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Captioned Sermon (National Community Church - The Battle Of Jericho)

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Welcome to National Community Church. For those of you who are joining us via podcast or webcast, thanks for tuning in. And to everybody at all five of our locations, welcome! Are you as excited about what God is doing around here as I am? I always think that message series mirror the season that we are in spiritually often and it sure seems like we are in an amazing season of miracles. In fact, so many are happening, I don’t have time to share all of them with you every weekend, but I can’t not share this one since I mentioned it last weekend. A few weeks ago, I was out at our Kingstowne location, and we asked people to come forward if they wanted prayer for a miracle, and a woman came down and said, “I’m believing God for $15,000 to open an orphanage in the Congo.” Renee leads a missions organization, so while I was praying, I thought, ‘We can’t just pray about this, we need to do something about this.’ So if you remember we took a spontaneous offering at Kingstowne and that location generously gave $5,500 just like that! We were rejoicing, but I’m keeping it real. I was at our Ballston location sharing that story the next week, and I said, “There’s a part of me that almost hesitates because it feels like one-third of a miracle.” I want to see those kids in that orphanage. I learned an important lesson last week. Sometimes, if you are willing to share one-third of the miracle, God might just come through with the other two-thirds. As of Sunday afternoon, we had more than $17,000! We are going to open that orphanage for those kids in Congo! Praise the Lord! That’s what I’m talking about! We are not just talking about miracles, we are believing God as we step out in faith and as we are part of other people’s miracles that God is going to release some miracles in our own lives. I’m excited this week as we continue our journey through the Bible in the book of Joshua. So turn over to Joshua Chapter 6. But I’m going to play a trick on you. We are going to start with the last verse of Chapter 5. It was human editors who added in these divisions within the Bible, and sometimes, if you aren’t careful, you might miss what is right before or right after. I think this verse right before sets the scene, so we are going to start there. Before the battle of Jericho, Joshua has an angelic encounter. This particular angel is called the Commander of the Lord’s Army. We are talking about a serious angel here. Not that there are any angels not serious, but this one packs a punch. They are all intimidating on some level. People tend to fall down and are fearful when angels show up, but when it’s the Commander of the Lord’s Army, something is going down. So Joshua falls before this angel. Can I ask you a question? Does that ring a biblical bell? Anybody having a flashback to a guy named Moses who, out in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere, God shows up in a burning bush and tells Moses to take off his sandals because the place he was standing was holy ground. Now, who was Moses’ assistant? Joshua! The guy we are looking at here. He had probably heard that story a thousand times. He could have told the story for Moses. I want to tell you something, you can’t live off of someone else’s story! I don’t care if they tell it a thousand times, you need your own story. That’s why we are reading through the Bible. You can’t live off of my stories! That is a second-hand experience and my big fear, I’ve devoted my life to this thing called church and I love it and I believe in it, but if we aren’t careful, our church is going to be full of people who have a second-hand experience with God and don’t even know Him personally. Listen, God’s dream for you is bigger than that, and my hopes for you are bigger than that. So that’s why I’d rather have you have one story that you can tell about what God has done in your life than to know a thousand of my stories, ok? So, I think God shows us, call it an epiphany, call it a defining moment, call it what you want, this is one of those moments that you never forget. The angel says, “Take off your sandals.” I don’t know what’s up with that, but I think there is something significant going on. I think it was the Lord's way of saying, "Listen, just...take off your sandals. I want you to stop! Just stop, okay." Cause I bet, how many of you think Joshua's heart was beating a thousand beats per second, you know what I'm sayin? Like getting ready to go... just crossed the Jordan River. Holy adrenaline pumping through your veins Ready to take Jericho. Here we go. He is ready. His mind is racing. His spirit... It's almost like before the big game when you got so much adrenaline pumping through your body Like, you're shaking a little bit. And it's almost like God says "Take off your sandals, "and you just stop for a moment. You need to understand that this is Holy ground. It belongs to Me and I am giving it to you. This battle is not yours. This battle is Mine. I'm gonna win it." Now, in case you care, can I share a little bit, kinda something that you may not know about me See I love this story. I just believe everyone has to have their own burning bush. And I love these things in Scripture. And the big question is how do we own them? How do incorporate them into our lives? And I'm not prescribing something here, okay. But honestly, one day I was writing, and you know I feel called to write as I do to pastor. But it's hard and sometimes it's lonely, and it's exhausting, cause I get up early in the morning to write. And one morning, I'm