Tonight was our annual Merge Wednesday Special where we invite parents to join us for a time of worship, message, and small groups. This year’s guest was Jeffery Portmann (our Network Youth Director and winter retreat speaker).

Pastor Jeffery set up this year’s theme – “The Difference.” The idea is that Christ changes us that we might bring change around us. He is the Difference. And where does the difference begin? With decisions.

We were reminded that sanctification, God’s work of making us holy, is both positional and progressive. We are placed in right relationship because of Christ’s work on the cross…but we must then respond. We must receive. We must follow. And this is where we are first transformed. But then how must we live? In submission. In surrender. Deciding time and time and time again to trust and obey in a world that only knows doubt and disobedience.

Pastor Jeffery suggested, “One decision does not determine our destiny. But it does shape it.” He read the timeless words of Joshua, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

Joshua made a choice. And he continued to make that choice until the day he died. We all want to be like Joshua. But very few of us are willing to do what it takes to be men and women like Joshua. Who wouldn’t want to be a hero? To lead the people into the Promised Land? But how many of us are willing to stand up for what is right when everyone else is only wanting to do what is wrong? To see a land of milk and honey when everyone else is afraid of giants? Joshua made the right decisions when they were tough because he made the right decisions when they were probably a bit easier.

Pastor Jeffery asked a thought-provoking question, “Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How did I get here?'” Where you look around and you wonder how you made such a mess of your life? You have no more desire to stay where you are…but you have absolutely no way of knowing the way out?

I don’t want to be in that place. I want to look back on my life and ask myself, “How did I get here” – but in a different sense. I want to wonder how God did what he did with what little I had. How he made something good out of it. I want to be in the sort of place where only God can get all of the glory. That there is no question who is really in charge. And I do want to stay there. Truly a land of promise.

No small order…to make the right decision. And to keep on making the right decisions. So where does it all start? As Pastor Jeffery said, “Small keys open big doors.” You never know how close you are to something special. Make the right choice.


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