New Hope Notes

We Will Remember

Pastor Guy Higashi
November 23, 2008 - W0847

Thanksgiving is a time of remembrance. Let us never forget what God has already done in our lives. Although we may not think these times of recession are not good, God is good all the time! God is good during storms of recessions or bad weather. And, He is good in the simple things.


I remember when my son Joshua was in preschool. He loved telling knock-knock jokes. My retort to these jokes were, Joshua will you remember me in a year, in ten years and in a hundred years? And he’d reply, yes dad I’ll remember you. I’d then ask, will you remember me tomorrow? And he’d answer of course I’ll remember you. Right after I’d say, knock, knock? And he’s reply was, who’s there? And I’d say to him, see son you forgot me already!


Alzheimer’s is not just for old timers. People in the bible forgot as well. So how can we remember lest we forget? There are three key points to help us remember. Here is a scripture that tells us to remember.


We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future, your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD’s covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a permanent memorial among the people of Israel.”(Josh. 4:6-7)


In Hebrew, the notion of remembering is more than just calling to mind. It implies loving and reflection. And, it also calls for a corresponding degree of action. In other words when we say to remember, it is reflection plus action.  In English, remember is to reconnect. For example, reconnecting your hand to your arm. It is also a reconnecting of ourselves to others, with the promises of God, to our communities, and with God.  


To help us remember, let us see and learn from the book of Joshua. Here is the first of three keys God desires for us. The first is,





“Then Joshua told the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you’…THE LORD told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all the Israelites…Give these instructions to the priests who are carrying the Ark of the Covenant: “When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop’”…’When their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream…’” (Josh.3:5-13 NLT) In this, God was about to do great wonders for the people. And, it required some action from the people.


Currently, I’ve been doing some work with Whitlif Bible Translators. More specifically, we are translating the Old Testament into Hawaiian pidgin translation. While we were doing this, we discovered we really needed to understand what it meant to the Hebrew people in their time. So here is an example of a Hawaiian pidgin translation.


“Den Joshua tell da peopo, “Make yoaself spesho fo Yahweh, cuz tomorrow He goin do plenny awesome stuff fo us guys dat going make yoa jaws drop!’” (Josh. 3:5)


The Bible often uses terms such as signs and wonders. Whereas, for me when the Bible says great wonders or make yoa jaws drop, they both connect. I say this because when God does something great, our jaws literally drop open in awe!


In the Hebrew content, signs are things God can do through people. And, wonders are things that only God can do. Yes God can work through us and do signs. But most certainly the ones that only God can do are indeed wonders! And He wants us to know the miracles He is currently doing is outside of our power. Therefore, we should never loose the sense of awe and wonder. And if we do, it will be easy for us to forget.


This past week I was reminded of something important. We held “A taste of Pac Rim” which allowed people to come to our Bible College and take classes for free. It was wonderful to see forty perspective people attending. During this session, one of the people chatted with my wife Laurie. And, she asked a question which brought me to remembrance. The question was how was it in the beginning when New Hope started?

Well, a few nights ago my wife and I reflected on the beginnings of New Hope. We just want to say that we’ve both have been witnesses of miracles upon miracles that have happened.


It all began in June 1995 with an invitation. My family and I attended the first spaghetti dinner to hear Pastor Wayne’s vision for New Hope Christian Fellowship. And, by the next spaghetti dinner my wife and I were both sold in serving. My wife brought her share of spaghetti sauce. And I volunteered doing parking and lights. Back then, lighting was a little different from the high tech light system the church now has. All I did was flip the light switch off so the room would be darkened in order to see the over head projector. I guess you could say I was the first technical “light” guy here.


I also remember attending three months of leadership training under Pastor Wayne at Nuuanu Elementary School. In addition, I remember collecting our first offering. By the following service Pastor Wayne and Dan Shima announced the chairs we were sitting on was from the offering. I began to see God do more and more things.


Many of us remember all the effort to be where we are today. Many gave their time, work & finances. I remember sitting with the Principal of Wallace Farrington High School signing and getting permission to use Wallace Farrington High School facilities. I remember the first miracle of Baptism where hundreds of people were being baptized. I also remember the start of the prison ministry.


