Step Out – Shift Focus

Image

This month we have been looking at the book of Joshua at a pivotal point in the journey to the Promised Land of the Israelites. In the first week we saw that God’s word for Mavuno in 2014 is that your time has come to step out into fearlessly influencing the various zones of influence He has called you to, including your family, your workplace and your society. We learnt that stepping out will require our courageobedience and initiative.  And then last week we learnt that faith is not real unless it is backed up by actions of surrender and that’s why we said, let God’s agenda define your agenda’ …So this week we want to continue with our friends, 001 & 002 who had just had a narrow escape, when Rahab the prostitute made the radical decision to hide them from the authorities and to send their pursuers off in the wrong direction. She also made a deal with them to spare her family. Let’s read on…

Joshua 2:15 – 3:5

After their pursuers had set off to look for them and the gates had been tightly shut for the night, the two agents carefully crawled out from their hiding place on Rahab’s roof. V.6 tells us they had stayed hidden under stalks of flax that Rahab had laid out on the roof. Flax is a crop whose stalks are used to make linen cloth and rope, and it seems that this was Rahab’s side hustle. How fortunate for the spies, because Rachel conveniently had on hand a long rope that she had probably woven herself. (Now I suspect this rope had saved the lives of several wayward husbands when their wives stormed Rahab’s bar looking for them!) Because the gates were shut, the spies rappelled out of the window in pitch darkness, doing their best to be as quiet as possible, hoping that no patrolling guard on the wall looked down at the wrong moment. It doesn’t get more ‘James Bond’ than this!

So, the spies make it to the ground in one piece and then based on Rahab’s advise, they go west away from the Jordan river and in the opposite direction everyone is looking for them. They hide out in the hills for three days to shake off their pursuers, camping outdoors and surviving on fruits and wild berries, like they are trained to do. When they are sure their pursuers have given up the chase, they carefully make their way back down the hills under the cover of darkness, they steal across the Jericho plain, once again mysteriously cross the flooded river Jordan and make it back safely to the camp. They are ushered straight in by the lookouts to the commander’s tent, where they give a detailed debriefing of all their experiences and observations. At the end of the report, they give their conclusion v.24, ‘The LORD has surely given us the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us’.

At this point, it’s interesting to note that 40 years previously, 12 other spies had seen sent out by Israel’s leader, Joshua’s former boss Moses. Numbers 13 and 14 tell us that story. They too had a chance to spy out the same land. When they came back to give their report, they agreed it was a beautiful and fruitful land. But 10 of the spies added, (Numbers 12:28) ‘the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of (the giant) Anak there’. And their conclusion; ‘we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them!’ (v.33). That’s what you call a grasshopper mentality! Today I want to contrast the mentality of the 12 spies (grasshopper mentality) with the attitude of our two spies (who had a God-centered mentality). We can see a difference in several areas…

A grasshopper mentality focuses on the problems while, a God centered mentality focuses on the power of God. I mean, what a contrast! Same land, same opportunity, same challenges, but different conclusion! Both sets of spies looked the same reality. But while one chose to focus on the giants in the land, the other chose to focus on the God who is over the land. This is the amazing lesson we learn from them, what you focus on determines your reality!

A grasshopper mentality says ‘it’s never been done before’, a God centered mentality says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. A grasshopper mentality says ‘we don’t have the money for that’, a God centered mentality says, ‘my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills’. A grasshopper mentality says ‘if we do that we might fail’ while a God centered mentality says ‘God did not give me a spirit of fear but a Spirit of power, love and of sound mind!’ There’s a world of a difference between a grasshopper mentality and a God-centered mentality!

One of the differences is the effect that each has on others. A grasshopper mentality inspires fear in others while a God-centered mentality inspires faith in others. As a result of the report of the 10 spies, the people of Israel panicked and forgot all that God had done for them. They forgot that He had sent 10 plagues that had forced the most powerful nation in the world to release them from slavery. They forgot that He had parted the Red Sea for them to cross. They forgot that He had miraculously provided for them food in the wilderness. They gave in to their fear. On the other hand, as a result of the 2 spies, the people of Israel mobilized to march into their land of promise. And Joshua himself was able to tell the people, ‘consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you’. That’s a statement of faith! Because of the God-centered mentality of the spies, Joshua was willing to step out in faith.What you focus on determines your reality!

