Faithlife Sermons

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 9 AM

Time-Out !  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:13
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 “Time Out!” – Exodus 16:2-8 Bascomb UMC / September 24, 2017 / 9 AM Focus: The God who provides while calling us to a difficult journey. Function: To center us as grateful people ready to serve unselfishly. 5 Purpose Outcomes of the Church: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Evangelism, Service 2 The whole Israelite community complained against Moses and Aaron in the desert. 3 The Israelites said to them, “Oh, how we wish that the LORD had just put us to death while we were still in the land of Egypt. There we could sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread. Instead, you’ve brought us out into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death.” 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I’m going to make bread rain down from the sky for you. The people will go out each day and gather just enough for that day. In this way, I’ll test them to see whether or not they follow my Instruction. 5 On the sixth day, when they measure out what they have collected, it will be twice as much as they collected on other days.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 7 And in the morning you will see the LORD’s glorious presence, because your complaints against the LORD have been heard. Who are we? Why blame us?” 8 Moses continued, “The LORD will give you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning because the LORD heard the complaints you made against him. Who are we? Your complaints aren’t against us but against the LORD.” I think this passage sounds an awful lot like a parent (God) dealing with spoiled children (the Hebrews). I do have great empathy for parents raising young children. The pace can be exhausting! Jerry Seinfield said that raising a two-year-old is like trying to use a blender without a top. Page 1 of 5 It’s hard to control the mess. My childhood was before the invention of “timeout.” My parents were from the “spare the rod” generation and, of course, that’s how I turned out so well! We all know that discipline is quite a trick. A little girl came home from school and told her mother, "Mommy, today in school I was punished for something that I didn't do." "Well! I'm call your teacher right now ... what was it that you didn't do?" "My homework" she said. And don’t think you can play the God card either. A Christian school lined up the children in the cafeteria of for lunch and at the head of the table was a large pile of apples and a note: "Take only ONE - God is watching you." At the end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies that also had a note (obviously written by one of the students): "Take all you want. God is busy watching the apples." The Hebrews wonder if God is busy with some other chosen people? Has God put them in “Time-Out?” They whine away in the desert, day dream about how good they had it back in Egypt, and they put the blame on Moses and Aaron – not God. Now I understand that they got hungry out there and, all kidding aside, the Hebrews are in the wilderness (a barren, desert wasteland) and they were not having a good time. They looked around wondering how long they could survive with the provisions they carried on their backs. (Sigh) But it is disappointing, God had just rescued them from the Egyptian army with many signs and wonders and they just say: “what have you done for us lately? So why didn’t they have more trust in God? Could it be that they were not in control and God was not moving things along according to their timeline? Now some of you must be thinking: “do we resemble the Hebrews?” So, I ask us the question: “were they in Time Out?” Being punished? OR were they (in this particular case) being tested? Tested by God (as described in the scripture) or the Page 2 of 5 results of their own choices, or just by circumstances alone? Maybe the wilderness times in our lives are best described as “boot camp” – a character building experience – like Scouting builds character – the students take the burden of leadership and suffer the consequences if they have poor planning and execution (I pitched my tent below a natural gully that flooded my sleeping bag when it rained). Academics builds character. The diploma, the bachelor’s and master’s degrees - are really just an exercise in character building – the degree, at the very least, says that you can accomplish a task and get it in on time. We benefit from a time-out – a season of preparation – a testing – a “boot camp” experience because faith is a muscle that must be exercised! If you want to pick up big weights (or if circumstances one-day FORCE you to life a big weight), you must be prepared, you must “work up to it” by starting small. Babies don’t start in the gym! I do believe some parts of our life challenge us and make us stronger because that’s how God wants it to work. This text gives us an early insight into how God works: God is patient and God meets their needs, yet w/expectations – procedures, rules! They get what the need, not what they want. They get their daily bread and they can’t hoard it! They get their weekly sabbath – God makes that possible for them and for us! God wants what is best for the people, but it does not come EASY. Research shows that creatures must struggle to be born! If you help the creature out of the egg, it compromises their internal systems and they are weaker as a result. This Hebrew journey through the wilderness has become a metaphor for our lives on this side of the Jordan river. We are on route to the Promised Land – where the dominion of God is full and complete, but we must fight and struggle to get there. Page 3 of 5 The abundant life is not handed to you on a silver platter – that would compromise your free will to say NO to God. You must be able to say No….then IF you say YES to God’s ways, it means that if was your free choice. Look what happened to the Hebrews: 13 I [God] gave you land on which you hadn’t toiled and cities that you hadn’t built. You settled in them and are enjoying produce from vineyards and olive groves that you didn’t plant. 14 “So now, revere the Lord. Serve him honestly and faithfully. Put aside the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and serve the Lord. 15 But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Choose the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But my family and I will serve the Lord” Joshua 24: 13-15 (CEB). Guess what? They didn’t serve the Lord faithfully – they began to take it all for granted. Their health, their wealth, their very lives were a gift from God and they began to act ENTITLED to what they had – after all… they were God’s Chosen people! I am concerned about that for myself. I was raised a white American and I can act pretty entitled sometimes. I wonder how quick I’ll start to whine if I find myself in “Time-Out” somewhere in the wilderness. If I don’t exercise my faith on a regular basis my faith muscles get weak. Here in the season of Kingdom-tide, I hope we will exercise our faith before we must face a trial. I hope we will be in study with one another weekly from now through Christmas. Are you giving more than just this one hour a week to study for the sake of your faith? It’s time now to challenge you as members of this church to give your time Page 4 of 5 (are we really still begging for Sunday school teachers?), your talents (where do you serve this church with your talents?) your gifts ($30,000 per month pays the bills and you have made that goal consistently! Yayyy!) But a few months this year you achieved the $35,000 goal – if we make that every month then the children, youth, Sunday school and missions ministries can have a budget in the future – October seems to be your best month. This Sunday we need your service: Flood buckets, Kyros, Scrapbooking, the Thrift store. AND we need your witness out there where you live. Invite people to come and when they come, surround them with that warm Bascomb hospitality. This is the season for us to exercise our faith and be mature Christians! My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (CEB) The future holds a challenge for us, a crossroads of opportunity and we should prepare ourselves to rise to the occasion. I hope we can do this EVEN in these good times. We are not in a Time-Out. We are no longer in crisis. I hope we can be faithful in the small things now if God plans on giving us greater things in our future. Humans get entitled and self-centered when there’s not a crisis: Video Clip: “The worst of Harvey brought out America's best” CBS News There are two kinds of people in the world—those facing hard circumstances and those who will soon be facing hard circumstances. Jesus made it clear when he stated the obvious, “In this world you will have trouble,” but then he gave us cause for rejoicing when he added, “but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” God again has fed US with the bread of life. Will we take it for granted or will Bascomb rise to the challenge to love and serve this community? Let us pray………… Page 5 of 5
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