The Bushes are Burning All Around Us

1359634_44238885On Sunday we explored Moses’ encounter with the burning bush and God. The honest truth is if we are in a difficult, dry, or desert place the only way we ever leave that place is through God’s leading.

The difficulty is that when we are in a desert place God often seems so distant. We are often calling out for God but can’t seem to find him. Through this story we realized a few ways that God seems to work when we are in a desert place.

The first is that he places something in our regular, everyday life, that while intriguing isn’t interrupting of our life. For Moses there was a burning bush placed in his path. This certainly was intriguing but wasn’t interrupting in his life. It’s easy to come up with plausible  explanations for a bush on fire in the desert. So rather than interrupting Moses’ life God seeks to lure Moses’ attention towards him.

To be honest we’d love God to interrupt our daily lives and lead us to his Promised Land. The trouble is that doesn’t seem to be how God seems to work in the Bible. God seems to wait, to lure, to linger, and hope that we follow. But God does not coerce, he does not seem to demand, or to force us to follow. So Moses notices the bush, and then he must spend a long time watching the bush, because how long would it take you to realize a bush isn’t burning up? A long time. So his interest grows, and so does his attention. So we read in Exodus 3:4 “When the Lord saw that he had caught Moses’ attention, God called to him from the bush”. Isn’t that true? That once God has our attention he speaks, he calls, and he promises. This is how our God works. He works in partnership with our attention, willingness, and participation.

So the question is if you are in a desert place and want to leave how much attention does God have? Because there is a possibility that we’ve been walking past burning bushes – holy nudges, and luring by God – and missing him. So the question is how can you this week give God your attention and awareness?

That’s the question we pursued on Sunday, believing that once God has our attention he speaks and leads. To leave the desert God needs our attention to lead us. So this week I think the challenge is this: give God your attention, in everyway possible. Be open to his leading, his speaking, and trust that when he has your attention he will speak. Because God doesn’t leave us in the desert, he walks us through it. But to be led, we have to first be willing to hear.

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Give God your Attention

Take Aways…

  • Many of us know what it is like to be in the desert: a dry, deserted, and difficult place
  • How do you leave a desert place?
  • When we are lost and hurting we need God to speak
  • The ground doesn’t change Moses’ perception and awareness of the ground changes
  • Sometimes God doesn’t change the world around us, he changes us to see a changed world
  • When we are wasting away in the desert we God’s promises of new life and a new future
  • The only thing that gets us out of the desert and difficult times, is God’s voice and his leading.
  • How long does it take a bush to burn up?
  • God placed something intriguing in the path of his everyday life, to call him to an extraordinary life.
  • God speaks when he has our attention
  • To leave the desert means giving God your full attention.
  • How much attention did God have this week?
  • If we want to leave the desert or difficult places it starts with us giving God our attention in our everyday spaces.

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What did you take away? What was new? Has God ever spoke to you through a burning bush like encounter? Do you think its possible you’ve ever missed God’s attempts to get your attention? Have you ever been in the desert before or even now? What was it like or is like? How might God be trying to get your attention today? How might you give him you awareness and attention this week?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment and talk about your kids about today’s sermon. Talk to them about how just like how you kids often won’t really talk with us as parents, until you have our full attention, share that God is similar. Sometimes he doesn’t interrupt us until we give him our attention

Challenge for this Week: Give God your attention this week

Learning to Leave the Desert

1412359_51543500How do you leave the desert?

I mean honestly. When your life is feeling dry, distant, and you feel alone – how do you leave that place? When you feel like you are wandering around in circles, when life has passed you by, when you look back and regret decisions wondering – how did I end up here? How do you leave “here”? How do you find a place with life, hope and grace? How do you leave the desert?

I don’t know if you’ve been there but I have. I have been in a place that once was good but got drained of life and was draining me. I have been in a place where all of a sudden I felt alone, distant from God, and wondering where I was. I have been in a desert staring at the empty world around me wondering how I will ever find my way out. And maybe you’ve been there too. It is a difficult place to be. The trouble is that life seems to take us to the desert.

The question is how do we leave? How do we find new life again? How do we find hope again? How do we find a land flowing with milk and honey?

That’s what we are exploring on Sunday how to leave the desert and find new life. We are going to be exploring a pretty well known passage with some pretty not-so-well-known conclusions.

Come Sunday we’ll explore how to find your way out, which not so surprisingly, begins with God finding you.

But that’s Sunday, what about today? What if your desert is so difficult, and oppressive that you can’t wait till Sunday to start leaving it?

Well I’ll give you a hint of where we are going on Sunday. It doesn’t begin with you. It doesn’t begin with you forcing or finding your way out. It begins with God finding you and leading you out.

So today why not make yourself easy to find. Why not take some actual time, sit in space with God, ask him to direct, and to wait on him. Give him time to speak to you, give him your attention, and wait patiently on him. This, of course, isn’t easy, but it’s a lot easier than languishing in the desert.

So come Sunday we’ll explore how to find your way out in more depth, but it does begin with God. So no matter how your life has been these past few weeks, days, or even years why not let yourself be found by God. Don’t fill your weekend so full of noise, business, and stuff that he can’t break through to you. Sit still, stop, and listen. And who knows maybe God will show up in a burning bush and lead you out…