Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation.
You ever been driving along and you see something that makes you do a double take?
If you pay attention to the side of the road while you’re driving, there are lots of interesting things to see.
Now granted, it’s better to do this in the passenger seat, but sometimes, your mind wanders.
When I was in Rwanda, in Eastern Africa, last summer…I was riding in a vehicle (not driving unfortunately), and I started to take pictures…because you could see Kigali out the window.
Kigali is one of my favorite cities in the world.
And believe it or not, it’s actually starting to have somewhat of a skyline, which is pretty impressive for an African city.
And as I started snapping pictures…I noticed this guy on the side of the road…and I thought, “No way!”
And so I quickly turned and shamelessly took a picture…and here’s what I saw:
There, halfway around the world, was some guy in a Packer’s jersey.
And so since we were there to guide people to walk away from darkness…and into the truth and light…I told our driver to stop the vehicle… j/k
But sometimes there are bigger things in life that seem to get your attention…and you just never would have believed they were coming.
Sometimes your life just gets interrupted.
Sometimes by God.
I want to tell you a story this morning, from the Bible, of a man named Moses whose regular life was interrupted by God.
But before I do that, I want to give you some context to his story.
We learn about Moses, in the book of Exodus (in the Bible)…a book we’ve just started to study as a church in 2017.
We are now in our 3rd week of our Rescue series on the Book of Exodus.
So far we’ve seen that the Israelites are being held in slavery by Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
And Pharaoh has gotten so worried about the growing population of the Israelites that he decided to make a law that every Israelite baby boy must be thrown into the Nile River.
Yet, Moses’ mother defies that order and sticks baby Moses in a basket and floats him down the river instead.
Only to be, ironically, discovered by Pharaoh’s own daughter…the princess…who has compassion on Baby Moses
Moses then grows up in Pharaoh’s palace.
But, when he becomes a man, Moses begins to have pity on his people…and goes out and starts to defend the Israelites.
He even kills a slave driver while trying to defend one of his people.
When Pharaoh finds out about that, Moses is forced to flee into Midian (in the desert)…and there, he lives out the next 40 years of his life.
And that’s where we’re going to join the story today in Exodus chapter 3.
We’re going to look at one of the more famous stories of the Bible today…Moses and the Burning Bush.
(Exodus 3:1-14) – NIV
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 wilderness 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 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. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
STEP ONE: PURSUE THE INTERRUPTION
So Moses, the former prince of Egypt has become a nobody in the middle of nowhere for the past 40 years.
Not to mention, he’s not even tending his own sheep.
The passage says he’s tending his father-in-law’s sheep.
God has truly used Moses’ circumstances to humble this once very proud man.
And now, God is ready to use him.
So think about this:
Moses is just walking along…probably talking to his sheep to keep himself entertained…when all of a sudden, out of the corner of his eye, he sees a bush on fire…but it’s not being consumed.
It’s burning, but not burning, if you know what I mean.
Moses is just living a normal life, and God is about to majorly interrupt it!
And this is what I really want to emphasize today: What do you do if God interrupts your life?
If you’re just walking along in ordinary life, and all of a sudden you meet someone…who’s different.
I’ve heard a number of testimonies from people at this church that the very reason they’re here…and following God today…is because a co-worker, etc. (that attended here) was SO different (in a good way!) that they found themselves, all of a sudden, wanting to learn about God.
Or maybe…you’re just trying to live your regular life…but it seems like you keep getting interrupted with these thoughts about God.
“Is He real?
“Does He really love and care for ME?”
God can interrupt your life through what looks like a crazy coincidence.
And all of a sudden, you’re thinking, “How did that happen? Maybe God is real”
God can even interrupt your life through a difficulty…
And all of a sudden, you’re praying, “God, are you there? Are you real?”
We could go on and on about the way he interrupts our lives
He did it in mine.
I did not grow up a follower of Jesus.
I was never an atheist or even an agnostic…but in no way, had I given my life to Jesus.
I was very happy to live life the way I wanted.
And yet, when I was 18…I just started thinking about God…more and more.
It’s like he kept interrupting my thoughts…
And so, I decided one night to find a Bible and start reading it to see what it actually said.
But there were countless other times in my life BEFORE that where I had been walking along, and I experienced a “Burning Bush”…and I’d have these random thoughts about God…and yet somehow, inexplicably, I’d just keep walking.
This is where I believe so many Americans are.
The vast, vast majority of Americans DO believe God exists, and yet, most are not following Him with their lives.
It’s because they SEE the bush burning in the corner of their eye, but unlike Moses, they don’t react (as Moses did in verse 3 saying), “I will go over and see this strange sight”
We have these “God interruptions” in our lives, but instead we…
(Chris interrupts: Hey…sorry to interrupt your message, but I’d like to give you a million dollars. Perhaps you can use it in building a new church on that land you guys just bought?)
No thanks, sorry, I’m in the middle of a message here, so I’m busy, and thus, not interested.
(Chris: Okay, nevermind)
By the way, that was not real.
Some of you just lost your mind. J
But I wanted to show you the absurdity of our most common reaction to God’s interruptions.
