Thriving when Families Change

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30 August, 2020Pastor Mark SimpfendorferNew Terrain

It has been said: ‘As the family goes, so does the nation…’ As the family is able to navigate changing times, as the family is able to thrive in the midst of crisis, so is the nation able to navigate uncertain times and thrive in changing circumstances. What could we conclude about the health and resilience of our nation as we look at families at this time? Some families are thriving as they find a new found purpose in rearing children into competent and confident adults who can overcome life's difficulties. Some are embracing the togetherness that this crisis has brought. Many are struggling as they fight to stay upright themselves on foundations that are shifting.  Some families are living out the law of exposure which says that our minds absorb and our lives reflect that to which we are most frequently exposed, with frightening and destructive consequences. So how do we navigate the new terrain we find ourselves in and thrive as families change? How do we thrive through the changing stages of family life as we move from dependency to growing independency and everything in-between? Joshua gives us some insight today. He not only led a nation, but his own family though times of crisis, discovering the one that enables families to thrive in any crisis and change.                                                                                        

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But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b


In a world filled with options and choice, choose C every time. For the Creator, the Chief Cornerstone and Counsellor is the foundation that supports, empowers and enables thriving families through all the changes and crises of life.


What is your family motto, or if you could choose a motto for your family, what would it be? 


But listen up. Let me give you a heads-up, because it won’t be easy to fire up. When God said that he’ll join us up, it won’t always add up, and you’ll need to buckle up. We all have hang ups, we all stuff up. When things begin to pile up, and you mess up, or foul up or muck it up, or there’s a blow up or a dust up, or a break up or crack up and you feel like giving up or going belly-up, or selling up, and you want to pack up and you’re fed up, and your life seems screwed up, and you feel cut up, or maybe a relationship has broken up, and your heart ices-up, and things foul up, and love dries up, you can’t speak up, and you want to throw up and sell up and pack up, and you think there’s no back up, and you want to even up, or cover up, don’t give up. Buck up. Cheer up. There is a back-up, or a pick-me-up, and a leg up, and a hand up. We will need a check-up, and be reassured that God shows up! He rolls up. And He will follow up! He wants your heart to soften up, for you to ‘fess up, and open up, so don't pass this up and be stuck up. God wants you to wake up, move up, and make up, and man up, and perk up, and grow up, and loosen up. God wants you to join up, and wise up, and pump up, and belt up, and cheer up, so you people, in your lives, lap-it-up, and fire up, and light up, and step up, and talk-it-up, so you can be filled up, to live-it-up,‘ cause God never lets up.

So here’s the lowdown. We have a God who comes down. He’s a God who comes to us. A God who comes down when we’re run-down, or there’s been a put-down, and helps us calm down, and makes sure we won’t be let down. If you’re down cast, he doesn’t look at the down side. The times we break down, or fall down, and our world turns up-side-down, and there’s a meltdown, and we need to shut-down, and go into lock-down, Jesus comes down. He’s the down load.

Bible Readings

Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods.But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out.When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17


What you do each day becomes an act of faith that brings the presence of Christ into ordinary moments to bless others.


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The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him! Lamentations 3:22-24


God’s grace is sufficient for you today and it will be sufficient for you tomorrow


When life gets hard, what’s your reflexive response? Why do you think that is?