Step Out – Faith In Action

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Last week we began a brand new series “Step Out”. We saw that in 2014, God is calling us to step out to fearlessly influence the various zones of influence He has called us to. These include our families, our workplace and society. We also learnt that stepping out will require courage, obedience and initiative on our part.

Last week we left off the story in Joshua chapter one where Joshua, in obedience to God’s word, began to prepare the people of Israel to invade their Promised Land. And today in chapter 2, we want to continue with the story with its many surprising twists & turns where we get to hear about some interesting characters in some unlikely spaces.

Joshua 2:1-7 

We saw last week that after God told Joshua it was time to step out, he came up with a strategy. One of the things he did was to summon two secret agents; their mission so classified that their names are not even whispered in the bible. He meets OO1 & OO2 and tells them their mission. To cross the flooded river Jordan, infiltrate the city of Jericho and bring back a status report on their target.

So our two agents cross the flooded river Jordan. Do they use a raft? Do they swim across? That, only they know. That’s why they are secret agents! They make it across the Jordan plain undetected to Jericho City; a city of power and wealth, guarded by a great fortified wall. Disguised in the local garb, speaking the local dialect, they shuffle through the city gates, expertly blending in with the traders and other artisans.

And then just next to the city wall, along the famous J street, they see the sign with blinking lights, ‘Rahab’s Boarding & Lodging’ and in smaller letters underneath, ‘Cocktail Bar & Massage Parlor’. Even above the noise of the street you can hear loud music and drunken laughter. 001 gives an imperceptible smile to 002; this is exactly the kind of shady establishment that you want to hide out in if you’re trying to stay under the radar. And so they saunter in, looking to all the world like two innocent traders, just wanting to have a good time with the girls at Rahab’s. After booking a room, they spend the afternoon at the bar, getting as much information as they can from the other patrons.

But unknown to our spies, their cover is about to be blown! JSIS – Jericho’s Security Intelligence Service – has been on the highest level of national security alert, ever since Israelite forces were detected around the eastern border. They have informers scattered all over town, briefed to report on all suspicious strangers. One of the men at the bar laughing and cracking jokes with our spies at the bar is actually a security agent. Late in the afternoon, he says goodbye and drunkenly staggers to the door but once outside, he straightens out, gets on his horse and rides straight to the JSIS HQ looking extremely sober!

In less than an 40 minutes, there’s a sound of sirens everywhere! Everybody’s looking scared. Then comes a loud knocking at the door. ‘We have your place surrounded. We know you are harboring fugitives. Now come out with your hands up!’

There’s a shocked silence as someone turns off the music. The police commissioner puts his megaphone to his mouth to shout again, but then the door swings open and he ducks behind the door of his chariot. To his amazement, out comes Rahab with a confident smile, winks at the chief and said, ‘Hey Johnny, it’s been a long time! How are you doing these days?’ Before the chief can reply, she continues, ‘Those guys you’re looking for were here all afternoon but they left about 15 minutes ago. Now the longer your boys keep pointing those spears at me, the further they’re getting away from you!’ The police commissioner and his men have a hurried consultation. Then the commissioner says, ‘Okay men! Let’s go!’ And off they go – not knowing they’ve just been sent on a wild goose chase!

So what’s going on here? Why does a common prostitute risk her life and commit treason by harboring spies? Read the rest of the story… Joshua 2:8-21

You see Rahab just like everyone else in Jericho, had heard stories about what God had done for Israel. He had dried the Red Sea for them to cross. He had helped them destroy two powerful kings, Sihon and Og, along their armies. Like everyone else in Jericho, she had experienced the great fear as a result of hearing these stories. And somewhere along the process, she had come to the conclusion that if this God was that powerful, she needed to align with Him.

In choosing to help the spies, Rahab was putting her life in danger. Had she been caught harboring these spies she would certainly have been sentenced to death for treason. She was risking all that she had – her business, her family and her own life, when she took this risk to side with the agenda of the God of Israel.

It’s easy to think that perhaps she was just scared and playing it safe. But what Rahab did was truly radical. The reality was that despite the reputation the Israelites had, there was always the possibility that they would not win the war against Jericho. They may have won a few wars, but all their victories so far had been largely fought against desert tribes. Jericho was different – a walled city with abundant supplies and good defenses. What if she was helping the losing side?

Worse still, Rahab only had the promise of the spies to go on. ‘Our lives for your lives,’ they assured her. What if the spies did not keep their promise? Or what if they could not? What if despite their good intentions, they were overruled by their army commander?

