Friday, September 26, 2014

Joshua Week 3

Joshua 9 describes a Gibeonite plot to stop the Israelites from destroying them in their Promised Land conquest.  Read the text Joshua 9:1-18 What’s going on between the Gibeonites and Israel’s leaders?  Joshua sermon series, discussion questions
What were the Gibeonites thinking?  

What were Joshua and Israel’s leaders thinking?  

What were the Israelites thinking about their leader’s decisions?

Why didn’t Israel consult with God?  

Read Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and Deuteronomy 20:10-15 to shed light on the complexity of the decision-making.  Have you ever struggled to make a decision when you didn’t know all the facts?  What role does time have on making good or bad decisions?  What role does inquiring of God have on the decisions you make?

Seriously! Peace

by contributing writer  Kristen Webb

Peace, something we all long for and something that sometimes feels like an elusive emotion...

On September 14, Pastor Jason implied that there is a way to access internal peace and rest regardless of the circumstances. That sounds a might bit unrealistic given my circumstances lately. I have been trying recently to give my problems to God and to trust Him with them but it is not so easy

For instance, take the problem of wasps entering my home. Since late summer I have had wasps coming into my house at a rate of about 5 a day. I first see them in my dining room hanging out at the ceiling or in the big window. I do not like wasps or any kind of stinging insect. They are not aggressive (which is good) but still creepy.

I like to be in control of my environment. Some might even say I am obsessive about certain things. (My husband certainly will admit I am.) My brain got a hold of this wasp crisis and it was off and running, trying to figure out how to fix it and what the worse case scenario might look like. 

I imagined hundreds of wasps descending into my house, biting me and my children repeatedly and us all dying. I also imagined never being able to find where they were coming in and thus never being able to stop them. For some reason these thoughts would whip me into an internal frenzy of fear. That fear then urged me to do whatever it took to fix this problem and not rest until it was over. 

I had prayed and asked God to help me but I was not trusting Him enough to let go of the anxiety and fear. I basically wanted Him to fix the problem the way I had figured out to fix it. I wanted Him to show me where they were getting in and then extract the entire nest so that the wasps would be gone.

So I proceeded with my plan of attack, still scared and overwhelmed and not feeling very restful or peaceful. I watched the dining room like a hawk for days at a time trying to catch a wasp entering. There were some knot holes in the ceiling and some gaps around the trim. I could never see the blasted things making their entrance so I put duct tape over all the knot holes to see if that helped. 

I still had wasps showing up. I would get the ladder from the shop and frantically kill each one that appeared with great fear of getting stung.

I was sharing my dilemma with my sister in law and hubby one day at lunch. I needed to explain to my sister in law why I was spending time out of our visit hauling out the ladder and never looking at her when she talked but instead focusing on the trim in the ceiling. She was very support of of my plans to kill all wasps but my husband felt I was being rude to her. He pointed out that they had not bit me yet and were just coming in because of the cold weather which makes them sleepy. They were on deaths door anyway. He suggested I kill them when I see them and not be so panicked. I freaked at him and said my fears were justified and I would not rest until I found where these wasps are coming in. I see now that He was trying to help but because I was over reacting, his comments just made me more anxious.

So I had it out with God. I told Him that He had promised to answer my prayers. Where was He and why was I so upset? Maybe the promise of peace was only to folks who do not have OCD and insects storming their home. 

When I rant with God I try to also journal and write down what He says back. Prayer is a two way conversation. This is very helpful because after all God is the creator of the universe and is all knowing, which come in handy when problem solving. So when I listened this time, God said that He promised to answer when we ask without doubt. Doubt can block us from answers. (James 1:6-8) So my fear and anxiety was blocking an answer. Also He gently pointed out that when I ask for help I should not put Him in a box and demand He answer me in only my certain predetermined way. That was nervy of me and I should repent. Well I must say I responded much better to God than I did to my husband. I wonder why that is?

