There comes a time in all of our lives when we get the opportunity to decide how the
future will look. We recognize our past wins and losses, we’re confronted with a current
reality, all the while dreaming of a glorious future. Some famous people we know had
some infamous decisions to make:
- John Lennon had to decide what to do with the Yoko Ono and the Beatles
- Michael Jordan had decide if baseball was his new passion
- Frodo Baggins had to decide if he would carry the ring to Mordor
- Ice Cube had to decide his future with NWA
- Garth Brooks had to decide if he would stay Chris Gaines
- Whitney Houston had to decide if she would marry Bobby Brown
- John Burke had to decide – soul patch or no soul patch and Carlos Ortiz had to decide
mustache or no mustache. (Pics of John Burke with Soul Patch and Carlos with mustache)
- And most recently… Belly had to decide on Conrad or Jeremiah (Gen Z reference
to “Summer I Turned Pretty)
These cultural icons had to make these decisions that really have no consequences for
us, but scripture is filled with people who had to make a decision that had an eternal
spiritual impact even to this day:
- Rahab (the prostitute) had to decide if she would help hide two spies and change
the trajectory of her family and a nation
- Moses had to decide if his past would keep him from leading people into freedom
- Saul had to decide if his past mistakes would keep him from being a radical
follower of Jesus
- Jesus’ agony is on display as he decides to move forward faithfully in the
garden of gethsemane, and towards the cross of shame for our salvation
We too make these kinds of decisions…on a daily basis! The truth is
You can’t change your past, but you can help create the future.
The great C.S. Lewis puts it this way
You have been given one life. How are you going to make it count? We do recognize that
most of us are not going to make the most of it. There are seasons, maybe even
decades, of life that we squander in order to hide from our pain, or we endeavor to
conquer and take ground in business, law, medicine, and technology. But inevitably we
come to a tipping point, a place where something has to give, we recognize that we
fumbled away some opportunities, some time, some money, and yet, new opportunities
show themselves and we GET TO make up for all that was lost.
Last week we spoke about Moses and how he was in the desert for 40 years. And
rather than learn to trust God and his timing and his command Israel disobeys and has
been going in circles for 40 years. A journey that should have only taken 2 weeks has
taken them 2 generations. But as we pick up this story it’s time for Joshua, the new
leader, to lead people into the land promised by God.
Joshua 1:1 After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun,
Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to
lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I
promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given
you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the
Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the
Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I
was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. 6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are
the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give
So the first thing about fully chasing after a new dream of a future, is our need to understand
Understand Your Past
There’s a lot of baggage that you accumulate over 40 years, good and bad.
Israel couldn’t deny there was a rough history of mistrust, idol worship, and
disobedience. Just like you and I. But now they had a decision to make
When faced with shame from our past and fear of the future the reminder for us is to BE
STRONG AND COURAGEOUS.
As a church we celebrate the faithfulness of God over the last 25 years (just as Israel
celebrated God’s faithfulness over those 40 years, it wasn’t all bad of course). As we
celebrate 25 years as a church, where are you in our story? Some of you helped Gateway get started!
Anyone here been with Gateway since the years in the synagogue or even before the synagogue?
How many of you started coming in the early days of the building in North Austin? How many of you
started with us at the South Austin campus when we were at Covington Middle School? Or at
Crockett H.S.? In this building before the pandemic? Since the pandemic?
We have so much to be grateful for as part of a church family that is made up of faithful people who
have given their time, talent, and treasure so that we could have what we have today! But we cannot
just live off the fumes from our past. God wants to do something new! We cannot live there, we can’t
stay stuck in our past.
We know we cannot live there, we can’t stay there.
Joshua 3:5 Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great
wonders among you.”
Too many of us look back, wondering what could have been, wondering if we made the right
There is time for looking back….a time for understanding our past……but we can stay there too long if
we’re not careful…..leading to regret….
Look…..We can make anything make sense to us.… even when it doesn’t to everyone else…..However,
a better approach is to not look back on past decisions, in regret… regardless of what they are….
