Thursday, November 4, 2010

Give Me the Mountain!!

Even though we are part of a public school, there is always room for God there. I was looking for an object lesson for my Sunday School lesson planning and stumbled across a youth sermon that ties in PERFECTLY with what my husband's football team is experiencing this week. Funny how God's Word can come up and surprise you like that!!
I need to give credit to Ken Sapp, creator of, for his work titled "Mustard Seed Faith". Ken starts out with, "We all know that twelve spies were sent into Canaan to spy out the land. Can you name the twelve? Most people can name Joshua and Caleb, but the remaining ten are forgotten. Eventually, God raises Joshua and Caleb to become the real giants in the land. By faith they stood on the promises of God. Their faith was bigger than the giants. And God was bigger than their faith. Someone has said it's not the size of your faith that makes the difference, but the size of God that we put our faith in."

Wow - how true is that. We are in the midst of preparing for a Level 3 playoff game at Burlington Catholic Central. The Hilltoppers are the 2-time defending state champs in our division. It's hard to believe that they are a small Division 7 school, when they are a private school in a city of over 10,000 people. They produce state championship teams in nearly all sports, and it is routine for them to mow down small town teams like ours. I could keep going, but then I would sound like the "10 other spies", right?? I could keep talking about their endless numbers of players who are 6 foot whatever, 195 pounds plus, fast, physical, etc. etc. etc. But then I would be what Ken calls a Grasshopper, not a Caleb. The ten "other spies" report back to Moses after having scoped out the Promised Land (Canaan). They focus on the negatives instead of the possibilities. They let fear overshadow their faith, and so the people of the land are giants and, as it says in Numbers 13:33, "We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who saw the potential of the Promised Land and wanted to go in and take it. They knew that, with God's help, they would surely win. Numbers 13:30 says "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.'”

Caleb and Joshua went on to say, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14: 7-9)

Caleb was 40 years old when he first spied Canaan, but because of the disbelief of all the others, he had to wait 45 more years in the wildnerness before God let him enter that land. And when he did enter the land, he was 85 years old, still full of belief and enthusiasm for the Lord, and he said "GIVE ME THE MOUNTAIN". He wanted Hebron, the toughest, hilliest part of the land, inhabited by the huge Anakites (the giants). Caleb wanted the challenge because He knew that God would help him to conquer it. And that's exactly what happened! When all of the doubting Israelites had grown older and died, Caleb and Joshua survived and took over the Promised Land.

Ken calls Caleb's faith "Mustard Seed Faith" in reference to the time (Matthew 17:20, to be exact) when Jesus told his disciples that even a LITTLE faith can do BIG things (like move mountains). Ken lists 3 tests of faith:

1. Faith focuses on the possibilities, the potential, not the problems.
We have a team that has battled through obstacles, personal adversity, and stuck together as a family. This is the first time we've ever played a state quarter-final game on the opponent's field.

2. Faith relies on God's abilities, not our own abilities.
God is a big God. If it's in His will for us to win this game, we will win it with His help. We will prepare ourselves and strategize and play our very hardest, but in the end, if we don't give Him the glory, it won't mean a hill of beans.

3. Faith is not content with the minimum, the path of least resistance, but asks for the mountain!
We are facing our toughest opponent of the season, the 2-time defending state champions. Bring 'em on....let's TOP the Hilltoppers!!!

**thanks to Tabitha Keene for the pictures!**

Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’
“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)

Then the land had rest from war.
> --Joshua 14:6-15


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