just like, "Lord." And then a long time ago, kinda when I first started writing, "God, I don't know what to say and the truth is, anything I have to say is not worth reading. "God, would you help me? Would you annoint me? Would you just do something that, that, I want to believe that You're going to speak through these books." And I did something. I just felt impressed; I don't know why. But I took off my shoes, and went back to writing. I want to tell you that ever since that day, when I'm writing mode, I don't know, I just take off my shoes, because I just feel like it's a reminder to me, that for me This is a sacred act. By the way, every once in a while, when I'm preachin' I'll take 'em off. Or every once in a while when I'm worshipping, I'll take them off, too. And, I don't even totally know why, but hey, if Moses and Joshua did it... Maybe that's something that we ought to think about. See, this weekend I'm not concerned about the miracles. I said this last week, 'cause we can't manufacture 'em. We can't do 'em. We can't demand 'em. What I am concerned with, is are we putting ourselves in a position where we can allow God to move miraculously in our lives? I said last weekend, the way that we do that is that sometimes, if we're a part of someone else's miracle, then it unleashes and it releases what God wants to do in our life. And what I'm suggesting here, is that sometimes the way that we prepare ourselves for these miracles - -the miracle of Jericho that's about to happen-you better take off your sandals first. And you better humble yourself before the Lord. And as you begin to worship Him, as you begin to be filled with an awe. The Hebrew word is "fear" and we translate it "awe". But it's something that, listen, it's unlike any kind of awe you have ever experienced before. I don't know all that's goin on here, but Joshua has a revelation of the holiness of God! And the greatness of God. And the power of God! And he has a moment here, and he needed this moment, because he's about to engage the enemy. And it prepares him for the miracle that's about to happen. Chapter 6, verse 14, Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Isrealites. No one went out and no one came in. Now, I'm not gonna get into all the archeology, but we think there were three walls: a retaining wall, then an outside and inside wall, around Jericho, based on some archeological digs. So we're talkin' about, you know, several walls of protection, and they were tightly shut up. And then in verse 2, Then the Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, Okay, here's the sermon within the sermon: you notice the past tense here? Not, "I will deliver them into your..." No, no, no, no, no. Don't read it that way, 'cause you're reading it wrong. "I have delivered them into your hands." It's a past tense statement. Ahh, somethin's goin' on here. Something's happening, and I think if we can get a handle on this, oh, man, we might just experience a breakthrough in our lives. Okay, so this week, you guys... Last couple of months, the last couple of weeks, and then this week in particular some of the most stressful, wonderful, wonderful, feel so blessed but so busy and just a number of things going on. It'll make sense a little bit later on in the message but so many things going on in my life that are just out of my control that are so important and you know I find myself having to take a deep sigh like a hundred times a day. Have you ever been in one of those places, like (sighs) "aww man" I'm so tense inside. It's just kind of a deep breath, let it out. It's just where I am. And it's a good place, it's okay, you know. I'm not falling apart or anything. But, here's the deal. When I'm really stressed, I find that I need to pray more and so I spend a lot of time on the rooftop of Ebenezers this week cause that's where I go to kind of walk and pray. And I climbed up a ladder on Friday and spent a couple of hours up there just walking and praying and just praying through all of the situations, all of the things that I'm worried about or anxious about, or stressed about, just giving them over to the Lord. Oh, and I had a revelation. I say this, delicately and cautiously. But the Lord did something that was so distinct. I want to share it with you and I believe it's something that could really be a word for some of us right here, right now. I felt like, as I was praying, I felt like the spirit of God said to me: "Mark, stop praying for it, and start praising me for it." I may not seem like much but, see, praying for it is future tense. Oh, give it to me, give it to me, Lord. Would you do it? Would you do it? But praising Him for it! Oh, thank you, Lord, because I believe it's yours, that you have done it, that in the spiritual realm, it is finished! I believe it's yours, the battle is won! Man, I just started praising the Lord! Now, here's the deal. I found that, like, it never works. You know, you can't do something once like that, right? And so, then a little bit later on in the day, I found myself praying for stuff cause I'm, you know, still a little bit stressed out and no, no, no, no. Praise Him for it. Praise Him for it. Now, this is not some kind of weird name and claim it deal. This is not about forcing God's hand. This is about, by faith, praising Him for something you believe He's going to do. And it becomes past tense. Something changes in your spirit. Are you with me? See, miracles happen in the context of praise. In the context of praise. See, I think sometimes, oh please get this, we treat the miracle as the cause. It's not the cause. It's the effect. The cause is praise. The cause is worship. As you begin to worship the Lord, as you