The Caleb Generation
Are you over 40, nearing 40 or on your way to 40, then you are part of the Caleb Generation. Caleb, on the brink of the promise land, at 85 years old said, “I was 45 years old when God sent me to survey the land…and here I am 85 years old and I’m still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out. I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now, give me my mountain.”
In the Caleb Generation series, you will be inspired to keep going on for God with a youthful,
Caleb-like spirit. This teaching candidly and insightfully explores what it means to be part of the
Caleb Generation in the 21st Century. Most importantly, it expresses, that those in the Caleb Generation must realize their day is not over. They must keep on playing and keep on fighting because they give faith and courage to the next generation through their wisdom and encouragement.
Joshua chapter 14, we are reading in verse 6. The men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb said to Joshua, you know what the Lord said to Moses. I was forty years old when Moses, servant of the Lord, he sent me from Kadesh Banera to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions but the brothers who went out with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. However I followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, the land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. Now then, just as the Lord has promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since that time. He said this to Moses. While Israel moved about the desert. So here I am, eighty-five years old, and I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out. I am just as vigorous to go out into battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country. Another translation says; now give me my mountain that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard so Joshua blessed Caleb. Let us just get into the word. So here is the thing, I want to speak to you about a Caleb Generation. The Bible says that when Caleb was sent to spy out the Promise Lands he was forty years old. He was one of twelve people who went in to possess the Promise Lands. They went in there to spy it out, to see what the land was like, and to see if they could take over the land, to see how they could bring back a report, bring back a battle plan, this is how we are going to drive them out and this is how we are going to take the lands. Forty years old, handpicked by Moses to represent one of the twelve tribes of Israel. You know the story; they brought back a negative report. But Joshua and Caleb, the only two people who brought back a positive report were the only two people of that generation who made it into the Promise Lands. God sent them back out into the wilderness, another forty-five years and waited for that generation to die off because they had fear, they had negativity, and they believed the report of the majority. You cannot always afford to go with the majority. Come on, somebody say amen. And so Joshua and Caleb were the only two. Here is Caleb, going to Joshua, Joshua is now the leader. You were there Joshua; you remember Moses promised me my mountain. I am just as young, just as vibrant, just as determined. I am not cranky. I am not old. I
am not mean. I am not miserable. I am not batting down the hatches. I am not looking for retirement. I am not looking for some line of social security. I have some fight in me. I have been given some promises by God. I have not forgotten them. I am hanging on to those promises. I have a long memory. Now give me my mountain. You were there, Joshua. You heard Moses promise me. Amen. Now I want to speak to our church about being a Caleb Generation, About not retiring and not thinking I guess it’s easy in churches that have young people that people can easily just sit back and go well it’s the young people’s day and we’ll just love God and just serve out the rest of our life and get this kind of like, I do not know, maybe a cruising spirit. Or maybe some sort of like a, well you know, when you get older you get smarter and you do not tend to do as much in life. I want to stir us to believe God, to keep pushing and keep pressing and keep moving forward. Amen? Come on, someone give God a hand. Give him a good one. Amen? And so we looked at a couple of the qualities that I think are of the Caleb Generation and I want to talk about them. And I read out a bunch of names last week if you were not here last week, get the CD of people who in their forties, which was the age of Caleb when he first started this battle. And people in their forties had done great things.
And so the first thing we looked at, number 1, is in verse 7 it says I was sent out by Moses, to spy out the land. And the first thing I said was, you got to plan your battles. Amen? There are enough battles to fight without fighting somebody else’s battles. Amen? You have got to make sure you plan battles.
The second things I said is, you have got to have the courage to swim against the tide. In verse 7 again it says, “I brought back a report according to my convictions.” Everybody else was saying it cannot be done. Everybody else was saying you know hey, there are giants in the land. But I brought back a report on my convictions.
