New Year Sermon 2011: Overcoming challenges to achieve the goals of the new year


Joshua chapter 3 tells us that Joshua along with the nation of Israel crossed the flood-swollen river of Jordan. These people had one major goal in their minds. To capture the city of Jericho (a militarily important target) which will prepare the way to conquer the promised land. There was a challenge, however. The current of the Jordan is very swift at Jericho. Besides, it was the harvest season and the melting snow in the Lebanon mountains caused the river to overflow.

Just like Joshua and the Israelites I am sure all of us have new goals (personal, educational, ministerial, professional) to achieve in the new year. Just like them, we will face unimaginable challenges while we run towards these goals. Today’s sermon is about how to overcome these challenges.

Text: Joshua 3:1-17

1. Take Immediate Action

A. Joshua’s task wasn’t easy. The flood-swollen river was over 1 mile wide. Joshua was responsible for safely taking 2 million people across.

B. He could have waited for the situation to improve. Instead, he took immediate action, (Joshua 3:1)

C. Most people when confronted with difficult and risky tasks put them off as long as possible. Often it only makes matters worse.

D. This year when you are faced with a challenging situation don’t procrastinate. Trust in God’s strength and wisdom. Then get up “early in the morning” and go to it. At the end of the day, you will be glad you did.

2. Seek the counsel of the Spiritual Leaders

A. The leaders announced God’s order to follow the Levite priests to the people, (Joshua 3:2-3).

B. Spiritual leaders are divine tour guides God has appointed to guide us in our Christian walk. Follow them.

C. The previous generation died in the desert because they despised Moses’ instructions. Joshua was blessed because he obeyed Moses from the beginning.

D. Most of us miss God’s blessings because we ignore the counsel of our spiritual leaders. Disobeying their authority is a direct rebellion against God.

E. Even as you step into a brand new year make a fresh commitment to submit to Leadership.

3. Wait in God’s presence

A. The Israelites didn’t know where to go because they had never passed that way before, (Joshua 3:4).

B. Likewise, We don’t know what the year 2011 has for us – for we have never been there before.

C. Now the ark of the covenant was a symbol of God’s presence and His guidance.

D. It’s important that God’s children spend time in His presence for guidance and direction in the new year.

4. Sanctification is a Must

A. The people were ordered to put away anything and everything displeasing to God, (Joshua 3:6).

B. Sin prevents us from becoming victorious Christians. It causes us to dwell on our losses.

C. If you examine your life, confess your sins, and turn back to God you will be forgiven, (1 John 1:9)

D. Ask for God’s grace so that you will not repeat the same mistakes you made last year.

5. Trust God for His Word

A. God promised that they will overcome the nations that occupied the land He promised them, (Joshua 3:9-13).

B. Do you remember any of the promises you received from God in the last year?

C. Remember and claim those promises when you face the flood-swollen rivers of Jordan in life this year.

6. Faith in Action

A. Faith without actions is dead, (James 2:17). You must apply your faith to the challenges of life.

B. The river parted only after the priests waded into the water, (Joshua 3:14-17).

C. Practical faith involves risk. We dislike taking risks. We want the way opened before we move out for God. A risk is only a risk if God isn’t going with us. Step out and trust God to confirm your faith at the appropriate time.

D. One important thing we must do to remain strong in faith is to remember what the Lord has done in the previous year, (Psalms 103:2). He dried up the red sea. The river of Jordan is nothing for Him. Be willing to get your feet wet and then wait for God to respond.


I know many of you are facing troubled waters this morning. It could be at home, at school, at the workplace, or at church. The good news is you will cross the rivers of Jordan and meet your goals for the year 2011 if you follow these 6 principles I shared with you from God’s word.

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