I repented and then asked for help with the wasps and I trusted God to fix it somehow. Trust is so freeing. It's like a buy one get one free. You buy into trust and you get peace and rest just as an added bonus. I guess in the future, I need to be watching out for anxiety and fear because if I have them I know automatically I am not really trusting God and that I have doubt.

This relates back to that sermon where Pastor Jason pointed out that if we are not in step with God we will not have that internal peace and rest. We need to look for God and what He is doing instead of telling Him how to do his job! We need to ask God what to do and step out and actually do it, letting go of the fear and worry. So I gave the wasps and my obsession about finding their home and eradicating them to God. When I listened to God He said that I needed to calm down and just kill any wasps that came in and not worry about them. So that is what I did. God gave me the strength to stop obsessing and be OK that the odd wasp would enter my house a few times a day. God helped me get over my fear of wasps and to not mind sharing my space with them so much. I decided to let go of my need to find where they were entering and it is such a better way to live.

Even though I did not see the answer right away, and wasps were still paying me frequent visits, I still had peace and rest - what a precious gift! Eventually they stopped coming in as often and now they only come occasionally every few days. I just calmly smack them with the fly swatter - I am really getting good with that thing! - and proceed on with my day. I am so glad I did not rip out the ceiling to try to find their nest or hire an expensive bug killer guy. Pastor Jason was right. You can have internal peace and rest regardless of the circumstances - even if you are a women with some emotional hang ups!

Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters - one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Joshua sermon series, discussion questions
In Joshua 5:2-3, God called for all Israelite men to be circumcised.  The result was that God “rolled away” the reproach of Egypt (Joshua 5:9).  In the New Testament, God “rolled away” something else.  Read Luke 24:1-3 to find out what it is.  In both texts, sacrifice precedes the lifting of the curse (or “rolling away”).  What needs to be rolled away in your life?  What might God be asking you to sacrifice? 

This question may be a little personal to share in the comments below but we'd still love to hear your thoughts regarding the Joshua series. What is God teaching you through the sermons? How is the story of Joshua making an impact on your life?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Welcoming Fall with a Parking Lot Carnival!

Every year we like to welcome the Fall with a special kick-off Sunday. In the past we've done different things  (all involving food, of course)  but this year we decided to go for something completely new and fresh.

A Carnival!

The sun beamed down surprisingly hot as we got everything set up after church on the afternoon of September 7 but we had a big crew of willing and able adults and children who banded together and made it happen.

With two inflatable bouncy houses - one a castle and one a skid loader - homemade carnival games provided by the crew at New Tribes Mission and the young adults group, an abundance of treats, pie and BBQ, the evening was a huge success and a whole lot of fun, culminating in a lovely time of outdoor worship!

One of our goals over the past year has been to create opportunity to build the HMC community and this certainly fit that bill! There were (sticky) smiles all around the parking lot - some of our neighbors even wandered over to see what was going on. 

The carnival team was tired but pleased and already there is talk about possibly doing it again some time!

We'd love to hear what your favorite part was! Would you like to see something like this happen again for Welcome Back Sunday? Would you do anything differently? 

Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.

Friday, September 12, 2014

JOSHUA - Fall Sermon Series

On Sunday we begin a new sermon series, delving into the exciting pages of the book of Joshua. Then on Monday, (September 15 at 7:00 pm) for those who want to dig in farther, we are introducing an Adult Life Group that will unpack Sunday's scripture passage a little bit more.

Joshua sermon seriesWe are hoping to offer a discussion question each week to help you get a bit deeper into the scripture and we'd love if you felt comfortable enough to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Check back each Friday during the series for a new question.

In Joshua 2:1 the spies are sent from Shittim.  Events of being in Shittim in the past would have haunted the Israelites.  Read Numbers 25:1-3.  Notice the Israelites are standing in the same place again.  Is it significant that the spies went to the home of a prostitute?  How is the outcome different in Joshua 2 than it was in Numbers 25?  

What about you? Has God ever returned you to a situation from your past? Was your outcome different the second time around? What did He teach you and how did you grow through revisiting that situation?