Third thing I said is found in verse 8. I said you have got to know the power of negativity. He says “…the brothers who went with me made the people’s hearts melt with fear.” Not everybody who is with you is with you. You know, it is a funny thing. Just because somebody is beside does not necessarily mean they are with you. Just because somebody is in your life and here, Caleb is talking about my brothers who went with me, they were negative. They were fearful. You have got to know the power of negativity and you have got to cut negativity up. Drive out the mocker, out goes the strife. Amen? And the mocker does not go quietly. They will say everything and everything they can about the church. They will have swings on the way out. But understand, when you see somebody swinging on the way out, when you see somebody mocking and criticizing and judging and pointing the finger, it is a sign that the mocker has been driven out. Do not get caught up with the mocker. Do not fight the mocker’s battles. Get under Godly leadership and be sent into the battles that God has called us to fight. Can you say amen? The mocker gets loudest when they are about to be driven out. Boy, I have discovered that’s true in life. Boy, I have discovered that’s true. In a work environment, how many have seen in a work environment, when somebody is just negative and just winging, moaning and groaning and griping and you know, always speaking ill of the boss and ill of the company. They get loudest right before they are driven out. Come on, that is true, is it not? The same is true in church. You know, you drive out the mocker and out goes the strife but they get loudest on the way out. Praise the Lord.
Number 4, the fourth thing I said. Look what it says in verse 8, the latter part of the verse, “however, I follow the Lord wholeheartedly.” And so the last thing I said last Sunday, if you remember was, you have got to keep your heart in what you are doing. You cannot afford to disengage. You cannot afford to just allow yourself the luxury of what you think is a luxury of just going through the motions. You have got to keep your heart connected in what you are doing. You cannot be somebody who comes in the church and just reduces church into songs, sermons and offerings. You cannot afford to be somebody who just comes into the church and you are the last in and you are the first out. You cannot afford to be that kind of person that, you know really, when it comes to the word of God its ahhhhhhh. You cannot afford to be that person when it comes to the alter call you are looking at your watch. You know, if you are doing that your heart is not in what God is doing in this house. If you are just, you know, who is here and who is not here, and who is preaching and let me see what the preacher has got today, if he can keep me interested. Your heart is not in what you are doing. See the funny thing, I have met people and I have been in church leadership for a long time. I know I do not look that old but I have been in church leadership for a long time. And I have met people who got saved in their church and man, they loved their church and their church can do nothing wrong. Then all of a sudden, they hook up with someone, and the church that they once loved, that can do nothing wrong, something has changed. And the church has not changed. But let me tell you what has changed, they got hooked up with a person who did not love the church. You with me here? And you have just got to keep your heart in what you are doing. He says, “I followed the Lord wholeheartedly.” And because of that, now look at the fifth key.
Number five, look at verse 9. Look what the Bible says in verse 9. Let’s throw it up on the screen if we have it. “So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land which your feet have walked will be yours and that of your children forever, because you have follow the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” So on that day Moses swore to me the land which your feet have walked will be an inheritance for you and for your children. And now thank God for promises that are for you and for your children. Amen? And not just your children but how many know it is for us and our children. Those who come to know Christ, the babes in Christ. The newborn, born again, new believers. For you and your children. God has promised us Hampton Roads. Amen? It is an inheritance for us. God has promised it to the church. We have got to take it. We have got to possess it. Amen? But here is the thing I want to say about that: You cannot have where you have not been. You cannot live where you have not been. The Bible says that Moses said, everywhere you put your foot, you will have. Some people want things but are not prepared to pay the price to get there. You have got to put your foot there.