God interrupts our lives…GOD does…with thoughts of him.
And we say, “But I’m really busy at work…or at home…”
“Yeah I could/should keep thinking about that…but that’s kind of A LOT, so I think I’ll check Facebook for the 26th time today”
God is interrupting our normal lives…and we walk right by the burning bush.
Imagine if Moses would have said, “Burning Bush, eh? Hmm, I’d like to take a closer look, but my wife Zipporah is going to have the Goat Soup ready at 6:00, so I better keep moving”
Think about the deeper illogic behind ignoring “God interruptions” in your life.
If you are a person that likes to plan, or think ahead, or even if you consider yourself an investor in the future…hear me out.
If you subscribe to any sort of belief that there will be any sort of life after your death…
That your soul might live, not for 75 years, but possibly, for a million years…even eternity…
Then what rationality is there (if any) to be too busy to start pursuing God’s interruptions in your life??
This is a challenging example, but hear me out… If you somehow ended up in hell for eternity, and not heaven, you would never look back 3 million years from now and say:
“Yeah, I’m really glad that during those 70 years on earth that I just stayed really focused on my earthly career and building my portfolio (which has benefited me NOTHING for me the last 3 million years)
You’re never going to say, “I’m so happy I ignored those “interruptions” concerning where I was going to spend my next 3 million years
That’s a strong example…perhaps an emotional one…but yet there’s a logic to it.
The best use of our time on this earth is not to prioritize the mundane or the regular…but to start walking towards those burning bush moments that are bigger than us.
Listen, God will not force himself upon you.
He will merely attempt to reveal himself to you.
But you’ve got to decide if you’re going to seek Him out.
And this, really, is step one today:
When God gets your attention, pay attention.
If God interrupts you, it’s not an interruption of life, it’s an invitation to the REAL life…eternal life.
Treat the interruption, as an invitation.
STEP TWO: REALIZE THE INTERRUPTION IS BIGGER THAN YOU
All right, let me tell you the next spot where a lot of American spiritual seekers get stuck.
God reveals to them, like most, that He is indeed real.
They start having these spiritual feelings, so they take the right first step:
They start pursuing the burning bush…and check out what this is all about.
And then this happens:
(Exodus 3:3-5) – NIV
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.”
Think about this! God said, “Moses, Moses” (in other words, come closer)
So he starts walking closer, and then God says, “Don’t come any closer!”
Moses is learning, firsthand, who God is.
You can just walk right up to him and pet him.
And when you start seeking God, one of the things you’ll discover is that God is terrifyingly awesome.
He’s not at all like the “jolly old santa” that many Americans make him out to be.
This is actually why I think God chooses to reveal himself in the fire to Moses.
Fire, is one of the few things on earth, that is simultaneously inviting and terrifying.
Think about that!
You’re outside on a cool, summer’s night, and you think, “I should go stand by the fire”
And you get by the fire, and you think, “I should not stand so close to the fire…why is my flip flop burning?!”
And this is precisely the second place where so many Americans seeking God get stuck.
The first is, they don’t treat the interruption as an invitation.
The second is…they get closer to God and they realize, “Ohhhh…I guess he’s a bit different than I expected.”
I’m so indebted to Timothy Keller here, who’s really helped my thinking on this and on seeing this in Exodus 3.
When Moses asks God what His name was, do you remember what God said through the fire?
God says, “I AM WHO I AM”
I exist, I always have
I am completely in control.
I Am God.
See, when God speaks from the fire, He can say, “I am who I am”
He doesn’t say, “I am…what you want me to be”
If that was his name, God would have spoken to Moses from the ground…from the clay…where Moses could have shaped God into whatever He wanted.
And isn’t that precisely what so many of us want when we pursue God?
I had a conversation with a new believer recently who had just given his life to Christ, and he said, “I want to be a Christian…BUT do you guys believe this?! Do you think THIS?!”
“I don’t know if I could be a Christian if that means God wants me to give up ‘this’”
But listen, if we’re going to truly treat these “God interruptions” as an invitation to something bigger…
If we’re going to treat them as an invitation from God, than we have to treat God as if he might actually be GOD…not just a spiritual clay we can shape into our image.
Let’s think logically about this:
If you want the real God, you need a look for a God that can contradict you…A God that might feel or believe different than you…A God that can tell you some things you don’t want to hear.
If God doesn’t do that for you, then you aren’t relying on a real God, but a clay God…that YOU shaped.
Too many of us, start pursuing the God of Fire because He got our attention and He seems huge and amazing… (it’s not burning, but it’s burning!)
but then when we take a step closer to the fire, we decide we’d rather just make one out of clay
And if you want, you can do that…you can trade in the God of Fire for a God of Clay…you can settle for the God of “I am who you want me to be” rather than “I am who I am”
But if you do, you’re not going to see any real change in your life.
You’re only going to see real change if you let someone outside of your life begin to tell you how to live.
You’re only going to see real change if you let someone outside of your life give you POWER to start changing your life.
So step one: Treat the interruption…as an invitation…to real life.
