am humbled, excited, and I am filled with all kinds of emotion
with the realization that God has called me to be the next
Senior Pastor of this congregation. You know there are challenges,
and there are opportunities and I feel like a kid the night
before Christmas because it is something that I have known
was going to happen my entire life and I have waited 50
years for this opportunity. When you look at the different
calls that people have had throughout their life, 50 years
is not all that long. I look at the call of Moses for instance.
What you have to realize is that Moses was 80 years old
before he received his call. 80 years old!
can divide the life of Moses into three distinct parts,
the first 40 years was living in the lap of luxury. He was
raised in the court of Pharaoh; Pharaoh's daughter raised
him. 40 years that way. The next 40 years he spent as a
shepherd; he was hiding because he killed an Egyptian and
he spent 40 years in the Sinai Desert raising sheep for
his father in law. It was at that time, at the age of 80,
while grazing the sheep through the mountains and through
the deserts that he saw a burning bush that was not burning.
Hard to imagine.
me read this text to you. It is in the third chapter of
Exodus, verses 1-14.
Now Moses was attending the flock of Jethro,
his father in law, the priest of Midian, and he led the
flock to the far side of the desert. There the angel of
the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a
bush and Moses saw that though the bush was on fire, it
did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I'll go over and
see this strange sight - why the bush does not burn up."
When the Lord saw that he had come over to look, God called
him from within the bush. "Moses, Moses." Moses
said, "Here I am." Then the Lord said, "I
have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have
heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and
I am concerned about their suffering so I have come down
to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and bring
them up and out of the land and bring them to a good and
spacious land. A land flowing with milk and honey. And now
the cry has reached me. So now I am sending you to Pharaoh
to bring my people out of Egypt." But Moses said to
God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" And
God said, "I will be with you." 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 simply
say, 'what is his name?' Then what should I tell them?"
And God said to Moses, I AM who I AM. That is what you are
to say to the Israelites, I AM has sent me to you."
years in the court of Pharaoh, 40 years in the Sinai desert,
and 40 years leading the Israelites through the wilderness.
And, like all of us when we are first called we say to ourselves,
'who am I?' When Moses is saying all of this, these feelings
of inferiority start to come into his mind. Moses thinks,
"How can God call me? Doesn't he know, for the past
40 years I've been doing nothing but leading sheep? And
he thinks I can lead the people of Israel? I am a murderer
that's why I'm hiding out here and He expects me to go back
to Pharaoh as a murderer. Who am I that He would choose
me?" The natural instinct of every human being is to
look at ourselves and in so doing, we see the negative and
it's easy to add up all of the negatives.
God comes and He answers the question. He didn't start telling
Moses how great he was, he didn't give him all of his priority
lists, he didn't give them a Kiersey Bates Temperament Analysis
Test, nor did he give him some type of motivation test.
God didn't do any of that. God didn't tell Moses what a
wonderful leader he was or could be. How did God respond
to the question from Moses, "Who am I?" The answer
was, "I will be with you." In other words, it
doesn't matter what you've done, it doesn't matter what
your weaknesses are, it doesn't matter what your strengths
are, it doesn't matter who you are because "I will
be with you", says the Lord. When God calls us to a
task and to a responsibility to do something, to be the
best father we can be, to be the best mother we can be,
to be the best friend, the best neighbor, the best New Hope
counselor, all of these thoughts start to run through our
minds, "But oh what if somebody says this and says
that and how can I have the ability to do this and do that?"
When we look at ourselves all we can see is the negative
and think, "Who am I? Who am I?"
God answers, "It doesn't matter because I am with you."