I remember one time back, way back, when I first got saved, and I thought this was a great idea. It is a little bit corny, a little citchy but let me tell you something, it really helped. Our church, back in Penrif in Australia, we were believing God to buy, I think then it was like 30 acres of land. And it was going to take quite a lot of finance to raise that kind of money. And I remember the pastor was trying to figure out how can we get the people to get excited about buying the land? The problem was the people were comfortable in a warehouse and they did not necessarily want to go and buy land. They knew it was going to cost them something. And the pastor was like how can I get the people excited about this? What he did was, the land that he wanted to purchase, he said to the people who wanted to sell it, would it be ok if we all came out with our push mowers and mowed the thirty one acres? And he gave sections for every family to come out with a mower and mow the grass. And at the time, the people were going, that is the stupidest thing we have ever heard in our lives. But he did not tell them until they got there. And he read out this scripture and he said God has shown me we cannot have where we have not been. And so, I want to get you out here and I want you walking around on the property because everywhere we put our feet, God will give it to us. And I want to tell you, I saw a church’s heart change. Then he said to the person, and again we did not have the money to buy the property, he said to the person, can we just hire the land and have a tent meeting? And so he hired a tent and put up this massive tent and we had an old fashioned tent revival. I am talking, the dust coming off the floor. How many people know what I am talking about? And I want to tell you, he had a guest speaker, God turned up and that was actually, in that tent meeting, is literally where I felt for the first time in my life a call to full time ministry in that of pastoring. I remember where I stood. I remember there was a guy called Peter Morrow who was preaching. And I want to tell you, Peter Morrow in my eyes was the most anointed man I had ever met in my life. And what he used to do, when he’d get really wound up he would do this. And I so loved this man. I so loved the anointing of God that, from time to time, when I got wound up, I would do this. Thinking that maybe, if I did this, I would get some of the anointing that he has. But I will never forget, it was the day that that church had the courage to buy that property. And actually, you want to talk about expansion? Today they have an elementary school, a high school, a preschool, a kindergarten. And today Pastor Jack Hanes pastors that entire complex. But I remember trying to get the church to get out onto the land and put their feet on it. And I want to tell you something, you have got to put your feet places. If you want to get things in life, you have got to put your feet there. Amen? That’s what this miracle offering is all about. That’s what this is about. You want to see something; you want to see God do something? You have got to put your feet there. You have got to go there. You have got to go there. You have got to go get yourself into that place, into that zone. People say, could you ever have imagined, Wave Convention Center, nine years ago? Did you have a dream that it would happen? And I do not want to be arrogant but if I did not imagine it it would not be there today. I had to go there. And then come on church, let’s go. Who is coming with me? We can do this. You cannot have where you have not been. You want healing? Then you better get yourself into the word of God and get sure about his promises. You want blessing? Then you better get yourself into the word of God and figure out how those blessings come. Amen? You cannot have where you have not been. Amen? And, you know, you have got to learn what it is I mean I look at people who have had great success in their life and I do not look and think man how did they get all of that? You know what I think? I think what price did they pay? How much pain did they have to go through to get where they are today? I do not look and go how they get that? Probably selling drugs, probably ripping people off. That is what some people think. Are you with me here? I look at a guy like Joel Osteen and it looks like he’s an overnight success, a real good overnight success. He faithfully served his father for decades on the other side of the camera filming his dad. Overnight success. There is no such thing as an overnight success. He had been there for many years. It was an inheritance for his father and his children. Joel is just walking where his father has been. Come on, somebody say amen. I want to encourage you in your life. You know Sharon and I, in terms of just believing God to live a larger life, when we were first married, I mean, literally we lived on scrambled eggs. We had ham and cheese toasted sandwiches for the first year of our life I think almost every night for dinner. Is that true? And that is not because Sharon was a bad cook. It was because we did not have enough money to buy food. Not only that, we did not even have time necessarily to even cook food if we had the money. We were so busy just serving God. And I remember to this day I still will not eat a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Is that true? I will not. I just, I look at it and it just and it is not that I have disdain for the past I just remember thinking I am so over toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. But I remember saying to Sharon, let’s believe God to break out of this limited lifestyle that we have got ourselves confined to. Let’s break out, let’s just, let’s go places in God and so we would go I found, in all honesty, we were ruled by a spirit of poverty. We were ruled by a spirit lag. We would talk like this, we just cannot afford. I remember learning to say things like, it is not that we cannot afford it. We are going to say we choose not to buy it now. There is a big difference between the two. Saying we cannot afford it puts your finances in control of you. Saying we choose not to have it now puts you in control of your finances. Death and life and the power of the tongue. So Sharon and I would go into these nice restaurants and these nice hotels. We did not stay in the hotel we could not afford. We would go into the lobby and buy a water or orange juice and just sit there and just get familiar and used to a different environment from what we were used to. We were trying to put our feet somewhere. We were trying to put our feet in a place of, you know what, we are believing God to be blessed. We are believing God to be comfortable in any environment. We were very comfortable in the environment we were in, trust me. We knew how to relate to that environment. We wanted to learn how to relate to another environment. You cannot have where you have not been. You have to put your feet there and that is why you have to be comfortable where you put your feet because where you put your feet you will have. There are some places your feet do not belong. Amen? And there are some things you just do not want to have but you will have wherever you put your feet. Let me tell you this, you will have whatever you put in your mind. It is on its way. You have started the starting gun. Whatever you are thinking about is at the starting blocks waiting to hear a shot. And the moment you thought it, you have set that on course toward your life. The more you think about it, the more accelerated it will come to you. You cannot have where you have not been. Your thought life make sure your thoughts are taking you where you want to go. Amen? Make sure in terms of your life, you understand that it is such a powerful principle. The promise is for you and it is for your children. It is an inheritance for the generations. Amen?
