Generation Church Blog

Angels In The County (How Do You Fight Your Battles?)

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“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” And the captain of the LORD’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15

We are spending the month of January looking at the reality that Jesus is the Captain of angel armies, leading his people, leading us to live out his abundant victory on earth as it is in heaven. We believe that the same God who led his people into the promise land through Joshua is the same God leading his people in South County, Rhode Island.

We need to just simply but supernatural call on our Captain and humble ourselves in worship before our God and King.

The sermon series is called Angels in the County and we believe this series will encourage and empower us to live out God’s abundant victory in 2018.

Here’s some background and perspective of what was happening with Joshua as God was about to advance his kingdom and glory again through Joshua.

Feed Your Soul! 

With everything apparently prepared for the conquest of the land, this scene opens with Joshua, God’s appointed commander of Israel, not in the camp of Israel at Gilgal, but out by the city of Jericho. What do you suppose he was doing there? He was surely about the Lord’s work gathering information about the city and its fortifications in preparation to launch his attack. Joshua was naturally concerned about several things. First of all, he needed a plan of action. Just how would they go about attacking Jericho, probably the best fortified city in Canaan. They had little or no experience for besieging a city like Jericho. Further, they undoubtedly lacked equipment such as battering rams, catapults, scaling ladders or moving towers. All they had were swords, arrows, slings, and spears which naturally would seem totally inadequate for the task before them. So how would Joshua prepare his army and how should they go about taking the city? He must have felt like the weight of the world was pressing down on his shoulders.

Can we fault Joshua for being at Jericho and surveying the situation? Absolutely not. In fact, another great leader, Nehemiah, did the same when faced with the condition of the walls of Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Joshua needed an encounter with the God whom he served that he might grasp afresh an important truth, one that was equally vital as part of his preparation for victory by the power of God. As all of God’s saints tend to get their eyes on the enormous task facing them at times, something was missing in Joshua’s perspective as he looked over the city of Jericho. Perhaps he simply needed to be reminded of some very important truth for both clarification and encouragement.

THE MAN’S POSITION

With Joshua’s mind engrossed in his concerns about the task before him and feeling the weight of the responsibility on his shoulders, he looks up and there stands a man with sword drawn. What kind of picture does this bring to mind and what does it mean? Standing with any weapon drawn is a military position of one who either stands guard defensively or stands ready to go against a foe offensively. Standing with sword drawn suggested he was there to fight either for or against Israel.

THE MAN’S IDENTITY

Verse 14 tells us this man came as the “captain of the hosts of the Lord,” the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua’s response in verse 14 and the statement of the captain in verse 15 shows this was a theophany, or better, based on the truth of John 1:1-18, it was a Christophany, a manifestation of the preincarnate Christ, who, as the Logos, is the one who reveals God. If this was only a man or an angel, he would certainly have repelled Joshua’s worshipful response (vs. 14). Compare the response of Paul in Acts 14:8-20 to those who wanted to make them into gods and the response of the angel to John in Revelation 19:10.

Here then, the preincarnate Christ appears to Joshua to teach and reinforce certain vital truths for God’s people, especially for those in positions of leadership, which really includes all believers to some degree.

JOSHUA’S QUESTION

… and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” (vs. 13b).

This was a natural response to a man with his sword drawn and expressed Joshua’s concern as well as his courage. No one from the army of Israel should have been there for evidently no orders had been given for anyone to leave the camp. So who was this stranger who suddenly appeared out of nowhere? Surely, Joshua thought, “Since he is not one of us, could he be the enemy or perhaps someone who has come to help us?”

But in view of the answer given to Joshua, Joshua’s question reveals a typical mindset that poses a threat and a hindrance to our effectiveness in the service of the Savior. What then is that mindset? We tend to see the battles we face as our battles and the forces we face as forces marshaled against us and our individual causes, concerns, agendas, and even our theological beliefs or positions on doctrine. And in a sense, that is true, if we are truly standing in the cause of Christ. But there is another sense in which that is simply not true, and that is the issue here.

THE ANSWER GIVEN TO JOSHUA

And he said, “No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD” (vs. 14a).

The answer comes in two parts. The first part of the answer is seen in a flat negation of either one of Joshua’s options. The first answer is simply a flat “neither.” Why didn’t he reply, “I am here for you and for Israel”? Instead, the man with his sword drawn said, “Neither; I am not here to take sides, yours or that of anyone else.”

The second part of the answer gives the reason. “And he said, ‘No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.’” In other words, “I am here, not to take sides, but to take over as Commander of the Lord’s Army.” This is vitally important and lays down two principles that are foundational for all of life and our warfare against the forces of the world and Satan. There is no question that the Lord was there with the armies of heaven to secure Jericho so God’s people could possess their inheritance (the Promised Land) and yet a certain perspective was vital for true success.

