The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Milk and Honey

Moses Sends Scouts into Canaan:

Numbers 13:1-2
GOD spoke to Moses: "Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe."

Numbers 13:17-25
When Moses sent them off to scout out Canaan, he said, "Go up through the Negev and then into the hill country. Look the land over, see what it is like. Assess the people: Are they strong or weak? Are there few or many? Observe the land: Is it pleasant or harsh? Describe the towns where they live: Are they open camps or fortified with walls? And the soil: Is it fertile or barren? Are there forests? And try to bring back a sample of the produce that grows there--this is the season for the first ripe grapes."

Numbers 13:25-28
After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home. They
presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told the story of their trip: "We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak.

Numbers 14:1-3
The whole community was in an uproar, wailing all night long. All the
People of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community was in on it: "Why didn't we die in Egypt? Or in this wilderness? Why has GOD brought us to this country to kill us? Our wives and children are about to become plunder. Why don't we just head back to Egypt? And right now!"

Numbers 14:11-19
GOD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to trust me? And with all these signs I've done among them! I've had enough--I'm going to hit them with a plague and kill them. But I'll make you into a nation bigger and stronger than they ever were." But Moses said to GOD, "The Egyptians are going to hear about this! You delivered this people from Egypt with a great show of strength, and now this? The Egyptians will tell everyone. They've already heard that you are GOD, that you are on the side of this people, that you are present among them, that they see you with their own eyes in your Cloud that hovers over them, in the Pillar of Cloud that leads them by day and the Pillar of Fire at night. If you kill this entire people in one stroke, all the nations that have heard what has been going on will say, "Since GOD couldn't get these people into the land which he had promised to give them, he slaughtered them out in the wilderness.' "Now, please, let the power of the Master expand, enlarge itself greatly, along the lines you have laid out earlier when you said, GOD, slow to get angry and huge in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin; Still, never just whitewashing sin. But extending the fallout of parents' sins to children into the third, even the fourth generation. "Please forgive the wrongdoing of this people out of the extravagance of your loyal love just as all along, from the time they left Egypt, you have been forgiving this people."

Got a special mission from Pastor Jim last night at the Core Leadership meeting last night. Since we started meeting several months ago, both Carrie and I have felt like we've just been spinning our wheels as a team, not really going anywhere. And it's difficult to lead the church in anything resembling a direction if you only meet for 90 minutes every month. Then, last night, PJ gave each couple a new mission. Go out and explore our church and the land God has promised us--the church's future. Find out if the future really is a land flowing with milk and honey or if giants walk the land. Recommend if we should go storming in and conquer the land or if we should remain here in the wilderness for a while more.

Essentially, we've finally been given the commision we were called to over a year ago to find the vision and direction for the church.

PJ gave us carte blanche to explore and discover the church as we've never done before. We have been given permission to turn over rocks and look at the worms underneath. We're encouraged to explore the failures and succeses of the past, and chart the course for the future. When we're done, we're to give our findings first to the CLT, then to the congregation as a whole.

If we are to complete this mission effectively, we have to realize that, to an extent, we have been wandering in the wilderness, just as Moses and the Israelites did, for some time. No direction, squabbling between the tribes (ministries), each man doing what is right in his own sight.

Maybe now, we can begin to unify the church the way it's supposed to be done. Maybe we can finally hear, as one body, where God is calling us next.

This is a big deal. There are a lot of things to consider, a lot of places to dig. This is going to requre our full attention for the next two months to chart the course for the next several years.



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