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.
I want to continue this series on the Caleb Generation but I want to take a different spin on it this morning. It is Father’s Day so I want to speak to you about the Caleb Generation in the context of a Father’s Day message. I will be sharing next Sunday those seven nations. All week I tried to find a way to talk about the seven nations and I just kept thinking, I have a different way to go and it is still in the context of the Caleb Generation. We know the story. Caleb said, give me my mountain. Give me my mountain. Hello church, you have had a really good time to get up. You should be awake. Give me my mountain. That’s much better. And of course we know Caleb was eighty-five years of age when he said that. We know the story that God said to Moses, you are going to come out of Egypt and you are going to come into the Promise Lands. Is that right? So what I have been talking about is really just a Caleb Generation possessing their promise land. But I want to show you this morning a little bit more about what this promise land is.
So we are going to start this morning in 1 Corinthians chapter 4 and look at verse 15. It says “Even if you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” So Paul says you have lots of guardians but you do not have many fathers. And he is writing to the Corinthian church here and he says look, I became your father through the gospel. I, the apostle Paul, became your dad because of the gospel. He is writing to the Corinthians. So with that in mind I want to speak to you as the dad of the house to the church. I want to give a Father’s Day father’s message to our church. Does that sound good? And I realize there are people here that are old enough to be my father but in that sense where Paul said, I became your father in the gospel. And that is what I want to share with you today in the context of actually taking your promise land.
So we looked at Caleb. We realized that God said that we would take it little by little. Have a look at this scripture here in Exodus chapter 23. Little by little I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to possess the land. So God says, I will give it to you, the Promise Lands, little by little, until you have increased enough to possess the land. If I give it to you all at once, it will be too much for you. The Bible puts it this way, an inheritance gained too quickly will bring you to ruins. If you do not have the inner wherewithal to manage and handle the things that God is going to give you he says I am not going to give it to you all at once. You are going to get it but I am going to give it to you little by little until you have increased enough to handle it. We see people who are made stars overnight and fame and fortune come their way. And they actually cannot handle it and it ends up ruining their lives. Someone say amen. The Bible puts it this way, do not put a novice or a new Christian in a key position of leadership lest they become puffed up with pride and it actually becomes their ruining. The Bible puts it another way in terms of our children. And inheritance gained too quickly in the context of our kids. Do not just give your kids everything. Teach them to value. Teach them to work. Teach them to respect. Give them principles they can build their life on. That is exactly what God is saying here. I will give you the Promise Lands but I am going to give it to you little by little until you have increased enough. It is big. It is huge. It is a land that flows with milk and honey. I am giving it to you. Come on. But I have to grow you. You have to get larger, bigger, better, stronger. You have to be able to handle it because how many know success pollutes? You are successful. You have the promise land and you have a bad temper, why change? Hey, I am already successful so why bother changing? Who cares that I have a bad temper; I am successful. Well maybe we need to reconsider what success is. Maybe we need to actually reevaluate, what is this promise land that God has for us? You can say amen. What good is it if a man gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? What good is it if a man gains the whole world but his kids are in hell and they are not serving God? Come on, somebody say amen. So we are going to look at it. In the weeks gone by we looked at little by little and do not touch the devoted things. Joshua was going into the Promise Land and Achan stole the devoted things. We also looked at, giants do not go away; you have to kill them. Come on, somebody say amen. So what is your promise land? Because here we know what Israel’s was. It was land. It was an inheritance. It was a place that was freedom from slavery. It was a place where God and the people would be one. God would be their God and they would worship him. And they would be blessed in this place, taken out of slavery. But what is your promise land? So I want to give to you a father’s message of how I believe out of my own life and my own life’s experiences things that I have seen God do in my own life that have been on this principle, little by little. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. Here a little, there a little. God builds little by little. And I am going to tell you something, when I got saved, if you had said to me Steve, would you ever have dreamed that you would be doing the things you are doing today when I gave my life to Jesus? Not on your life. And if someone said to me, do you think you will be pastoring a church in America? Do you think God will give you the opportunity to lead a church that God would be blessing and influencing churches all over the world? Not on your life.
