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What Is In Your Hand?

Date: 
July 9, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Matthew 11:28-30 Exodus 3:1 – 4:7

STEWARDSHIP                                    JULY 9, 2017                                 EXODUS 3:1 – 4:17

WHAT IS IN YOUR HAND?

THEMES:     (1) When God asks you to do something, God will help you do it!

                  (2) What is in your hand?  Use it!

 

TODAY’S EPISODE  (Exodus 2:11 – 4:17)

  • The story of Moses begins while the Hebrew people are enslaved in Egypt….
  • Moses was born to a Hebrew woman who hid him for 3 months following his birth because the Pharaoh had decreed that all the male babies of the Hebrew people should be thrown into the Nile, but all the girl babies should be allowed to live. (Exodus 1:22)…
  • When she could hide him no longer, she placed him in a papyrus basket and placed the basket among the reeds along the banks of the Nile River…
  • Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to bathe…
  • She found the basket among the reeds and she took pity upon the child in the basket…
  • She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew’s children.”
  • She took the baby, Moses, home and raised him in Pharaoh’s court as her own child.
  • One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor… and he saw an Egyptian guard beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk… he looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian…
  • But his deed had been witnessed… and when the Pharaoh learned that Moses had killed the Egyptian guard, Moses was forced to flee to the land of Midian, a neighboring country… there he started to rebuild his life… he settled and married a Midianite woman, the daughter of Jethro…
  • Back in Egypt, the Hebrew people continued to live as slaves… they groaned and cried out to God because of their suffering… God heard their groaning… God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…
  • After many years, Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian… he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God…
  • Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of a bush… Moses looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed…
  • Then Moses turned aside to look at the bush more closely… the moment Moses turned aside was the turning point in his life… by turning aside he invited God into his life and marked the beginning of his relationship with God…
  • Sometimes we are so caught up in what we are doing that we can not hear the voice of God… sometimes we must turn aside from all that occupies us and allow God to claim our attention.
  • When the Lord saw that Moses had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush… called him by name – “Moses! Moses!”
  • With goose bumps all over him, Moses timidly replied, “Here I am!”
  • The voice of God rumbled, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
  • The word HOLY means “belonging to God”… this was indeed a holy place and this was indeed a holy moment… this was the first time in 400 years that God had spoken!
  • Have you ever had a holy moment – a moment that sent a shiver up your spine – a moment when you knew for sure that you were in the presence of God?
  • Moments of holiness are hard to find in our fast-paced world, but sometimes we stumble into them.
  • The Lord’s voice continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” 
  • Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
  • J  Then the Lord said, “Moses, I have some good news and some bad news….”
  • The good news is that “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings and I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of the land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…. This is indeed the Promised Land – the land I promised long ago to Abraham and his descendants…
  • “Great!” cried Moses! That is good news! Moses was pleased to be the first to be cued in on God’s plan to redeem his people.
  • “But what’s the bad news,” asked Moses?
  • “I have decided to send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.”
  • Suddenly Moses was feeling very inadequate and he responded like some church members do when the nominating committee calls… Moses had all sorts of excuses!
  • “Who am I,” asked Moses, “that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
  • God said, “I shall be with you!”
  • When God asks you to do something, God will help you to do it!
  • Then Moses said, “But suppose – just suppose – they do not believe me or will not listen to me, but instead say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you,’ then what?”
  • The Lord said to Moses, “What is in your hand?”
  • God expects us to use what is in our hand – all the resources that God has given to us – to serve Him…
  • In the hand of Moses was a staff, his shepherd’s crook… what possible good could that be when Moses confronted Pharaoh?
  • God said, “Throw it on the ground!”… it became a snake… and when Moses grabbed it by the tail, it became a staff again…
  • God said, “Put your hand inside your cloak!”… when Moses withdrew his hand from his cloak it was covered with leprosy – as white as snow… he put his hand back into his cloak, and this time, when he withdrew it, it was restored, like the rest of his body…
  • God said, the “staff trick” will be your first sign… the “hand trick” will be your second sign… and if they still don’t believe that I have appeared to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground and it will become blood…
  • Three awesome tricks and still Moses was worried… he said, “But, Lord, I’ve never been a able to speak well… I stutter and people laugh at me… and I don’t always know what to say!”
  • “Listen, Moses,” said God, “I’m growing tired of your excuses! You will be the one to go to Pharaoh, but if it makes you feel better, I will send your brother Aaron with you… now take your staff and go!”

 

STEWARDSHIP

  • You may not have realized it, but today’s sermon is a stewardship sermon…
  • God has blessed us as individuals and Dennis Union Church with an abundance of gifts… God has filled our hands…
  • Stewardship is taking what is in our hand and using it to build God’s Kingdom… using it for the benefit of others… using it to do God’s work… using it to grow the ministry and the mission of Dennis Union Church…
  • Dennis Union needs faithful stewards… members and friends who will step up to the plate to do their share…
  • Why am I preaching a stewardship sermon in July when the fall stewardship campaign is still months away?
    • Stewardship is not a once a year topic for a sermon… stewardship must be seriously considered all year long… some experts suggest that pastors preach a stewardship sermon once a month… others suggest that there should be a bit of stewardship in every sermon…
    • I’m preaching this sermon today because we honestly need the help of our summer members and visitors to help us grow the ministry and mission of Christ’s Church.
    • Growing the ministry and mission of the church is one of our goals!
    • I’m preaching this sermon today so that each and every one of us can consider what God is calling us to do…

 

CONCLUSION

  • What do you have… what do we have in our hands that can be used to give glory to God, serve our neighbors, and establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven?
  • The God of the burning bush is a God who commissions people – ordinary people like you and me – to participate in his purposes by using what we have in our hands.

 

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