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The Officer’s Blog

Drew 002 (Small).jpg Major Drew McCombe

Major Drew is the author of our Officer’s Blog this month. He says:

I was driving home some months ago on a busy road near where I live when I saw what looked like a rock or piece of debris on the road, but as I got closer I saw that it was moving. It was a small tortoise, about 6 inches in diameter, crossing the road. It had its neck stuck way out (literally and figuratively) and was “paddling along” across the road at a near-perfect right angle to the flow of traffic. Being a firm believer in the principle of not killing anything that isn’t trying to kill me, I veered slightly so that the tortoise passed under the centre of my car, without being hit by the wheels. As I drove on, I thought that there surely was little chance that tortoise could have made it. Other drivers must have seen it in time and missed it as I did, but what of those who didn’t? Or who didn’t care if they ran over a small object on the road, regardless of what it was?

I then thought, well, maybe the tortoise made it. Being rather curious by nature, I then tried to work out the odds in my head. It was late afternoon, and “rush hour” traffic was heavy for that particular road. I guessed that it would have taken the tortoise a couple of minutes to cross the southbound traffic lane that it was in when I saw it, and then a couple more minutes to cross the adjacent northbound traffic lane. Assuming that it kept up the steady pace that it was going and didn’t, (after perhaps somehow realizing the terrible danger that it was in from the roaring traffic that was just missing it by inches), retreat into its “safe place,” its shell, which would doom it for sure. I estimated a car every 5 seconds on average, which comes to about 48 in 4 minutes. Could the tortoise get missed nearly 50 times by cars travelling at 40 or 50 miles per hour? I had driven on for about 4 or 5 miles when my curiosity got the best of me. I had to know, did the little tortoise make it? I turned around, and drove back.

Click here to read Joshua Chapter 3 – here is one of the many dangerous crossings made by God s people. Like the tortoise they may not have fully understood why they left the apparent safety of where they were and stuck their necks way out, and kept them stuck way out, without retreating to the false safety of their “shells” amidst the great sound and fury of the threats and dangers that opposed them. They were determined to get to a new life, even if they lost their old lives to get there.

The 21st century for us Christians and churches is one of shifting times, new ground we need to learn to be vulnerable, take risks and start again to rely on God rather than methods of the past or our particular skills- grapple with our fears and insecurities.

God s people are on a journey – 40 years the Israelite people were in the wilderness camping but the calling was to the promised land – and here they were on the edge of where God had called them to, but it was over the Jordan so another journey was required. By our very calling we are journeying people always called onwards. It s about all we are to all God is – we are not called to be static – Jesus ministry was never stationary but he was always the same.

Chapter 3:15 – The river Jordan was a big barrier and what s more it was in flood – Chapter 3:2 tells us that for 3 days they had watched it in flood. How were they to get across? Can I suggest there were 3 barriers

• Physical barrier– How were 1 million people to cross this flood water

• Psychological barrier – here they were a whole generation wiped out in the wilderness- their parents were not with them, they had known experience of the Red Sea but they had only heard about it– and what s more now a new leader, Joshua – could he hack it?

• Spiritual barrier – God had done it in the past for their forefathers but could God do it again?

As a corps we stand on the verge of a journey outwards from our building to be more significant for and to our community in 2007. The question is will we trust God to help us over the threshold of our doors? We too have a great heritage of past successes but can we hack it? Do we trust Him to do it again?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the tortoise, when I got back to the place where I saw it, there was no road-mashed tortoise there; the way was clear. The little tortoise made it across to its “promised land.”