Can I tell you, my first piece of promise land when I got saved was just getting saved. In other words, the first thing of my promise land, and I will put it in this context, your promise land to Jesus. Do you hear me here? The Bible talks about, when man put the cross in the earth and nailed Jesus to the cross, God was sewing his Son into planet Earth. He was sewing a redeemer. He was sewing a savior. And whatever you sew you shall reap. So God planted Jesus on a cross into the Earth and out of that, God has redeemed the world to himself. I am a result of Jesus dying on that cross. My salvation, your salvation, is because God sewed his son into the Earth. Can you say amen? So in that sense, you and I, we are God’s promise land. Are you with me here? But our promise land is this. Look at 2 Timothy, chapter 1. And here is how it works. Who has saved us and called us to a holy life. Not because of anything we have done how many know that’s the truth but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Jesus Christ before the beginning of time. Who has saved us and who has called us. I want you to know, my promise land at the age of 17, was just getting saved. And my promise land, though little by little, was simply staying sober. That was the depth, the extent, the biggest thing in my life at the age of 17 was stay off drugs, stay sober, straighten up, and get your life in order. Our old youth pastor when to Sharon when she and I were going out and warned her to stay away from me. And I do not blame her when I think about it now. If somebody like me walked into my daughter’s life I would say, do not touch him. But in all honesty I think about my life and in those early days of being a Christian and looking back and that was 28 years ago but looking back 28 years ago, what was my promise land. Could I manage to stay sober today? And the biggest thing in my life in those days was staying out of the bars and staying out of the night clubs and maybe having to make some decisions about some of the friends who were influencing my life. That was the biggest decision. That was my promise land. And if I did that, I was walking into my promise lands. Amen? So that is the first thing I think about my life as a father speaking to the congregation this morning, that is the start. But it is not just the start. It says he has saved us and he has called us. And I want to tell you, you do not go from being saved, you get saved. But then you grow. And the biggest thing in my life was number one, just staying saved.
Then the second thing I want to speak to you about is, if you like in terms of your promise land, is the goodness of God. And I think about my life when I got saved and I realized I was not just saved, I was called. And it is wonderful to be saved but if that is all there is to Christianity, then let us all get saved, shoot ourselves and go to Heaven. There is a lot more to being saved then just getting saved. He saved us and he has called us. A lot of people think that really and this is a tragedy in the church life and thank God it has changed in this church. But a lot of people think that the only legitimate expression of ministry is what I am doing right now or what a missionary does on a mission field. Nothing can be further from the truth. He has saved us and he has called us. And what you do every day when Mark gets to work and flies for Air Tran as an airline pilot, he is called by God to be a fantastic, phenomenal pilot for God. Amen. And he is called by God and is anointed by God as much to do that as what I do here. Who can say amen to that? And in terms of what you do, if you are a business person, a single mom, a mechanic, an educator or teacher, an athlete, in the military, you are just as called and just as anointed and just as hand chosen by God as anybody who will ever be preaching from this pulpit. Can you say amen? Let me put it in context of my life. I got saved and now I am called. One of the things that I used to love when I was a brand new Christian and I just wanted to get all of God that I possibly could. I used to watch people get healed. I have seen people walk out of wheelchairs. People who were wheelchair bound. I am not talking about people who had a wheelchair just to get around. I am talking people who could not walk. I have seen that happen. I have seen blind eyes open. I have seen people miracles. Deaf ears open. I have seen God do amazing things. And I used to watch that. And I understood I am saved but I am beginning to understand my calling because that stuff used to light me up and it still does. And I would watch it and go God, I want in. I want that. I used to love to see what the power of God could do. And I remember saying to God, I want in on this. And the Bible says it is better to give than it was to receive. And it was not so much that I wanted to be on the receiving end; I wanted to be on the giving end. I wanted to be the guy preaching and praying for people. I used to watch as a preacher would preach and it would build faith. I would be sitting there while some preacher is preacher loving it. And I was thinking God, I want to do that. I want to preach like that. When I see people getting hands put on them and the power of God would touch them and they would be healed I used to love it. People would come into church on drugs and God would set them free. And others would come into church and their marriages were broken and I would watch their marriages get healed. And business people who really did not understand the purpose of their existence, they were just living a materialistic wealth but when they got saved and they understood what they were called to do, to resource the kingdom of God I said God, I want to do that. I want it. That scripture in Psalm that said God showed to Moses his ways and the children of Israel his acts. In other words, the children of Israel just saw what God did but Moses knew how he did it. And I am beginning to understand, God, I am saved and I am called.