So what mentality will you choose to have in 2014? It’s too fashionable today to have a grasshopper mentality about our country. Ask a Kenyan, ‘how are things?’ The common answer is… ‘Aii, things are hard; the economy is tough, there’s too much corruption, ‘you can’t make it here unless you know someone’. When one of our Ugandan pastors recently went to renew his work permit, the immigration official asked him, ‘why would you want to live in such a terrible place? The pastor replied, ‘but you have such a beautiful country!’ The person said, ‘nah, it’s so useless and corrupt!’ There’s a vicious cycle here. Our media and citizenry have focused so much on the negative that it has become our norm. I remember going to Zambia and hearing a transparency international corruption perception report. It showed Kenya among the bottom nations in the world, worse than Somalia or Nigeria – among countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s how poorly we think of ourselves. People from other nations marvel at how we don’t see the amazing gifts and possibilities that God has given us. The problem you see is a grasshopper mentality. And the danger is that we are living out a self-fulfilling prophecy. You see, what you focus on determines your reality!

One of the biggest differences between the two mentalities is that a grasshopper mentality results in the death of your dreams, while a God centered mentality breathes life into your God given dreams. For example, because of the report of the 10 spies, Israel rebelled against God and missed out on their Promised Land. The bible tells us that they ended up wandering around in the wilderness for another 40 years and that every adult over 20 died in the wilderness. None in that generation occupied their Promised Land! But 40 years later, because of the report of these 2 spies, Israel obeyed and stepped into their Promised Land. That’s the awesome power of our words – Proverbs 18:21 says ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue…’  What you focus on determines your reality!

Now I need to pause and make a disclaimer: I’m not saying that optimists are godlier than pessimists! An optimist is defined as a person who normally takes a positive view of things. Someone whose mantra in life is ‘don’t worry be happy’. While there may be some value in such an attitude, God-centered mentality is not just about being optimistic and hoping for the best. It’s not about psyching yourself up, living in ignorance, pretending you don’t have problems or lying to yourself. Please listen carefully – a God-centered mentality is not closing your eyes to reality and pretending that everything is alright! That’s childishness! The bible says we need to have a child-like faith, not a childish faith. Big difference. And we see it with our spies…

The two spies were probably chosen because they were Israel’s best-trained agents, with superior analytical ability to gather intelligence. They must have confirmed for themselves how true the earlier report of the 10 spies had been. They must have observed the massive fortified walls of Jericho. They must have noted that it was built on a place with natural springs and was thus well stocked to last out a siege. They must have seen how alert the security forces were and how well the city was defended. Perhaps as they were hiding in the hill country, they had even seen some of the sons of Anak; the famous giants that lived in the hill country. They must have known that their army had no experience or weaponry capable of taking such a walled city. You see, nothing had changed; the 10 spies hadn’t been lying! So why would our guys, after confirming their assessment, still profess that taking Jericho was ‘mission possible’?

Our two spies seem to be saying despite the giants in the land, our God is greater than the giants. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, ‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ They had an eternal perspective! They knew that God had promised to give them this land. And so they even as they took careful note of the impossible challenges arrayed against them, they remembered that their God was more than able to overcome the challenges. They chose to speak life about their situation. Having a God-centered mentality is not a denial of reality but is an expression of your confidence in the power of your GodWhat you focus on determines your reality!

When I look at our city, I too see the reality. The entrenched tribalism in this country bothers me. I read articles in our papers written by educated writers and watch the conversations on Facebook and twitter and wonder what hope there is for us. Similarly, I look at the family breakdown in this nation, with people getting divorced in their early twenties, the biblical concept of marriage under great assault. I look at the teenagers addicted to alcohol, drugs and porn, not just in urban areas as used to be the case but across our counties. . I look at the inequalities between the rich and the poor that seems to grow daily. I look at the endemic corruption that seems to have become a national trait across all sectors of society. I look at the selfish, individualistic leadership that our country has come to see as normal. People, there are giants in our land!

When we began Mavuno Church 8 years ago, we believed God then that our little church would change our city, take our continent and win the world. You should have seen us then! We were so few! But we were going to plant churches across this continent! We were going to raise up a fearless army of influencers that would change Africa in our generation! Our city would look different! I’m amazed now when I look back that we actually believed these things back then – none of us had any evidence that it could work! I remember one guy who told me to tone it down as I talked about our vision to his friends – please tell them about changing Africa but leave out the world – lets keep this realistic!

