I want to start today by taking you back to a familiar old testament story if that’s alright.
The guy we started this series with, Moses. You remember Moses, the one who led the Israelite to freedom. Well before that, remember he was a 40 year old shepherd boy, obviously not much in the skills or ambition department. Before that he was a felon on the run from Pharoah. But when God called him things began to change. Now we talked about that things changed because he understood his WHY. But I want us to understand that understanding our why isn’t always enough.
So here we have Moses. He’s standing barefoot before the burning bush that doesn’t burn up, that would be reason enough to do something, but God speaks and says:
So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
God answered him, I’ll be with you.
Then Moses protested some more.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God answered him…tell them I AM has sent me to you. Explain that I am the God of their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
God assures him that when he calls the leaders, they will believe him, they will follow him.
Go with the elders and to Pharoah and tell him to let my people go.
But Moses wasn’t convinced:
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
But they won’t believe me, how will I convince them Moses asks.
This is when I get frustrated with Moses, Like when you go to a movie and the monster is hiding around the corner and you are the only one who knows and you start talking to the characters…MOSES, didn’t you just see a burning bush, God is going to work this out man! It’s frustrating to watch, probably because Moses’s doubts remind me of my own.
But God doesn’t get frustrated, he delivers.
He asks Moses, what do you have?
Moses says my hands and my staff…that's all I have. God says that’s all I need.
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.
This is what you do Moses. Throw it down and it’ll become a snake; pick it up and it will turn back into a staff. When you do that they will believe you…trust me.
For those who don’t, show them this, put your hand in your pocket, now pull it out. See the diseased. Now put it back in your pocket, now pull it out. See it’s healed.
The rest will believe that. These aren't’ tricks, these are signs that I am with you.
Moses understood his why. But in his way of thinking, in order to get Pharaoh to let the people go, he needed more than his hands and a stick.
What he didn’t realize, but we can see as we look back on the story is that all he had was more than enough when combined with the power of God.
Moses accomplished what he did because he gave all he had for God to use, he fought against the temptation to hold back.
And guess what happened. Well it’s no surprise, you know the end of the story. God showed up…God showed, and Moses got the privilege of being used by God to change the world as God’s power went to work in all Moses had, even though it wasn’t much.
I believe throughout scripture we see that when people called by God, believe their why enough for them to God to use all they have, God works in mighty ways. Moses was one of those people.
He wasn’t the only one in the bible God combined his power with limited resources to accomplish great things.
Joseph, the boy prisoner who would save a nation from starvation.
David, the boy who obeyed God and conquered the giant and become king.
Gideon, the leader who said yes to God and defeated the enemies of Israel, 130,000 soldiers with 300.
Mary, the pregnant teen, who said yes to being used by God to deliver the messiah.
Paul, the pharisee with a terrible reputation who said yes to God and went on to plant churches all over the middle east.
There are others. Not a one of these thought they had enough. They all trusted that Gods power was more than enough to deliver his promise, so they stepped into big things.
With God’s power, what we don’t believe is enough to get the job done, is often all God wants to use combined with our faith.
The opposite is often true as well. When we think we have enough, we live into manageable tasks. I think we have enough saved to try that. She's been pretty nice lately, I think I’ll try to apologize now.
When we can manage it, are we really depending on God?
We say we can’t because we don’t have enough faith, money, time, resources, patience, forgiveness, compassion, employees, young people in church, children in SS, people tithing, leaders, you get the point. We tend to limit what God can do because we function out of a position of poverty....we don’t have enough.
IF I had enough of (you fill in the blank) I could really accomplish some things for God.
Saying we don’t have enough is actually right, we don’t have enough. But God, what does he really need?
He created the universe and everything in it starting with what? NOTHING.
What does God really need? NOTHING.
But in scripture, God seems to be saying, what ever you have, give it to me and watch me do something with it.
He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.”
God wants to share His power with us. HE wants us to open our lives to him and let him do things through us.
Instead of not having enough, it makes me wonder if our goals are too small.
WE aren’t going to be Moses or David. God doesn’t need another one of those. Maybe God wants to work through a Viv, a Debra, a Mike, a Brad, a Greg, a Nancy.
This is why I love my church: POWER.
I love that as I live into the life God has called us, God promises to work through us with his power.