And then think of how it sounded when she finally told her family. ‘This is top secret. I’ve just hidden some enemy spies. I made a deal that if we all hide in my house, they won’t kill us’. They must have asked her, “What, are you crazy? What were thinking, risking all our lives in this way!’ Maybe someone reminded her, ‘Rahab, you’re a prostitute. Don’t you know that men always tell prostitutes, they’ll be back, but never return?’ This was quite a risk to take! What if her family decided to turn her in to the authorities?

This is what makes her action so radical. Though Rahab had only heard about this God, she quickly realized that aligning with Him would mean letting His agenda take over Her agenda. You see stepping out begins with surrender. If you truly want to step out in 2014, to enter your Promised Land, then it cannot be done on your own terms. God’s work can only be done God’s way. You need to let God’s agenda take over your agenda.

If you want to Step Out in 2014, you need to know that it will only happen if it’s done on God’s terms, not yours. To Step Out will entail risk. It will require you to trust God when it’s easier to trust yourself. It may take you in an inconvenient direction when you’d rather be going somewhere else. It may be unpopular when all you want is for people to like you. It may be tiresome when you’d rather be conserving your energy and resources. Stepping out will cost you something! But God is challenging you this year to act boldly on account of what you believe. Let God’s agenda take over your agenda.

Rahab her radical action – becomes an exemplar of faith. In James 2, she’s even quoted alongside Abraham as an example! 14 ‘What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?…(25) In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? (26) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’ Rahab didn’t just have faith, but put action to her faith. THE PROOF OF YOUR FAITH IS IN THE ACTIONS THAT YOU TAKE!

I heard this story about a man who was the greatest tight rope artist who ever lived. A huge crowd gathered to cheer him as he walked across the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. For his second act, he not only walked across but pushed a large wheelbarrow full of stones. This time the crowed was thunderous in applause! ‘You are the greatest!’ they cheered. When they gave him a microphone, he asked the crowd, ‘do you believe I’m the greatest?’ They cheered back, ‘yeees!’ Then he said, for my final act, I would like a volunteer to sit on the wheelbarrow as I push it across the falls’. There was a deadly silence. No one was willing to take the risk! Yes they said they believed. They even felt they believed. But their actions showed they really didn’t!

Some of us like to be in God’s cheering squad. ‘My God is awesome – He can move mountains!’ However, the proof of our faith is not in the songs we sing. The proof of our faith is in the actions that we take! Despite knowing God so little, Rahab knew enough to know that aligning to Him meant not just feeling belief in God, but acting boldly on account of what she believed. Real faith is not faith unless it is backed up by actions. James 2:19 tells us demons also believe! Let God’s agenda take over your agenda.

Who are the people God uses to get things done? I suspect that there were many men and women in Jericho who were upstanding citizens. Men and women who were hard working, honest, came from good families with solid reputations. But God chose to use a scared prostitute – the one person in the city who was willing to surrender her agenda to God’s agenda. She CHOSE A DIFFERENT ENDING to her story by aligning the little that she had to God’s agenda. It may have been a tough decision but it was the best decision she could’ve made! As a result, the bible tells us she turned out to be the ancestor of mighty kings like David, Solomon and ultimately of Jesus. In Hebrews 11, when the writer of Hebrews is writing out the list of people who are exemplars of faith through the generation, it is Rahab, not even Joshua, who represents her generation!

Rahab would have remained an ordinary Jericho prostitute but for the fact that she chose to put her faith in the stories that she had heard about the God of the Israelites and surrender everything she had to His cause. Let God’s agenda take over your agenda!

It’s clear then that GOD DOESN’T USE PERFECT PEOPLE TO GET HIS WORK DONE! It doesn’t matter who or what we were before we came to Christ. God was not interested in your qualifications or your skills or your age or your knowledge. When you trusted in Him to save you, He lifted you up from disgrace to a position of honor and responsibility. GOD DOESN’T NEED YOUR QUALIFICATION, HE JUST NEEDS YOUR SUBMISSION…

So do you want to know the kind of people God is using today? Do you know the people here who are bringing the most transformation to their families, workplaces and even society? They may not seem like the most obvious candidates for God to use! They’re not necessarily the ones who have titles like pastor or church elder. They’re not necessarily the ones who have known God the longest. But by choosing to submit to God’s agenda, these are the world changers and history makers. Even here at Mavuno, God is using those who are saying, ‘Lord, I may not have much; I may not be much; but here I am; use me!’ Let God’s agenda take over your agenda!

