Levi Lusko - Rite Of Passage

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Levi Lusko - Rite Of Passage

Join me in the Book of Joshua chapter I for a message that I'm calling Rite of Passage, rite of passage. Joshua is a book that follows the story of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and attempting to go into the Promised Land. And that didn't work out so well, and so they ended up distracted. They weren't paying attention to the GPS. They were not great with directions. And they ended up wandering in the wilderness for almost 40 years. And then the entire generation that came out, except for two individuals, died in the wilderness. And a whole new generation comes about.

And the Book of Joshua opens as they're getting their mulligan. They're getting another go at crossing the Jordan River. And it all begins with this incredible speech that God gives to a man named Joshua. And I feel like God would have us focus our attention this Father's Day on these words. It says, "after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord", man, right there's his eulogy. By the way, that's all he ever gets. And I just wonder what's going to be written on your tombstone. I wonder what's your eulogy. You know, like, what is it that you hope by the end of your life is said of you? Let me just suggest that you can't do better than the servant of the Lord.

And I love that Moses did a lot of incredible things. He had a lot of accomplishments. If you just were pulling stuff from a resume, parted of the Red Sea, casual. Part of bringing food down from heaven, called manna. Stared down the most powerful person in the world, a pharaoh, and wasn't scared, saw a burning bush one time. That's not abnormal. I've seen burning bushes, but the burning bushes usually burn up. This one did not burn up, but instead began to speak. And that is where my story and Moses' story diverge. And yet out of all the incredible things that can be written about him, the one-sentence eulogy is that Moses was the servant of the Lord because at the end of the day, that was the important thing about him and nothing could be more important than that for any of us, that we are God's servant, willing to do what He's called us to do.

"And it came to pass after he died that the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying, 'Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, the children of Israel. Every place'", listen to this, "'that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river'", the River Euphrates, "'to the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the going down of the sun, this shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life, because as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and be very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go'".

Come all ye thankful for the greeting of God's Word. I'll tell you why. In all the things we read, all the things we see, there's just something so different about Scripture, about how what came from God's mouth hits us when it comes into our heart. And I'm praying that God will do something powerful in our midst as we consider this text. In this passage, as it opens up, Joshua, and the entire nation, really, they're reeling. Reeling from the sudden departure of one of the most significant leaders that ever lived. I mean, you simply cannot find a more powerful leader than Moses, who God was cool talking face-to-face with, like you would talk to your friend. He would just get a stroll up on top of the mountain that even animals would die if they came near. And yet, Moses was able to just go up there. And Moses spoke to God. Moses walked with God. And he was used by God to give us so much of the Bible.

And so consider how intimidating it would be to follow in his footsteps. That's bad enough, right? You don't follow up after a leader. I mean, that is just such an intimidating thing. Imagine being Tim Cook and following up after Steve Jobs. That is just, those are huge shoes to fill. And to think about the difficulty of that, but that's not even really the end of the deal, because he wasn't just following up after Moses, he was trying to do something Moses was never able to do. Let that sink in. He's not just the follow-up back now to Moses, taking the baton from him, but he's also his first assignment is to do the one thing that Moses was never able to do. Someone say, good luck with that. I mean, that is a tall order if there ever was one.

And so if you think about what was going through his mind, and just the self-doubt and the insecurities, and that these people are never going to listen to me. There is a reason so many empires in history crumbled after, you know, Alexander the Great died, after the death of a key leader, it's so challenging to unite people because everyone wants now to be in charge. And so that's exactly what Joshua would have thought would be happening. He does not think he's the man for the job, I guarantee you. He does not think that he's going to be able to crack the code now and fulfill these 500-year-old promises going all the way back to Abraham. If Moses wasn't able to do it, how am I possibly going to stand a chance?

And it's exactly for those reasons that at this moment, God chose to come and speak to him and to give him his own rite of passage. This was a somber, serious ceremony. This was a soul-wrenching ceremony in which God spoke to Joshua and imparted something to him in this moment, in this conference, in this interaction, that left him different for the rest of his life. The Joshua that came into this story and the Joshua that comes out of this story are two different people. Joshua the assistant to Moses was the one who we find as the Book of Exodus closes. But after this interaction that took place at the shore of the River Jordan, after this conversation, Joshua now becomes a man of God.

