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Sept. 13, 2020

Occidental Community Church Family,

I regret having to cancel our church service today, but the smoke and air quality at Pleasant Hill Christian School this morning when I arrived was not good at all.  It would have been a health risk to meet.  Here is a short summary of the message I had prepared to preach.

                                     "LEAVING THE WILDERNESS"
                                                  Joshua 1:1-9
Introduction - Moses had died and now God tells Joshua to lead Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land of Canaan after 40 years in the wilderness. He gives Joshua SEVEN CHALLENGES as he leads God's people.
1. PUT THE PAST BEHIND - v.1-2 - After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide:  "Moses my servant is dead."
In order for Israel to enter the Promised Land, it was necessary for them to follow a new leader, Joshua, now that Moses was dead.  We all come to defining moments in our lives where we need to say, "It's time to let go of the past and move forward with God's new plan for my life."

2. GO FORWARD IN FAITH - v.2 - "Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them - to the Israelites."
Crossing the Jordan wasn't so simple.  It was at flood stage (as wide as a mile) and would take a miracle to cross.  They were by faith to step into the river and God would do the rest, as He made a path on dry land to the other side.  We, too, need to trust that as we walk in faith God will clear the way of obstacles.

3. CLAIM GOD'S PROMISES - v.3-4 - "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.  Your territory will extend from the desert and from Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - and to the Great Sea on the west."
When we look at a map of Israel, we discover that they never realized the fullness of God's Promised Land.  For us as Christians today, God's promise is not geographical territory but spiritual abundance and blessing.  Most Christians today live far beneath the privileges God offers them.

4. BE CONFIDENT OF GOD'S PRESENCE - v.5 - "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you."
God is not promising Joshua that no one would ever come against him, but that no one will be able to stand up against him (prevail or succeed against him).  As Christians we will always face some who oppose us.  But God's promise is, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  For this reason we never need fear those who come against us.

5. BE BRAVE AND DO NOT GIVE IN TO FEAR - V.6-7 -"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and very courageous."
This exhortation, "Be strong and very courageous" is repeated three times, twice here and again in v.9.  The secret to overcoming fear is not gaining self-confidence in your own strength or finding courage deep within yourself.  Rather it is as Ephesians 6:10 states, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."  

6. WALK OBEDIENTLY - V.7-8 - "Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it."
Joshua and the Israelites were not to take a casual or light-hearted approach to God's Law.  We, too, must be serious about following and obeying God's Word as Christians.  And we can walk obediently without being legalistic about it.  Obedience is always to be tempered with grace and mercy.

7. TRUST IN GOD'S PROMISE - v.8-9 - "Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
In short, God's way works, it brings success, and it leads to victory.  Why would we ever consider another way to walk through life when God has promised us success and prosperity?  
The very last words of our Savior before He ascended to His Father in heaven following His resurrection were reassuring to His disciples as they are for us, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."

Have a good week!  We will pray for clear air to come soon so that we can meet together for worship next Lord's Day.

Praying for all of you,
Pastor Rick

OUTDOOR CHURCH AT PHCS ALL SUMMER!

10 am, Sunday, at Pleasant Hill Christian School, 1782 Pleasant Hill Road, Sebastopol.  (Click here for a map) All Summer we will be gathering outdoors in the back of the school.
We understand that there may be some in our church family who are not ready for this, but for those who are, we welcome you!  Here are the recommendations and guidelines (click here or read below) we have adopted in order to make this as safe as possible for all who attend.  Please read them over carefully.
Website Audio/Video Sermons

Recommendations and Guidelines 
for Resuming Worship Services

The OCC guidelines are based on these official regulations:
California Department of Public Health publication, and Joint Sonoma County and Faith-based publication, May 2020.
Biblical guidelines: 1 Corinthians 12:25 - “There should be no division in the body, but members should have equal concern for one another.”

 

KEY COVID-19 PREVENTION PRACTICES

1. Physical Distancing: 6ft. distancing rule applies.

  • Family members may sit together, others 6 ft. apart.
  • Avoid physical contact when greeting one another at worship service.

2. Face Coverings

  • Face masks are to be worn as you arrive, and when appropriate during worship service.
  • Children under 2 years of age and infants are not to wear face masks.
  • Church will have face masks available for those who need them.

3. Handwashing

  • Indoor restrooms are supplied with soap and sanitizer.
  • Sanitizer is available at outdoor worship area.

FACILITIES

Pleasant Hill Christian School
   
1782 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol.

  • Blacktop area in rear of school for worship service.
  • Bathrooms open, cleaned and disinfected before services.
  • Seating is provided, or you may bring a chair with you. (hat and sunscreen advised)

WORSHIP SERVICES

  • 10 AM starting time each Sunday, beginning June 14.
  • Children are to stay with their families.
  • Communion in pre-sealed cups is to be picked up by each one.
  • Offerings are to be placed in trays near podium.
  • Bring your own drinking water.

WHO SHOULD NOT ATTEND

  • Individuals with high-risk or pre-existing health issues.
  • Those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, 
runny nose, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulty.
  • Anyone exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks.

Stay in touch with your church family!

Even if we are not fellowshipping together please keep in virtual touch!

 

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