I am pretty much a creature of habit. For the most part, my morning routine is pretty much the same. Wake up. Get dressed. Watch Sports Center. Get Jude ready for school. Watch Sports Center. Take Jude to school. Watch Sports Center.
It goes without saying that I really like to watch Sports Center. In addition to catching up on all my favorite teams and sports, I really love watching the anchors and their delivery. Each anchor has their own unique style, delivery and catchphrases. I love the catch phrases. They have transcended sports entertainment and crept into our everyday use. If you’ve ever said “Booya”, or that somebody is “en Fuego”, or that someone is as “cool as the other side of the pillow”, then you have probably been influenced by Sports Center. One of my personal favorites is, “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.”
If you have been around the True Life campus recently, I am sure you have noticed a lot of changes. We have been full steam in the middle of our expansion project for what may feel like forever. The have more than doubled the size of our worship center, made changes to our staff offices, redesigned our children’s ministry area and added an additional building in the back. There have been lots and lots of changes. Through this process I have learned a number of new things. I can now hang dry wall, install a sound system, install theatrical lighting, and lay carpet, just to name a few. I have also learned that there can be any number of hiccups and delays that can throw plans and schedules back. Whether it is work crews not finishing when they said they would, delays in the arrival of needed equipment and parts, endless inspections and re-inspections, to inclement weather, there can be any number of things that can slow the completion of this project. This all can be very stressful and tiresome. Tensions can run high and we have all started to feel a little antsy. Needless to say, we are ready for this part to be completed.
I began to ask God about the different delays. In the middle of my prayer, I heard the Sports Center catchphrase “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.” As I unpacked this with God, I was reminded of Joshua and the children of Israel as they began to take the promise land. In Joshua 10, the children of Israel are marching to take the city of Jerusalem and the word of the Lord comes to Joshua in verse eight, “The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” As they begin to fight, the army of Israel is advancing and taking the land, but the enemy is in full retreat, the sun is setting and the enemy is about to get away. Joshua in verse 12 says, “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” In the very next verse we read that the sun and moon stood still and Joshua and the army of Israel was able to fully defeat the opposing army.
I could write about this encounter forever, but there are a few things I would like to highlight.
Joshua had a word from the Lord – How many of you have received a word from the Lord? As a church, we received a word that this is the year of expanding our tent pegs and borders. When you have a word from God on an issue, there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind that the One who gave the word, is powerful and faithful to fulfill His word.
The Enemy can’t stop you, he can only hope to contain you – For Joshua and the army of Israel, the sun setting meant that the enemy would get away and they would have to fight
day. Our enemy knows that he is a defeated foe. But if he can escape to fight another day, he will. In our process of expansion at the church, the enemy knows that He cannot stop what God has already declared. He can only hope to slow it down.
Make declarations in line with the word you received - Joshua, knowing that God had said that they would be victorious made declarations in line with that word. Joshua was able to see the sun come to a full stop in the sky. This is amazing to me. How God did this is a mystery to me, but for the length of about an entire day, the sun did not move in the sky. The enemy was defeated and God’s word was fulfilled.
You may be reading this and experiencing a number of situations and difficulties in your life. You may feel like this process you are in is never going to end. But be encouraged. The Lord is saying over you, “The enemy can’t stop you, he can only hope to contain you.”