One of my favorite verses is
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
When I wonder:
How can I forgive?
How can we grow?
How can I reach new kids in Rock Hall?
How will they ever change?
How can I be patient with her?
How can I work for him another day?
How can I help them?
How can I make a difference?
I realize that I am not the answer to HOW. It isn’t really me. It is and it’s not. It is God working through, empowering my SHAPE we talked about last week that every one of us has.
Have members raise their hands
If you are a guest here then you should hear this.
I believe in the EVERY MEMBER IN MINISTRY concept. That every one of those folks with their hands up have something to do in and through this church.
I had a spiritual mentor one time who I had to call out one night. Someone asked him why he didn’t serve on church committees any more. He said, it’s someone else’s turn. WHAT? This moment was like when your teacher would misspeak or say somethign that you KNEW was wrong. I thought did he just say 2+2=7? Obviously wrong, I got a little indignant in my response. I told him, you can’t say that. You can’t say, you have a responsibility to the church. I leaned back in my chair with a real sense of confidence, looking at my friends, yea I said that. My pride allowed me to feel good that I had called out my mentor in such an obvious flawed way of thinking. He responded. I am making room for you. My ministry has become one of mentoring others, equipping new disciples to lead the church. He got me. His shape had changed and so had his ministry. He went on to say that he spent more time in ministry now than he ever had, because now he was investing his whole life in us guys.
SO you may not be able to do what you used to do, that’s fine, but if you are a member here, you are called to be in ministry through your church. You don't get to sit this season out. We Jesus has called you and your church needs you. Not only that, but our community is dying to experience your ministry. You may need to figure out how God is calling to use your SHAPE.
How many of you have a cell phone with you today?
But I don’t see a one of you using it.
So it’s possible to have a cell phone and not be using it.
That’s the same way with the power of God. I believe that scripture teaches us that when we give our lives to God, when we become Christians, God enters into us and begins to invest his power in us. Some of us just aren’t accessing the power we have.
My dad suffered from pernicious anemia. It’s a fancy term for the condition that leads to being deficient in B12. He could take all the vitamins he could find, but his body wouldn’t absorb it. He could swim in a lake of B12, and it wouldn’t do him any good. That’s the way some Christians live their lives, surrounded by the power of God, but never accessing it.
That’s what Paul was praying about in our text for today. That’s right, I’m just now getting to our text…it may be a long day.
Reading today from Ephesians chapter 3. But first I want to set it up. This letter was meant to be read in it’s entirety…not phrase by phrase as we so often do. So looking back in the letter we see.
Paul says he prays for this church all the time. He prays as one set free from bondage to sin, and now in bondage to Christ for the church’s benefit.
So like a servant...
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
HE goes on in chapter 4
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
Paul says he wants the church to know the power they have in them…That we would experience the same power at work in us as Moses, Abraham, David, Nehemiah, Elijah, Sarah, the List of those God uses could go on and on. We have the same power that we have available to us, that enables us to live the life that we have been called.
But it’s not a one time thing. You may have had it one time, but that’s not how it works. We see that in the lives of those folks above. At times they were working in God’s power, then they weren’t. We know people like that. Scripture teaches us to be continually filled with God’s power. We are like a leaky glass. Fill us up and we leak. You need to be continually filled.
So, offer ourselves and what we have have to God, and ask God to use it to work through with his power. I want to tell you, when we do that. When you do that. You will see God move. How do I know? that’s what he promises.
I want us to access it. You can surrender your life to God, ask him to use it, hold your stuff open handed.
Let’s do that.
Every one play along.
Make a fist. Think of one thing in your life that you are holding on to. It might be unforgiveness. It might be a hurt you experienced. It might be a habit you keep hanging on to. It might be some possession you have. A regret, a mistake. Picture it in your fist.
Now open you hand.
Imagine how your life might change if you let God take it from you. Take it and do something with it that you have been unable or unwilling to do.
How can you. THE HOW of our life is the power of God. There isn’t anything special about how to receive the power of the Holy Spirit into your life.
That’s how you receive the power of God.
That’s why I love my church, God’s power.
Life is much more than an accident. Where ever I go, I believe God needs me there. Where ever I am, I trust God has put me there. He has a purpose for me being there - Christ, alive in me, wants to do something through me. I believe this and go in his grace and his love and his power. Amen.