The first principle: It was not for Joshua to claim God’s allegiance for his cause no matter how right and holy it might be. Rather, the need was for Joshua to acknowledge God’s claim over him for God’s purposes. We tend to approach our battles and causes backwards; we turn things around and try to marshal God to support us rather than to submit and follow Him. Certainly, the battle was a joint venture, God and the people of Israel under Joshua’s leadership as appointed by the Lord (1:1-9), but Joshua, as with all of us in the army of the King, must be following the Lord, submitting to His authority, taking our orders from Him, and resting the battle in His hands because we realize it is really His battle as the Supreme Commander. There seems to be no question that Joshua understood this as evidenced by his question, “What has my Lord to say to his servant?” Here he was asking the Lord for orders and it was surely then that he received the directions for taking Jericho.

The second principle: As the One who had come to take charge, the Lord was also reminding Joshua (and us) of both God’s personal presence and His powerful provision, the provision of His vast hosts. The promise of God’s personal presence always carries with it the assurance of God’s personal care. Likewise, the promise of His powerful provision always carries with it the promise of His infinite supply and power no matter how impossible the problem may appear to us. So there was more, infinitely more, than Joshua’s army. There was Joshua and his army, but there was also the myriads of God’s angelic forces who always stand ready to do God’s bidding and to serve the people of God.

Three other passages can serve as helpful examples that we might grasp the issue here and its significance to our daily walk.

First, compare 2 Kings 6:8-17. When Elisha was at Dothan with his young servant, he found himself surrounded by the army of Ben-Hadad, who, during the night had marched out and surrounded the city of Dothan. The next morning, when Elisha’s servant went out to draw water, he saw the vast army surrounding the city. Being fearful and greatly distressed, he cried out to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Elisha responded, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha then prayed a very interesting prayer. He said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” We then read that “the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” They were not alone. With them to fight for them was a host of God’s angelic forces who soon struck the armies of the king of Syria with blindness.

A second example is found for us in Matthew 26:53. With the disciples still reluctant and perplexed over the fact Christ must go to the cross, Peter drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest cutting off his ear. Jesus replied, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

A final example of God’s angelic army and their ministry to God’s people is seen in Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” In this, we see the second reason for the commander’s description of himself as “the Captain of the Lord’s hosts.” He was assuring Joshua of God’s provision through His mighty angelic army.

JOSHUA’S RESPONSE

… And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” (vs. 14b).

How we each need this response—the response of worship and submission. He quickly got the picture. Joshua had been thinking of a conflict between the Israelite and the Canaanite armies. Perhaps he had been thinking of this as his battle. Certainly he felt the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. But after being confronted by the divine Commander, he was reminded of a truth he heard Moses declare many years earlier when they stood on the banks of the Red Sea. There Moses said, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Ex. 14:14). Joshua learned afresh the truth that David would learn and declare when facing Goliath, “the battle is the Lord’s” (cf. 1 Sam. 17:47).

But that’s not all. As an outworking of his worship and submission, we see Joshua’s inquiry, the inquiry of a servant looking to his Commander for direction, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” Do you remember Paul’s response on the Damascus road, when he came to realize it was the glorified Lord who was speaking to him? He quickly answered, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts. 22:10).

What a comfort and how encouraging to know that we never have to bear our burdens or face our enemies alone. Joshua was to know that the battles ahead and the entire conquest of Canaan was really God’s conflict. What is our part? We are soldiers in His army, His servants for whom He abundantly supplies the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18)

Surely, these verses drive home the truth of Christ’s preeminence and lordship. He is the head of the church, indeed, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The passage also reminds us that God is not present to fight our battles or help in our causes or jump to our rescue when we get in trouble as though He were a genie in a bottle. Instead, it reminds us that the battle is His and that our role is that of soldier-servants: we are here to serve Him, to do His will, to follow Him and depend on Him completely.

THE COMMANDER’S FINAL REVELATION

And the captain of the LORD’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (vs. 15).

In these last words of the Captain, there is a command, “Remove your sandals,” along with an explanation, “for the place where you are standing is holy.” Removing the sandals was a sign of a servant and a sign of respect and submission. The declaration of this place of encounter and revelation as “holy ground” calls attention to the special import of what Joshua had just learned and experienced. God is not only the Holy One in our redemption through the provision of the Suffering Savior, but He is the Holy One in our warfare through the Victorious Savior. We can only enter into the battle so that we experience God’s deliverance when we remove our sandals and submit to His authority and His presence and power.

