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.
Are you ready for the word? Listen, I just want to continue on this series, Caleb Generation. Once again, how many people here are forty years of age and older? Let me see your hand. Wave it in the air like you just do not care. How many people here are under the age of forty, let me see your hand? Here is my point; people say this church is full of young people. Well we have young people in it but let me tell you something, what makes it full of young people is we have people of the Caleb Generation who are still playing their game of life, that are still pushing in, doing the hard jobs and they are championing the next generation. The reason why young people, I believe, come to this church is we are a church filled with people of a Caleb Generation that are still playing their game in life. They are not retired in their thinking. They have not just passed the baton on to the next generation. But they are living and leading by their own personal example, still hungry for God, still pressing in, still believing God for bigger and better days, are not just sitting back as couch potatoes. And let me tell you something, that is very attractive to young people. Come on, thank you for the underwhelming response. There is a great woman of God in our church. Her name is Paula Reed. Paula is part of the Caleb Generation. She gets these young girls around her and she is full of faith and she is a prayer warrior and she is a woman of God. She is a gutsy, gung-ho kind of a lady. And let me tell you something, young girls flock to her. There is something about her life that these young girls look at and say, I want what you have. I want your wisdom. I want your maturity. I want your faith. I want your spirit. God, give us a church of people who are of the Caleb spirit. In Jesus’ name.
Two weeks ago we started this series talking about Caleb. When he was eighty-five years of age he said to Joshua, now give me my mountain. I am as young now, as strong now as when I was forty years of age. We all have to keep playing while we champion the next generation who are in our midst. Amen, church? And we talked about different people who really did not accomplish great things in life until they turned forty years of age. And so if you are not forty yet, do not worry, keep living, you will get there. Amen. And this message is as much for you as it is for anybody else because we all have to keep believing God to take what God has for us. Now here is the story in terms of Caleb. Caleb was part of the children of Israel who came out of Egypt and God said I am going to give you a land that flows with milk and honey. I am going to give you possession of land that is going to be yours forever. I am going to bless you. I am going to bring you into a place of abundance. I am going to bring you into a place of prosperity. I am going to bring you into a place of fulfillment and peace where you will have no enemies around you. And how many want that in your life? So God says that is what I have for you. And Caleb was one of those who were prepared to get out there and fight for what God wanted to give him.
And so a few things we learned about Caleb. Number one, Caleb picked the right battles, did he not? We talked about that. He did not get involved in every fight. He did not get involved in his neighbor’s fights. He made sure that when Moses sent him out to do battle he was doing the ones that leadership had commissioned him to do. He was not worrying about the neighbor’s grass. He was not getting one of those old, miserable, cranky spirits. Do you know what I am saying? What are the young people coming to these days? He was not that kind of a person. He was going come on, I want to get out there and fight for what God has given me.
The second this is that we realize that because he was eighty-five he said he was as strong today as I was when I was forty. The vision of what God had for him kept him young. Vision will keep you young. Purpose and mission, having a sense of “you have not arrived” will keep you fresh and pushing. It will keep you young. And you have to make sure that you keep living with vision. You cannot afford to settle. You cannot start slowing down. You get to be my age you have to start planning for retirement. God, give us a church full of people who are not settling down, who are not mediocre, who are not settling for average. But we are pushing and pressing and we are believing God to see greater victories, greater miracles, greater breakthroughs, and greater inroads into our community. The best sermons have not been preached yet. The best songs have not been written yet. The best churches have not been built yet. The best evangelists are not even saved yet. We have to keep on pressing in. The danger with a church like ours that is growing is we can just take all that for granted and expect everybody else to be doing it. But we have to make sure we stay alive. Amen? And so he swam against the tide of popular opinion. Others were saying it could not be done. He said I do not care what you say; this is what I say. He realized that not everybody that is with you is with you. That is a great lesson to learn in life. Just because somebody happens to be around you does not mean they are with you. He said, I brought back a good report but ten others brought back a negative report. Not everybody who is with you is with you. I am serious. And you have to learn that one really quick. I have had people come up to me and say pastor, I love you. You are the most anointed man of God in the entire world. And two weeks later, where are they? Do you know what I am saying? We need people who say, come on, we are believing God to do things in Jesus’ name.