And the second thing is the goodness of God. And of course, the Bible has so much to say about it but look at Acts chapter 8, verse 5. This is my heart. Philip went down to a city called Hampton Roads, I mean Samaria. A city called Tide Water. A city called Seven Cities. And he proclaimed Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs that he did they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, evil spirits came out of many people, and many who were crippled and paralyzed were healed. So there was great joy in that city. Now listen church, I am preaching better than you are listening right now. So come on, you are at the 11:30 service. There was great joy, healing, salvation, demonic possession and you are all just sitting there. There is great joy in the city. I said God, I want to see that. I want to see that for Hampton Roads. The church ought to bring joy to the city. The church ought to bring life. The church should not bring embarrassment to people and controversy and division and racism and division. Come on, somebody say amen. I want to see the power of God. That is the goodness of God. That was my promise land. And I said God, I want it. And I want to tell you something, it costs you something. That was birthed in prayer. And I remember paying the price. In my promise land, looking at that saying, I want that. And my promise land is different from your promise land. Now we all want the power of God. Do not misunderstand me. But what has God called you to do? This is a father’s message to you. It is to encourage you and help you understand what you promise land is and how the will of God is unfolding. I know sometimes people will preach, unless you know what the exact will of God is for your whole life today you can miss God’s best. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is unfolding. Amen. I would not have dreamt that when I got saved. My biggest promise land when I got saved was just to stay sober. But then I went you know what God, I am starting to get myself cleaned up here and I am looking at how you move and I love how you move. And I want to be in on what you are doing. Are you with me here?
And here is my third thing. Number three is your life’s partner; that is promise land. How many know God can do two things at once? So I am starting to go God, I would pray for people and God would touch them and I would think, awesome. I love that stuff. I would prophecy over someone’s life and I would watch and it would change their whole life forever. God, I love that stuff. But at the same time, another aspect of God’s promise land was in your life’s partner. At the same time while all that was happening I got married to Sharon. And Sharon is, without a doubt, the greatest promise land that God has ever blessed me with. No if’s, ands, or but’s. His anointing and favor on my life was for others. Sharon is all the promise land I could ever ask or believe for. Everything else was for others but that was a gift from God for me. I would like to think it is a gift from God for her as well that she got me but I know I was the bigger winner in the deal. And as a result of Sharon marrying me I am now doing more than I could have ever dreamt or believed for than I could have without her. And I want to encourage you to understand that your partner is your promise land. This Father’s Day let me go with the men for a moment. Girls, your husband is your promise lands. It is what God has for you. And let me tell you something, two are better than one. In Jesus’ name, can you say amen? If your promise land is sitting next to you, just lay a big kiss right on them. If you are young and not married, you keep your lips off that person. You just keep praying. Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Let me tell you something, I am highly favored. Do you want to know how favored I am? Look at my wife. Are you with me here? I am living in what I do not deserve. Promise lands. And I want to encourage you. My intention is to make sure when I am old I am still enjoying the wife of my youth. I want to make sure I am married to the same person I am married to when I first got married. And this year will be our 25th wedding anniversary. There is some promise land right there.
