It’s Christmas time, which means the year is coming to an end and 2014 is about to start. This is the month when we tend to put projects on hold to make room for stuffing stockings, wrapping presents, and attending a plethora of holiday parties.
It’s also the time of year that we reflect on the previous 12 months and gear up for the next 12. I’m not just talking about cheesy new years resolutions and weight-loss goals; I’m talking about our jobs, ministries, and churches.
As leaders, 2014 holds new battles, new challenges, and new goals for our ministries and organizations. So don’t just stumble in to January, prepare your flock to engage the new year like Joshua prepared the Israelites to engage for battle and take possession of their promised land.
So how exactly did Joshua (and God) prepare his people for battle?
Let’s take a look at Joshua, Chapter 5. It certainly wasn’t the typical battle preparation of rest, time with family, and the sharpening of weapons. He took a more unconventional approach and started by circumcising all his men. He followed that painful experience with the Passover ritual before God dried up their food source (Manna), and lastly he encountered God and joined His team.
We can learn from this as we prepare our flocks for this next year of ministry in 2014:
Circumcision: Remember who you are and whose you are
Likewise, Colossians 2:9-14 explains that we have been spiritually circumcised and are a new creation in Christ:
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions...”
Passover: Remember How Much You’re Loved
Likewise, Christ was our sacrificial lamb. He paid the price for us. If you ever doubt it, if you ever think God might pull out on you when you need him most, remember what Christ did for you on the cross. There is no clearer demonstration of God’s love. With this reminder you can confidently abide and trust in a God that loves you. He invites you to do so in John 15:9: Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
Manna: Embrace The Cause And Don’t Look Back
As you head into this next year, do so committed to the cause God has given you with no option to turn back, no matter what battles 2014 may bring. As the saying goes, the hen was dedicated, but the pig was committed.
Encounter With God: It’s Not About Your Team or Mission, So Join God’s
God is not waiting around for us to invite Him to join our team or our cause. It’s the other way around. He has invited us to come along and fight His battles with Him. So start 2014, and start every day with Joshua’s question, “What has my Lord to say to me, His servant?”