As for me and my house

my house

Wednesday 01/15/20

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – As for me and my house

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The Eastern Tribes Return Home

Joshua 22:1-9, 

“(1) Joshua summoned the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh,  (2) and told them, “You have done everything Moses the LORD’s servant commanded you and have obeyed me in everything I commanded you.  (3) You have not deserted your brothers even once this whole time but have carried out the requirement of the command of the LORD your God.  (4) Now that He has given your brothers rest, just as He promised them, return to your homes in your own land that Moses the LORD’s servant gave you across the Jordan.  (5) Only carefully obey the command and instruction that Moses the LORD’s servant gave you: to love the LORD your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commands, remain faithful to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.”  (6)  Joshua blessed them and sent them on their way, and they went to their homes.  (7) Moses had given territory to half the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, but Joshua had given territory to the other half, with their brothers, on the west side of the Jordan. When Joshua sent them to their homes and blessed them,  (8) he said, “Return to your homes with great wealth: a huge number of cattle, and silver, gold, bronze, iron, and a large quantity of clothing. Share the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.”  (9)  The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in the land of Canaan to go to their own land of Gilead, which they took possession of according to the LORD’s command through Moses.”

Here again we have a few examples of God’s character showing up in His people. Which is a pattern for us today. NOTHING that these people did are outside of the responsibilities of a child of God under the New Covenant. In fact, these are proofs that we are in union with Him and that His glory is being formed and expressed through us.

  1. Careful & faithful obedience to God and those He appoints. – Heb. 13:17
  2. Israelites blessed one another. They weren’t just salutations they were genuine proclamations of favor. – Rom. 12:14
  3. You are your brother’s keeper. – Heb. 10:24
  4. We are members of one another – no one rests until we all rest. – Eph. 4:25
  5. God blesses obedience – spiritually, socially and monetarily (however, monetarily is not always to the point of super riches, but always enough to meet your needs and have some to give to others in need). – 3Jn. 1:2; 2Cor. 9:9
  6. Give from what you have – share! – Eph. 4:28; 1Tim. 6:18
  7. Encouragement towards godliness.  – Heb. 10:24

Joshua 22:10-34,  “(10) When they came to the region of the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh built a large, impressive altar there by the Jordan.  (11)  Then the Israelites heard it said, “Look, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan at the region of the Jordan, on the Israelite side.”  (12) When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to go to war against them. (13) The Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead.  (14) They sent 10 leaders with him–one family leader for each tribe of Israel. All of them were heads of their families among the clans of Israel. (15) They went to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and told them,  (16) “This is what the LORD’s entire community says: ‘What is this treachery you have committed today against the God of Israel by turning away from the LORD and building an altar for yourselves, so that you are in rebellion against the LORD today? (17) Wasn’t the sin of Peor, which brought a plague on the LORD’s community, enough for us, so that we have not cleansed ourselves from it even to this day,  (18) and now, you would turn away from the LORD? If you rebel against the LORD today, tomorrow He will be angry with the entire community of Israel. (19) But if the land you possess is defiled, cross over to the land the LORD possesses where the LORD’s tabernacle stands, and take possession of it among us. But don’t rebel against the LORD or against us by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God.  (20) Wasn’t Achan son of Zerah unfaithful regarding what was set apart for destruction, bringing wrath on the entire community of Israel? He was not the only one who perished because of his sin.'” (21) The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders of the Israelite clans, (22) “The LORD is the God of gods! The LORD is the God of gods! He knows, and may Israel also know. Do not spare us today, if it was in rebellion or treachery against the LORD  (23) that we have built for ourselves an altar to turn away from Him. May the LORD Himself hold us accountable if we intended to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings on it, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it. (24) We actually did this from a specific concern that in the future your descendants might say to our descendants, ‘What relationship do you have with the LORD, the God of Israel? (25) For the LORD has made the Jordan a border between us and you descendants of Reuben and Gad. You have no share in the LORD!’ So your descendants may cause our descendants to stop fearing the LORD.  (26) “Therefore we said: Let us take action and build an altar for ourselves, but not for burnt offering or sacrifice. (27) Instead, it is to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, so that we may carry out the worship of the LORD in His presence with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings. Then in the future, your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, ‘You have no share in the LORD!’ (28) We thought that if they said this to us or to our generations in the future, we would reply: Look at the replica of the LORD’s altar that our fathers made, not for burnt offering or sacrifice, but as a witness between us and you.  (29) We would never rebel against the LORD or turn away from Him today by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God, which is in front of His tabernacle.” (30) When Phinehas the priest and the community leaders, the heads of Israel’s clans who were with him, heard what the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased. (31) Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest said to the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, “Today we know that the LORD is among us, because you have not committed this treachery against Him. As a result, you have delivered the Israelites from the LORD’s power.” (32) Then Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest and the leaders returned from the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead to the Israelites in the land of Canaan and brought back a report to them.  (33) The Israelites were pleased with the report, and they praised God. They spoke no more about going to war against them to ravage the land where the Reubenites and Gadites lived. (34) So the Reubenites and Gadites named the altar: It is a witness between us that the LORD is God.”

Things are not always as they seem. We need to be ready to deal with evil, but we need first to confront…give opportunity for explanation and/or repentance.

