Session 8: Jeff Manion

Known for his vibrant teaching skills and passion for communicating the Scriptures in a clear and relevant way, Jeff Manion has served as teaching pastor of Ada Bible Church in West Michigan for more than 25 years. His church of 6,000 attendees was named by Outreachmagazine as one of America’s largest and fastest growing churches in 2009. Using video venues and two offsite campuses, they strive to create a small church feeling within a large church setting. Invited to the Summit after Bill Hybels heard a taped message he gave on The Land Between, Manion will share biblical insights on how to avoid pitfalls that can easily entrap those who are living in a time of transition.

The Land Between

  • For the past 4 years a college student has had the comfort when asked what they do, to say “I’m a college student.”
  • What happens when they graduate?
  • Welcome to the land between.
  • We use language like “for now.” “For now I’m living with my parents.”
  • Not just college students though, its real estate agents. “I’ve sold 5 houses this year, 2 years ago I sold 27 houses.” Welcome to the land between.
  • You pass into a discouragement, a depression, welcome to the land between.
  • In our story today, the Israelites have left Egypt. “I’ll take them out of the land of Egypt, into the land of Promise.” If you look in Scripture there is no in-between.
  • They are on their way to the land of Promise, but right now they are not in Egypt, they are not in the Promised Land, they are in the land between.
  • How did they eat in that brown desert space? God provided manna.
  • Numbers 11:4-6, the Israelites are complaining for having to eat manna all day, everyday.

The land between is fertile ground for complaints.

  • It is possible to look at this story and place ourselves above these characters, but just imagine going on a camping trip, and eating Mac N’ Cheese for every meal. We must place ourselves among these characters.
  • Guard your heart in the land between, because there is something in the spirit of complaint that says, “God I was better off without you.”
  • Numbers 11:11-14

The land between is fertile ground for emotional meltdown.

  • Numbers 11:15, “If you love me, kill me now.” (paraphrased)
  • Throw yourself into spiritual leadership and you will have moments where you come to the end of yourself. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what position.
  • Numbers 11:16-17, when Moses is appointed to be the leader of the people, he received a spirit endowment, but Moses said that he couldn’t carry it anymore, and God took that and put it on some other people.

The land between is fertile ground for God’s provision.

  • God says, “Keep your hands open, so I can provide.” God will provide strength to get you through this depression.
  • Numbers 11:18-20, “Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow when you will eat meat…you will eat meat until it comes out your nostrils…because you have complained.”
  • They had turned a corner where they said, “God we were better off without you.” So God says He is going to give them meat for every meal for a month.
  • So Moses questions how he is going to get this food, so God says, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?”
  • Is God too weak to intervene?

The land between is fertile ground for God’s discipline.

  • Discipline is inflicting pain for redemptive purposes. It is not pain for pain’s sake, it is pain to rescue something.
  • When we embrace the spirit of complaint, we say “I was better of without you.”

At the core we learn that the land between is fertile ground for transformational growth.

  • When they leave Egypt, they are not an orderly group of God followers, they are an unruly mob of ex-slaves and they are going to the land of Promise, and they are not ready. The time spent in the desert was used to transform. They needed this time. God is saying, “I need you to trust me.”
  • Because when you get the Promised land, you have to trust me, because you can’t run off to Baal when you get scared.
  • It is in that space of the wilderness that we learn to pray, and depend on God.
  • This will not happen automatically.
  • The wilderness is the best greenhouse for transformational growth, the greenhouse is also the place where faith goes to die.
  • I don’t have to extend an invitation for complaint to show up.
  • Complaint resists eviction.
  • You deter complaints by inviting another guest into the house, and that guest is trust. “God help me to trust you.”
  • Trust evicts complaint.
  • That space in your life that you most resent is the very soil where God must produce the crop that we most desire.
  • The land between is the very soil where God gives so many riches.
  • May God bless you in the land between.
  • May you guard your heart.
  • May trust grow.

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