But I still believe that a church can start a revolution that can change the world. And that we can be that church that God uses in this generation, if only we remember who we are, whose we are and where our power comes from. Who are you? You are a precious creation of the Almighty God, made in His image.Whose are you? If you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are a son or daughter of the living God. Where does your power come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit that is planted in your heart the minute you trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Remember, what you focus on determines your reality!

A God-centered mentality is about standing on God’s promises and taking Him at His word. He has said ‘ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your possession’. A God-centered mentality is about being careful with your words, not wanting to dishonor God or to be an agent of discouragement. A God-centered mentality is about praying differently for those around me… not beggarly prayers (‘oh please God help!) but prayers that confidently agree with what God has already said about that person or situation.

GOD WANTS YOU TO TO BEGIN TO PRONOUNCE THESE WORDS… ‘The Lord has surely given my marriage into my hands’, ‘my alcoholic brother’, ‘my workplace’, ‘this city’

No more cursing ourselves by saying ‘I can’t’, or ‘people like me never’, or ‘I’m too young’ or ‘I don’t have the money’ or ‘only in Kenya’ or ‘what’s wrong with this country?’ Faith is choosing to believe God’s word beyond our circumstances. What you focus on determines your reality!

God has incredible things planned out for you, an amazing journey of adventure as you step out in 2014. This is not like last year or the year before last. I pray that you will focus not on your circumstances but on the God who is above those circumstances. I pray that you will not curse your family/workplace/city every time you speak. I pray that you will choose to believe that God can use you to fearlessly influence where He has placed you… I pray that what you speak with your mouth and type with your fingers will be words of faith that create a new reality for the place where God has placed you. What you focus on determines your reality!

 Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. We stream the sermon LIVE every Sunday 9AM GMT+3 here, bookmark and tune in. Sermon videos are usually uploaded to our YouTube channel

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Step Out – Shift Focus”

  1. JesusJewel Says:

    I do not pray anymore. I can only say the Lord’s prayer and hope that the Lord understands whats in my heart. I was in a relationship for 8 yrs came out with a baby girl and a lot of regrets and tears. Left that one and a yr later got into another one.Now 3yrs old but its like the pain in the 8yr one was just a tester. I have never gone through pain and misery in my life like i am going through now. i have prayed and fasted and now i cant even bring myself to think positively about the relationship. Infidelity is the only issue. I am 4 months pregnant now and this is the worst period of my life i must confess. I dont even know how this child will turn out because of the depression i am undergoing, i have been beaten in this pregnancy, i have been insulted, i have met my man more than 5 different women and i am still here. Ask me why and i do not know. am i addicted to pain or is it because i never think positively of this guy? he says he loves me and now is ready to change. I do not believe him at all. I am a lost and depressed soul. At times i think that God has put my issue on a shelf somewhere ‘to be handled at a later date’

    Like

  2. This was best sermon ever, I immediately killed my grasshopper mind and switched to a God-centered mentality my prayer has changed and faith increased now glowing to no matter how my circumstance is like!!!! watch this space my miracle on the way

    Like

  3. Iamblessed Says:

    I absolutely enjoyed the sermon. To me the entire series has been a confirmation from God. My prayer for this year was to step up my Faith. God is slowly helping me do this. Can you imagine how amazed I was when I came to church and the sermon series was Step Out. Yeah! Thanks! I’m happy. Currently undergoing a 21 Day Journey of the Daniel Fast. God be glorified in my life. I’m stepping out in a huge way this year. Signed up for mizizi, God blessed me with a new place of work that is less toxic than where I was before, I’m trusting God to restore me on the relationship front. 2014 is going to be different. No more Grasshopper Mentality, Completely focused on God and His Agenda for my life. Thank you Mavuno! To God be the Glory!!!

    Like

  4. The sermon made me think about my career versus the things I am passionate about. One of the things I am passionate about is writing, but I am afraid to step out. Society must know me as a corporate, clad in corporate attire, engaged in corporate activities. This is something the season inspired me to write;

    THERE EXISTS AN ENEMY
    A script must be written
    On how the rat race swallows and digests
    Expelling dejected beings that pay rent on time
    A rat and its race have no begin nor end as for where they are bound is nowhere at all
    But what of each of us
    What of the endless heap of souls deadened in struggle against a race that has no beginning and no end
    As though going along with a trick, no wiser that you are playing the fool
    Against an enemy that seeks only your humiliation and frustration
    To wake and work
    To survive another and another and another day on that Ferris wheel that swivels with no end