This was a rite of passage, which tragically we don't really even have much of a frame of reference for as we contemplate that. A ceremony set aside for seeing someone take a step forward from being a boy to being a man. And were distinct in our country for a lack of such a ceremony, for such a rite, a coming of age opportunity to come around and celebrate that. Most cultures around the world place a strong emphasis on just such a thing. In fact, if you look into it, there are cultures around the world that are deliberate about now saying to someone, you were a boy in this tribe, you were a boy in our population.

But now we accept you into the ranks of adulthood. We're accepting you in as a woman. We're accepting you in as a man. And it's fascinating if you look into it, so many of them have adrenaline as a common denominator. I found one tribe where, and I'm not saying we should do this. I'm just saying it's interesting, where to graduate into being a full-fledged man in the tribe, they are forced to wear a glove full of bullet ants. Now, please google bullet ants later. Because supposedly to get stung by a bullet ant feels like getting shot by a gun. And they fill the glove with bullet ants and then the young man has to put his hand into the glove. And apparently it can leave his arm completely paralyzed for wearing this. And for days this goes on. But after this ceremony, let me tell you, he's never going to forget that day, right? It's like graduation day. Never forget that. He became Ant Man on that day. Yeah. It's just deadly.

And so after this Paul Rudd ceremony, now he's a man. You're ready to be a man. But you know what's cool about that? All the rest of the men of the tribe know what it felt like that day, when their day came to put their hand in that glove. There's a tribe somewhere in Tahiti that they build towers that go a hundred feet tall out of wood and they build bungee cords out of vines. And before you're ready to become a man, first you must take the leap of faith. And they literally jump (google it) they jump off this tower. This is a real thing. And before they're ready to be celebrated as a man, they first have to not break their neck.

Now, the key is they try and build the length of the vine just so, that the top of their head just grazes the ground and they rake up the soil. So you can see them diving with these vines attached to their ankles, and their heads just, the goal is to graze the soil. And then when they come up rolling, they're just celebrated and piled on. There's another tribe that they take, these are ridiculous, right? In the old Aztec world, you had to go kill a member of another tribe. It's like being jumped into a gang, which, by the way, would be probably one of the closest examples of what we could point to in our culture for an equivalent of a ceremony. Jumped into a gang. You have to do this to be a man. You have to do this to be one of us. You're now, as you go through this ceremony, however dark that might be. It just shows you people are looking for, are searching for. Why? Because for most of us, the only equivalent would be the day you got your driver's license, which how underwhelming was that? Maybe you do all the work, and they say, oh, there you go. You're an adult. Good job. Congratulations.

Now please get out of here. Right? That sterile government environment is the closest equivalent we have to a rite of passage ceremony. Now, that slip of paper can tell you that you are authorized to drive a motor vehicle, but it does not tell you where you fit into in the world, and what your place is, and who you are, what your worth is, what your identity is, what it even means to be an adult. What it even means to be a participating part of a community, to have a place in the world where you belong. One article I read online about, that was just puzzling over the lack of such a ritual, which still, of course, does exist in quinceaneras and bar mitzvahs and that sort of thing. And perhaps in our decadent society, we do have our sweet 16. So, yay us, right?

But to think of the fact that specifically boys, young men in particular, have a need of something crazy, of something dangerous that they begin to want to do during this time. This is why it's such a volatile time, the teen years. One person said, it's because they have a need for a ritual to mark a passage to manhood. And if they don't have one in their society, they will invent their own if one is not provided for them. And tragically, this does end up leading to things like needing to lose your virginity to somehow be celebrated as a man. Or needing to get into a fight. Or, as we mentioned, the steps that are taken to get into a gang.