Number six, the sixth thing that I want to bring out here is it says in verse 10, the Lord has promised to keep me alive. God’s promises will keep you young. Did you hear it? Number six, God’s promises will keep you young and will keep you alive. That is why I want to speak to the Caleb Generation. Anyone over the age of forty, it is not a time to settle down. It is not a time for neutrality. It is not a time for mediocrity. It is not a time for average. It is not a time to just go well now it is the next generation’s turn. Let me tell you something, God’s promises will keep you young and they will keep you alive. That is why you have to keep living with mission. That is why you have to keep living with purpose. That is why you have to keep living with a sense of destiny. There is more to do, more people to get saved. Vision and mission will keep you alive.
I was listening on the satellite radio about a guy who climbed Mount Everest with a team and they pronounced him dead up there on the mountain. They diagnosed him dead. But the guy was not dead and he slipped into hallucinations. To all intensive purposes every indication was he was dead. But this guy remembers thinking to himself, I made a promise to my family that I would come home. He knows that they have left him there in the snow. And then somehow he mentally willed himself to live. And then he sat up. His fingers were completely frozen. He sat up and thought to himself; I made a promise to my wife and children that I would come home. So he said he willed himself to live and sat up and waited for someone to find him. He was Australian. This just happened. Then an American team came and found him and to their shock they knew that someone had left a body in the snow that had died and the guy was sitting up and said hi. Could you please take me home to my family? There is something awesome about a will to live. There is something incredible about the human determination to keep on living.
There is another story I heard about a guy who was mauled by a grizzly bear. The bear got him on the ground and he did what he was supposed to do and played dead. He said the bear was chewing into his arm. Then he felt the bear bite into his skull. He said but I remember as I played dead I was thinking I am going to die but I thought to myself, I want to live. I want to see my wife and children again. Finally the bear lost interest because that is what you are supposed to do. How you play dead, I do not know. I would be screaming. But he did and the bear lost interest. He tells the story now about his incredible will to live. And here the Bible says that God has kept me alive because of the promise God gave me. He says I am as young and as fit and as strong and as vigorous and as determined. I want to speak to the Caleb Generation. Do not think about what illness to expect at this age. Do not start thinking about when you need to be more conservative. I want to say to you, keep living with a kingdom cause. Keep living with a sense of mission. It will keep you alive. My father is literally known in the hospitals as the walking corpse. That is what the doctors call him. I have flown home twice to Australia to attend his funeral and both times when I have gotten there he was sitting up. I am on the plane knowing my dad will not be alive when I get there and when I get there he is alive. He is like, hey son, how are you doing? I said Dad, that is twice. The third time you better be dead or I will be mad at you. You have to know my dad and me. It is a joke. He was in the hospital for eight weeks and he is amazing. His will to live there is something to be said about the promises of God that will keep you alive. If you lose sight of mission, you lose sight of purpose, you start making life all about you then your world will shrink and shrivel up right before your very eyes. There is something incredible about “age is an attitude.” When you live with mission you stay young at heart. When you live with purpose you do not major on the minors and minor on the majors. There are some things that I just do not have time for. The nitty, nit picking just move on. Life is too big, it is too full. There are more important things in life than to be worrying about those little things. Can you say amen? I have met some people whose world is shriveled up and it is all about what they are going to do next Tuesday. And that is the biggest day in their life, next Tuesday. It is the big shopping day when we get out once every two weeks to go shopping. And I am thinking, dear God help us; help us to live with a sense of more than that. Do not get me wrong, it is not that we should not be reaching out but life is too full to just let it shrivel up and become nothing. Amen?