Step Two: Believe that that interruption is bigger than you…and therefore, keep following it!
STEP THREE: SEE LOVE IN THE INTERRUPTION.
And I also need to bring you to the third step, because there’s one more place where people get tripped up in trying to seek out God.
Even if they DO see the interruption as an invitation (and walk over to the fire)…
And even if they DO decide to follow the God of the fire not just a God of clay…
Too many never stop to think about WHY this burning bush is in their life in the first place!
WHY is God reaching out to Moses??
Because he loves Him!
Because He wants to use Him for great things!
That’s why he’s interrupting.
He’s interrupting out of love!
If you’re in this place where God feels huge and awesome and big to you…remember that it’s not like God is stuck in heaven and you just happened to notice his awesomeness through a telescope.
He came down to you…
He’s pursuing you.
He’s lighting signal fires all over your life…trying to get your attention…because He WANTS to get your attention.
WHY is He interrupting your life??
Because he loves you!
And the best thing you can do…for your entire life…is to do what Moses eventually does, and that’s to follow this God (who loves you!) for exactly WHO HE IS.
What if someone came up to you and said, “I want to get to know you.”
And what if…before you even revealed anything to them about who you really are, they start making huge assumptions about you…
They say, “Now, I like to think of you as a demanding and domineering person”
You’d say, “Wait, you haven’t even really tried to get to know me!”
Likewise, when a person says, “I couldn’t want believe in a God that (fill in the blank)
They’re saying, “I refuse to do for God…the exact same thing I want people to do for me…which is actually get to know who I am”
But if you keep pursuing Him…you keep looking into that terribly awesome fire, you’re going to see, “WHOA…that’s awesomely Holy and Powerful…but it’s so amazingly loving too”
THIS is what is so great about Christianity.
Every other, created religion, fails in its attempt to create a somehow better version of God.
They either make God too demanding…that the concept eventually just feels so overbearing to people
Or too lovey dovey…and that version of “god” eventually results in people just no longer even needing to pay attention to God.
But the Bible says that God is both BIG/POWERFUL &…LOVING.
He’s powerful…He’s strong…He’s brilliant…He’s in control…He’s the fire!
But he’s also the most loving God imaginable. (he’s the lion and the lamb)
This same Holy God in the fire…
Is the same God that says, “Moses, Moses”
It’s the same God that says (in verse 8), “I’m coming to rescue you, and your people”
It’s the same God that says, “Yeah, I know you killed that guy back in Egypt, but I’m still going to use you!”
And God is the same today…he doesn’t change!
We can’t be forgiven…just by trying to live life better.
We’ve sinned against a holy God.
And for that, the Bible says we deserve justice…punishment…hell.
And yet, God in his love, wants to rescue us from our bondage, just like he wanted to rescue the Israelites from theirs.
And so he sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to take your punishment.
And the Bible says this:
(Romans 10:9) – NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
It tells us that if you believe Jesus died on the cross in your place and that God raised him from the dead, so that He’s alive today.
So that you can have a relationship with this awesome God today…
If you believe that, you can be forgiven…of everything (God is really that loving)
And you can thus know that you’re going to heaven, and not hell.
And you can thus, have a God, a real God to follow and direct you, not just a God of our own makings.
And so, maybe today, for you, your first step is just to start pursuing the interruptions as invitations.
Maybe it’s to start believing that the interruption is bigger than you.
You keep coming back here…and start just talking to God in prayer
OR MAYBE…your step today is to believe, for the first time, that God is interrupting your life…because He loves you…and He wants you to accept His offer of forgiveness and start a relationship with Him.
And if that’s you, and you’re ready to believe that Jesus died for you, to be forgiven, to turn your life over to Him today…I want to give you the opportunity to do that today.
In fact, let’s just have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes as I want this to be a special moment between you and God.
If that’s you…and you do want to tell God for the first time today that you believe He sent his son for you, and that you want to follow Him…in a moment…I’m actually going to ask you to respond by quietly standing up right where you are.
It’s a symbolic way to say to God, “Here I am. I believe in faith. I believe you died for me. I want to follow YOU for who YOU are.”
NO ONE will be looking at you…no one (don’t even think about that!). This is about you and God.
So wherever you are, if I’m talking to you.. and you’d like to become a follower of Jesus Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are.
If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s talking to you. That means…it’s TIME. If you feel it in your pulse…in your heart…that’s God. Accept His forgiveness. Start a new life with Him. It’s amazing!
If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at… the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone else still has their eyes closed, I want to talk to those of you who are standing for just a moment
I need you to do one more thing for me.
It will only take a few small minutes, but I believe these are a few of the most important minutes of your life.
You’ve just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe in any scenario, that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do…In just a second, I’m going to pray, but right before I do that, I need you to quietly sneak out of your row, and head towards the hallway where it will be quiet.
Members of our follow-up team are standing there to talk to you right in the hallway, and they want to give you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.
I promise you’ll be able to sneak right back into the service & back into your seat in just a few moments.
But for now, would you please had out there.
Go ahead. You can all go together. Thank you.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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