In the Old Testament God tells the new leader Joshua to be "strong and courageous" three times in a span of a few verses.
We have a "Joshua" in our church who took exception to the hate message against Jesus Christ and Christians that was posted next to a Nativity scene in the State capitol.
Our church-goer is a "Joshua" in the sense that he didn't just get agitated or angry about the message, he decided to take action.
He's now circulating a letter asking the governor to remove the message or at least have it posted elsewhere so that it is not deliberately aimed at the Nativity scene.
If you're interested in putting your name to the growing list of signatures on the letter, let me know and I'll put him in contact with you.
In the meantime, we can be "strong and courageous" right here in the Lower Valley, like the men and women who scrimped, saved and received permission from the city council to erect the new monuments at Jerry Taylor Veteran's Plaza.
They are things of beauty, and the granite rock is emblematic of the people who saw this first of five phases through to completion, not to mention the soldiers represented on the individual plaques.
People throughout the Lower Valley made the markers possible, of course, but the memorial is in Sunnyside and required the not-always-easy-to-obtain cooperation of the city's government.
It's a grassroots effort, not funded by the city, but by individual donations.
Our churchman's letter and the veteran monuments are two different efforts, but they share in common the willingness to be "brave and courageous" in trying something new.
New isn't easy and it isn't always pretty. But attempting something new or that hasn't been done before can with work result in good things.
There are precious few days left in 2008, and the past few days and weeks have caused me to ponder some things new for my own life, family and ministry here in the Lower Valley.
Here's to "strong and courageous."