What actions is God asking you to take this year that are inconvenient? What will it cost you to stand up for your convictions? What is it He is asking you to give up, in order to serve Him?

Perhaps you’ve been hearing the call at Mavuno to impact your society and saying ‘that’s an exciting vision but I’m such a young Christian! Or I don’t have any money! Or I’m still trying to get a job! Or I don’t have a car! Or I’m still single! Or my family has issues! Let someone else do it! But do you know that God can use whatever situation you are in, your family background, your past failures and mistakes, to bless others. Like Rahab, our lives stories too can be changed regardless of what we have working against us. Let God’s agenda take over your agenda!

God will definitely change your family. He leaves them too much to leave them as they are. He will certainly change your workplace. He loves the people there too much not to. He will surely change our society. The question is, ‘will you chose to be part of it?’ Rahab saw her opportunity and she grabbed it – there are many who will find opportunities that will come this year to do God’s will and they will miss it because of fear or because they cling to their own agenda.

Maybe you’ve been waiting for God to give you something more before you’re convinced to step out in faith. God isn’t looking for perfect Christians to carry out his will. He called you as you were. And like the new believer Rahab who knew practically nothing about her faith, He will use you, if you set out to be faithful with the little that you already have. Let God’s agenda take over your agenda!

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12 Responses to “Step Out – Faith In Action”

  1. Paul Otieno Says:

    This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

    Moses, the great leader of the Israelites, has just died, and Joshua is put in charge. His assignment? Lead some three million people, who tend to complain and doubt God, into the promised land. That would also mean conquering many cities and defeating warriors more than 10 feet tall!

    God knows that Joshua needs His help. So He gives him the secret to winning all the battles and seeing good success in all that he does: Meditate day and night on His Word. Joshua runs with God’s instruction and finds himself winning every battle and succeeding in every task!

    What’s your “battle” today? Do you have to manage difficult people in your department or classroom? Are you facing the giants of fear and lack? God has given you the key to victory. Run with it and win every battle! Meditate day and night on His Word and see good success in all your endeavors!

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  2. Happy Monday Mavunites! Well, this month we are talking about stepping out, but im stranded. Am 23 years old and I still haven’t discovered my purpose in life, therefore Im not sure what to step out to. I find myself getting really frustrated because i don’t know which direction to take in my life. I thought I was going through what they call quarter life crisis but its taking longer than expected 😦
    I have prayed on it, I’ve tried to do almost anything I can, dance, sing, write, work in the IT department (I studied BBIT in University), sales, and none of them feel natural, none of them feel like I was born to do them. I crave desperately to find my mission on earth as I feel like time is passing me by and there is nothing tangible I can show for my life.
    Last Sunday, I prayed along with Pastor M and I surrendered myself to Christ as I want His will to be done through me.
    I hope I will find it soon
    Stay blessed

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    • Hey Kiki,just to encourage and affirm you,that as you surrendered to God and let him use you for his purpose,he will do just that. He promises to give meaning to your life. Finding your purpose is a by-product of abiding in God. With every passing day as you abide in him-reading his word,praying,fellowshipping with other believers,serving…then the plans and purposes of God begins to be unravelled in your life. So be encouraged. Many times we may expect things to fall in place pap,but that may not be God’s plan. Step by step as we abide in him he leads us towards his perfect will for our lives. He told the lsraelites that he wont give them the territory all at once,but gradually till they take over the entire land (Exodus 23:27-31) You will sure find your call and passion as you desire. Its a journey taken everyday in God,till one day you’ll be like woow,this is it! The bible says God’s word is “a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet.” It doesnt say its a “floodlight” unto our path, 🙂 but a lamp, it illuminates our path for the next step everyday as we walk in him. God bless you as you surrender to God. Praying with you.

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  3. Pastor M.

    This is what really stood out for me last Sunday. “God doesn’t use perfect people to get the work done. He is looking for people who are available & willing to submit to His agenda.”

    I know that all I need to do is be available and be willing to submit to His agenda. We serve a marvelous awesome God!

