Sermon – October 22, 2017

Questions God Asks Us: What Is That In Your Hand?, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Exodus 4:1-8

Then Moses answered, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— “so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign.

Sermon – February 12, 2017

BPUMC_Podcast_LogoTake It or Leave It, by Rev. Angela Martin

The Word

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

June 28-July 4

Exodus – Moses

Ask.

  • How can you describe a God that you cannot see?
  • How can you describe his character to someone who does not believe in him?
  • How can you explain to someone why you serve such a God, especially if that person has seen you at your worst or weakest self?

Listen.

The man who led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness was one of them. Like them, he traced his family back to the sons of Jacob who had escaped a famine in Canaan by traveling to Egypt where years later their descendants were forced to keep working as slaves. He had been born in the same slums as the other Israelites — those of the slaves who served the Pharaoh.

And yet he was different. He had been raised as an Egyptian. His sister had put him in a basket as an infant and floated him down the river toward a bathing Egyptian princess so that he might have a better life. He grew up knowing he was an Israelite through his sister who then went to work as a servant in the palace. But he talked, dressed and acted like an Egyptian, learning the secrets of their culture which made them the most advanced in the world at that time.

And he was also a murderer. His blood had boiled as he watched a slave being beaten by an overseer. And when the time was right, he killed the Egyptian in cold blood before escaping into the eastern desert to begin a new life as a shepherd among the Midianite nomads.

He was a reluctant leader. When God came to him through a burning bush and told him that he would return to Egypt to free his people, Moses was sure that God had made a mistake. He didn’t think the Israelites would believe that God had really sent him. He had a speech impediment which made him stutter when he was stressed. He tried repeatedly to talk God out of believing that he was the man for the job.

But God knew that he was just the man he was looking for. Moses had a passion for the people he had left behind. Why else would he have gotten so angry that he committed murder to stop a man from being beaten, losing the life of status that he had in the court of the Egyptians? God had a plan to free the Israelites so that they would do something great in the world. And he would use Moses’ passion to put his plan in motion.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent you.” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ’The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.”

Moses did answer God’s call. He defied the Pharaoh and freed his people. The man who led the Israelites through the wilderness didn’t much resemble the one who had once tried to convince God that he wasn’t capable of greatness. But he was the same man. The difference was that he had given himself over completely to being used by God. And it was because of this that he had become a powerful and respected leader of a nation on the move to freedom.

Think.

You have a passion. God has a plan. And he wants your passion to intersect with his plan. But your passion isn’t that series on Netflix that you binge watch and it isn’t your favorite college football team. You have a passion for something important. It’s something that really means a lot to you and that also means a lot to God. Maybe it is helping people with depression or providing clean water for thirsty people on another continent. Whatever you think your personal shortcomings may be, God isn’t asking you to go it alone. Let God guide your efforts and together you will overcome your shortcomings or any challenges that you face.

Remember.

God keeps his promises. Our God is known through his actions in the world. His hope is that you will answer the call to be part of his plan. Your life can serve as a testimony to the faithfulness of our God, not just in your life, but in the lives of everyone you know.

Pray.

Tell God something that you care about. Make sure that it is something big. Really big. Bigger than you’re capable of fixing by yourself. Tell God all the reasons why you’re not capable of fixing it. Now ask God to show you how you can help him fix it. Resolve to do your part to fix it. Then after you pray, go get started actually doing it!