PUT ON YOUR DESERT SHOES
When the Israelites were desert-dwelling, I’m sure they were hot (as in hot mess). I know they had to be a bit dusty and uncomfortable. I’ve been in an Arizona sand storm. It’s just not fun.
For the Israelites, the food grew tiresome. Same bread. Same meat. Water from rocks wasn’t flavored or sparkling, so it seemed to lose its miraculous pizzazz after a while.
Running seemingly purposelessly around deserts just sucks for any who have tried.
But here’s what’s really cool. The Israelites clothes and shoes didn’t wear out during 40 years of desert living. What was that like? Their Nikes may have been a bit dirty, but the tread and canvas remained. Kids didn’t need new shoes for school. But the kids grew from little pikers to grown men. How did THAT work? They were God sustained.
Growing up, my home church had a devastating fire in the main auditorium. It was unusable for over a year. The Sunday after the fire, services were promptly moved to the basement. Those basement church services were one of the memorable desert times in the life of our church. We were God sustained.
Rick Warren talks about the many places their Saddleback church plant had to meet in before having a “real” building. Over 50 different locations were endured in their first few years. It was so bad, Warren jokes how their motto was: “Come and worship with us if you can find us!” That desert was also one of their most memorable and richest times in the history of Saddleback (which is now some 22,000 strong). God sustained.
Deserts are testing. Deserts are clarifying. Recently I heard several CCCers talk about how our move has tested their theology of what church really is. Moses wrote, “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would really obey His commands.” (Deut. 8:2)
We’ve moved into some Cobb County desert. God will not only sustain us, but I believe He will continue to grow His church at Cumberland. It certainly hasn’t been nor will be easy, but I’d bet the ranch this season will someday be looked upon as one of our most precious and most memorable times. PLEASE DON’T MISS IT!
This is where it gets rich – memorable… and a little desert-like.
On October 20th and 27th, our church services will move to Smyrna First Baptist at 4 p.m. We will have one service on each of those Sundays. Our new transitional building kid space will not be ready in time, and so our excellent partners in ministry at Smyrna First Baptist are lending us a great helping hand. I’m so appreciative of Pastor Jeff Pennington and his gracious leadership.
These will be two awesome services that you should invite a friend to. Give them an invitation to the desert. Explain to them THE CHURCH, and what the Lord is doing through CCC. We’ll be starting a brand new series on October 20th called “Vision Works.”
One final note. On October 20th and 27th, make sure you check each other’s shoes. I’ll bet they’re not wearing out. Neither is our God. We are God-sustained. Spread the word. These desert times are good times for testing our character, obedience, and following Jesus as He leads us. PLEASE DON’T MISS IT!
See you soon.