begin to praise Him for who He is and what He's done then God begins to move on your behalf. You can see it in Acts, Chapter 60, right? Paul and Silas, in jail, praising the Lord and what happens? This angelic jailbreak. Listen, they didn't need to ask God for a miracle. They just started praising Him and praising Him and the next thing you know, God delivers His miracle and sets them free. Oh boy, at this pace, it's going to be a long sermon, isn't it? Next verse: March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the preists blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout, then the wall of the city will colapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it." And he ordered the people, "Advance! March around the city, with armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord Okay. So this is the battle strategy, okay? And, you know, we've heard this story so many times. We've probably even sung the song, right? (sings) "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho. Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down." Some of you are having like a Sunday school flashback, right now. Listen, we've read the story so many times, we've heard that song, we've sung that song and so we just kind of assume, like oh that's how you do battle, like are you serious? Walk around the city playing the trumpet, you know? Like, I wonder, you know, I wonder if they actually felt like a little foolish, here, you know? Warriors and all they were doing was walking around the city. I wonder if they even felt a little self-conscious. Part of me wonders if even some of the people in the city were mocking them a little bit. But something is happening here. I think with every day that they march around the wall, I believe that their confidence grows. I’m not talking about a self-confidence, I’m talking about a holy confidence that comes from God that He will deliver to them. I can’t prove this biblically but I think that they pick up the pace on day three and day four and maybe day five, six and seven, they are so fired up at this point that they can’t wait as their faith anticipates what it is that God is going to do. Verse 15 On the 7th day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!" What a moment! What a moment! In verse 10, it says that God told them to remain silent, so they are not saying a word, they are just walking, almost like an ancient mind game. They are walking around in silence and I’m guessing that if you’ve been silent for six or seven days, when you let that scream out, I think you’ve got fresh vocal chords. This is a war cry, and according to Numbers, we are talking about 600,000 men. This is where I think some of us get stuck in this story. How did it actually happen? Our logical left-brain gets involved. Was it an earthquake or did God just miraculously level the walls or was it the sound waves created by this shout? We are not exactly sure. I found this interesting – in 1988, LSU was playing Auburn at Tiger Stadium and the crowd was so loud that a small earthquake was registered at the geology department down the road. I don’t know how it happened, but here is what’s interesting. Here’s the point where our logical left-brain gets in the way. Our logic gets in the way of our theo-logic. The issue is never can God do miracles, the issue is did God create the universe. Because if God, with four words, said Let there be light, and the entire universe came into existence, then He has created the laws of nature and certainly He can bypass them! He can change the molecular structure of water and turn it into wine. Certainly He can reverse the second law of thermodynamics and take five loaves and two fish and feed 5,000 people. Certainly He can walk on water. The issue is not the miracle. Did God create it all? If He did, that is the miracle. That’s the macro-miracle and everything else is a micro-miracle. So I think we need some perspective. By the way, I think sometimes when we are praying, ya know, we have big prayers and small prayers, difficult miracles, easy miracles, so to speak, but to the infinite, all finites are equal. There is no big or small, there is no easy or difficult. He is infinite! He is omnipotent! The issue is our limited perspective in how He does what He does. But listen, I thank Him that He does it. So the walls come down and here’s what I want you to see. How many times did they walk around Jericho? Do the math. One time a day for six days and then seven times on the seventh day, what do we have? I heard different numbers, that concerns me. 13. 13 trips around Jericho. I want to suggest that many of us have not experienced the miracle that we are believing God for because most of us stop after the first or second trip. I’m going to even take it a step further, I think many of us don’t even know what their Jericho is. We don’t even know what we are circling. We don’t even know what to march around. We don’t even know what to circle our faith around. We don’t know what we are believing God for and that’s why we never experience the miraculous. There is a verse underlined in my Bible in Matthew. Matthew 20:32. It’s an interesting story. Two blind men stop Jesus on the road and they say, ‘Help us,’ and Jesus asked them this question. Here’s the question Jesus asked them, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ Seriously? They are blind. Why are you asking this question? Well, there is a rhyue and reason to everything that Jesus does. I think that Jesus knew that they needed to identify what it was that they were believing God to do. You have to identify the miracle. You have to circle it, if you will. I was down in Orlando this week speaking