Thursday, July 16, 2009

Faith For the Future

Last night we continued out Centrifuge follow up with the MOVE theme and let me tell you it was an incredible night where God really showed up.  It as awesome having an almost full band again and there were several times during the song "Hosanna" by Brenton Brown where I just had to step away from the microphone and worship solely by playing guitar and letting the words rush over me like a gentle breeze.  I was telling Belinda afterward that I truthfully was just so overwhelmed during the song that I needed to break down and cry.  The lyrics "You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises" just hit me at a different level this time.

We started off the message by talking a few minutes about the characteristics of Play-Doh.  Play-Doh is really something cool, but why does it smell so good?  I've always wondered that myself.  We talked about how Play-Doh can be made into anything you want, unless it is exposed to too much air.  It then becomes hard, may crack or even break, and is no longer able to be used for its intended purpose.  We as Christians must be like Play-Doh.  We must be able to be molded by God, and have a teachable spirit.  We must be teachable in order to be prepared for God's work.  A great example of this in the Bible is the relationship between Moses and Joshua.  Joshua was teachable as Moses invested into him.  If Joshua wasn't teachable, he wouldn't have been prepared to be the leader that God called him to be.

We looked at the following scriptures and discussed them:
Exodus 24:12-14-  Moses didn't take Aaron or the elders, instead he took Joshua because Moses was pouring into Joshua and teaching him
Deuteronomy 31:1-8-  Moses instructs and encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous.  Verse 8 Moses tells Joshua that even though Joshua is the human leader, that the Lord Himself is the real leader and power.  Maybe he told Joshua this to be sure that Joshua didn't become arrogant in his new position.
Deuteronomy 31:14-23-  Moses has Joshua come to the tent of meeting where The Lord appears in a pillar of cloud and speaks to Moses telling him that he is about to die and that the Israelites will end up turning their back on God.  How sad is this after all that God had done for the Israelites, He knows that they are going to still turn their backs on Him.  Then Moses writes the song that God gives Him to teach the sons of Israel and then he commissions Joshua.

Now think about this, what if Joshua had not been teachable during all this time when Moses was pouring himself into Joshua and teaching him.  When he was being commissioned to be the next leader he wouldn't have been ready to be leader, and he probably would have been flipping out.  Its just like if someone went skydiving and was about to jump out of the plane and realized they didn't listen to the instructor before.  They would be flipping out because they hadn't been teachable and didn't learn what they needed to do.

I want you to think about these questions that we closed the night with:
-Are you teachable?
-We are to give God out best and being teachable is a way to do that.
-Just like too much exposure to air ruins Play-Doh and makes it non-moldable, when we are exposed to things we shouldn't be, we are not 
  as moldable and teachable
-Are you allowing godly people to invest in you, challenge you, and mold you?
-Are you allowing God to mold you?
-Are you able to teach/mold others?
-If not then why?
-If so then are you?

Allow yourselves to be teachable by God and godly people, preparing you for the work He has for you.  Please don't ever get to that point where you don't believe you can be taught.  If you do, it's at that point that you decide you can do things on your own without God, which is definitely impossible.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Faith to MOVE Forward

Wow, I can't believe it had been over a month since I had a WNW to lead worship and preach.  Last week we were in Revival, the previous week I was sick, the week before that we were at Centrifuge, and then the WNW before that was a night of prayer and worship and a time where we prayed over each student.  Saying that I was ready for this night would probably be a bit of an overstatement.  Of course after the night was over, I was exhausted from the amount of energy I put into it, the fact that I hadn't done it in so long, and b/c I'm probably not quite 100% over that terrible swine flu.  Anyway we began the 1st of 3 weeks of Centrifuge follow up devotions continuing with the MOVE theme.

The theme MOVE from Centrifuge was based on the fact that as Christians from the moment we trust Jesus we are required to MOVE, from doubt to belief, from wandering to direction, from what we think should be to what God says should be.  As Christians our lives are meant to be continuous, always growing closer to God, always doing what He leads us to and when we don't we become stagnant and nasty.  Like I told the students when that happens there isn't any amount of Axe deodorant spray that will cover up a stagnant Christian.  Too many times as Christians and 'the church' we do sit back and do nothing b/c we are selfish, self-consumed, and don't care much about others.  When this happens then the world sees and realizes that they are no different than the Christians and so why would they want to have anything to do with Christianity.  Without getting on a soap box, I believe this shows that 'the church' has missed it.  We have missed it in the fact that we are consumed with what we want more than what God wants.  We forego leading others to Christ to stay in our bubble and stay comfortable.

I posted each night of Centrifuge about the sermons Tony Merida preached, but here is a quick run down of each day of Bible study out of the book of Exodus
Day 1- Faith to Let Go- Moses and the Burning Bush
-Faith sometimes requires us to let go when God calls and we must trust Him and respond with action
-We have to let go of what we want
Day 2- Faith to Take A Stand- Plagues on Egypt
-Faith sometimes requires perseverance and courage to take a stand even when it may be uncomfortable or unpopular
-It will be uncomfortable when God calls us to do something, but He also provide peace
-It will be unpopular to luke-warm Christians and the world
Day 3- Faith to Go Into the Unknown- Moses parted the Red Sea
-Faith sometimes requires us to go into the unknown and take a risk for Christ
Day 4- Faith to Wait- Manna & Quail
-Faith sometimes requires us to wait where we are, but during the waiting period we are not to complain, but depend on God
Day 5- Faith to the Fullest- 10 Commandments
-Faith requires obedience and when we obey God we will experience full life He desires

Before looking at the scripture, we talked a minute about playing hide & seek. The strategy that goes into it and what the goal is. I then asked the students if we as Christians play hide and seek with God. I asked them this series of questions to ponder on:
-Do we try to hide from God?
-Do we try to hide from others?
-What do you tend to do when you make mistakes?
-What past regrets are you hiding?
Hiding and living in the past keep you from moving forward. There are 2 ways that I believe we tend to live in the past.
1) Some are living in the "good old days"
-Your best days are ahead of you but some people waste them as they pass by b/c they are living in the past
-One of my favorite quotes is "Your dreams/visions must be bigger than your memories". When your memories are bigger than 
your dreams then you are definitely living in the past and can't move forward.
2) Living with past regrets (which was our main focus for the night)

In Exodus 2:11-15 we read about Moses killing the Egyptian then fleeing to Midian. He ran from his problems and lived another 40 years hiding and living in regret. In chapter 2 verses 17-25 is a period of 40 years that tells us very little of Moses life. This is 
probably b/c there wasn't much to write about b/c he probably wasn't being used by God during this period of hiding. There are 
2 points we looked at in the time in Moses' life.

1) We Cannot Hide From God
-Psalm 139:7-12 tells us that we can't hide, God is everywhere and knows everything about us
-We have to quit trying to hide our past sin and regrets from God b/c He knows them, and wants to forgive them and wants us to 
MOVE forward
2) God Pursues Us in Spite of Our Sinful State
-We read in Exodus 3 that God speaks to Moses through the burning bush. God pursued Moses even in his sin. I know that at some 
point Moses had to repent and turn back to God in order for God to use him. We read on about the great things that Moses does. Even when you might be filled with sin, God is still seeking you out and wants you to repent, turn back to Him, and be used for 
His glory.

Living in the past is like walking backward. Your future gets further away from you and you end up tripping and stumbling. Stop 
living in the past. If you have past regrets and sin, then repent and turn back to God. Lay down anything that might be holding you back from moving forward with Him