Moses died and God chose Joshua to lead the children of Israel. He then instructed him on what he would need to live out this new responsibility.
Today in 2020, we face a vast problem. We are lacking in young spiritual leaders to take the charge of the church and the Great Commission. Our nation holds thousands of churches who are either struggling to survive or are closing their doors permanently. On a more grave note, this earth holds billions of hell-bound souls, most of which have little hope of ever hearing Christ and His gospel.
The real issue isn’t the church, for it is triumphant under Christ as long as it obeys the Bible.
It isn’t God, for He is powerful as He has always been.
It isn’t sinners, for we are sinful as we’ve always been.
The issue is the lack of young spiritual leadership.
This generation needs to say, ‘’Evangelizing the world is my responsibility and I will go. Edifying the church is my responsibility and I will lead.’’
If we indeed receive these workers, they, like Joshua, will need a charge. What does this charge look like?
KNOW THAT GOD IS THE SAME GOD
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Joshua 1:5
Young person, you need to know that God is no lesser a God to you than He was for the last generation. He is God supreme! He has not changed.
Why not dream big and trust God? Decide that God wants to do mighty things through you.
BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:6-7, 9
Strength and courage are traits that our generation has mismanaged! The world says that these traits are nothing more than toxic masculinity. But God didn’t seem to think so.
The words ”to be strong” mean ”to have the ability to stand up under stress and problems.” If you want to lead in the next generation, you need to continue through the tough stuff!
This life is FULL of trails. When the health issue comes, be strong. When the pandemic happens, be strong. When someone does you wrong, be strong, and continue on.
Then there is this matter of courage. This word means ‘’strength amidst danger.’’ We are in a Spiritual battle, and there are many dangers. Some are seen and many are unseen. You will not make it without the courage to decide that you will face these dangers.
LOVE GOD’S WORD
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:7-8
For you to be a next-generation spiritual leader, you will need knowledge, love, memorization, and preaching of the Bible. If you will be a leader, you must be willing to learn and apply the Word of God to your life.
Let’s be a people of the book.
In conclusion: We need Spiritual leaders! Why not you? You can love the Bible. You can have strength and courage. BECAUSE OUR GOD IS YOUR GOD! Now the only thing we lack is your surrender! Will you be a spiritual leader for the next generation?
On August 18th, Mali underwent a Coup that overthrew the sitting leader, President Ibrahim Keïta Boubou. President Keita resigned and dissolved the existing government after gunshots were shot in the town of Kati. Former President Keita was recently released from prison. The country is currently being ruled by the military. Once the Covid crisis passes, the nation has been promised a fair democracy.
What could this mean for World Evangelism?
Mali is a country of over 1.2 million people, predominantly Muslim. As Africa’s 8th largest country, Mali cries out for the gospel truth.
Now that the government system is changing, it is time for the gospel to infiltrate this nation.
Here are a few ways that we can pray for Mali.
PRAY FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT.
We don’t know what Mali’s new government is going to look like, but we do know that God has all the control. Let’s pray that the leaders, laws, and systems put into place will be in favor of allowing missionaries in.
PRAY FOR MEN TO GO.
If nobody is willing to go, an open door won’t do much. We need men who are willing to give their lives for the people of Mali. Let’s pray that God would mercifully prepare laborers for this nation.
PRAY FOR THE HEART OF THE MALIANS.
If God gives us an open door and the men to go through it, it will be up to the Malians whether or not they accept salvation. Currently, they are spiritually blinded. Islam has overtaken their lives. Will you pray that God would open the eyes and the hearts of the people of Mali to the Gospel?
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:4-6
I was recently reading these verses from Ecclesiastes, and the Lord truly spoke to my heart. This concept has been a devastating discouragement to so many Christians around us.
Many times we put in the work, yet we see little return. Instead of gritting it out, many Christians tend to either quit altogether or come up with their own plan instead of being faithful to God’s plan. The following points will explain some areas in which this can be the case.
Bible Reading – I may not know when God will use scripture to mold me, but I do believe his word will never return void.
Prayer – I may not know when my prayers will be answered, but I do know God is willing to answer my faith-filled prayers.
Soul-Winning – I may not know who will truly get saves when I witness, but I do believe in the power of the word of God.
Church Attendance – I may not know which service will be life-changing, but I do know that assembling is detrimental to my Christian life.
Deputation – I may not know which phone call will turn into a meeting, but I do know that making phone calls is the key to getting meetings.
I may not know which meeting will turn into support and a partnership, but I do know that God will use meetings to get our family to Turkey.
Language School – I may not know which language school class will make the language understandable, but I do know that immersion in the language and a humble spirit will end in fluent preaching of the word.
Church Planting – I may not know which flyer will turn into a visitor, but I do know that outreach is the key to getting a church off the ground.
Men Training – I may not know which young man will actually live his life for Christ, but I do know that discipleship is the key to training men.
I could continue listing these scenarios, but I think you get the point. We do know that God blesses hard work. And with that, I want to give you 3 points to close on this thought.
What is the greatest piece of writing in all of history? What has confounded the conscious with its truths? What book endures through the scientist’s scoffing, the theologian’s theorizing, and the multitude’s misunderstanding. This book is the Bible. How could knowledge from such a powerful book be wasted?
I believe that the Bible is powerful. It should be studied and learned. But, I also believe that more than it should be learned, it should be used!
“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: But the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” Proverbs 15:2.
The word useth explains to us that a wise man will not only fill himself with knowledge, but he will pour it out through his actions.
If we are not sharing the truths from God’s word, we are wasting our Bible knowledge. With that in mind, let me give you three ways in which you can learn to use God’s word.
You should be using God’s word to share the Gospel.