at a church planting conference. I was there for a couple of days, stayed a Hilton Garden Inn; in case you care. I actually lost my wallet. I was searching everywhere. By the way, I actually found it over by the air conditioning unit behind the curtain, maybe that will help some of you. I wish I could tell you that was the first time that happened to me. I was opening a drawer and I found a Gideon’s Bible and then I found a biography of Conrad Hilton. I didn’t read but it jogged my memory of one of my favorite stories. Conrad Hilton, in 1931, America is in the depths of the Great Depression and he is staring foreclosure in the face because people weren’t travel and his hotel chain was going under. It was so bad that he was borrowing money from a bellhop so that he could eat. . That year, Hilton came across a photograph of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City Quintessential hotel, we’re talking 6 kitchens, 200 chefs, 500 waiters, 2,000 rooms, it’s own private hospital and railroad. Hilton said that 1931 was an outrageous times to dream, but that didn’t keep him from drawing a circle He clipped out the photo and wrote across it ‘the greatest of them all’ and then he took that photograph and put it under the glass top of his desk. It sat there and stared him in the face until October of 1949, 18 years after drawing a circle around the Waldorf Astoria. Dreams become reality. Most of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want. We never clipped the photograph. We never made the prayer or wrote that thing in the prayer journal and said, ‘God, I am believing You for this. It starts with identifying the miracle that you are believing God for. Then, here’s the deal, you need to keep circling Jericho. I have a word from the Lord for some of you today because some of you stopped circling. You stopped walking around Jericho, you stopped believing; you stopped praying. I’m telling you and you need to get your marching orders back on because you need to keep circling and keep believing God for that thing. Am I saying it is going to happen tomorrow? No. You know what, I was thinking about this might have been a year or two ago. I remember getting an email from an NCCer who landed a job at the state department, but here’s the back-story. They had applied every year for 12 years and they just kept applying. Can you imagine? 12 years, get a clue! There were 1,200 applicants, 24 positions, and on that 12th trip, they were the second person chosen. Sometimes you need to keep circling. Here’s what the Lord is doing in my spirit; and it's kind of neat for me to share because, you know what? I'm sharing this at leadership conferences at some of the different places that I'm going but I just feel like, as a spiritual family, man, we need to be talking about this cause this is, this is, the big lesson that the Lord's speaking to me these last couple of months. Here it is. Don't think big. Huh? Don't think big. Think long. Think long and then you think big. Here's the mistake most people make. They think big without thinking long and then, they get disappointed, and frustrated. Cause they're thinking big but they're not thinking long and why is God not doing it? It doesn't work that way. Oh man, I was just, I was kind of thinking about this this is like a formulating thought within me but do we not live in a culture where we have a technology mentality? And it takes, you know, the blink of an eye and BAM! you know. It's, you know, we got our microwaves and texting and twittering and everything's real-time and, I think, I think it's created a culture where we just have difficulty waiting for things. And what we need is an agrarian mindset, which is a biblical mindset. Almost all of Jesus' parables are agrarian nature. Like, ok, you gotta plant and water and then, here's what happens, you know? And I think those who grew up on a farm, maybe you have an advantage here but, but it becomes invisible you can't see what's happening. Oh, one of my favorite plants is a Moso bamboo. And I'm going to score big points with my son, Parker, for this story cause he loves kind of Japanese culture and bamboo and so we were talking about bamboo, the other day, for some weird reason and, moso bamboo, check this out. You plant it and it goes invisible, it goes underground. You see no visible growth for five years. When it finally breaks the surface, it grows at 2 1/2 feet per day, like I mean, that's like jack and the beanstalk! Like you can watch it like, you know, and it'll grow up to 90 feet! We're talking about like 8 stories or something like that! Get outta town! Like, how crazy is that? How cool is that? After 5 years! Some of you, God's doing some invisible things and what we don't realize is that moso bamboo is growing roots, is going deep and we gotta grow roots so that God can then do something out of us. Now, that's kind of a side sermon but what I'm sayin is, think long, think long. You gotta hang in there. You gotta keep believing. You gotta keep marching around Jericho. Well, a couple of months ago... cast a vision, calling it our 20/20 vision, believing with God's help that we'll be 20 locations by the year 2020, and, more significantly, that we will be giving $2,000,000 annually to missions, by the year 2020. Now that's not a big vision. It's a long vision. It's a long vision. And it's big because it's long. Something snapped inside of me, a couple of months ago, when I preached that sermon. I don't know what it is. Like, I, you know, I always kind of dreamed and thought about the future, and this and that. But, man, something happened inside and I, something clicked, and I started realizing like, man, you know, I've been