Grace Downtown Vision Brunch  2018

Theme: Looking Back to Move Ahead



Joshua 4:1-7

“When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” 

4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

Moving can be exciting, but also exhausting. The excitement of a new city, a new house and a new life is often dampened by the reality of the endless detailed work of securing boxes from a local CVS, purchasing miles of packing tape and protecting the precious bubble wrap from children whose full-time job is to pop them. And that’s just a start!

Israel had been constantly on the move. They had wandered through the wilderness, packing and unpacking, not knowing when the pillars of fire and cloud would move next. The promise of a permanent home was music to their ears. As the Jeffersons once said, Israel was finally “moving on up to the east side to a deluxe apartment in the sky.”

Before Israel could settle and begin their new life in the Promised Land, God added one more thing to their to-do list. In Joshua 4:1-7, God commanded Israel to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan and place them on the river bank as memorial stones to remember God. The command assumes our forgetful disposition as humans. God knew that without constant reminders Israel would forget God and turn to their own ways.

I think there’s an important lesson for us here: moving forward requires looking backwards. As Grace Downtown longs to embody the mission of being “In & For The City” in this new ministry year we must first look back and remember God. Unless we remember the grace of God, the mercy of God, the faithfulness of God, and the goodness of God, the mission becomes mere human striving. We can do better. Let’s recall all the ways God has been faithful to His promise, and fully lean into Him so that we might bear fruit.


Reflection Questions:


1. Take a moment to look back and share different ways God has answered your prayers, shaped your faith and deepened your understanding of His grace.


2. As you look ahead, how might you pray the promises of God in your life?


3. Would you like to commit to praying for certain people?


4. Would you like to practice a certain spiritual discipline?


5. How could you get more involved in the church community and your community groups? For example, how might you serve the church community?


At the Vision Brunch, let’s share and pray for each other as we seek to faithfully live out our calling in the city.