Here we see that the warfare of the Christian is a holy calling, but also a divine undertaking accomplished in those who humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Conclusion

Joshua had an encounter with the living Logos, the very revelation of God. It was an encounter that lifted a great burden from Joshua’s shoulders. May we see how much we each need to be in the Word with a listening ear so God can teach us the things we need to hear.

Joshua standing and perhaps walking about the city of Jericho studying what lay before him, weighed down with the burden of his responsibility is so very much like us today! We see the things we believe God has called us to do, but we are so prone to activity and running ahead more than we are to worship and praying for divine guidance. Our need is a lifestyle that sends us out into battle mindful of the Lord and who He is to our every move and mindful of those principles of His Word that must guide our every thought and step and fortify hearts with the comfort of God.

May we, then, as we look over the battles or tasks that lie before us, look up and see the Commander of the Lord of Hosts and remove our sandals.

*Some of this post was adapted from J. Hampton Keathley, Studies in the life of Joshua

Listen to Sunday messages below: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/generation-church/id1200998040?mt=2#episodeGuid=tag%3Asoundcloud%2C2010%3Atracks%2F339746147

Financial Peace University (Launching January 10th!)

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This Wednesday at our GC Space, 333 Main St. Wakefield, we’ll be launching Financial Peace University.

What is Financial Peace University?

FPU is a 9 week consecutive class teaching people how to live debt free, receive God’s peace and steward his blessings.

“We aim to learn how to handle money God’s way, have a plan for every dollar we earn, communicate with our spouses, get rid of debt, and ultimately, be able to bless others.” – Nick Sebastian (FPU Point Person)

Important Info: 

Everyone who signs up will receive a physical kit for the 9 week class. If someone orders today they won’t get the kit for a few days, but they can still come to the class. The kit comes with a year of online access to the classes so anyone can rewatch the classes.

Here’s the online link to purchase FPU: www.fpuonline.com!

Only one FPU kit needed per family.

Time:

6-8pm, 333 Main St. Wakefield! We will have coffee available for you.

Childcare Available? 

Yes!

How Many People Are Signed Up?

Right now, we have 12-14 and this is growing. We don’t want this to replace a Community Group but if you’re able to also do FPU for 9 weeks, sign up now! Don’t miss out on this blessed opportunity.

If you have any questions please contact our FPU point person, Nick Sebastian, sebo_93@yahoo.com

We can’t wait to get started!

Praying and Fasting (Impact 2018)

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“Simply stated, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. It is not a diet, though getting healthy is a side effect. It is submitting our mind, body and spirit to an almighty God . . . A God who holds the universe in the palm of His hand, yet has a deep desire to draw close to each of us personally.” – Jentezen Franklin

We’re so excited for 2018 in South County. We believe that this is going to be a year of unlimited kingdom impact. God has crossed us over into 2018 to see spiritual awakening in South County, Rhode Island, New England and beyond.

Over the next few weeks we will be seeking God together through fasting and prayer.

According to the Bible, there are three joyful duties of every Christian: give, pray and fast.

Biblical fasting takes a lot of discipline and strength—strength which you can only receive from God. Your private discipline will bring you rewards in Heaven, says Matthew 6.

“When you give God your first through fasting, prayer and giving at the beginning of the year, you set the course for the entire year.” – Franklin

Why should I fast?

Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
Do you need to break away from bondages that have been holding you hostage?
Is there a friend or loved one that needs Salvation?
Do you desire to know God’s will for your life?

These are just a few of the many reasons why we fast together to begin a new year.

Here’s a few more…

“Fasting is a physical exclamation point at the end of the sentences: “I need you! I want you! I long for you! You are my treasure! I want more of you! Oh, for the day when you would return! Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”

The heart of it is longing. We are putting our stomach where our heart is to give added intensity and expressiveness to our ache for Jesus. We fast to express our longing or our ache for all the implications of Jesus’s power in the present moment that isn’t completely realized. We want to see people healed. We want to see people saved. We want to see marriages redeemed. We ache, and we long for this to happen; therefore, we ask Jesus to come by putting this exclamation point of longing at the end of our desires.” – John Piper

BIBLICAL PRAYER & FASTING FOCUS:
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

ROMANS 12:1

“I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

MATTHEW 6:33

“But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

ISAIAH 58:6

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that break every yoke?”

We want to encourage you to target your prayers during the fast.

Three specific areas we will be focusing on together are leadership, finances and spiritual awakening in South County, Rhode Island.

The Bible instructs us to continually pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Together we will lift up our leaders here in South County (pastors, teachers, business, coaches, parents, etc) the United States and around the world, expecting God’s peace in our lives, communities and world.