If God is with us and God is before us, no one can defeat
us and we cannot fail. The question is: where was God this
week, where was He when 12 miners passed away in the Sago
Mine in West Virginia. Where was God? God was there. God
was caring for them, and God was taking them home. The fact
is that every single one of us as human beings on planet
earth will come to the realization that some day God will
be there with us too. God will carry us home too and God
will be there when we need Him the most. When we need Him
the most, He is always there; "who am I?" The
Lord says, "I will be with you."
then said, "Who are you, what is your name, what am
I going to say if people ask me?" And God said, "I
AM who I AM." I AM, He always has been, He always will
be. He was in the beginning as He will be in the present
and He will be in the future, I AM who I AM. I AM, the one
who spoke, and created the heavens and the earth, I AM the
one who spoke and put the fish in the sea and the birds
in the air and the cattle on the hills. I AM the one who
spoke and vegetation covered the earth, I AM the giver of
life, the sustainer of life, I AM life. He was in the beginning;
He is now and will be forever.
power in those words, I AM, is amazing. Jesus said those
words, I AMíK a good shepherd, I AM the bread of life,
I AM the resurrection and the life, I AM the way the truth
and the life, before Abraham was, I AM. Who am I? I will
be with you. Who are you? I AM, always have been, always
will be with you wherever you are, within you, around you,
through you, I AM. Then Moses said, "What if they don't
believe, what if they don't listen?" God said, "Well
I'll give you miracles so they will know that it is true."
God gave Moses a staff and He gave Moses the ability to
do wonderful miraculous things. I hear about Moses doing
miraculous things and I think of one of my favorite golf
jokes. If you are a golfer, you have my apologizes because
all golfers know this one. The joke is: Moses and Jesus
and an old man are golfing together, and they come up to
this par 3, a par 3 is where you're supposed to get onto
the green in one and then two putt into the hole. So Moses
comes first and he hits the ball but he gets it a little
thin so it just scoots right toward the lake and he sees
it heading for the lake and before it can get there he just
parts the waters. The ball lands on dry land and it just
bounces across the dry land and onto the green and rolls
up about 8 inches from the hole. Next, it is Jesus' turn,
so Jesus comes up and takes a nice swing and He gets under
the ball and pops it up in the air and it looks like it's
going to plop into the lake but instead of plopping, it
bounces like ice across the lake, onto the green and he
split the difference between Moses and the hole; he was
about 4 inches away from the hole. Then the old man comes
along and he hits the ball, but he hits it off the toe of
the club and sends it shooting off, slicing to the right
and he hits a tree and a squirrel falls out of the tree,
picks up the ball, starts running across the fairway and
then an eagle comes down and grabs the squirrel. The eagle
takes off, flying over the green when he's struck by lightning
and drops the squirrel. When the squirrel hits the ground
the ball pops out of his mouth and rolls into the hole.
Jesus looks at the old man and says, "Hey, good shot
if people don't believe, what if people don't listen? God's
response is, "I will give you miracles and signs and
wonders that people will believe." Today I continue
to see God's signs and wonders and miracles. I see it in
the miracle of a changed life, someone calls our New Hope
phone line and they're ready to end it all and then they
experience the presence of God in their heart and their
life is changed. People who are facing terminal illnesses
suddenly get well and they call it coincidences. Things
miraculously take place where things fall in line and it's
just luck, just great luck. Today it's time for us to call
it what it really is, not coincidences, not luck, but rather
God incidences. Incidences where God intervenes and does
something. It's time for us to quit calling it luck and
start calling it what it really is, blessings. It is called
God's blessings upon His people. "How will we know
and how will we be able to get people to listen and respond,"
says Moses? God says He will do miraculous things and people
will see, people will know. "Who am I," says Moses?
God says, "I will be with you." "What is
your name," says Moses. God says, "I AM, I AM
the bread of life, I AM the resurrection and the life."
if people don't listen? Miraculous things will take place,
God incidences and blessings will happen. Trust God and
He will be with you. Rely on the power of God and He will
sustain you. Know that God will be with you wherever you
go and you will truly soar with the calling that God has
given to you and you will succeed.
Heavenly Father, we thank You that as You called Moses,
so you call every one of your people. As we take our eyes
off of ourselves and look at You and your guidance and your
leadership that we can do all things. As we continue to
walk with You, that You will walk with us and bless us and
go with us. And so we thank You, Lord for everything and
we praise Your name always. Amen.