18 Hold Fast to the Lord …And Closing Prayer

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Hold Fast To the Lord
Joshua 23:1 – 13

In these verses, Joshua is reminding the Jews how they got where they did. It is always tempting to think you got where you did on your own. Our strength and abilities are obvious to us and we like to think they are the reason for our success. However, Joshua was careful to remind the Jews it was God who really conquered the land. A song has been written about the size of Joshua’s spear and how he conquered Jericho, but it was really God who conquered Jericho. God made the walls fall down. All the Jews had to do was move in and take the city. God was continually at work to prosper what the Jews did. It was God who conquered the land for them. He made it so that one of them could conquer a thousand of their enemies. More

17 A Real Spiritual Presence

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

A Real Spiritual Presence
Joshua 21:41 – 45

My grandmother on my father’s side grew up in a little town in Slovenia called Ig. That is the whole name of the town. It is a small town located a short distance from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Actually, a name like Ig is pretty easy to pronounce for a central European language. At least, it has a vowel. A friend of mine from Croatia once wrote me an e-mail saying that her family was going on a vacation to the island of Krk. I wrote her back and said, “Blazenka, I need a vowel to even try to pronounce that word.” I didn’t know if it was Krik, Krok, Kruk, or whatever. Many words in the languages of central Europe seem short a few vowels. Some of those African languages that seem to be all vowels should send some vowels to them. More

16 Women’s Rights

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Women’s Rights
Joshua 17:3 – 6

Today, we usually think that we need to change our laws or our culture in order to change people. We put a great deal of effort into arguing over what laws we should pass so that people will act the way they are supposed to act. We also think that if everyone has the right education, then our world will be all right. We don’t realize that God doesn’t do much in either of those areas. God works directly on people and seeks to change them. He then depends on the people to change the culture. If we first change the laws or the culture, then the people will constantly rebel against the laws and the culture. If the people are first changed, then they will respond well to Godly changes in the culture. More

15 Caleb

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Caleb
Joshua 14:6 – 15

When I was in high school, I played basketball and football. Years ago, I coached thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old boys in Jackson County Youth Basketball. I was probably better at coaching than at playing. One of the reasons I may have been better was because I spent so much time sitting on the bench in high school, learning how the game was played. Several years ago, I was doing a weekly Christian show on WRGC. The deejay who worked with me also broadcast the Sylva-Webster and Cullowhee basketball games. Since I was coaching youth basketball at that time, he asked me if I wanted to broadcast the games with him. I told him that I would try and we did the whole basketball season. Later, he asked me to help him with football games. I was fairly good at that also because of all the time I had spent on the bench in high school watching and analyzing games. More

14 It’s All From God

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

It’s All From God
Joshua 13:32 – 14:5

In a couple of areas, I see my faith differently from many Christians. Making choices and determining God’s will is one of those areas. I believe we make choices to glorify God within chance and governing authorities. I see that being done in dividing the land among the twelve tribes of Israel. They used three different methods to determine how the land would be divided. Some received their inheritance by casting lots; some received it by the direct order of Moses; and a third group did not get any inheritance in this world. Those ways show us how the things that happen to us often come into our lives. More

13 Being Old

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Being Old
Joshua 13: 1- 7

At the beginning of this passage, Joshua is described as being not just old but as venerable. I was curious as to how different translations described Joshua’s old age. My favorite translation to use when I am looking for something like that is The Message, translated by Eugene Peterson. For me, he is the ideal translator. He does not just make an intellectual, word for word translation as the translators of most versions do. Eugene Peterson was the pastor in a local church for almost thirty years. Many ministers like me like to throw out Greek words, but we really only know enough Greek to read the commentaries and reflect what they say about the original language. Peterson is a genuine scholar. He did all of his sermon preparation using the Greek and Hebrew languages. He even did his private devotions in the original languages. Yet, he preached sermons that were understood by the average person in his congregation. The Bible was not written as a scholarly theological work. It is meant to be read and lived. Eugene Peterson sought to preach the Bible so that it could be lived. He also loves poetry and enjoys the varied use of words. He has always loved to go into the woods to recite poetry. He still likes doing that. The Bible is often poetic in its presentation and Peterson can reflect that poetry. Peterson’s translation describes Joshua in this way: “When Joshua had reached a venerable age, God said to him, “You’ve had a good, long life, but there is a lot of land still to be taken.” Joshua was old, but he had arrived at that age in a good way. More

12 Completing the Conquest

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Completing the Conquest
Joshua 11:1 – 24

One of the difficulties in preaching through books of the Bible is that you can’t pick and choose to avoid the difficult passages. If I could choose, I probably would have not have picked this passage to preach on. Given a superficial reading, this passage would make it seem as though Christians should find everyone who is not a believer in Jesus Christ and kill him. That would be a way for Christians to win in the battle for the world. However, we always need to remember there is a difference between the way God related to the world in Old Testament and the New Testament. It is not that the Old Testament is wrong and the New Testament is the better model, but everything changed following the cross of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit. More

11 Strength from the Lord

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Strength From the Lord
Joshua 10:1-15

I often complain about all the work I had to do while growing up on a farm. Every evening, I would feed livestock for a couple of hours each and in the summer I would work in the fields pretty much all day. As I see it from an adult perspective, my growing up years prepared me well for what I would do in my adult life. I never went to church while growing up but my farm work helped in many ways to prepare me for my ministry years. When I was eight years old, my father bought a tractor on which I could reach the peddles. He did not think I was too young to drive but was careful to teach me what I needed to know to drive the tractor. After he taught me the basics, he turned me loose in a large field to practice my driving skills. For several days, I drove around the field and was able to drive the tractor pretty well. More

10 An Oath is an Oath

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

An Oath is an Oath
Joshua 9:1-27

The Israelites had been deceived. One of the tribes they had been ordered to conquer that lived close by tricked them into thinking that they lived far away and that it would be all right to make a treaty with them. The Israelites fell for their deception and made an oath with them not to destroy them. They were not supposed to make such a treaty, but fell for their enemies’ deceit. Some would say that such a treaty should be null and void since it was based on deceit. However, Joshua did not void the treaty. The Israelites did several things wrong before they made the treaty. Our Scripture Lesson said that they did not inquire of the Lord before they entered the treaty. I’m not sure what God would have said to them. He might have exposed the trick of the Gibeonites or at the least slowed down the process and that would have kept the Israelites from entering into the treaty. They might have used the Urim and the Thummim, which was a way of casting lots that the Israelites used to determine God’s will. In any case, they did not stop to consider what God wanted them to do and they ended up making a bad treaty. More

09 Renewed Covenant

Bill Serjak

This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Joshua series “New Beginnings”

Renewed Covenant
Joshua 8:28-35

To say that Joshua had been discouraged after the Israelite defeat at Ai would be a major understatement. He led the people of God and at Ai many of them lost their lives in a battle that Joshua didn’t think would amount to much. The defeat was the result of sin. Achan and his family had disobeyed God and followed his own lust. God had told them not to take any spoils from the conquered people and Achan desired some of the goods and took them for himself. The people had disobeyed God, were defeated, and Joshua was disheartened and discouraged. He fell on his face before God and no longer felt worthy to lead.
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