‘’And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’’ Mark 16:15
Take your Bible knowledge and use it to reach people with the Gospel! This is the Christian’s primary job. Use the Bible facts you know to start Gospel conversations with the lost around you. If you aren’t doing this regularly, you’re failing at your command to preach the gospel. Your knowledge of the Bible is being wasted.
You should be using God’s word to disciple others.
‘’And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.’’ Matthew 28:18-20
This is your command: Make disciples of all nations! The only way a new believer can learn to follow Christ is if somebody disciples him. I’m not against discipleship material, but the key resources for discipleship is the Word of God. How are you using your Bible knowledge to disciple people? When was the last time you taught someone the truths of the word of God? When was the last time you helped a new believer strengthen his walk with the Lord? If you aren’t doing this regularly, you’re failing at your command to make disciples. Your knowledge of the Bible is being wasted.
You should be using God’s word in World Evangelism.
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:47
If you have a tool, it would only make sense to use it when needed. We have the most urgent task set before us, and we have the tool to accomplish it.
Austin Hill, headed to China, could tell you of the Chinese man who thought that Jesus was a what and not a who.
Jeff Brown, headed to India, could relay countless stories of Jesus being worshiped alongside other gods.
In Turkey, the Muslim call to prayer will daily ring out, yet the gospel has hardly made a sound.
Your Bible knowledge could be used in these places! I’d like to encourage you, take your Bible knowledge to the mission field, it will not go to waste there.
The first time I was on deputation, I was going as a church planter to the inner city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. When I look back sometimes it makes me laugh. We would be at a missions conference surrounded by families who were flying across the sea, but the church members would walk up to us and say, “Be careful, I think you’ve got the most dangerous field of any of those folks!” I was always kind, but in my heart, I would chuckle. We had already lived in Pine Bluff for five years. We had knocked on doors in the worst neighborhoods in town. We knew it wasn’t as dangerous as some imagined it to be.
Why were they so concerned for our safety? To put it bluntly, it was because of the population demographic of our city. The neighborhood was over 70% African American, and that scared people. This tended to bring out racial bitterness from the past. I had faithful churchmen tell me, ‘’Better you than me starting a church for those (racial slur).”
On one occasion, I even asked one of the men why he felt so badly towards black people. I received an answer that could have been sapped straight from the sinful lips of satan. The answer was filled with hatred and bitterness. Years ago this man was offended by groups of African Americans. Because of this, he wanted to deprive them of a Bible-believing church in their neighborhood. This would ultimately destroy, degrade, and damn them to a literal Hell simply because of the pigmentation of their skin.
This stance isn’t held solely toward the people of color in our nation. Since I’ve been on deputation headed to Turkey, several people have been angry that my family has a heart to see Muslim people saved. Their reason is the terrorist attack of 9/11 and the martyring of believers around the world. I understand the hurt of 9/11. The sight of those planes crashing into the twin towers is etched into my memory. I also feel the hurt of knowing that my brothers around the world are suffering for the cause of Christ.
Too many churches are okay with the fact that Muslims are dying without ever hearing the true gospel. Why? Because of bitterness that has turned into prejudice. With that in mind, let us consider some verses from scripture to remedy our hurting and hating hearts.
PRAYER IS HINDERED BY BITTERNESS
Mark 11:25 – And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
When I think of those in the American churches who are bitter at minorities and use this bitterness as a justification to not reach them with the Gospel, my mind quickly goes to many of their prayers for Revival in our nation. It’s kind of funny how we are fine with other nations perishing, but we want God’s blessing and renewal on our own. Of course, a quick perusing of the news will reveal that this revival has yet to reach our nation. I wonder if this simple truth is one of the reasons why.
How can we sit in a gospel-saturated nation and beg for renewal when many places haven’t even had the opportunity to become new in the first place. Instead of going to those who have never heard, we ask God to give us a second chance. Sometimes I wonder if our disobedience to Acts 1:8 is the reason for our dying churches in America. Take care of God’s plan and God will take care of your community! America does need a fresh drink of God’s blessings, but before we worry about a refreshment, why don’t we worry for those who are dying of thirst.
We must forgive those who have hurt us. If that includes minorities or illegal aliens, let it be the same. We cannot allow our political views to stop us from obeying our Gospel mandate! We must plant churches in the minority neighborhoods of America. We must send missionaries to the countries we previously feared. We must FORGIVE.
BITTERNESS IS IGNORING OUR SINFUL NATURE AND THE PRICE CHRIST PAID TO SAVE US
Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
This is the first verse I refer to when counseling someone who deals with bitterness! Every time someone says, “I can’t forgive” I quickly read this verse and reply with, “I’m glad you’re not God because we’d all be going to Hell.’’ To the man who doesn’t want the Gospel to go to the Muslim because of terrorism, I want to remind him that his sin is just as strikingly imperfect as the radical extremist. We have to remember that if Christ forgave us, we can forgive others. Christ has forgiven many in America. In turn, we can forgive the world and give them the gospel of Christ!
BITTERNESS IS AN ISSUE OF HATE
Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
A bitter man is a man full of anger, lacking love. Bitterness makes sense from a lost man because he is yet to experience real love. But from a man who has drunk from the cup of perfect love itself, bitterness is not even a choice. If the church can’t forgive, nobody can.
In conclusion, I cry out a plea to the American Christian. Forgive any perceived wrongs that you have received by those of other nationalities and skin pigmentations. This is a plea for you to grab a Bible, some gospel tracts, an offering envelope, a passport, and maybe, most importantly, a prayer closet. Beg God to reach those who may be different from you. Let us rise and find a young man to start a church in a Gospel-famished neighborhood. Let us rise and send our best young men and women to the foreign mission field. Let us forgive and act. Let us see this world turned upside down with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.