John Eldredge writes in one of his books, "Until a man knows he is a man, he will forever be trying to prove he is one, while at the same time he will shrink from anything that might reveal that he is not". And perhaps such a lack of a rite of passage or a value placed on such a thing in our culture is the reason there are so many boys out there who are in adult bodies. Those who are living with no one ever having taught them how to be a man. In the weeks as I've been preparing to preach this and readying my heart for it, I've been asking friends of mine as I've traveled the country and just texted friends. And asked them, how did you become a man? What was it for you? Was there an accompanying rite of passage? Was there a moment?

And it was unbelievable how the common denominator, regardless of whether I was talking to Christians or non-Christians, is that they felt rather unprepared for that transition. They felt like there was no high moment. There was no, this was when I felt like it all was crystallized. It came to a point here at this moment. For so many of them it was, my parents did the best they could. They tried to get us to church and they tried to give us good advice. But there was no, here, my son. You are a man now. This is what it means to be a man. Here, this is what it looks like. There was there was no moment in time. To some of them, as I was asking this question, I saw such sadness in their eyes. It would have been a thing where if you had asked them to put their hand into a glove full of ants, it would have been a welcome thing, as opposed to the silence that they received.

One person said when I asked them, when did you finally discover you were a man and begin to search for it? He said, it took years. It took years of lots of mistakes, of being a boy in an adult body, where I was desperate for something that would help shape me into a man that I longed to be. Another person said when I asked him, well, then, how did you eventually, because he's a pastor now and he played college football and he eventually got his life together. I said, well, when did you, then, become a man? He said, it wasn't until I'd made some mistakes that landed me in prison. And there someone discipled me. And there someone who had come to faith in prison as well took me under their wing. And there finally I was given the mentorship that I didn't get growing up in a single father, single mother, parent home.

And to think about what this is doing to us, this lack of attention given to such a vital and important transition. And really, I feel like the reason God would have me to have us spend some time on this is two reasons. I feel like this weekend, this Father's Day weekend at Fresh Life, God wants for some of you who never received it, for this to be a bit of a rite of passage moment. For this to be a moment in time where you can hear God speaking through. It's a ricochet shot through Joshua, bouncing off Joshua, and landing these words on you. And what's perfect about God the Father as He speaks to Joshua and so now as He speaks to you, son and daughter alike, as He sort of takes him from Moses' assistant to Joshua the man of God, as he tries to take you from being what you were to what you're meant to be, is that God is the perfect parent. Because what we find in here is a high standard and a high warmth conversation. High standard, high warmth.

And this should be, all of us as parents, what we aspire to, high standard, high warmth. Tragically, some of us, we settle for high standard and low warmth. Meaning it's all rigid, all rules, all authoritarian, never can do good enough. And where the standard is high but the warmth is low, there's a desperation. There's almost a feeling of like, I'm only as good as my GPA. I'm only as good as if I'm on the team. I'm only as good as what I've done for you lately. Similarly, there can be a low warmth, or a high warmth and a low standard, which is where I just love you, no matter what you do. No matter what, but there's never a calling out to anything. There's never a calling up to anything. There's just complete permissiveness in the name of love. No discipline in the name of love, no correction in the name of love, no consequences.

But the Bible says, if you spare the rod, you actually spoil the child. You hate your child and teach them nothing good by not disciplining them. And of course, there can be any number of subcategories in there. But what God gives to Joshua, I think you'll agree, and what God wants to give to you, is high standard. He's calling you to something. He's calling out the potential in you. He's calling, you can do better. Come on. There's more inside of you. There's that high standard, but there's also a high warmth. You just read this, you feel love. You read this, you feel tenderness. And that's how God speaks to you. It's with love and with tenderness, but it's also, at the same time, He's not going to allow you to settle for less than what's inside of you, what He put inside of you, what he wants to do through you. There's a love, but He's the coach who's saying, you can do better.

Come on, let's get back in there. Let's work on that. Let's practice that. And so that's the first reason I feel like God spiritually wants to deposit something of a rite of passage ceremony into our midst. Just as Joshua was called up to something, I feel like in this moment, God is going to call some of us up to that. The second is, I want to beg you who are fathers specifically, but parents ultimately, and part of a community corporately. I want to beg you to know and understand the power of the father to confer blessing on the son and daughter. I want you to understand, not only this weekend, that you need to receive a blessing, but I also want you to understand that it is your right and your privilege and your responsibility. And where there's lack, OK, our responsibility, then, right?