Another great promise, from the book of Isaiah, proclaims that the chosen fast will “undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free.” We are living in tough economic times and we know that so many people are under a financial burden. As we come together to fast and pray, we believe that burdens will be lifted and blessings will be released into our lives and communites! We will receive God’s abundant blessings and we will be a blessing to our families, neighbors, community and this world.

Lastly, we remember that God desires to see spiritual awakening in South County. We are praying and fasting, remembering Jesus, who is in charge and the great captain of angel armies, fighting for, and leading God’s people to take hold of his perfect promises and activate his abundant victory.

We should be expecting to live out God’s victory after victory in 2018 for unlimited kingdom impact.

Some people will be fasting from food for a full day. Others will be fasting lunch. There is no perfect method and it’s not about the method but the mission, the purpose of prayer and fasting.

One common fast is the Daniel Fast which last for 21 days. Our specific focus on prayer and fasting goes until January 19th but anyone is welcome and encouraged to continue to fast longer or to give the Daniel Fast a try. More information here: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/blog/what-is-a-daniel-fast-day-2

We encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer and let your decisions about your biblical fasting come from Him. Ask the Lord to show you areas to target during your time of fasting and prayer. We believe that, as we pray and seek God and give Him our best at the first of the year, He will bless our entire year (Matthew 6:33)!

If you have more questions about prayer and fasting, please reach out to us!

We’re excited to conclude these days of prayer and fasting with a special prayer night on Friday, January 19th at our Generation Space, 333 Main St.Wakefield at 7pm.

Book & Article Resources:

Hunger for God by John Piper (free online book download or purchase softcover)

https://www.desiringgod.org/books/a-hunger-for-god

Fasting by Jentezen Franklin

Fasting Book: https://www.amazon.com/Fasting-Opening-intimate-powerful-relationship-ebook/dp/B001947O5U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515378290&sr=8-1&keywords=fasting+jentezen+franklin

Fasting Article/Guide: http://jfm-web-images.s3.amazonaws.com/fast/docs/21-Ways-to-Return-to-Him.pdf

GC YTH (Youth Movement in South County)

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We are thankful for all God has done this year in GC YTH! We saw so many make a decision to follow Jesus in 2017 and a real youth movement in South County has been sparked.

Continue to pray for the youth of South County and beyond as we crossover into 2018!

Generation Outreach (Serve the County)

Serve The County!

On Christmas our church family dropped off 130 gift bags, full of gift cards, Christmas cookies, drinks and more, to every Police, EMT and Firemen working in South County on Christmas. We are thankful for you!

We were able to give to South Kingstown, Kingston, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, North Kingstown, Narragansett Charleston and Westerly.

Thank you to everyone who gave and delivered the gifts.

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The Wave is Coming (Roller Rink Offering)

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Vision Sunday was one for the books as we took a special offering for our future home, the Roller Rink in Narragansett.

The message, Crossing Over, in our final message from #TheWaveIsComing series is up on our iTunes podcast.

Sermon Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/crossing-over/id1200998040?i=1000397666553&mt=2

Giving Link: https://generationchurchri.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7bce46c9b7a571caf0837c31b&id=ad752b7cb4&e=c40ad67384

Generation Worship (Hope and Future)

Generation Worship
Hope & Future EP

Celebrating God’s faithfulness and the Hope and Future that we have in Christ. Listen, buy and share these new songs from South County, Rhode Island and New England that mark all that God has been doing through our community in this season of revival. #HopeandFuture is out on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and beyond!

Thank you from our team and church family!

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Hope and Future (Generation Turns 3)

We have very few words to describe what happened on Sunday, November 17th as we celebrated 3 years, celebrated God’s faithfulness. We witnessed a true outpouring of the Spirit. Hundreds of live changed forever, thousands more in South County, RI and New England in the days to come. This is small glimpse into the story after story of revival and spiritual awakening. Jesus is faithful and his kingdom will not be stopped.

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The Power of Overflow

We kicked off 2017 with a new series on The Power of Overflow. We looked at the reality that the personal always overflows into everything and everyone around us. If in our personal life we’re growing our relationship God through the Holy Spirit, rooted in Jesus, rather than seeking what is unhealthy for us; God’s goodness, grace, love and mercy will overflow into everything and everyone around us.

May 2017 be a year where the abundant life of Jesus overflows into everything and everyone.

The Best Days Are Ahead (Celebrating 2 Years)

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We are still celebrating our second anniversary as a new church plant in South County. Thankful for all the abundance of 2016. We are excited for 2017. The best days are ahead.