Part 2 of Service or excuses
As we continue to look at services or excuses we get to the second excuse offered by Moses. Moses actually asked God by what authority he had to call him into service. This is still a popular excuse we still see in churches today, and I’m ashamed to say I am guilty of it still.
Moses starts to question the strength of God. We sometimes know that God has called us into service, but then we get to the point where we examine ourselves and realize we don’t have what it takes to do what God has called us to do. I think this is exactly where God wants us to be. As Christians we are not called to serve God when we think it’s in our own power that we can do things.
Look at Moses he was not the super star leader that fit perfectly into the spot God called him to. He was a square block that God was going to put through the star hole. This is exactly how we know God is at work in our ministries. If we served just based on our own power we will only have ministries that are as big as the people that are serving. We see this in churches all over the world. We can only grow as big as the number of kids we can handle.
God has called us not to lean on our power, on our strength, or even on our own knowledge. This is Moses’ fear what if the Israelites have forgotten all about you? Moses didn’t feel like he had all the answers and was afraid that he was going to put in a place that he couldn’t get through on his own.
God has the power we need to get the job He asked us to do. He is an expert in fitting square blocks into star shaped holes. The amazing thing is that after he changes you you’ll become a star. God is not asking us to go, do, or say anything He will not provide for us along the way. I love to tell my youth that God will provide just enough of what we need in just enough time. Then we will know that this is a God thing not anything we can do on our own. That is when we give God the praise that He could ever work through a wretch like me.
Part 1 of Excuses or Service
People that are truly passionate about something do not make excuses to get out of those things. Likewise the opposite is true if you are not passionate or fully surrendered to something then it becomes something that we are more than willing to make excuses to try to get out of things. I have met many parents and teens in my ministry that are passionate about sports so I will use that as an example, but substitute whatever in its place and the idea still works.
I have heard many excuses when it comes to serving the church, but for the fun of it lets translate them to spots see if they still make since.
I think there is no sadder thing than to ignore the calling that God has placed on you. He has called each of us as Christians to find a local church and plug in and serve no matter the age. To put it as clear as I can if you are a Christian God I calling you to serve. Stop immediately the prayer that goes “God are you calling me to serve?” The answer is yes!! Replace it with the prayer that goes, “God where are you calling me to serve?”
Challenge yourself to inspect your life and be honest with yourselves. Ask yourself have you lost your passion? Am I offering God my service or am I giving God my excuses? As we look back to the book of Exodus let’s look at a great leader that at first just wanted to give God his excuses.
In Exodus 3:10-12 Moses used the excuse of “who me?” Moses uses this as an excuse as I find myself and many other doing many times. Moses felt that he had tried this once already. He had stood up for his people then ended up by killing an Egyptian. Then when he tried to love his people he was ran out of town for standing up for them.
Moses finds himself in a similar situation to us today. Many of us have said that we have been there and done that. Most of us cannot say it lead to us killing someone. Hopefully God blessed us when we served him. Think back to the last time you surrendered and gave God your service. Remember the blessings that you received from Him.
As Christians it is time for us to make Christ a passion in our lives. Through it He has asked us to serve the church with that same passion. The question is do you have the “who me?” attitude that we see here? Is this the excuse that you offer God? My challenge today with this first excuse is to examine yourself and see if this is standing between you and God. God is clearly calling you to service and you are telling Him that you got the wrong guy because I have already tried that once.
What Moses learned is that while Moses did try and fail once already it was Moses that tried. If we are making excuses about our service because we can’t do what God has called us to do then we have already taken the first step in where God is leading. We can’t do the things God has called us to do. Moses answered his own problem much like you have answered yours. Without God we cannot succeed in our service and anything we try to do in our own power will not be worthy of what God has called us to do.
So the long and short of the first excuse is that we need to do what God has called us to do, and fully surrender to His calling with a passion.
Qualities of a leader/HELPER
I have been reading the story of Moses to kind of see what qualities great leaders have. There is much I can write about the topic both good and bad. Great leaders have their victories and they have their defeats.
I would like to tell a story of what I have learned just from ½ of a chapter in Exodus about being a great leader. Moses was under attack. Amalekites have come to attack the Israel. Moses having spent much time with God asked his helpers to prepare for battle. The neat part of the story is that Moses went to the top of a hill and took Aaron and Hur with him. He raised the staff of God and the Israelites were victories, but when he dropped it the Amalekites were victories.
So the easy part of this story is just hold your hands up. It seems like an easy job that anyone could do. The problem is that time will eventually make us weak. The benefit that Moses had was that his helpers took a rock and provided a place for Moses to sit. Eventually still his hands were to weak again. Then Aaron and Hur got under Moses and lifted his hand for him. In this way the Israelites won the battle.