For some of you who did not have a parent, do you know, I stand in their stead as God's messenger to give to you His blessing that you craved and never got. To give to you what has caused you to spin your wheels out for years. And the reason some of you are finding such a lack of traction is you're living as a little girl in a woman's body. You're living as a little boy in a man's body. And in this world, you've been craving what God wants to give you. And so this moment is not only for you to receive that blessing, but you to also now pivot and understand the responsibility to then give that blessing to your kids. And as a church community, because there are not all perfect little families where everyone has everything as it should be, and there's kids in this church who don't have that, we then corporately accept that responsibility to give that blessing.

I want you to understand, this weekend, if I've done my job right, you'll understand that God wants to take you through a rite of passage where you need it, and that you then are meant to give that blessing. Because the ultimate problem for so many of us in having never received what we needed to get from our father, from our parents, from God ultimately, is you can't give a blessing you never received in the first place. And you'll never be able to extend and give out the blessings that God intends for you to, if you never received those in the first place.

You can't call out the king in your child when you can't see past the wounds in your own soul. And where there's the deficit, where there's the lack, where there wasn't the clarity, where there wasn't the vision, where there wasn't the revelation, where there wasn't the strength, where there wasn't the integrity, where there wasn't the character, where there wasn't the presence, where there wasn't the responsibility. And to the extent that you've been limited and set back by those things that were not given to you or were taken from you, or the ways that you had to grow up too fast and too soon to figure things out for yourself and so you've been living out of those limitations, to those extents, you cannot then be positioned to give those things out without seeing those things healed inside of you.

And make no mistake about it, the blessings of God in your life are meant to be passed on. We are meant to, one generation to another, give those things. And I'm living proof of the fact that God can break those chains. God can absolutely. Seeing in my family how my father before me was intentional about taking me on trips alone, taking me on little things like little fishing trips, on little opportunities where he specifically quieted the conversation and didn't allow it to be just about school and sport, but he intentionally spoke to the God-given potential inside of me, spoke to prayers that he had prayed over me and took a defining moment like opportunities to get me aside.

Now, I was one of five. Lots of kids, lots of stress, lots of bills, lots of difficulty. And let me tell you, my dad, not a perfect person, a godly man. And his father before him was murdered when he was very, very young. And so his mother remarried and the man he grew up with as his father, I mean, this is gnarly. I mean, he had to testify at his own stepdad's murder trial. I mean, just very, very challenged. No relationship with his biological father. And the stepfather who was like a dad to him was the one murdered. And so I've never known neither my biological grandfather on his side or the one who my dad called father. But the situation he grew up in, volatile, and his parents would have parties and he would be getting drunk at them, and they were fine with that. He almost drowned from being inebriated at one of these situations.

And so when he came to Christ, he had to figure out from God what it meant to be a man that he was never given. And so for him, he found his way through that and taught me to be a man and spoke over my life that I was to be a man of God. Took me away before I began dating Jennie, for a day in Mount Hood in Oregon, and encouraged me in the relationship. Told me to pray for Jennie before our first date and set the pace for our spiritual life. And so we're living testimony that what was handed to you doesn't have to be what you hand forward. You can give something different to your children than you saw modeled in your parents.

There can be a blood line in the sand that stops anything from getting through the generations that God wants to break and disrupt. I believe that. I'm living proof of that and I'm grateful for that. And as I talk to my friends who felt like they didn't have that intentional rite of passage, I felt so grateful that I did receive that. And I plan on continuing that with my daughters and my son and continuing to be intentional and fighting for there to be not just one moment at a certain age, but continual deposits in that bank, continual investments, continual opportunities and conversations and an investment of love. And I intend to do all that's in my power to give the blessings of God to my children and then to my grandchildren, and believe God for 500 and a thousand years.

