Get off this Beach!

In the movie, “Saving Private Ryan”, the German army has pinned down the Allied forces on the beaches of France and the soldiers are forced to hide behind anything that offers protection from the barrage of artillery fire. All around them, soldiers are being cut to pieces by machine gun fire and then the character played by Tom Hanks says something that is really profound. He tells them, “We cannot stay here. We must get off this beach! We are dead men if we stay here!”

At first that must have seemed odd to the soldiers who heard him. It is natural as humans to stay huddled in the safe place and not charge ahead in the face of uncertainty and danger. I think many of us are huddled on the beach right now, taking fire from our enemy who wishes to steal, kill and destroy us. God is giving us a clear command today – “Get off the beach! Take the land!”

I don’t see myself as a survivalist. I don’t spend much mental energy thinking about how to protect what I have. I like to see myself as the captain who is encouraging his troops to charge forward.  However, for the past several months as the economy has teetered on the verge of collapse, many of my conversations with friends have been about survival and not advancement. I am not sensing a great deal of fear in my friends and I have not discovered much fear in my own heart. What is missing is the raw faith to believe for God’s provision and blessing when everything around us is being shaken and in some cases, overtaken.

God needs us to reclaim the lost vision that has been taken from us. We need to start dreaming again and ask for the bold plans that will take us to the new ground. We cannot stay in neutral. We cannot stay hidden behind false shields on the beach! We must get off the beach and engage the enemy of our faith. We cannot make decisions out of fear. We must believe the truths of Scripture and put them to the test.

The soldiers in World War II did not stay on the beaches of Normandy. With great courage and tremendous sacrifice, they charged ahead and liberated France from the tyranny of the Nazi regime. As followers of Christ, we have all the weapons we need to rout the enemy and take the land. But first, we must get off this beach!

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  1. I have a friend who has recently stepped down from years of ministry. The other day he said, “I feel like I’m in a cave. I can see the light at the end, and the battle raging outside, but I’m not sure if I want to go out and fight.” So many are so weary, their tiredness making faith difficult. We’ve got to be intentional about grabbing a hold of faith, and then run after what God is showing us! I don’t want to be weary! I don’t want to stay huddled! I don’t want to be saying, “Should I stay here or should I fight?” I want to be shouting, “Okay, God! Where do you want me? Where can I fight best? Where can I make the most impact?” I watch so many Christians weary and fall because they think THEY know where they can best serve, rather than asking God, “Where do you want me? Show me where to run and where to fight, and I’ll run there and fight there.”

    Okay, I may be on a bit of a soapbox here. I just see it too often. Too many wearied workers. Too many war-torn women.

    Faith. Raw faith. Grabbing it. Then running in the direction God is calling us.

    Good post.

  2. Jerry McNamara

    June 4, 2009 at 8:33 am


    Thanks for your encouraging challenge. I know you bring that great mix to the family of New Life, and I thank you for sharing it with the wider church through this blog. I love New Life Church and pray for you folks often! All God’s best to you, your family, and the New Lifers! This Sunday, give ’em Heaven! Jerry

  3. Great post!
    Also to mention, as they charged, they also knew there were more troops behind them, massive support. After being on the mission field in Europe for over 15 years, and having a too long furlough,several years…. It is still what concerns me, the issue of churches, individuals getting involved supporting those who are willing to go, called and willing to go and work in the field, Jesus said: the harvest is plenty but the workers are few. Way to many missionaries has returned home, meaning had to come off the field because of lack of support… Swining it back to D-day, I don’t think those first wave of soldiers (if they had a choice) would have ever charged the beaches if there was no support, if they thought they were it… nothing more and no one behind them. I believe people will step up when and if they know they will not lack the equipment, training, resources and support, there will be more soldiers of Christ standing up, getting off the beach and charge forward!

  4. Good encouraging words. I agree. Let’s get off the beach. Where do you want us to go first?
    In Saving Private Ryan they gathered and identified their first target. They took steps to attack and did so with courage. What is our first step? Where, or who is our first target? Christian ideals and family values are being attacked by a passionate, motivated enemy. They have fortified their positions in key areas of power and have us nearly pinned down. Lead us! Clearly identify these targets and I believe you have men and women in your congregation who will fight with you to weaken the enemy and regain the ground we have lost to the deceived. Churches all over the country like New Life have the resources. They have structure. They have a pulpit. I talk to men who want to battle. They have the desire. Lead them against an enemy that would try to destroy what men and women are most passionate about, their families, their faith and their country. When you begin to do that you will find a strong army who knows God is their shield and will empower them to advance against a troop.

  5. Jessica Henshaw

    July 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I agree with this one hundred percent. Too many times we as Christians are too accepting of the status quo. There are two phrases that come to my mind, and both could be summed up as the last words of a dying church. The phrases are “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and “We’ve never done it that way before”. It’s time to get out of the comfort zone, get into the combat zone, fight the good fight of faith, and take back what Satan has stolen from us, just like the soldiers on D Day who fought well and took back the land from the Nazis in WWII.

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