doing this for 14 years! I can't believe that but, man, I pray I pray that, Lord willing, I've got another 30 years left in me. And so, I'm thinking long, like what does God want to do, like not just over the next 10 years, but 20 and 30 years. And I think He wants to do something immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that's at work within us. That's what I believe. So I started realizing, like, okay we need to start thinking long and so here's the deal. Thinking about 20 locations and then some of the space issues that we've had at our Ebenezers location, in particular, like, man, like this isn't totally accommodating us and we're growing but we don't have the space to grow and then, just thinking about, well, you know, to have 20 locations, we probably need to triple the size of our staff and we probably need 7500 people on staff to really accomplish the vision that God's giving us and I'm really like, okay, well we better, and so, almost like the spies that Moses sent into the promised land, about two months ago, I started doing a little bit of reconnaissance, started looking around and thinking, is there a place where, listen, praise God for Ebenezers One. I think it's the first time I've publicly called it "Ebenezers One". But there's an Ebenezers Two out there. And so, been doing reconnaissance, been praying. So, about six weeks ago, spotted a piece of property - I'd tell you where it is, but I'd have to shoot you. But, trust me, "Location, location, location." a place where we could do an Ebenezers, a place where we could build a theater that would accomodate a lot more people a place where we could design children's environments for our families and a place where we could office the staff that we need to have to kinda move this thing forward But here's the thing, as we began negotiating, we realized that there was a real estate developer negotiating for it as well. And that real estate developer owns 23 million square feet of retail space across the United States. We own less than 10 thousand square feet. 'Kay, in case you didn't pick up on it, they're Goliath, we're David. Lord, started doing something in my spirit. That property does not belong to the people who are selling it. That property belongs to the Lord. And He wants us to have it. It's Jericho. I've got to tell you, been circling it, been praying around it. not unlike I used to pray around Union Station doing prayer walks around it. I would do seven times and it took a long time, probably about as long as Jericho. We did Jericho marches around 201 F Street asking God to give us this piece of property. Here we are again. In a place where there is a piece of property that could just be promised land. But it’s going to take a miracle. I want to tell you something. I wanted to come this weekend and be able to share a miracle with you, but I can’t do that. We sat down on Thursday and had a meeting with the people who are selling it. There are three partners. One of them signed it. I cast our vision and she loves our vision for what we want to do, but there are a couple other partners and one of them would like for that real estate developer to pony up. So the bottom line is, we are in a scenario where we have one-third of a miracle. I learned a lesson last weekend. I’m going to put myself in an awkward place right now. At first, I just shared it with staff. We just prayed about it on a staff level. Then we shared it with leaders because it kept taking so long. Then last weekend I felt like in a moment, like we had a thrown down service at the Gala, and I was like at the end we need to put this out there. We needed to join hands and pray. This weekend, there is a reason, I think it is going to take all of us. Thats what its going to take. So here’s the bottom line, we are not going to pray for it, we are going to praise Him for it. I feel like I’m on very thin ice right now, but it’s where I chose to live my life. I’m not going to live my life in a way that is safe. I’m not going to dream these near-fetched dreams that don’t even require divine intervention. We’ve got to believe God for something bigger than that, something better than that. So, would you join me and let’s praise the Lord. Father, right now we praise You and we thank You for who You are. You own the cattle on a thousand hills and You own the thousand hills that they graze on. We believe that today. We believe every good and perfect gift comes from above. We believe that all things have been created by You and for You. They exist for You and we believe that this is a piece of property that You want to bring praise and glory to your name. So right now we praise You for it by faith. God, there is a Goliath staring us in the face right now, but we chose not to focus on the challenge or the opposition that might be in front of us. Right now, we chose to focus on a God who is so much bigger. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are your ways higher than our ways, your thoughts than our thoughts. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. If God is for us, who can be against us? He who began a good work will carry it to completion. God, right now, by faith, at all of our locations, our prayer is simply this, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, And everybody said Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 37 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 207
Posted by: oneeyeth on Apr 30, 2010

The Battle of Jericho
From the Series: Miracles
Speaker: Mark Batterson
Date: April 25, 2010
Run Time: 37:34

If you want to experience the miracle you need to keep circling Jericho

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