"Thriving in a Strange Land - Flourishing Beyond Our Setbacks" Exodus 2: 10-22, The Message
We shared on Sunday that edgy choices can be difficult. Decisions birthed in adversity are often the result of people daring to hold to hope, even when hopelessness is all around them. Jochebeb is an example of a person who makes a creative, innovative and life-giving choice all while contending with the potential for despair, devastation and death.
The Resurrection of Jesus was and is a cosmos-altering moment. In Jesus’s rising from the grave, the grip of sin, hell and death upon humanity was/is destroyed for those who choose to embrace the resurrected truth of who Jesus is. Embracing the power of the resurrection is not momentary. It is not just about feeling good on Resurrection Sunday morning. Rather, it is about believing that the power of the Spirit’s life is always at work in the Church, the believer and the spaces we as believers occupy. Jesus is not only alive, but Jesus is the Life-Giver.
No one likes to go to tombs; dead places. But the miracle of Resurrection Sunday is that confronting death can result in experiencing new life. New life can only be discovered when we press past our fears and dare to go to the tomb. As much as we fear the tomb, we must face the tomb in order to encounter the Good News of a resurrected Christ.
When GOD remembers Noah, GOD:1. Begins the process of readying Noah to exit the ark and reconstitutes his purpose as the agent of a new Divine Covenant; Noah is preserved for a purpose.2. Breathes a fresh wind on the earth signaling that GOD's Spirit does show up in dead and confusing places with the ordering power of GOD’s life.
After Jesus calls the 12 Apostles (sent ones), Jesus engages them along with a diverse and large crowd of others. Specially, the ochlos (common crowd) and plethos (multitude). This language is important because Jesus's ministry is directed toward everybody; not just the elite. Not just the privileged. Not just those who think they are on the top of the heap, but everybody.
Attributes of a Leader: Learn to Wait and Trust God; Listen to the Voice of God; Confidence comes from God
The blessing in the text is not regulated to the reality of the hearers' experiences but revealed through relationship with the Teacher; the blessing is in the Person, Jesus. In other words, Jesus is letting these hungry and weeping hearers know that their change is connected to accessing the words He is giving them.
Sermon 1 in this series will tackle the Lucan Beatitudes with the goal of bringing these words of blessing back to earth a bit. I do not know about anyone else, but I desire to know that the blessings of the Lord, the fulfillment of the Lord and the goodness of the Lord are not just regulated to the great by and by, but that as a citizen of the realm of GOD I can access the blessed life even while passing through this rocky world.
The Raven Is restless , flying in and out of the ark? – bad translations suggest the raven kept flying over the earth, no the raven kept flying back and forth between the ark and a deluged earth instead of being patient, strategic and faithful. Pursues rest and when the dove can’t find rest, the dove does not have a problem going back to where it is safe – I was provided for in the ark, I ate seeds and vegetation in the ark, the ark kept almost a year, so why get restless because the ark is different; diverse seasons require diverse provision; Noah I believe points us a bit to GOD in the text, when the dove can’t perch, Noah reaches for the dove and brings the dove back in.
Innovative and creative people are able to make edgy choices when faced with adversity. Thinking outside of the box can preserve life and enable us to partner with GOD's creativity. Moses's mother Jochebed defied Pharaoh and became a freedom fighter for her people.
John 14:15-17 ESV If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you
These are the ways I prepare for the floods of life: 1. I have to have a relationship with Jesus that surpasses flattery and is founded on a resilient faith - yes there are many of us who specialize in religious language but do not yield to a redemptive relationship with Jesus.
Here's a few chewable nuggets for us to consider as we wrestle with what it means to operate with certainty in uncertain times: Receive the blessing GOD grants even the most frightening moments, Rest in the relief GOD gives even when we can't see our way, and Re-calibrate and move forward because the journey is not done.
It is never too late to reset, refocus and restart. We can begin again by: Confessing we have sinned by means of self-centered complacency, acknowledging that many of our loses and set-backs may have been caused by external forces, and Realizing GOD’s mercy and love transcend our shortcomings.
Why? Because all of creation and all of the resources of creation belong to GOD as the Creator. Being shook by GOD’s presence brings humanity into a place of holy wonder and awe of the central place GOD should have in our lives. GOD disrupts our priorities so that we can be re-centered in GOD. Shaking is not the end goal, peace, restoration and GOD’s glory are.
Blessings still come to those who GOD keeps in the wilderness. The barrenness of the season does not negate GOD's ordained blessings. The season might appear to be cursed, but that doesn't mean we are not blessed.