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  4. Thanks for this great sermon

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  5. mercy found me Says:

    As Pastor M led us in prayer on sunday,i stood up with tears rolling down my face i told God i surrender my agenda and trust in Gods agenda for me and my family. And though i had said it many times before this time it was different i could feel it in my heart.i have been longing for another child for many many years,ridicule from inlaws and friends on sunday as i stood up and told God that i surrender everything to him and i trust in him and his time. i wont try and manipulate him to doing things my way,as if thats even remotely possible. 🙂 ” i felt a great relief as we prayed, like a burden lifted from my shoulders. i felt free lighter happier stronger ,cut long story short come monday i felt very quesy then again on tuesday on wednesday decided to take a pregnancy test and guess what positive. what are the chances?(i dont know maybe i was probably already pregnant) like Rahab i decided to take achance and trusted in God letting go of my agenda and letting him take control All i know when i really really let go and surrendered my all to him and asked God to take over my agenda then my miracle came through. i cannot thankGod enough. My time has truly come.

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    • @mercy found me, thanks so much for sharing your encouraging testimony! Very excited about your news and also that for you, this year has began with your surrendering to God’s agenda. Encourage you to continue to let Him stay in charge. May this be an amazing year for you of trusting God and stepping out!

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  6. Second Chance Says:

    this should really go on todays sermon, but it’s not posted yet and I may not have time later to post this.
    Today I could clearly identify with the 10 spies, because I saw myself having seen myself as a grasshopper in certain situations, and I understood where they were coming from, but this also made the doze of God mentality a total requirement! Sometime back, God gave me a vision that looked totally unachievable in my own eyes, so there I was looking at myself instead of looking to God, and today several years later God asked me whether I was ready to look to Him to accomplish what He had told me, and as I stood to tell God that I would commit to letting my reality be determined by my focus on Him, I understood that it is not going to be easy, that I need to constantly look to Him for guidance. The spies did not get a second chance, but thank God for his mercy I have a second chance to STEP OUT and fulfill what he has called me for.

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  7. […] Turning Ordinary People Into Fearless Influencers Of Society « Step Out – Faith In Action […]

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  8. Hi all, I just got a call from my new place of work that i sign my contract the next day. My first reaction after the call was a disappointment, because ever since I applied for the job, I have been praying not to get it as it is the same job i had two years from a different Co. and i hated the job. I felt my dreams and hopes were not realigning with the reality. I was frustrated and sometimes in my mood and the victims of these would be my family. At times I saw God was not seeing my prayers of getting what I want.This month’s theme is now kicking in in my life and now I surrender to God and letting His agenda take over my agenda. I cannot control God and tell Him what I want when and how (tried it and didn’t work). Today I finally see that God was and is with me, because I left my previous employment in Nov 2012 and guess what on the exact day last year I got the call that I got the job. I know the job is still the same but now I have the courage to do it differently and step out! I have learnt that everything in God’s timing. I don’t know His agenda for me for this job but I have surrendered, have loads of faith and gotten a new attitude. Am now happy that I have job, it’s a blessing!

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  9. Miss2014Graduate Says:

    Hi. As i was going through the series of Step Out- Faith in Action, I had a big worry on my mind. I am a university student, due to graduate in June this year (2014). However, there was this really… really… REALLY tough exam that I had done last December, that made me wonder whether I would pass it and graduate, or not. All eyes were/are on me to graduate as scheduled… From my grandparents, relatives and friends. Having done this tough exam, a lot of doubt filled my mind, and I panicked every time someone would tell me that they are looking forward to my graduation in June. How would they react when i told them that i failed? I panicked! I panicked to a point that my right eye was constantly twitching out of the worry.

    After hearing one of the testimonies Pastor M read out at a service, I decided to change my mind set… To have faith, even where it looked very bleak. I prayed, every single day, because Jesus said that we should be persistent in our requests. Oh, did i pray! I began having faith, and actually believing that I was going to pass. I imagined jumping up and down when receiving my results, and imagined myself in my graduation gown. Everyday, my worry reduced and reduced. I wrote down in a notebook the marks I wanted from the exams I had recently done, and left everything to God. My burden was lifted from that day on. I even promised God that I would write a testimony here, and give half of every shilling I received to the church, as thanksgiving for this miracle. Yes, passing this exam would be nothing less than a miracle.

    Yesterday, I opened my university profile after hearing that the results were out. I was shaking, anxious and very nervous. Guess what? I passed! Not only did I pass, but I got the EXACT marks I wrote down on my notebook… And i’m not even kidding here. The joy was overwhelming!!!

    How great is God’s mercy? Through faith and persistence, I got what I prayed for. With Him, nothing can stop me now. His plan for me is great, and I am great because I have Him.

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