The next thing about Caleb that I like is he realizes that you cannot have where you have not been. He said Moses said everywhere I put my foot, God will give it to me. In other words, I am prepared to go for where I am after and I am going to put my foot there. Nine or ten years ago people would say, did you ever believe that Wave Convention Center would be built up like this? Did you ever dream that would happen? And I tell you, yes I did. And I do not want to say it proud or arrogantly but the truth is it would not be there if I did not believe for it. Are you with me here? And I remember the first day I set foot on this property realizing I would be pastoring this church, the very first thing that crossed my mind is, I looked at the old building and said that is the most ugly looking building I have ever seen in my life. And it was never meant to be a church auditorium. It was meant to be a children’s facility and the main worship center was meant to be built out in the back. They just never got around to building the other building. So that became, by default, the main worship center. But I remember walking on to this property going, we will tear that thing down. We will build something that will look great for God. And we will do the same thing; we will buy this property here. We will go over to Sea Board Road. We will build down there. We will just start there, touching Hampton Roads. Can I tell you something, you cannot have where you have not been. So I am living, I believe, in prayers that I prayed ten years ago. So I went there in prayer. I went there in faith. I went there in my thinking and because I went there we see what we are seeing. Now here is the point: What if I am not praying prayers today for tomorrow? What if I am not dreaming for the future? What if you are not dreaming for the future? Your future will only be where you are going. Amen. Turn to the person next to you and say, he is preaching a lot better than we are listening. Come on. And then of course Caleb was looking out for his inheritance and he would not be denied, would he? He said I am eighty-five years of age. Come on Joshua, Moses promised me my mountain. God promised me my piece of territory. And Israel has their promise land. But God made me some promises and I am telling you I will not be denied. I will not put up. I will not shut up. I will not rest. I am eighty-five and I am just as much prepared to go to battle now as when I was forty. God, give me those sorts of people in Wave Church that are that determined. Amen.
Look what the Bible says as we continue on. I am just going to reference these scriptures. You can go home and look at them yourself and study them. In Numbers chapter 13, God spoke to Moses and said tell Joshua and tell Caleb to go out with ten others and explore the lands. What they were exploring was, there were seven nations that occupied that land that God wanted to give them. God wanted them to occupy it but it was already occupied by seven other nations. Every nation had a name. And every name had a meaning. So we are going to quickly look at some of those nations and consider the meaning of those names and look at how that they were enemies to the purposes of God. And for them to take over that land they had to defeat those enemies. Are you with me here? And those enemies had names. And those names had meaning. And I believe we can learn from those nations and what their names mean for you and I to realize that if we are going to press into all that God has for us, if we are going to go into the things that God has in store for us then we have to defeat those enemies in our lives. Are you ready?