Joshua’s charge to Israel’s Leaders

Joshua 23:1-16, “(1) A long time after the LORD had given Israel rest from all the enemies around them, Joshua was old, getting on in years.  (2) So Joshua summoned all Israel, including its elders, leaders, judges, and officers, and said to them, “I am old, getting on in years,  (3) and you have seen for yourselves everything the LORD your God did to all these nations on your account, because it was the LORD your God Who was fighting for you.  (4) See, I have allotted these remaining nations to you as an inheritance for your tribes, including all the nations I have destroyed, from the Jordan westward to the Mediterranean Sea.  (5) The LORD your God will force them back on your account and drive them out before you, so that you can take possession of their land, as the LORD your God promised you. (6) “Be very strong, and continue obeying all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you do not turn from it to the right or left  (7) and so that you do not associate with these nations remaining among you. Do not call on the names of their gods or make an oath to them; do not worship them or bow down to them.  (8) Instead, remain faithful to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. (9) “The LORD has driven out great and powerful nations before you, and no one has been able to stand against you to this day.  (10) One of you routed a thousand, because the LORD your God was fighting for you, as He promised.  (11)  So be very diligent to love the LORD your God for your own well-being.  (12) For if you turn away and cling to the rest of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry or associate with them and they with you,  (13) know for certain that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out before you. They will become a snare and a trap for you, a scourge for your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you disappear from this good land the LORD your God has given you.  (14) “I am now going the way of all the earth, and you know with all your heart and all your soul that none of the good promises the LORD your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.  (15) Since every good thing the LORD your God promised you has come about, so He will bring on you every bad thing until He has annihilated you from this good land the LORD your God has given you. (16) If you break the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and go and worship other gods, and bow down to them, the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly disappear from this good land He has given you.”

The Covenant Renewal at Shechem

Joshua 24:1-33, “(1) Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem and summoned Israel’s elders, leaders, judges, and officers, and they presented themselves before God.  (2) Joshua said to all the people, [This is Prophecy – 1st person] “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.  (3) But I took your father Abraham from the region beyond the Euphrates River, led him throughout the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants. I gave him Isaac, (4) and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave the hill country of Seir to Esau as a possession, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.  (5) “‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, I plagued Egypt by what I did there, and afterwards I brought you out. (6) When I brought your fathers out of Egypt and you reached the Red Sea, the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen as far as the sea. (7) Your fathers cried out to the LORD, so He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea over them, engulfing them. Your own eyes saw what I did to Egypt. After that, you lived in the wilderness a long time.  (8) “‘Later, I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan. They fought against you, but I handed them over to you. You possessed their land, and I annihilated them before you.  (9)  Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, set out to fight against Israel. He sent for Balaam son of Beor to curse you,  (10) but I would not listen to Balaam. Instead, he repeatedly blessed you, and I delivered you from his hand.  (11)  “‘You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The people of Jericho–as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites–fought against you, but I handed them over to you.  (12)  I sent the hornet ahead of you, and it drove out the two Amorite kings before you. It was not by your sword or bow.  (13)  I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’” 

Choose Whom You Will Serve

“(14) Therefore, fear the LORD and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship the LORD.  (15) But if it doesn’t please you to worship the LORD, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship the LORD.”  (16)  The people replied, “We will certainly not abandon the LORD to worship other gods!  (17) For the LORD our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, the place of slavery and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all along the way we went and among all the peoples whose lands we traveled through.  (18) The LORD drove out before us all the peoples, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will worship the LORD, because He is our God.”

“(19) But Joshua told the people, “You will not be able to worship the LORD, because He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not remove your transgressions and sins.  (20) If you abandon the LORD and worship foreign gods, He will turn against you, harm you, and completely destroy you, after He has been good to you.”  – Rev. 2&3

“(21) No!” the people answered Joshua. “We will worship the LORD.” (22)  Joshua then told the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship the LORD.” “We are witnesses,” they said. (23) “Then get rid of the foreign gods that are among you and offer your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” (24) So the people said to Joshua, “We will worship the LORD our God and obey Him.” (25) On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people at Shechem and established a statute and ordinance for them. (26) Joshua recorded these things in the book of the law of God; he also took a large stone and set it up there under the oak next to the sanctuary of the LORD. (27) And Joshua said to all the people, “You see this stone–it will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the LORD said to us, and it will be a witness against you, so that you will not deny your God.” (28) Then Joshua sent the people away, each to his own inheritance.”

Joshua’s Death and Burial

“ (29)  After these things, the LORD’s servant, Joshua son of Nun, died at the age of 110.  (30) They buried him in his allotted territory at Timnath-serah, in the hill country of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash.  (31) Israel worshiped the LORD throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua, and who had experienced all the works the LORD had done for Israel.  (32)  Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the parcel of land Jacob had purchased from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for 100 qesitahs. It was an inheritance for Joseph’s descendants.  (33) And Eleazar son of Aaron died, and they buried him at Gibeah, which had been given to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim.”

Second generation “faith”. Everyone who was alive and had encountered God for themselves continued to be faithful – but as we will see when we get to chapter 2 of the book of Judges – the next generation did evil and forsook God in preference to Baal.

You cannot live off the faith and experiences of your spiritual forefathers – you MUST have an encounter with God yourself, or even your faithfulness will be a form of idolatry – in that you will worship a “system” rather than your God. 


I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!