Those events are sealed and done……
Looking back in regret….didn’t turn out well for Lot’s Wife…..
“The angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will
be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters
and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought
them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!
Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Thus he overthrew those cities (Sodom and Gomorrah) and the entire plain, destroying all those living
in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a
pillar of salt. Genesis 19:15-17;25-26
This is the lesson….Don’t look back in regret…..
We can Examine our lives to understand the past…..but we MUST…. live our lives looking and moving
Something to think about is this “Are you living from yesterday to today? Or are you living from today
to tomorrow?” We don’t know what tomorrow holds….but we can prepare for it anyway!
Purify the Present
In order to be Future Ready and walk in the destiny God has for you, for us, there’s going to be
a moment where you step up and make a concentrated decision that says, “I’m not going
back.” Come hell or highwater I’m going to follow Jesus.
There’s a famous song that has been sung all over the Christian world about this very thing. I
have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back!” The song is attributed to several people, Sadhu
Sundar Singh and Simon Malak are two of those people, but one thing they all have in common is
that it was written in the region of Assam, India, a northeast state of the country. It’s a simple
song, with a simple message and declaration, I can’t go back to who I used to be!!
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
The world behind me, the cross before me,
No turning back, no turning back
These words were penned and sung after much heartache and loss. The people of this region
knew death, and loss, and still chose to stay faithful to Jesus.
Where do you consecrate (set aside and declare) your life, your family, your decisions to be in
line with God?
The second part of Joshua 3:5 says, “God will do miracles among you”
They cross the Jordan and the waters part, a call back to the Red Sea for a new generation. The
truth is that we do not do these things to get something from God, but we do position
ourselves, and align ourselves with God, and when that begins to happen, God makes the
Where are we making ourselves ready for God to do something pretty incredible in our lives?!
What have you been believing for, but really haven’t positioned yourself in a way that reflects
your belief that it will happen?
Joshua 4:1 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Now choose
twelve men, one from each tribe. 3 Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the
priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place
where you will camp tonight.’” 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one
from each of the tribes of Israel. 5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of
the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your
shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 6 We will use these
stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones
mean?’ 7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when
the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the
people of Israel forever.”
Fuel the Future
- Reverence for God
We fuel the future by having a holy reverence and awe for who God is, and continues to be in
our lives. When we Fear (deep awe and reverence) God we position ourselves to live life
according to his ways. Scripture is so full of verses as the result of Fearing/Reverencing God.
Here’s just 1:
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD.
- Radical Obedience
There’s a God who goes before us, and guides us towards his perfect will. Standing in the
middle of a river makes NO SENSE. Many times the things God asks of you will make no sense.
They will be counter-cultural, require courage, and will definitely go beyond our comfort zone.
But on the other side of obedience is favor and even the Miraculous.
- Remember God’s work
We are to share, pass down, the great works of God, works that only those who
experienced first hand could fully understand.
- Raise a new generation
There is no future without the next generation. We say often here they are not the church of
tomorrow, they’re the church of right now. Psalm 78 like other Psalms and places in the Bible
summarizes God’s leading the people of Israel through the desert into the promised land, but
check out these verses.
1 My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell
There’s an anticipation that God is preparing his people to step into a literal river, but also step
into a new form of legacy, one that reveres God as a God of multiple generations and one who
does miracles because this group of leaders
So how will you take a step into the future today? Maybe there’s some things from
your past holding you back and God is saying you don’t live there anymore. Maybe
you’re still holding on to the wins from the past and that’s great, but God is saying you
can’t STAY THERE, “I want to do a new thing.”
As we go in this closing song will you stand with us? You’ll hear a familiar song and
you’ll see moments from Gateway’s past and present. And our hope is that you will make a
decision with us to help build the Future.
Not in our own strength. Faces change, people come and go, things look different, but
what the Lord is building will last forever. So let’s declare, God it’s all about you, and however
you want to use us, we say “Yes”.