Again, there are memories upon memories of God’s wonders here at New Hope. In fact, if you’re ever at the ministry center, we encourage you to go to the second floor and take a look at pictures that memorialize the miracles of what God has already done. We call this the hall of faith.


So the first key is to remember the miracles of the past. And, the next thing we need to do is…





“So Joshua called together the twelve men and told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the LORD your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder-twelve stones in all.’” (Josh. 4:4-5 NLT)


This tells us 12 men needed to pick up a rock in the middle of the Jordan River. And, they shouldered these stones. Therefore, the stones were very heavy. Scripture also tells us the people of Israel needed to step into the water and go to the middle of the Jordan River. Hence, the miracle did not occur until they touched the water.


Unlike Moses using a staff to part the Red Sea, these twelve needed to walk into the overflowing river banks of the Jordan River. God must have been addressing people that required a little bit more faith, they were told to go into a running river.


Have you ever noticed God bringing a challenge in your life? Or when He stretches your heart a little more since you’ve been a Christian? All in all, the purpose is to strengthen your faith. It is to help you grow stronger and deeper in your faith. Therefore, for such a time as this let us bring to mind the things that are valuable. Such as our relationships, family and the simple things in life.


Yet another lesson God wanted to teach the Israelites was in fact He was the God of their desert. And, He had been their provision. He had given them food and clothing. In fact, Exodus tells us their food appeared daily called manna. In addition, they’re shoes never wore out nor did their clothes grow old.


And today, the same goes for us. He is our God in the desert, in the recession, in our promise land. And, He is the God of our future. So seek Him and trust Him. And, build memorial stones that will help you to see God is faithful with us, without us having to be medicated by consumerism and feeling happy.


Here is a list of symbolic stones. On a stone, write down the miracles God has already done in your life.


                                                 Memorial stones could be…


     Found Love                                                           Salvation

     Healing Power                                                       Unexpected Provision

     HIS Favor                                                              Never Ending Love

     Recovered                                                              Brighter Future

     A Brush of Death                                                  A New Day

     Next Generations                                                   Road Less Traveled

     A New Beginning                                                  A 2nd Chance


                                                New Opportunities


                                                “First” in My Family

                                                 Didn’t Give Up

                                                 Recovered from Debt

                                                 Lifelong Friendships




We can and will be a people who will remember. Not only will we remember the miracles of the past, but build a memorial before this holiday season by writing them down on a stone. And, the third and final key to remembering is…





“Now it was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began piling up at a town upstream called Adam…and the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD’s covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by them. They waited there until everyone had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” (Josh. 3:15-17)


This tells us the Ark of Covenant was symbolic of the Lord’s actual presence in the middle of the river. Today, scholars believe the Ark of Covenant contained three things. The Ten Commandments, which was God’s divine words to Moses. The remnants of manna which was God’s provision while the people were in the desert. And, Aaron’s fruitful branch which was God’s divine endorsement of Aaron’s leadership to take over what Moses was doing.


It is important to remember God’s word, provision, leadership and guidance were in the middle of the Jordan River. More importantly, God presence stood in the middle as all the people crossed. The same goes for us today. He is in the middle of our circumstances. He is standing in the middle of our trials, our floods and river situations holding up the waters


Can you imagine the Jordan River rushing and overflowing on it’s banks with a high level of water? Today, we would simply call this flooding and be advised to stay out of the waters.  Yet miraculously the Ark of the Covenant held up the waters. This was indeed a wonder of God which even nature knew and obeyed the awesome power of God. And the people got to witness it. Now wouldn’t that make yoa jaws drop!

I encourage you to remember the miracles that happened in the past. And, build a memorial of what God has already done in your life. Remember, God is in the middle of your circumstances even if they are rapidly overflowing. So trust him and allow Him to build you up in faith. And then step in faith into the promises of God. Then watch and be witnesses of the miracles and wonders that are going to happen in your future. Yes, God is good! Happy Thanksgiving!





1.      What are your overwhelming circumstantial rivers?


2.      What did Joshua tell the people to do before God did a great wonders (Josh 3:5)?  List Biblical practical ways you can purify yourself.


3.      Are you ready to step into a deeper faith and just trust God? (List steps to do this)


4.      What impacted you most and how will you be a better person because of it?