Number four, self leadership. I discovered something in this promise land. I went from just getting straightened up. I was thinking God, I love your power. I love your glory. I love your anointing. I love miracles and healings. I love what you do. And then from there God blessed me with a wonderful partner. Two are better than one. I am doing more than I could ever have dreamt or believed for but then the next thing that happens I believe in my journey is self leadership. It was another area of promise lands. It was something I had to learn how to do. It was not just lead others but I had to first learn how to lead myself. And I discovered something that I looked at and it concerned me. I soon realized that God’s anointing is powerful and life changing but I saw a few things I did not like. I saw things like spiritual infancy in people who thought just from prayer God could do great things in their life. Some of you right now do not like me talking like this but just through prayer. Or another mentality was, maybe if I could just go to an alter call. If I could just get somebody to lay hands on me. And I am into the power of God. I am into the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I have seen with my own eyes. I have been there. A lady in our church, 17 years of age. She had full blown HIV. We prayed for her and saw God completely heal her. We have seen medical documentation that testifies she had it and it is gone. I believe in the power of God. But if we think it is just through prayer, if we think it is just chasing a meeting or if we think if we can just get to the church and have someone lay hands on me. If we could just get to that conference. If we could have longer meetings and longer worship. If we could just get to Lakewood, Florida. If we could just get to that revival. If we could just get to this move of God. If I could just get to Toronto. If I could just get to Brownsville. If I could just get to Korea. If I could just get to Columbia. If I could just get somewhere. If somebody could lay hands on me I will be better. The problem with that is it promotes spiritual infancy. You do not need to go to a revival. You are a revival and you need to be in revival. And you have to learn how to lead yourself. We do not need to change other things. I did not like what I was seeing, people just coming to church. Another conference. Longer meetings. No my friends, lead yourself. Be a self leader became my new promise lands. Are you with me here? Learn how to master my emotions. Stop trying to blame the devil for challenges you have in your marriage. It is not the devil. Look at how you talk to your wife. Look at how you talk to your partner. Look at how you talk to your kids. That is where your challenges are. You have unresolved issues and you need to get those things resolved. You can blame the devil. If in doubt, cast it out. Pray for me pastor for I am addicted to chocolate. I have a spirit of addiction. No, you just need to learn to be a better self leader. Come on, somebody say amen. Spirit of Hershey’s, come out. The little demon yells back, I will for another piece of chocolate. Deliverance can be a copout for repentance. You are not going to look at yourself but you are going to be delivered because the thing is not your fault. You did not get it, the demon got you. No, you opened the door. Come on, someone say amen. And I just want to encourage you, self leadership became my new promise land. And I had to learn things like diligence and discipline, responsibility. Stop asking God to do for me what God wants me to do for myself. It became my new promise land. I went from just being saved and trying to straighten up and I moved into God I love your power and I love your anointing. And then I went from there into the promise land of a great partner in life and from there, self leadership. Come on, somebody say amen. Now watch this, let me read you John chapter 5. And it says here in John chapter 5, verse 3, “Here a great number of disabled people used to lie the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One had been there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?'” Now the guy is lying by a pool for thirty-eight years and Jesus asks, do you want to get better? Now this pool was not just any ordinary pool. This was a pool where once a year an angel would come and stir the waters and the first in was best dressed, the first in got healed. And he was lying by the pool for thirty-eight years, it would seem, so that when the angel came he could be first in and get healed. Thirty-eight years and Jesus says, do you want to get better? Listen to the excuse he gave. It sounds like a lot of Christians I know. “‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.'” No one can drive me the Lakeland. Sir, he replied, while I am trying to get in, while I am trying to get to the best seat in the house someone else gets ahead of me. I married the wrong person. I have been diagnosed with an illness. I have to explain to you, I have a justifiable reason for lying here as sick as I am for all these years. Jesus says, do you want to get well? Self leadership. Stop having all of the excuses as to why you are not home. Jesus says, do you want to get home? I have tried. And then Jesus said get up, pick up your mat and walk. And at once the man was cured. He picked up his back and he walked. Here is the problem with alter call driven churches. You have to keep coming to me to lay hands on you. Lay hands on yourself. Pastor, I would like to hear more teaching on this. Could you imagine if I tried to keep all of you happy with all of the different kind of teachings you would like me to give? Do you know what I am saying? Feed yourself. Be a self feeder. Do not be an infant. Feed me. Feed me.
Feed me. Feed me. I picture a dad with a little baby saying, here comes the airplane. Open wide. Here comes the choo choo. You know what? They devoted themselves. Self leadership. Stop trying to get others to do for you what you can do for yourself. Just turn to the person next to you and say, I do not like that promise land. I am not into that. Let us get out of there. Come on.
