Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Never in the history of God's dealings with His people has He done anything positive with pessimists and cowards. And the reason is they cut themselves off from the source of strength. Our unbelief and our unwillingness to trust God will limit His div



God works in mysterious ways...and also speaks to us in somewhat mysterious ways at times. Over this past week God has spoken to me by bringing to my mind very clearly 2 situations ...one from my past...one from the Scriptures. They've had quite a profound effect which I hope and pray will last my entire lifetime.

First...donkey taking off finger...pain of peeling off the bandages.

Isaiah 6...vision...saw God in holiness...a man ready and desiring to serve God...saw self in sinfulness... I saw this with me standing there...realized my sinfulness and failure as a minister...also some of the failings of the church...but yet saw the coal of fire ready to cleanse and prepare me...

taken to example of Moses much to learn ...both for myself and this church...

Moses was, without a doubt, one of the greatest leaders of all time. He took Israel, a nation of disorganized and demoralized slaves, and led them from Egyptian bondage toward the promised land for 40 years.

In Egypt their taskmasters had laid on them some very heavy burdens...and made their lives bitter. They were forced to serve under the kind of cruel circumstances that not only break a person's back...but also his spirit.

Slavery, by its very nature, crushes people's hopes and stifles their initiative. So Israel became angry...bitter...and rebellious. But Moses took these people...perhaps 2 million of them, and led them for 40 years as God molded them into a nation that would eventually give birth to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Moses had all the qualities of a good leader: many were qualities he developed "on the job"...learning from difficult situations and experiences...but he was a leader!

+He had a vision a clear sense of mission. He knew where he was going

+He had courage...the faith to try...to risk

+He had the determination to stick...when hardships and obstacles came his way he stuck with the plan...he was persistent.

+He had a humble spirit...he was open to the advice of others...and constantly sought the council of God.

+He didn't try to do everything himself...he knew how to share responsibility with others.

+He had a servant's heart. In fact, nowhere in Scripture does the Lord ever refer to him as Moses, my leader. It was always Moses, my servant.

+He always had the best interest of his people at heart. He continually pleaded with God on behalf of the people.

+He was a man of impeccable integrity.

But in spite of all these qualities, Moses lived in constant conflict...and also with bitter, cutting criticism. At least 12 times the Bible tells us of Moses being in conflict because of his leadership.

Someone once said that a good leader is doing his job when half the people are following him and half are chasing him. That's the way it was with Moses most of the time. The people criticized Moses about everything.

They criticized him about his provision. When the water ran low they accused him of bringing them into the desert to die of thirst. When food became scarce they accused him of bringing them into the desert to die of hunger. When God provided manna from heaven they soon grew tired of eating the same thing every meal and complained that they wanted a more varied diet.

They criticized Moses about his wife. After Zipporah, his first wife died, he married an Ethiopian woman. Aaron and Miriam didn't like him marrying a foreigner and openly let their feelings be known. Leaders live in glass houses...and not only are they subject to criticism, so are their families.

They criticized Moses leadership style. They said he took too much authority on himself. He didn't give people enough say in making decisions. They felt he was overstepping his bounds as a leader.

And they criticized his plan for taking the Promised Land. When Israel reached the borders of Canaan and Moses urged them to possess it...they resisted and turned back into the wilderness...where they wandered for 40 years.

At times Moses grew so weary of their complaints that he cried out to God for relief. He told the Lord he couldn't handle the load any longer. And what Moses faced...all leaders face. It's partly because leaders are fallible and do make mistakes...but it's also partly because leaders are change agents...and people are generally resistant to change.

Roy Bletze said the only person who likes change is a wet baby. But sometimes they don't even like it. I've often had to change my boys while they were screaming and kicking. At times people resist change because they have no faith. They're afraid to risk...to launch out.

At other times it is because they have honest differences. And also at times its because they are just plain bull headed. But the fact is...the problems Moses faced and the kind of people he had conflicts with exist in every age...even ours.

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