Follow me for a minute here. So every nation had a name. And the Bible says in Joshua chapter 4 that they crossed Jordan. And what was the first city that they fought? Does anybody remember Sunday school? What was the first city that Joshua had to fight going into the Promise Lands? Jericho. And what do we know about Jericho? It was a strong city. They shut up the city. They knew Israel was coming. They knew Moses was on his way. And the Bible says they shut up the city, they fortified the walls. Their walls were so thick you could literally race two chariots across the top of these walls. That is how thick the walls were. But we know that Jericho fell, do we not? We know that Joshua went into Jericho. They marched around it and Jericho fell. Is that right? And then from there we read in Joshua 5 and 6 that happened. And then the next battle was where? Ai. And Joshua says, this battle was so easy with Jericho and Jericho was a lot stronger city than Ai so let’s just ratchet down the troops. We do not need as many people. We will just send in some of our elite guys and let them go in and defeat the city. But in the process of that God said something and I want you to hear this very carefully. How many know God is always jealous to be first? God said, when you take Jericho I am going to give you the seven nations; I am going to give you the land that flows with milk and honey. But God always wants to be first. So God says Jericho is the first city, so that city’s wealth belongs to me. No one is to touch the devoted things. You give those things to me and I will give you everything else. How many of you think that is a pretty fair deal? So they go in and one person called Achan decides, you know what, I do not know if I can really trust that God is going to bless me so I am going to take some of the devoted things and I am going to keep them for myself. And the Bible says he hid them in his tent under the sand. When you take something that is not rightfully yours you cannot even enjoy it anyway. Here the Bible says he hid it. He knew he was not allowed to have it and he was trying to hide it from everybody. But how many of you know that when you do that, God knows? When you take something that does not belong to you. So they go into Ai thinking this is a slam dunk, no brainer. We should wipe these guys out. And Ai completely humiliated them. And then Joshua is like God, what happened? And God says hey, it is not that there was anything wrong with your battle plan. It is that I was not with you. Somebody has kept something from Jericho when I told them, do not keep those things. Joshua conducts a pretty extensive audit to find out who did it. He finds out that Achan did it. He deals with Achan and then they go on to begin to possess the seven nations. Have you got it? So watch what happens here. Turn to Joshua chapter 3, verse 10. Look at what the Bible says up here on this screen. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you. Now look at these seven nations. The Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites and the Jebusites. And I always add in the parasites. All right. Seven nations and God will drive them out. Have you got that? Everybody say, God will drive them out. Now look at Acts chapter 13 and look what the Bible says as we read now about this looking backwards. So that moment was looking forwards and now we are looking backwards. This has already happened. This is in the New Testament. He overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. So we know he did it. Are you with me here? But now I want to show you how he did it. Look at Exodus chapter 23. Watch this. Exodus 23, verse 30. Little by little everybody say little by little. I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the lands. So God said I am going to give it to you but I am going to give it to you little by little. I have to wait for you to increase in size, in faith, in capacity, in vision, in numbers, and in spirit. I am going to give you these seven nations. I am going to give you a land that flows with milk and honey. It is all going to be yours. But I am going to give it to you little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Here’s the thing I want to say to you church: Keep a big vision. Keep a big dream. Keep a big God dream in front of you. But understand how God gives it to you is little by little until you have increased enough that you can handle it. How many times have we seen people get too much fame and too much fortune and too much promotion too quickly and they are not inwardly able to handle it? And they end up sabotaging and destroying their own lives. God wants you to have all of it but he is going to make sure he grows you in the process. Amen.
All right. Are you ready for it? How many of you want to hear about the seven nations? So here are the seven nations. The first nation we are going to look at is the Amorites. Everybody say Amorites.
Now I am not going to be teaching on these today, I am just going to tell you who they are. The word Amorite means “sayer.” It relates to speaking publicly in prominence, inferring for the sake of others. It means to put down someone else to make yourself look good. It means a mountain dweller or a highland mountaineer who inhabit the land of Canaan. Now there is the first enemy who you and I have to realize that we are going to have to defeat. That temptation to put others down to make yourself look good. It is a funny thing, when a new person gets in a new job they call it a new broom syndrome. And the new person who takes the new job always quickly tries to point out what the other person did wrong to try to make themselves look better. That temptation to be just dissing people. That temptation to try to prove yourself. It is a condescending attitude. I hate TV preachers that preach like that. I hate it when they say things like, there was more I would love to give it but you are not ready for it et. They talk as if people are stupid and they do not know anything. I do not like that kind of preaching. Stop being so condescending. I do not know if you really have all that much more to say, to tell you the truth. Hearing what you’re saying. That condescending, talking down, that is an enemy that will destroy a great life that God wants you to have. Amen.