    Fear
    The enemy that convinced daddy and mummy to invest in you to acquire that career
    That would get you paid
    To comfortably survive
    A spade a spade
    Forget occupying nations and transforming generations

    Fear
    The enemy that created a system so crass against a species created to accomplish so much
    Describing it is an abomination
    Yet humanity is stuck in boundless journeys towards…survival
    Survival to see another day
    To survive
    To see yet another day
    A people stuck in the enemy’s track
    Pacing at top speed against nature itself
    Where the natural and divine dispensation of man
    Dictates a creation made so to dance and sing
    To innovate and inspire
    What will generations to come read about you and I in our pitiless struggle
    To survive
    What will that script look like in all its shame
    Will it begin by introducing our prime education
    Acquired merely to sit at desks and type, type, type
    Without purpose but for gain
    Monetary gain that would secure that milk and bread
    Monetary gain that promises survival

    Nothing more than the goat tethered to a pole
    Fattened up for a season
    Only to be roasted to make merry on that random weekend
    That pathetic goat that ate and ate making sure to chew properly
    Get the process right
    Only to be laid waste in the confines of an equally pathetic host
    Seeking merely to appease equally pathetic guests with the fattened flesh of a pathetic goat

    So a generation became pathetic and miserable
    Pumping fists when promoted to…what is it you do again?
    No, wait
    Why is it that you do it?
    Answer that and the next generation may have hope
    Twelve years a slave
    A son of the universe robbed from his purpose
    To be rushed to do heavily important “household chores”
    A once decorated musician
    Now reserved for the fields
    To be whipped and lashed because his cotton picking wasn’t good as it should be
    Cotton which like the goat
    Would end its pathetic journey
    On the back of a pathetic junkie
    Who would find rest in a pathetic grave
    After pathetically laying waste to his pathetic life

    But they told you that is the way
    Implored you to keep your head down and utter not a word of rebellion
    Pick the cotton and survive another day…to see another day
    Make it to seventy…ok forty nine years…and be proud of the great escape you made
    The great escape of…
    Death?
    But you are dead!

    Your litmus is to pinch your arm
    The universe litmus however, is to applaud your purpose accomplished
    But the rat you are
    To you this thing called purpose
    Is a temperament used by fools that cannot secure respectable work in the corporate world
    That corporate kingdom that applauds men who tie a noose around their necks
    Professional is the term used to exalt their demeanor as is the fashion demanded of this class
    This impressive adornment however seeks not their deliverables to the nation
    But quick is the system to applaud the great acronyms for which they work
    We forget to see the man and the God within him who exists within the prowess of his purpose
    Fooling you was their wrong
    Convincing you… that was your sin

    An army must be briefed
    On this enemy whose satisfaction will only be everyone and everything in sight
    There will be no song, there will be no dance
    From the consumer nation
    Whose visions rise to the mere acquisition of tablets and phablets and cars and LCD screens
    The theaters empty with no soul to perform an art
    The laboratories barren with no intellects to research science in all her secrets
    No Silicon Valley to irrigate the deserts in the North with innovation beyond the miserable house-fly laden faces that appear on TV every September
    As though it be 1684 and not 2014
    Where dying from starvation in a country fifty years a victor
    Is the norm

    Rats we are, running from nothing, heading to nowhere
    Fear implored
    Behind you death chases so you must run; ahead is life fleeing so you must sprint
    But death was merely the fact
    Survive or not, in misery or in adventure
    It catches up in time when time is ours no more
    And foolish tricks…the type, type, type…for the bread, bread, bread
    Can promise not another day
    To survive another

    Arriving at the end
    They found the hole that gaped in wait for their rest
    Their souls weary but not tired, they hoped to kick their last
    This time step out of the race and stroll in the murk and the mud
    In their passionate purpose
    A re-write of the script to make for a better end for generation next and next
    Beyond the consumables, beyond the type, type, type…
    Beyond the rat race to which they had already promised inheritance to their offspring
    They hoped…but death had come

    Like

  5. i agree with most of the sermon. but i got lost at the point where you opposed those tweeting and facebooking about poorly planned roads.

    then towards the end of the sermon, you said you do not understand how educated people who should know better can propagate tribalism and kill people.

    please appreciate; it is the same way some of us can’t understand how educated people who should know better can plan poor roads and kill people.

    i fully agree that it is not grasshopper mentality to speak against evil tribalism…

    i also believe it is not grasshopper mentality to speak against lack of professionalism that costs us lives upon lives.

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: