Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jesus For Sale

Imaging selling the best product ever made. No defects, no competition, beyond a lifetime of guarantees. That would be Jesus. Today's sermon at Hope Fellowship ( was the first installment over Jesus For Sale. The following are the outline notes to the sermon.

Matthew 5:13-16
Salt and Light
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

I salt just about everything I eat, even without tasting it. You can definitely tell the difference between the regular Morton's table salt and that low sodium Accent 60% less sodium substitute. Why bother. I think the same can be said about a Christ follower who goes to church on Sundays and really doesn't commit to developing that relationship and growing deeper in faith. This person is like the Accent salt substitute that can really turn some people off. I think vs. 14-16 basically say if you have Christ in your life don't hide it. Let everyone see how your life has changed and let it attract others to Christ as well. And a final note: Your relationship with Christ should produce good deeds, not good deeds proving that you are a Christ follower.

Sermon notes:

I. People Matter To God
God loves you the way you are right where you are. You do not have to change to be loved by God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The great thing here is that Jesus is for ANYONE who choses to believe. Unlike many other religions there is no limitation on who is invited into a relationship with Jesus. God loves EVERYONE and invites all.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

As a Christ follower you should be confident in sharing the love of Jesus with anyone and everyone. Everything you do is a reflection of Christ. This invitation is clearly for everybody.

II. People Should Matter to Us

If we say we love God, we MUST love people also. It is not an option to not love people. It should really matter to us that people without Christ are going to hell.

Matthew 28:19a Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Here the call is to go. It may be just to go an share your faith with your neighbor, a stranger in the community or even on a mission trip.

Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. Wow, we are official spokespersons for Christ. We are called to appeal to others in bringing them into the faith of following Christ. With a little or a lot of training or experience we are all responsible.

Romans 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. We are charged to not pick and choose who we share our faith with. We are on call all the time for everybody. To withold the message from certain persons would be against God's plan.

It won't be easy!!!!! Luke 6:22 22Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. You will be the "weirdo" here according to Pastor John. Just living a solid, non-radical Christian life, you will be different. If you are not different, maybe you have blended in with the world.

III. There Is No Other Way to Live

Just like the river that is drawn to the sea, a Christ follower should be different in their neighborhood, their workplace, their own family. We are walking billboards constantly advertising who Christ is in our life. Hopefully we are bring good PR to Christ and not being a bad witness.

Listen to the sermoncast at under the media section.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Exodus 6
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country."
2 God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,
but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.' "
9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.
10 Then the LORD said to Moses, 11 "Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country."
12 But Moses said to the LORD, "If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips

Family Record of Moses and Aaron

13 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
14 These were the heads of their families
: The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These were the clans of Reuben.
15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.
16 These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.
17 The sons of Gershon, by clans, were Libni and Shimei.
18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years.
19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi according to their records.
20 Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.
21 The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg and Zicri.
22 The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri.
23 Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24 The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.
25 Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.
26 It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, "Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions." 27 They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. It was the same Moses and Aaron.

Aaron to Speak for Moses

28 Now when the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt, 29 he said to him, "I am the LORD. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you."
30 But Moses said to the LORD, "Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?"

This is the account of Moses and Aaron requesting that the Israelites be let go. The phrase, "I Am the Lord" appears 4 times in this passage. The 1st time to introduce the message, the 2nd time to confirms God's promise of redemption, the 3rd time to underscore God's intention to adopt Israel and the 4th time to conclude his promise of the land and to conclude the message. The verse that sticks out the most is verse 9 which says the Israelites did not listen because they were discouraged and dealing with cruel treatment. I guess this was part of God's plan to have Moses and Aaron fully rely on the promise that God would indeed deliver the people no matter what.

For Me: I wonder how many times we fail to see God's plan or understand His promise because we've allowed our situation to discourage us. Maybe a tough time leads us to stray from the scriptures or to just be still and listen to his voice. It is not possible to be upbeat all the time, but we do need to be alert enough to respond to God's call or message.

The passage ends with Moses making excuses for his weak speaking.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let My People Go Exodus 5

Exodus 5
Bricks Without Straw

1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.' "
2 Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go."
3 Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword."
4 But the king of Egypt said, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!" 5 Then Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working."
6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: 7 "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' 9 Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."
10 Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.' " 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, "Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw." 14 The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten and were asked, "Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?"
15 Then the Israelite foremen went and appealed to Pharaoh: "Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, 'Make bricks!' Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people."
17 Pharaoh said, "Lazy, that's what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.' 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks."
19 The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when they were told, "You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day." 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, "May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us."
God Promises Deliverance

22 Moses returned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."

Come on, if you grew up in 80's at all you remember The Hooters and the song, "All You Zombies" where he says, "Holy Moses met the Pharaoh Yeah, he tried to set him straight, Looked him in the eye, "let my people go"

Moses goes along with Aaron and starts the negotiating process with Pharoah and as God told them Pharoah's heart would be hardened and he would resist. He actually made life tougher on the Israelite slaves requiring them to do the same amount of work with less materials. The slaves were frustrated with Moses and Aaron. The chapter ends up with Moses questioning God as to why he was sent.

