Summary: The first of a three part series, ‘Growing As We Go.’
Slide 1 A few weeks ago, I shared some questions that Gordon MacDonald believes are being asked by people at different stages of life. Now not only did those questions really interest me and cause me to think about the questions that I am asking at this point in my life, the story that MacDonald opened the article with, about a man in his small group, really grabbed my attention as well.
He began, “The man’s 51-year autobiography took more than an hour to read, and it disclosed struggles with addictions, difficult personal relationships, and career disappointments. It included accounts of success and failure, discoveries and disappointments. Mixed in were his ongoing efforts to improve a static-ridden connection with Jesus.”
Slide 2 I was struck by this phrase, ‘a static-ridden connection with Jesus,’ and I have become vitally concerned in my own life and in the lives of believers of all ages that we need to move beyond a ‘static-ridden connection with Jesus.’ Which begs the question, ‘How do we get a better and clearer connection to and with Jesus so that we are able to ‘grow as we go? For this sermon and the next two, we are going to study the lives of three Old Testament characters, Moses, King Uzziah, and Daniel, and the choices they made (or did not make) in their faith in and relationship with God.
Some of those questions that MacDonald believes we are asking I believe address the issue of developing and maintaining a better and clearer connection with Jesus as we ‘grow and go;’ through life, through joy, through pain, through disappointment, through changes and transitions, and through new opportunities. These questions are vital ones that must be answered and I believe can help us move beyond a ‘static-ridden connection’ with the Lord.
Here are the ones that I am encouraging us to write down this morning and prayerfully reflect on over the next month:
Around what will I center my life?
Why is my spiritual center so confused?
Why isn’t my faith deeper?
Are the best years of life over?
How do I deal with angers and resentments that I’ve never resolved?
How do I cope with all this increasing weakness around me?
Then there is one that I believe at a very basic level reflects all of these questions, Slide 4a ‘Can Christianity still work for me?’
(Now before I continue, I must give credit for this sermon series to God and to a pastoral colleague, Eric Simpson of Eagle Church here in Indiana, whose presentation at a Holiness Pastors Meeting in Indy last month forms the basis of this series.)
David Fitch recently wrote, ‘we do have a relationship with God which becomes personal but it is inseparable from His mission.’ And we see this personal and missional relationship in the first story we encounter in this series – Moses and His encounter with God at the burning bush.
Before we examine this familiar story, we need to remember a couple of things about Moses.
First of all Moses was born under very difficult circumstances. We first hear of Moses in Exodus 2 and as we read chapter 2 we discover that he is born an Israelite then hidden to prevent his murder as an Egyptian law had been passed to stop the births of Israelite boys out of fear of being overrun by them.