. It’s just so good to spend time in his presence. It brings clarity, perspective, hope, healing, we meet with our friend Jesus, who loves us. And so, for years and years, he was just hanging out with Moses, he had the humility to learn from Moses, to be mentored by him, the big thing is that he just developed this private world with God. So when Moses appointed Joshua as leader of Israel before he died, Joshua had the inner life that would sustain this very quick change, from being just a dude to the leader of the whole gig. It was this beautiful secret world with Jesus. So Joshua in chapter 3 the Lord said to Joshua:
The Lord said to Joshua, “today I will begin to exhaust you in the eyes of Israel so that they will know that I am with you as I was with Moses”. Joshua has become the leader of Israel, and clearly, people are like is this guy anything like Moses? Who is this guy? Is God with him? Later in verse 17, it says the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the lord, this was when they were crossing the Jordan, stopped in the middle of the Jordan while all of Israel passed by until the whole nation passed into Jordan on dry ground.
The Lord spoke to Joshua and said this is what you are to do if you want to cross into the promised land. And so Joshua heard the lord, obeyed him and obeyed him and the ark of the covenant, they were led by the presence of God,Now just pause for a second. The Ark of the covenant is the hot spot of God’s presence in the old testament. That’s where his presence dwelt. Now since Jesus died on the cross, the presence of God is available to every one of us. We can just step into the presence of God. At this particular point, and the hotspot was the ark of the covenant.
This is what is somehow contained in the ark of the covenant. The presence and the glory and the holiness of God. And so what does God say to Joshua time and time again. Here’s the thing, if you want to cross the Jordan. You’ve got to be led by my presence. Here’s the thing. If you want God to move powerfully in your life, love his presence. You can try and swim over the Jordan, good luck, OR you can go with his presence and see him do what only he can do. If you want to take a city like Jericho you have 2 options. You can try and take it down brick by brick and get completely slaughtered by the Jericho folk, or you can worship God and let the presence of God do only what he can do. So if there are rivers in your life that you can’t cross, get close to His presence and see what He does.Love his presence. The 2 things that you need to do to be used by God are the 2 things that Joshua did. He knew his Bible inside out, and he loved the presence of God. And so, I want to challenge you if you’re all in, to make a commitment to Jesus every day when no one else is watching.
You guys are young people! When you get old and boring like matt and me, it’s a bit trickier to do radical things because of you’ve got children and a wife and mortgages, but you know back in the day, me and Shannon, we’d have these all-night prayer meetings, where we used to have this gathering. It was awesome, it was this outreach into our local town, we’d like to hire this big circus tent had like fire jugglers and tall bikes. We’d have tall bike jousting. And then we’d do these out-reaches. But we would pray our little hearts out. We’d go out into town, in the middle of whoop whoop, and we’d have a bomb fire, and we would just pray all night. Literally all night. We’d pray, and we would worship. Go hard. You guys are radical! You aren’t boring and I know I can feel it in the room. You don’t want to live some ho-hum boring Christian life. It’s the lamest sort of Christian life every. Go for long walks in the forest on your own. And pray. Do radical things in seeking the presence of God. Go for it. But et things in place in your life so that you withdraw. Constantly the disciples would be like, where’s Jesus gone? And they’d be like to oh snuck off to have time with his father. Jesus lived this sort of life, and you know what it means? Turning off your phone, living counter-culturally. And just going instead of being all about the crowd and social media. I’m going to withdraw to lonely places, and I’m just going to hang out with my heavenly father. And just enjoy communion and intimacy with himHE LOVES HANGING OUT WITH YOU. Because for some of you, you only hang out with Jesus in a crowd. Can you imagine if that was how my wife and I hung out? It’d be like the only time I see my wife is in a group situation. It’d be like ah this is a bit of a weird relationship. God wants to hang out just with you! U love the fact that you guys have this prayer venue after the main meeting. Why don’t you go there tonight? Just linger?
Here’s the thing. The main battle that every one of us is going to face isn’t an external battle, it’s a battle for our internal worlds. That the number one battle that every one of us is going to face. That’s the case for me. The no. 1 battle isn’t what am I going to do, the number one battle is what’s in place so that my inner world is getting fed in such a way that I am carrying the presence of God into Napier. And when you’re carrying the presence of God, stuff begins to happen. Because where the presence of God is, the kingdom of God is breaking in. Tonight, we are going to pray that God would part some waters and pull down some walls. Cause his presence is here. And he wants to do what only he can do. But the number one battle you’re going to face is not some external battle. It’s an internal battle for your soul and taking the land. When Jesus died on the cross, he said: “it is finished”. And what did he mean by that? Everything that needs to be done for you to be accepted by God has been accomplished on the cross. So, I don’t read my bible and pray to be acceptable to God. Jesus has done that. I read my bible and pray because I love him so much, I want to get near him and be like him. That’s why I do it. And the more I do it, the more I eat the bread of life, and the more I’m in his presence, it’s like the living waters fill my life, and I became fully alive, increasingly in his presence. And I say that because here’s the reality. We fall off the wagon all the time. When it comes to prayer and reading the bible. All the time. I’m not here to dish out some condemnation sandwiches and make you feel crap, I’m not. God came to bring us from guilt and fear of grace and freedom.
I’m telling you that he’s inviting us tonight once more to say yes to reading his world daily and to being in his presence as much as we can. He’s saying come back to that place. And the only reason I am standing here preaching tonight is because I learnt many years ago to let my mistakes propel towards God and not away from him. Let your sin propel you towards him and not away from him. Run to the one who can make you clean. And so I say that because it’s been a mission for me and battle all my life to read this book, and I would fall off the wagon. But here’s’ the thing, when I fell off the wagon id be like that’s it I’m getting back on the wagon. And then I would fall off the wagon again with prayer or the bible. And I hate to depress you, but that has been the story of, my life for years and years. But here’s the thing, one day, I’m going to be a wagon dweller because I have chosen 10000 times 20000 times to get back on the wagon and there will be a point when it’s just who I am. Because I’ve chosen it time and time again and I’ve got back on the wagon, and I’ve run to god, and I’ve asked for forgiveness, and I’ve been cleaned, and I’m back on the wagon. And you know what, the enemy wants to keep you off the wagon. I’ve been off the wagon for far too long, and you know how easy it is to get back on the wagon. Just get back on. Just say I’m sorry, and we are starting again today. If you do that consistently, you will turn into my grandfather. You will. Who didn’t even have to try but he transformed the whole family line? The reason I’m here today is because of his prayers and his faithfulness. Honestly, it's incredible. You will make a lasting impact. You will see Jericho’s walls fall down. You will see a river that seems impossible, you will be able to walk through them because you love his world and you love his presence.
I want to invite you tonight to get back on the wagon and to say yes.