I was flying from Rome to Washington, D.C. and I will tell you mission and vision will keep you alive. And I am on that plane with a guy named Scott Gordon. Scott was with me and had never really traveled overseas before. We were in Italy looking at starting a church over there and I was flying back through America. On that particular flight there was turbulence. I think turbulence is fun. I like turbulence. It makes a flight more interesting. I also understand turbulence is not going to crash a plane. I understand enough about aerodynamics to know that that is ok. Turbulence is just an air pocket. That is all it is. We will keep flying so it does not really worry me in the slightest. Except on this particular flight we were up there for the twelve hour of what was supposed to be a seven hour flight, trying to get away from what we did not know were tornadoes. It is very unusual for tornados to be on this side of the country but as we know they do come occasionally. We were flying up and down the East coast through storms and thunderstorms, trying to get away but everywhere we went the storm was. And the pilot said ladies and gentlemen, everyone sit down and put your seatbelts on. One lady, bless her heart she thought she had her seatbelt on but she did not. Her head hit the roof and I thought it cracked. I heard the bones. And other people, the air stewards were freaking out. They did not fasten one of the food trolleys properly and it went flying down the aisle, smashing and exploded. People were screaming. Then one of the air stewards said I have never been so afraid in all my life. All my years of flying, I have never seen weather like this. Then the other steward said be quiet, do not let the passengers know we are afraid. Young Scott who was with me, if there was an Enoch and he walked with God and he was no more I thought that would be it. I have never heard a man pray like this man prayed. I thought God was going to rapture him. I just thought, this guy is in prayer. People were screaming and I can tell you the truth, I sat on that plane and thought to myself everybody on this plane will want to thank God I am on it because I am living with a sense of mission. I am living with a sense of purpose. And that promise that God has put in my heart is what has kept me alive. It is what has kept me focused. It is what kept me true to the cause. God has said to me, I will give you a mountain and that promise has kept me young at heart, and alive, focused and determined and this plane will not be the end of me. We made an emergency landing on a runway that was not long enough for the plane that we were on but we were running out of fuel. And we were running out and we could not stay up there any longer. We had to do an emergency landing and assume the emergency position. Stick your head between your knees and kiss your butt goodbye. But honestly, I sat on the plan and people were freaking out. We landed and there were fire engines all down the side. I thought God, thank you, I still have mission, I still have purpose, I still have things to do and your promises are what is going to keep me alive. Come on. You lose sight of that and you will die long before you should have died.
Number seven. Verse 11, here I am today, eighty-five, just as strong as when I was forty. Listen to this; it is really simple. Do not stop fighting the good fight of faith. Did you hear me? Do not stop fighting the good fight of faith. Paul says, I have fought the good fight. I have run my race. He said that knowing he was at the end of his time. He said that knowing he had fought do not stop fighting the good fight of faith until you know God has called you home. Can you say amen? Hebrews chapter 11, the hall of fame, all of these died in faith, never having seen the promise but judged him faithful to do it even after they had gone. I want to say to the Caleb Generation, do not stop fighting the good fight. Do not fight bad fights. Do not fight fights you were never supposed to fight. Do not get in a nit picking world. Do not get caught up with a mocker. Amen? But do not stop fighting. The Bible says we wrestle not. We read that as passive. Isn’t that good? We do not wrestle. No, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but we do wrestle. It is against principalities and powers. Do not stop fighting in Jesus’ name. Travis is fighting the good fight of faith. He is coming back from an injury that I guess could have discouraged and depressed most people. But here he is, a Caleb man, if ever I saw one and he is fighting the good fight of faith. He is in and out of the hospital with setback after setback but here he is, front row in the house of God, determined to serve God. Determined to keep doing it. He is a man fighting the good fight of faith.
The last point is simply this. Look at verse twelve. Now give me my mountain. Now give me my mountain. Now give me my mountain. You can tell a Caleb Generation person. A Caleb Generation person may have been delayed but he will not be denied. Did you hear me? He may have been delayed, it may have been another forty-five years, but he will not be denied. Now give me my mountain. It is not just for him, it is for his children. And I want to set my kids up. I do not just want to set my kids up. I believe, because I follow the Lord wholeheartedly, God made me promises and I will not be denied that which God promised me. There are some people here in the Caleb Generation where you have lost sight of some of those dreams. You have let those things slip by. If it is the Lord’s will, he will bring it. I want to tell you, be a Caleb person now. Now give me my mountain.