The second thing is the Hittites. These were a mixed race and that is why their name literally means compromise or willing to mix together. They adorn themselves with many gods and are willing to adapt to the most current god of their time. In other words, whichever god is popular, we will follow that god. They are mixed. They are a mixed people, a mixed race. And literally their name means terror or to be war like. And they were the war like element of these seven nations. I just want to encourage you, there is another enemy we have to deal with. The enemy of compromise. The enemy of just blending in. We were never called as a church to blend in. We were called as a church to stand out. Jesus said, you are a city on a hill. He said, you are the light and you are the salt of the earth. In other words, we are not called just to blend in and compromise with what is happening in the world today. We are called to be standing up and believing God for what we stand for and what we believe the word of God says. Now I am not one of those guys that are for some guy down there on the beach that tells people they are going to hell. Boy, he ticks me off. I just think, you are hurting us. You are not helping us. Again, it is that condescending thing. I know more than you. I am a better person than you. The only difference between us and someone who does not know Jesus is Jesus. Can you say amen? Well we are of this faith. What do you believe? God helps us to stop going down roads that divide us. In Jesus’ name.
There are the Hittites and now there are the Hivites. There is an enemy that we have to deal with that is fear. It is terror. And they were the fiercest tribe of all tribes. Their name literally meant terror. And let me tell you something, there are a lot of people who would be doing a lot more things in their life if they could just be set free from the fear of man. What will people think? The fear of success and the fear of failure. How many things, more things, would you have given a go if you just did not have that fear? So we are going to talk about that and how to deal with that. Their names were not just fear but they were tent dwellers.
Then we have the Jebusites which means to be trodden down, to be beaten down as in a threshing place or to attack without mercy. That is an enemy, let me tell you, of the church. When we start beating people down and treading people down. These are all enemies we have to deal with in our lives if we are going to go into all that God has for us.
Then there are the Canaanites, which means to be humiliated, to scorn. It means to be zealous or red-hot. Also, it can mean to be subdued. The Canaanites, we are going to talk about it next week.
Then the second to last one are the Perizzites. I call them the parasites. These were not very warlike. They often blended in. They were villagers who could move in and seemingly accept the customs, but only partially. In retreat of battle they could hide in another village and act like them.
Is that not interesting? In other words, when they are around Christians, they look like a Christian.
But when they are around people who are not Christians, you would not know they are a Christian. They could just blend in. That is a person who has no real convictions of their own. That is a person whoever they happen to be around is who they happen to be. And again, that is an enemy, I believe, to God’s plan for our life of we are going to really do what God has called us to do.
The last one is the Gergashites. And the Gergashites are really interesting. I mean, the meaning of the word is to have a scab. That is pretty gross, is it not? Or related to a scratch or a scrape. And literally it means, dwelling on clay soil, related to being very base and material, only focused on the physical and material. Their gods were about what they could see and what they could touch. They were very pragmatic people. 2 + 2 = 4. If you got cancer and the doctor says it is incurable, then it is incurable. Very base. Are you with me here? But how many thank God that God says he is our healer? How many thank God that he says I am Jehovah Jireh and I will bless you and I will meet your needs according to my riches and glory? Amen. So that whole idea of just being pragmatic and just being overly pragmatic. I believe in being practical but I think we can be so practical that we can leave God out of the equation. Amen. So if I was pragmatic, let me tell you something, we would have never built this building. In terms of some of the opposition, I would have laid down and let that go. But I have been believing God for favor. Amen. If I was being like this we would never have seen Sea Board Road to be approved to have that built. If I were like that I would have never have had any success talking to the banks. But thank God there is faith and we are believing God for bigger and better days and we are pushing and moving into all that God has for us. Amen?