And listen, God promises. I just want to encourage you to have a bigger vision. God keeps His promise to a thousand generations. And so, could you enlarge your faith a bit as you parent? Could you believe God for bigger things as you lead in your home? Andy Stanley once said that your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise. And I wonder if you're aware of the fact that if you live a faithful life, everything God does through your kids is fruit to your account. And if you live that faithful life and do what God's called you to do, everything God does through your grandchildren is fruit to your account.

The Bible says that Enoch walked with God, and guess what? His grandson, Noah, was the one who built the ark that saved the entire population of the world. And humanity as we know it owes a great debt of gratitude to Noah, yes. But every time you tell that story of Noah, remember, Enoch walked with God. Enoch, Noah's godly grandfather, walked with God. And we see that positive impact made in Noah's life because of the value of the way that Enoch walked with Him. All right, so I speak, everything I'm about to say both to you and through you, then. And this weekend, I just feel so strongly in the message I'm bringing to you. I feel like this is not a message I'm here to preach, but an assignment that I'm here to obey. And so I speak to you and I speak through you, as you will then be positioned to give these blessings on to those coming after you.

Number one, you are not alone. God speaks to your heart. Wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever the call of God is on your life and wherever you find yourself, that you'll always remember you're not alone. And so many times in this world, we can feel alone. We can feel all alone. We can feel like no one knows and no one cares and no one notices. And Joshua could relate, as he felt just in this moment. It was always, what do you want to do next, Moses? You know, and he would have initiative and, hey, let's do this, and here is something I notice. But at the end of the day, he was Moses' assistant. And so now Moses is dead, Joshua's like, oh, crap, right? And feeling all alone.

And there's a sense to which you can feel it, really. What do they say of leadership? It's lonely at the top. There can be a sense in which, when you carry something, when you're the primary one responsible for something, that can really weigh heavily on you. And so here, God knowing the whole "heavy lies the head that wears the crown" thing, He swoops in and reminds him. How many times do you count it in the Scripture? Jot it down later on. Every time you read it, put a little check mark by it. But over and over and over again, the most common, consistent theme to this passage is, you're not alone, baby. I'm with you. I'm with you. I'm with you. I'm with you. I'll be with you at Jericho. I'll be with you picking up the pieces after Ai. I'll be with you after you blow it at Gibeon. I'll be with you. I'll be with you. I'll be with you. I am with you. I am with you. You are not alone.

You might feel very alone in your parenting. You might feel very alone in trying to juggle all the things you have to juggle, and work, and this, and the spiritual life, and pastoring in your home, and all of this in the small group. And then sometimes you feel like, well, now I've got to volunteer. And just to think, sometimes you just feel very alone, making ends meet and putting food on the table. And God speaks to you and just says this to you, quietly. He says to you, you are not alone. I am with you. Verse 5. "As I was with Moses, I will be with you also. I will not leave you. I will not forsake you". Jesus' last words in the Gospel of Matthew, "I am with you always". Remember, because it's easy to forget because He's invisible. "I am with you always, even to the end of the world".

And so what He's calling Joshua to lean into and to find His power from is the presence of God. And if I could just encourage you on one thing, it would be that you fight to stay around the presence of God. And where the presence of God is the thickest is always where the people of God are praising the name of Jesus. That is where Jesus said, I am powerfully present in the midst. Live a life cultivating your secret devotional life, absolutely. Pray to God on your own. Seek God on your own. Get in the Word of God on your own and let God in those moments build you into a person of character. But as we come together, there's just something about being in the house together.

There's something about the two or more together where God inhabits the praises of His people. That passage actually literally means He pulls up a chair. When God sees us gathering together to strengthen each other, to worship Him together, He pulls up a chair because He enjoys the praise of His people so much that he's there in the midst. Live a life like David, who said, "For just one day of intimacy with You is like a thousand days of joy rolled into one. I'd rather stand at the threshold in front of the gate beautiful, ready to go in and worship my God, than to live my life without you in the most beautiful palace of the wicked".