For Me: How many times are we told through the bible how things are going to happen, yet we forget like Moses does here? We often lose focus and forget God's promises. God didn't say he will let them go immediately, yet Moses gets frustrated as if he's surprised or disappointed that it went exactly the way God said it would go. Maybe for us as in this case other people cause us to lose focus on God's plan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exodus 4 Moses Returns to Egypt
18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, "Let me go back to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive." Jethro said, "Go, and I wish you well."
19 Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead." 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
21 The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.' "
24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met {Moses} [
b] and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched {Moses'} feet with it. [c] "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said "bridegroom of blood," referring to circumcision.)
27 The LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the desert to meet Moses." So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform.
29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Moses receives the blessing from his father-in-law to go back to Egypt with his daughter and grandsons. God even reassures Moses that all who wanted to kill him have died. God does tell Moses that He will harden Pharoah's heart and he will not let the people go immediately.

It appears that in vs. 24 the Lord was about to kill Moses until Zipporah his wife circumcise his son. It says in my notes that Zipporah sensed divine displeasure so she took matters into her own hands. Moses seems to really be walking a thin line with God. He questions him over and over and now this. This passage ends with Moses meeting Aaron and then go tell the people all the miraculous signs I've given you. They bowed down and worshipped.

For ME: How many times have we skirted God's wrath? If Zipporah hadn't intervened would God really have killed Moses. Was he REALLY going to kill Moses and Zipporah's actions changed God's mind? When I lost my friend this summer in an accident involving an intoxicated driver was this a consequence of this friend being so far outside the will of God and being unusable? If God can't use me anymore will he take me? I pray that I am still reaching people for Christ through my actions, friendships and future teachings.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exodus 4 Signs for Moses
1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"
2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" "A staff," he replied.
3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."
6 Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous,
like snow.
7 "Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
8 Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."
10 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
13 But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
14 Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."

Here we see the 3rd, 4th and 5th moment of reluctance for Moses to go back to Egypt even though God had shown him miraculous signs. We know Moses was a humble man and has leadership qualities, yet he tries to pass on this task. His excuses ranged from "what it they don't believe me" to "I am poor in speaking." Finally he asks God to send someone else to do it. God, in anger, gives Moses one more assurance that his brother Aaron will do all the speaking. He finishes up by telling him to take the staff so he can perform miracles with it.

For me: How do we know when God is telling us to do something today? I know through teaching and being in bible classes that God speaks to us through: friends, the bible, stillness, situations in our lives, the Holy Spirit and such. Is it as obivous as a burning bush? I knowpeople misinterpret God's call in life at times as well. How do we know? Recently when my wife and I decided with much respected spiritual counsel, consideration and prayer to leave a local church we were told by the pastor of that church that Satan's hand was all over it. Looking back I feel that suggestion was so far off because we feel that we've had many assurances that we did the right thing.

Another thing I get out of this is in Vs. 14 it states that the LORD'S anger burned against Moses. Having God angry at you usually spells disaster for YOU. I wonder how many bonehead things I do on a daily basis that angers God?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Burning Bush

Exodus 3 Moses and the Burning Bush
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."
4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."
5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 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. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you [
a] will worship God on this mountain."
13 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 ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I am who I am . [
b] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, [
c] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
16 "Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.'
18 "The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.' 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
21 "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."

Moses is doing his everyday job of tending the flock. A lot different than being a royal prince. It was at this humble time in Moses' life that God got his attention through the burning bush. Sunday our pastor said it wasn't uncommon for a bush or brush area to catch fire with the conditions being so dry, but the amazing thing here and Moses noticed that the bush wasn't being consumed by the fire. God communicated his plan to Moses and in verse 11 Moses questions God as to why it should be Moses. God basically lays it all out for Moses telling him what to expect and that he is with him in this endeavor.

For ME: First of all it is clear that God can use us no matter what we've done in our lives and no matter how far we run. God will sometimes use us when we least expect it. I think we too sometimes question whether or not we are worthy or strong enough to do God's work. I like in verse 21 where God tells Moses that the Egyptians will actually be glad to see the Israelites leave giving them gold and silver to take with them. It seems that the Israelite slaves pretty much outnumbered the Egyptians so seeing them leave probably please most people.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Moses the Murderer

Exodus 2:11-25 Moses Flees to Midian
11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"
14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."
15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, "Why have you returned so early today?"
19 They answered, "An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock."
20 "And where is he?" he asked his daughters. "Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat."
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom,
saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."
23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

The 2nd half of this chapter jumps to when Moses is grown up. I would think this means he was of legal age. Keep in mind he is from royalty, but still has compassion for his people. When he sees a Hebrew slave being beaten he kills the Egyptian. I like how the NIV versions says, "glancing this way and that and seeing noone..." How many times do we do something wrong as long as nobody is watching or we think we won't get caught: running a red light late at night, cheating on taxes, putting miniature reseese cups in a Big Gulp to avoid paying for them, switching price tags on basketballs and so on. The next day a fellow Hebrew calls Moses on what he did so Moses runs.

For Moses the decision to run probably saved his life. It seems like this situation justifies times when we run from the truth. You decide for yourself in this case.

Moses changes occupations and lands and has to work with his hands. Up to this point in life Moses was really taken care of. Now he had to provide for himself. He would have been an overqualified. In verse 17 Moses probably confronted all of the shepherds even though he was outnumbered. My bible notes says Moses probably could have handled them all since he had been trained in the world's best military. Moses finds a wife and the chapter ends with God being concerned for the Hebrew people who were crying out to him.

For ME: The part where Moses does something when nobody is looking. I've always clung to the idea that integrity is what you do when nobody is looking. If you only do something good when others are watching then you are not doing it as God would have you. As of this point there does not seem to be any consequence for Moses killing a man.