GOD is the Farmer and Christ the Vine - GOD is setting us up for spiritual productivity as long as we make the commitment to remain in the Vine.
Holla if you hear me because like those receiving the prophetic words in the text, we live in a culture where we are full of GOD talk and not as much GOD Walk - The transgression of talking more than we walk It.
How do I manage the music, the sound and the noisy unlikable groove of tough seasons? Understand as a person of faith, my exilic circumstances, my struggles and my challenges, cannot prohibit me from being prepared to stand when everyone else is ready to bow – some songs we must not only dislike but we must skip and oppose.
We have been called to one walk; a walk of humility, gentleness, patience, and love. The supernatural power of the universal Church makes us One Body. But even as we are called to unity and oneness, Christ has graced us individually according to expansive generosity of his gifts.
Leave the graveyard because it was never meant to be a permanent place, but a temporary location for miraculous manifestation; Leave the graveyard even when your emotional, mental, and spiritual state is conflicted; Leave the graveyard realizing that Jesus’s presence will often meet us as we go, and not when we stay stuck.
“I Got You because…” We should share core beliefs - not simply a litany of dogmatic assertions, but we should share a belief in GOD’s miraculous power (see Acts 4: 29-31) - we are collectively serving as witnesses to GOD’s power in Christ.
Ways in which we access the privileges of confirmation: Acceptance, Confession, Yielding, and Filling. The results of our lives as a church should be marked by Demonstration, Separation, Rejuvenation, and Sanctification
Nourish our minds for the sake of peace, joy, contentment and accomplishment by: meditating, studying and rehearsing what is good; valuing the roles of godly mentors and thought leaders in our lives; inviting the peaceful presence of God into our lives through an ongoing and growing relationship with Christ.
Traps are often tricks of the Enemy designed to distract you from both the grace and purposes of God at work in us; When trappers attack, Jesus does not retaliate, instead Jesus responds with grace; Traps Traffic in deception, and because of such cannot stand up against the truth.
According to the writer of Colossians, Christ is: The image of the invisible GOD, The Blueprint and Agent of Creation as the Begotten, The Center of Creation, The Person of Preeminence in all things, The Location of GOD’s full indwelling, and The Reconciler and Redeemer.
Self-entitlement is when an individual perceives themselves as deserving of unearned privileges. These are the people who believe life owes them something; a reward, a measure of success, a particular standard of living.
In short, don’t judge Eutychus’s seat, fatigue or fall - because his seat, fatigue and fall did not result in his demise, but instead resulted in what appears to be a miracle.
There is no better place than the House of the Lord; The House of the Lord is not just a place, but it is an embodied way of thinking, behaving, and living; just being in the House and being in the Lord is all that matters; with a life of worship, I've placed a deposit on an eternal home, and I am already able to use the eternal equity.
How about this Thanksgiving season we view the blessings of GOD as a catalyst to more service, ministry, usefulness and transformation, instead of isolated proof that GOD can provide what GOD has already secured. Jesus causing Simon to get the catch was the easy part. Now Jesus is calling Simon to leave the catch and do the greater thing! Serve.
A woman, a person like Mary, has the audacity to say yes, even when saying no would be the easier, safer and perhaps more logical choice; Wisdom drives a person like Mary to connect her assignment to the proper human relationship(s); Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Ghost in order to let Mary know you will be blessed because you are allowing GOD to fulfill in you both the burden and the blessing, the blessing and the burden the world stands in need of!
Ezekiel prophesies what he is told by GOD, and as a result of obedience hears the sound of life in a dead and bone-filled valley; Ezekiel does “not see life” in what is lifeless until what is slain receives GOD’s breath. The valley of dry bones is real, but it does not have to be the conclusion!
Reverence - our posture - we will place the LORD at the center? Service - our duty - we will make ministry our focus? Consecration - our loyalty - we will walk in discipleship even when it hurts?
Anna is: Part of a prophetic pair; Carries a prolific background, but forges her own identity; Subverts a precarious plight; Engages a purposeful prayer discipline; and has no problem with protracted and powerful praise.
The Savior of all seems to make a distinction between those worthy of help and those who are not; and yet the pressure of the situation allows for great faith to shine through!
She trusts what she hears; She challenges the most powerful man in Palestine and the most powerful man in her life; She speaks the truth; Her sheroic actions are not lauded, do nothing to stop what is wrong.
Going higher doesn't always equate to easily evident exaltation; Following Jesus is not always a journey of sweetness, sometimes it is a journey of frightening surrender; Even when the followers of Jesus are not clear, Jesus is clear.