So live your life surrounded by the presence of God. Some of the most defining moments of my entire life have been in the presence of God, worshipping together, singing. There's something about it. And if you're new to all of this, it seems weird, I'm just telling you, just give it a minute. Just give it a second. Just keep showing up. You will watch God begin to intersect into your normal with something that's supernatural. And He'll deposit things into your life that will give you strength. And there have been moments even just this past week, where in challenging, fear-filled moments, there's just been something just given to me in the presence of God that has been able to sustain me in the difficult moments of this life. So you are not alone. And we're able to speak that, not only receiving it, but also to those through us.

Secondly, jot this down, God says to you, you are not to stay here anymore. You are not to stay here anymore. This was a commencement. This was a graduation ceremony. This R-I-T-E, rite of passage was also where God gave him a right of passage, R-I-G-H-T. And if you look in the dictionary, the difference between a rite of passage and a right of passage is enormous. A rite of passage is a ceremony to celebrate something and to say, hey, you're now stepping into a new season. But a right of passage is permission to sail into uncharted waters. Permission to go through somewhere else. Permission to pass through this area. Permission to buzz the tower, Top Gun style, right?

This is what God was saying. This is great, Joshua. Be a man. You're going to be courageous. I'm never going to leave you. I'll always be with you. But it's time to cross that Jordan River. It's time to do what Moses never was able to do. It's time to go into that Promised Land. It's time to take some areas. It's time to go fight some battles. It's time to move on. You've been here long enough. 40 years is long enough. It's time to go somewhere new. But the Promised Land, as we read the New Testament, is not just an actual country. It's also a metaphor for this abundant life of blessing and following God, and growth and maturity, and seeing God help us to possess our possessions.

To possess our possessions because we've been given everything in Christ. It's infinite in scope. It's limitless in potential. But we have to by faith possess our possessions. So now to cross over, verse 2. Go to this Jordan. Take these people with you. Go to the land which I am giving to them and to the children of Israel as well. Now, what does that mean for you and for me? It means that the gulf between where we are today and where God intends for us to go is something we need to be moving towards.

And right now, there are things holding you back. There are things in your life. And really what it comes down to for all of us is immaturity and selfishness and pride and ego. And there are things in our habits. There are things, the dysfunction that we've allowed. There are responses and patterns that we... and strongholds of the enemy. Ways of thinking that we're trapped in that we don't even see anymore, that we're blinded to. And there are things that God is saying to us. It's we've been here long enough. Come on, 40 years is long enough. You've been responding this way every time you get triggered, every time you get mad, every time you get paid, every time, that's long enough. It's time to rise up and take the Promised Land. It's time to grow.

1 Corinthians 13:11. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man", rite of passage, "I put away those childish things". Now, what does that look like exactly? Well, He tells us in just two verses' time. He says, "now abide faith, hope, love. These three. But the greatest of these is love".

You see, when we stay on the other side of the Jordan River, we just love ourselves. But when we cross that river and enter in, true maturity looks like a love for God and a love for people. It looks like a putting away of the childish things, of just reacting based on what we want and what we think and how it impacts us. But growth is to care of other people more than we care about ourselves. Growth is to feel something, but not to respond in that emotion until we process, is this the right thing to do in the moment? And God says to you, you are not to stay here anymore. You've been there long enough. It's time, listen. God's calling. He's warm, but He's also got a high standard. Because He knows, He knows what's inside of you.

The third thing I would say to you, is this encouraging you at all this weekend? All right, you have power in your footsteps. You have power in your footsteps. Your feet, if you look down, just look at your feet for a moment. Your feet have power. Because your feet, they make footprints. And those footprints are what the people coming behind you have to follow, for good or for evil. All powerful things can do great harm. But the flip side of that is, all powerful things can also do great good. And your feet have the potential to do what Joshua's feet were given the instruction. Look at verse 3. "Every place that you put the sole of your foot and you tread upon, I have given you already".