So I want to give you three simple thoughts as we look at Caleb going into the Promise Land. It is very simple. Number one, you have got to know the power of little things. You have to know the principle, how God builds, how God blesses. God wants you blessed. God wants you to be successful. God wants you to be the head and not the tail. God wants you to stand out. God wants you to be more than an overcomer. God wants you to be all that he has called you to be. It is the will of God for you to be successful. It is the will of God for you to have a dream. It is the will of God for you to move forward in your life. But here is how he builds, watch it. Do you remember Exodus 23? Little by little. You have to know the power of little things. That is how God builds. And so you have to keep the dream and the size of the dream and the magnitude of the dream and the clarity of the dream. It all has to be there but I know too many people who get frustrated because the dream is so far away and they give up on their dream thinking they will never get there. But God builds little by little. And the Bible says we inherit the promises of God through faith and through patience. They are the power twins. You have to get those two working together. Faith is awesome but you better have some patience, as well. God builds little by little. I will give it all to you but I am going to give you this much so when you handle this much I will give you this much more. And you are getting bigger. You are getting better. You are getting sharper. You are getting more skilled in what I am giving you. So if you are standing back here going, I want all that and none of that is coming. But you do not realize that God just took you little by little. And he is moving you towards your dream. He is moving you. And sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back, but let me tell you, God builds little by little. Despise not the day of small beginnings, the Bible says. So here it is, faith and patience. They are the power twins. I know people have got all of the faith in the world but have no patience. I know people who have so much patience that they have lost sight of their faith. They do not even know what their dream is anymore, they are so patience. Kay sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future is not ours to see, kay sera sera. And they just take this idea, I am just patient. And that is what happens to some Caleb Generation kind of people. They stop believing for their dream. They stop pushing for their dream. They lost sight of their dream. They have gotten so patient. But let me tell you something, keep the dream inside but keep faith there, as well. Keep on keeping on. Keep on believing God. Do not lose sight of what God put in your heart. Amen? So watch here, Luke chapter 19, verse 17. This is a story of Jesus rewarding somebody. And he said to them, “‘Well done good servant. Because you were faithful in very little, you will have authority over ten cities.'” Do you see how God builds? Faith in a little and he will bring increase. Faith in a little, now I am going to give you ten times what you had. God tests you in the little things. God will test you. It is not the big things in life that get us in trouble. It is the little things in life that get us in trouble. Have a look at Song of Songs, chapter 2, verse 15. And look at what the Bible says here. “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.” There is a great picture of have you ever seen a vineyard? I love looking at vineyards and walking around vineyards. And you see the rolling hills of beautiful vineyards. And you look at them and they just look like carpet, does it not? It just looks beautiful. You could stand back and maybe you could even look at your life as a vineyard. And you would go, look at my life. Does that not look fantastic? And the Bible says you have to catch the little foxes that spoil the vine. So you stand back and look and go yeah, look at that. That is a great dream. That is my life. That is what I am believing God for. The Bible says little foxes can spoil that vine. And you cannot see as you are looking across but you need to look down and look at the little fox that is chewing the vine. You have got to be faithful in the little things. You have to get rid of the little foxes that will eat away at what will soon deteriorate from God’s plan for your life.
Here is another principle. Have a look at 1 Kings chapter 17. Here is a woman about to die. She is perhaps anorexic. She is being starved to death. She has got her last meal. She and her son are going to eat their last meal then she is going to give up and die. And then in comes a prophet and the prophet says how are you doing, woman? She says I am about to die. I am having my last meal. He says, that is fine but could you do me a favor and cook me something first? What would CNN do with that if I walked into a woman’s home and said listen, woman who is anorexic and about to die and this is your last meal, give it to me. They would absolutely annihilate us. But here a prophet walks in and says hey, put God first. First, before you do your last meal, first give me, the prophet, a meal. First. Do not touch the first things. God likes to be first. Look at what the Bible says. As surely as the God lives, she replied, I do not have any bread. Only a handful of flour and a jar and a little oil in a jug. And I am gathering a few sticks to take them home to make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it and die. This is her last meal. And the prophet is going, give it to me. And she did. And through that act of being faithful in that little oil that she had, God sustained that woman’s life and her son’s life during the times of extreme famine because she was faithful in the little things. It is just a little lie. Have you ever heard that? It is just a little lie. It was not a big lie, just a little lie. Be faithful in the little things. I just stole a little money from the tip jar.