Number five is the bigger picture. Everybody say, the bigger picture. I am saved. I tried to straighten up. God’s power, the anointing, I’m into it. Then a great partner, a great, great partner. Did I say I have a great partner. I have a great partner. What a wonderful wife. What a wonderful wife. And then from there, self leadership. And now, Ephesians 3:20. Under him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all than we could ever ask, think, or imagine according to the power that works within us. For me, my promise land is helping you understand yours. This was God opening the door for me to come to America, pastoring Wave Church, teaching people how to prosper, watching families grow. For every season of life, from the cradle to the grave. That is my great passion. That is my promise land. I am a pastor. I love to watch people’s lives grow, babies being dedicated, young love, people getting married. I love that stuff. I love watching a young guy try to figure out how he is going to propose to the girl. I have to help some of these young guys. They have some pretty corny ideas. You are going to have to be cooler than that, use a bit more romance. Amen. Let’s have a treasure hunt or something. Help them be a bit cooler than that. Doing weddings and funerals and helping people through some of the most difficult times in their life, when tragedy and crisis comes, that is my promise land. Look at me, you are my promise land. You are what matters to me. Seeing you grow, that is what I care about. In all honesty, that is very important to me. Saved. Saved. Saved. That is the DNA of this church. Saved and called. Helping you find your calling. Doing life with you together, forever. Doing life together in Hampton Roads, Tidewater, and Seven Cities. How many know we have an identity crisis? How many names can one place have? We do not know who we are. And Sharon and I, this vision that he has given us is our promise land and we want to see all of God’s promises come to pass for you, and what God saved you for and why God’s called you. And our promise land in this sense of the bigger picture is to realize that we cannot do it on our own. And God has given us a dream team of people who will join with us for life with this vision. People who say Steve, I am with you wherever you go I will go. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. Amen? And doing something where we are not just transient. We are not just here until something bigger and better comes along but we are living here with a bigger picture in Jesus’ name.
But then I think the sixth thing as I look on my life is destiny revealed. Let me tell you, church, I am living my dream. Way back here did I ever think I would be doing what I am doing now? No. But little by little as I have increased, God has given it to me. Can anybody now reflect on your life and see what God is doing in your life? Can anybody look back at the significant benchmarks and moments in your life where God has give you promise land and until you have increased enough to handle that, he will not give you everything else that is to come. So you have to learn how to master that season that you are in. And I am living my dream. But just as I start living my dream, guess what God does? He reveals destiny. Exodus 23:30, little by little I will give it to you. So then God says hey, it is not just Hampton Roads, it is America. It is touching this nation, building a leader church that will influence this nation. Does anybody believe in that kind of vision? Does anybody believe in that kind of purpose? Does anybody believe in that kind of big thinking that Wave Church can actually touch this nation and do something good for God? There is a lot of other stuff going on. It is about time a leader church stepped up and led. Amen. And so that is what Wave Conference is all about. That is what Wave Women’s is all about. That is what Wave Network is all about. That is what Wave Media is all about. And I want to tell you, I have not despised the day of small beginnings. Nine years ago 200 people were in the entire morning service. And I want to tell you, I did not despise that then and I do not despise what we have today. I am filled with a bigger promise land. But I thank God for where I am. And when I have increased enough and when we have increased enough he will give us the rest of it. So let’s increase. Let’s grow. Let’s do something for God. Bring it on, God. We are ready. Come on. I will walk in self leadership. I will hunger for his power. I will live in destiny but I refuse to stay where I am. I will always live with a bigger destiny revealed.
Number seven, you have to live large and you have to live in charge. It is not just America. This is the kingdom. Look at me. You were not just saved and called for yourself and the city you live in and the nation we live in. Look at what the Bible says, ask of me. Ask of me and I will give you the inheritance. That is your promise land. Do you know what promise land is? It is the world. We are asking God to help us with our bad tempers and God wants to give us nations. We are asking God to help us in our marriage and he is going if you ask me, I will give you nations. Come on, somebody say amen. You have to live large and you have to live in charge. The earth is ours. God has given it to the church. The only problem is the church is the only people who do not want it.
Everybody else wants it except the church. God wants to give it to the church. How many want it? How many want nations? Come on.
Number eight and I am done. You have to think past lunch. Think past lunch. Esau, the Bible says, forsook his birthright for a meal. His inheritance, his promise lands was to be the firstborn son and to inherit the blessing from his dad. But he could not think past lunch. All he could think about was his next meal. His brother comes along and says give me your birthright and I will feed you. He forsook his birthright. He could not think past lunch. He did not know how to delay gratification. There is a part of self leadership. He did not know how to say, you know what, I am hungry but I am not going to die. And there are things that you want but you want them now. God says they are out there but can you pay the price of delaying gratification. Can you serve me? Can you be patient? Someone say amen.