So if you are willing to go and step on these places, you're willing to leave a positive trail, I'm going to bless you wherever you go, is the idea, so long as you don't veer to the right or to the left, but you only do the things that I've called you to do. There is blessing promised. There is blessing guaranteed. There's blessing built in. And God wants you to be blessed wherever you go. God wants, in all the things you do, in all the things you try, in all the things He calls you to. An ode to God that you make it to the highest levels of business. In Hollywood, you have a film in your heart, great. May God bless you as you go there. May your feet, as you go to those places, in the will of God, as long as you're not turning to the right or turning to the left, as long as you're staying faith, hope, and love, you're doing what God's called you to do. Everywhere you put the sole of your foot, He's going to prosper you. God is going to bless you.

I believe that on your life. So long as you keep putting Him first, seeking Him first, living your life out of that revelation that can only come from the presence of God, as long as you seek to honor Jesus and love Jesus and be a witness for King Jesus, as you see your life as a mission and He sends you out into the highest levels of government, or wherever you go, whatever your hand finds to do, I'm telling you, God's going to bless you, so long as you keep your mind on Him. You have power in your footsteps, but the greatest power you'll ever have is your example. The greatest example that you can give is a person who, like Moses, is a servant of the Lord. And that in what you do that your family says after you, they're a servant of the Lord.

You think about what James Baldwin said. He said, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them". And so to think about the power of your feet, the power of your... where do you walk? Where do your steps go? One person said, every time we as parents do something, we should ask ourselves, would I want my kids to do this? Would I want my kids to speak to their wife that way? Would I want my kids to speak to their boss that way? Would I want my kids to honor money in this way? Would I want my kids to watch this movie? Would I want my kids to think this way, to speak this way, to act this way? What would I want my grandchildren to do?

If you've ever been trying to build something from Ikea, I pray for you. But can you imagine if you weren't given a picture? Imagine just having a mystery box full of stuff from Ikea. And you're given all these steps. Rules, rules, rules, but no picture. Let me tell you something. If you're giving your kids just nothing but rules, but not living what you're telling them to do, you're just giving them a box of stuff with a bunch of rules and you're not giving them a picture on the box. Let your life be the picture. May what you live out be the photo on the box for the instructions and the rules that supposedly mean so much to you, for the things that we're trying to impart to them in those moments. There's power in your footsteps. Let me say this to you.

Number 4. You have what it takes. You have what it takes. I know a lot of times, it can feel like it's too much. And we can feel like such failures and it can feel so hard, and it can be so intimidating. Life can be. And yet, God says to Joshua, who's shaking in his sandals, listen to Me. You have what it takes. So be strong and courageous. Be strong and courageous. Be strong and very courageous. You will take this land. You will take this country. You will divide the inheritance out. You will fulfill the promises God gave to Abraham. You are the man for the job. I didn't make a mistake when I came to you. I didn't make a mistake when I called you. You have what it takes.

So you be strong and you be very courageous. You show up as a father. You show up as a mother. You show up in your home. You show up next week. You show up at, you have what it takes. You have what it takes. God didn't make a mistake when He called you. God didn't make a mistake when Jesus died for you. You have what it takes because God put it inside of you. And God's going to give it to you when you lack it, and when you feel afraid, and when you feel anxious, and when you want to quit. You have what it takes. So be strong and be very courageous. I love this, too, because God's telling Joshua, don't fall into the passion trap. The passion, don't fall into the passion trap, where you only do what you feel, because you'll never do very much. He's saying, you're going to feel scared a lot. He said, no one's going to be able to stand up to your face. That doesn't mean they're not going to try.

There's lots of people who are going to try and step to Joshua, all right? But He said, I'm going to be with you. I'm going to be with you. I'm going to be with you, so you can be strong and be courageous. He didn't say, you're going to feel strong. And you're going to feel courageous. And I've found I seldom feel what God's telling me to be. Because we walk by faith and not by sight. And so we have to step out of, don't fall into the passion trap. Passion trap is where you have to feel it to do it. I think we make a mistake when we tell people stuff like, find what you love to do and it'll never be work a day in your life. That's bullcrap. I'm telling you, we love the idea of passion.