Someone gave me a tip and I just stuck that in my pocket. I did not share it with everybody else because after all, it was just a little. Or maybe in terms of punctuality at work, you start work at 9am and you get there at five past nine. And you think, it is only a few minutes. But the Bible says if you are faithful in the little then God will promote you and make you faithful over much. And you know, maybe you are just five minutes late for a meeting but there are ten people waiting on you to be in that meeting so the meeting can start. Well those five minutes you thought was not all that important now turns into fifty minutes because ten other people are waiting for you. And you just lost that company fifty minutes of productivity. Be faithful in the little things and God will make you faithful over much. Can you say amen? So here is what the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 6, verse 10. I love this verse. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” A little sleep. A little slumber. Hitting the snooze button. Someone just went oh no, do not bring out the snooze button. Hey listen, be faithful in the little things. People say about Wave Church, what an overnight success Wave Church was. Let me tell you something, nothing can be further from the truth. People might see now what God has done and look at it and think look what God has done. But let me tell you something, it all started with people being faithful in the little things. I think about my journey, my time that we have been here and we were just faithful believing God to pay off the debt on Sea Board Road which is about a quarter of a million dollars. And let me tell you something, back then 250 thousand dollars was a lot of money for this church. But we were faithful in the little that God gave us and what does God do? He increases. And then we were able to buy these 13 acres and then we were able to buy another 7 acres and then another half acre. And we bought some land for 100 thousand dollars an acre. And then as real estate boomed and as real estate increased we actually paid almost half a million dollars for half an acre. But because we were faithful in the little things, God has blessed us and has given us increase. Do you see how it works? Listen, be faithful in the little things. A little lie. It is a little stealing. It is just a little but that is how God promotes.
Second thing I want to say is not to just understand the little things but do not touch the devoted things. Do not touch them. The Bible talks about Jericho’s mine. God wants to be first in your life. Look at me, he does not just want to be first, he has a right to demand it. Jesus came and shed his blood for you and for me. He laid down his life. He does not ask for much; he just wants everything. He says hey, if you will pick up your cross and you will follow me, be faithful in those things. God wants to be first. Jericho was the first city. Give me Jericho and I will give you the rest. It is the same principle for your giving, is it not? Give me the first fruits and I will bless you with all the rest that you have. Be faithful in the devoted things. Do not touch what is not yours. You will never be able to enjoy it anyway. You will end up trying to hide it or put it somewhere. And you will never really be able to enjoy it. Be faithful in the devoted things.
Here is the last thing I want to say. Number three, giants do not go away; you have to kill them. You see when David killed Goliath how many know he was a giant? And he did not just throw a rock at his head. That rock knocked him out but David then ran up to his enemy and cut the enemies head off. I am not suggesting that we go around killing people today. It is a picture of dealing with the giants in our land that are going to keep us out of where God wants us to go. Do not learn to coexist with your enemy. Are you with me here? Things that are and enemy to the purpose of God in your life. Do not play with them. Do not just manage them. You have to learn how to deal with those things. If you have an issue with addiction, you have to deal with that addiction issue. Do not play with it. Do not just mess with it. You have to cut its head off. That is why Jesus says if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. He is not talking about self mutilation. He is talking about, get rid of the things in your life that destroy the potential for God’s blessings, for God’s favor and God’s hand. Get help, stick your hand up and say somebody help me. There is a giant that is stopping me from going into all that I have. And how many know that by God’s help, he will help you? How many know by God’s grace, he will enable you to do all the things he has called you to do? Amen.