As I look at this story I see many areas in my life that I could apply this lesson. It may just be me that sees this, but this is what I see. God has placed you in a leadership position. You may be the leader of Sunday School, work, or even be the youth minister. These are all great leaders, but you may also be a mom or a dad. This lesson I have learned applies to all leaders no matter the title you hold. The first thing I see is that Moses saw the threat and got his people to get ready. We as leaders need to always be looking out for a threat. Then we need to be prepared to face that theat. So many leaders refuse to acknowledge that threats could come. Don’t be blinded be prepared. The second is that Moses surrounded himself with helpers. We need to have people in our lives that if nothing else we can take with use to these battles. The third is that when we are at a weak point in our battle these people are there to provide something to help us. The last is that when we are at our weakest our helpers are there to carry us if needed.
I say all this to say this. What kind of leader are you. Are you the lone wolf that when you get weak your ministry or life gets weak as well? Are you the leader that has the helpers that can offer you a chair so that you can better rest as you continue to work? Lastly are you the type of leader that has people that will carry you even when you don’t have the strength to lift your hands? All of these are great questions for leaders to evaluate themselves with, but what about the Aarons and the Hurs of the story?
If you are not the leader ask yourself what kind of follower if any are you to the leaders that surround you? You may be the husband that has not stepped up to be the leader of your house, or you may be the wife that has not supported your husband. Evaluate yourself ask God to show you the answers to your questions.
God, I am a leader what kind of leader am I? Am I a leader like Moses that was prepared and had the support I needed in times of threat, and weakness?
God I am a follower what kind of follower are you calling me to be? I want to be the follower that can help even in small ways to support the leaders in my life, or if you are calling me to be, I want to be the helper that will carry the leader when he/she is at their weakest.
I was born into a wonderful Christian family. My mom and dad raised all three of there boys in church from the moment we were born. My dad was and still is a deacon, and my mom still volunteers at church. Growing up my parents were always active in each of their kids lives. From RA Directors to youth ministers, and everything in between.
That being said it is of little surprise that all three of their boys would become believers. This is my story which is incomplete because God has not taken me home to be with him yet.
I was saved at 8 years old in the town of LaMarque, TX. Bro. Leo Smith led me to Christ in his office at Highlands Baptist Church. However what I realize now is that it was not just a one time event. As I look back I realize that if it wasn't for my parents, Sunday School teachers, and many other people in my life Jesus would have had way more work to do in my life to get me to accept him. I would like to say thank you to all that made this moment in my life possible.
I lived a good life all the way through marriage. I sinned often, and asked forgiveness often. I never really dug deep into my Christian walk. People and friends all knew I was a Christian by the way I acted, but I never really took a stand for Christ. I lived on the saying my actions would speak louder than my words. The problem I had was that I hardly ever used my words. Even if I did most of the time if I needed more word then just what you learn in Sunday School I didn't have the words to say.
After I got married my life changed. I was now responsible for not only me, but my wife as well. However like most of us my Christian walk did not change even though my daily walk focused more on providing for a new family. I focused on being a better provider when I never really learned how to provide for myself. I mean this both worldly and spiritually. As a single man I had the attitude of blow and go with my life, and as a Christian I was much the same. I never grew and learned how to feed myself spiritually. Now as a married man God has placed me as head of my household when I was not even very good and providing for myself. The bigger issue is that God asks not only me but all husbands to be the spiritual leader when most of us have not even learned how to provide for ourselves.
So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I lived day by day just being a good person. Never dug deeper never took a stand for Christ even though I knew daily that He was calling me to do something. Until one day that I will never forget; a day that God put a choice in front of me and forced me to choose.
Ashley lost her baby and I crumbled under the stress of living a day to day kind of life, and more importantly a faith that was there, but never truly strengthened to where it needed to be. So the way I see it God was making me choose. Live for Him or live for me. So I did what most of us would do I choose me. For a year of my life I gave up on church, God, and even family to a point. I moved across state to where no one would know me so I could get away from the feeling of having to live this "Christian" life. For a short time we were happy again. We thought we had figured it out. However God has a way of still showing up even when you reject him. After a year God put the choice back in front of me again after only a year of living for me literally fell apart around me.
This time I choose God. I moved back to my hometown and a short time later I surrendered myself to His ministry. Which is all He had asked me to do from the beginning. Today I get to serve as a full time youth minister. I get to receive the blessings He wanted to give me from the beginning.
Today I still have not figured it all out. I am not perfect and am probably no closer then I was when I first surrendered my life to Christ a 8 years old. The only difference in me is that I have surrendered. You will be amazed at the victories you can win when you surrender.
This blog is an attempt to strengthen, encourage, and help myself and others that are in, or thinking about being in the ministry get closer to Christ.
So as you read I encourage feed back both good and bad. I also ask that if you are struggling to surrender lean on God first and then find a minister, or group of ministers that you can lean on. Maybe they can even write a blog on the issues and see what others have learned from the Bible what we all may struggle with at one time or another.