And now that's going to be my sweet spot. Because I love it, it's never going to be hard. That's so wrong. All the best things I've ever done are really hard. All the best things I've ever done in my life, it was just challenge. There's great aspects to them, but there's hard parts as well. Someone's good at something we all, you should do that on Etsy. You can make a killing on Etsy. That's your passion? Well, you should just go into business on that. Passion has to now be the connection. One problem with that is once that's your job, you're got to go find a new passion, right? Sometimes it's nice to have a passion that's not for money.

Sometimes it's nice to let your passion just be your passion and let work just be your work. Who said you have to be passionate for what you've been called to do? Tony Hsieh, who started Zappos, he owns two pairs of shoes. Guy sold his shoe company to Amazon for a billion dollars. And I heard this new interview with him recently, go, how many shoes do you have? He goes, two. I don't really like shoes. You don't like shoes? Yeah, I don't really care about them. Not passionate about shoes. Not passionate about shoes. He started a company because he saw an opportunity and he has gifts in his life. It was hard work, he built this great company, he sold. I'm just telling you, you don't have to be passionate for what God's called you to do.

You've got to be obedient to what God's called you to do. And when you don't feel passion, be strong anyway. Be courageous anyway. Don't let your life only be guided by some perception of your passion. No. Live your life on mission. Lead your family on mission. And when you don't feel it, do it anyway. I just encourage you fathers, have a vision for your family. I encourage you dads, have a vision for your marriage. What's the vision for your marriage? What's the vision for your family? Where are you going? Where are you heading? What's the point? What's the goal? What's God called you to do? What's God saying to you right now? What's God saying to your family? What's the purpose, right? And that'll make sense of it all. And when you don't have passion, you can be courageous anyway, because you're following the mission. How are you going to get that, the vision? You know what?

See back to point number 1, the presence of God. In the presence of God, He's going to steer you. In the presence of God, He's going to whisper to you. In the presence of God, He's going to speak to you. In those moments you just know. You just hear Him. You just hear Him saying, that's for you. That's the nudge. That's it right there. And we miss out on that opportunity when we're not planning in the house of God. We're not hearing those. We weren't there to receive it. So you need to remember, you have what it takes.

And then lastly, your strength lies in your weakness. I wanted to encourage you that the greatest thing you'll ever give to God is your inability, is your weakness, is your failure. The greatest thing you can lean into as a dad and as a mom is the repentance that you're willing to show when you make a mistake, and when you're willing to own it and say that, I blew it there. I need to work harder. I blew it there. I need to try harder at that. You see what I just said there? That was not what I want. That's not my best moment. That was not the version of me that I want to be and I'm sorry about that. And I repent and I'm asking God's forgiveness.

We'll tell our kids all time, hey, you saw Mom and Dad having a marriage moment? And they'll go, you mean a fight? Yep. But you know what? We love each other enough to fight. We love each other enough to work out the fight. We love each other enough to repent when the fight's done, and we love you enough to tell you we want to treat each other better. And we love each other enough to be committed to a mission that's bigger than us, even when it's hard, even when it takes work, even when it takes difficult conversations. But we love each other enough to fight with each other and move through it with grace and forgiveness and to look at Jesus. Your strength lies in your weakness.

When you only praise your kids for what they're naturally good at, you make the mistake of teaching them that everything is just going to be easy in this life. Your strength lies in your weakness. And that's why he was told, just keep trusting God. Keep coming back to God. Keep your heart on God's Word. And no matter what happens, it's all going to be all right at the end of the day. This passage points us to Jesus, every bit of it, because as we look at Joshua, whose name means salvation, standing at the edge of the Jordan River, we can't help but think of Jesus, who when He came to this world, He stood at the edge of the Jordan River.

And in obedience to His father he crossed the River to get baptized, fulfilling the righteousness. And in that moment, God the Father spoke out from Heaven. He said, this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And because of that Jesus, that Joshua, that one whose name means salvation, God looks to you, men of the Fresh Life house. Church online family, God speaks to you because of Jesus. This is My Son, so in you I am well pleased. This is My Son. Now in you I am well pleased. Because of Jesus, son and daughters of the King, God is pleased with you. So lean into that love. It'll change your life.
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