Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.
If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Coming up today here on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that some think they've reached a point in their lives when their work for God is finished. People will say, well, we're retired now. Okay, what are you going to do? Well, we're going to just relax. We're going to live a life of leisure. Listen, as a Christian, your life has purpose and you have something to offer.
You have something to do. So get out of your lazy boy and find out what God's plan is for you. God used a lot of unlikely people to serve him in big ways.
A shepherd boy, a prostitute, a drunkard, a tax collector, a little boy with a sack lunch. And David, Rahab, Noah and Matthew would all tell you how God can use anyone, anywhere, anytime, under any circumstance. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how to make ourselves available for God's plan. No matter where you're at right now, you're in the right spot to be used by the Lord. Alright, well let's grab our Bibles and turn to Exodus chapter 3 and we're in our brand new series that we're calling Water, Fire, Stone.
The title of my message is how God can turn your mess into a message. Talk about a guy who messed up his life. Moses really blew it big time. Taken into the court of Pharaoh.
Being trained, presumably, to be the next Pharaoh of Egypt. He knew this was not the life he wanted to live and being a Jew himself. He wanted to help his fellow Jews get out of the bondage of Egypt.
He sensed his destiny early on but he had the right idea but he certainly went about it in the wrong way. And he went out one day looking at the treatment of the Jews and he saw an Egyptian taskmaster who was especially cruel, beating a Hebrew. And he stepped in and the Bible says he looked to the right, he looked to the left and he killed the guy, hit him in the sand, which isn't a great idea if you're trying to hide something because sand shifts.
It was quickly discovered. The Pharaoh found out, effectively put a contract out on the life of Moses. Now Moses has now gone from the prince of Egypt to being a fugitive from Egypt. So as our story opens he's moved off to the wilderness and he's been there for 40 years. And now the Lord comes and speaks to the 80 year old Moses.
Let's read about it together. Exodus 3 starting in verse 1. One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro the priest of Midian. And he went deep into the wilderness near Sinai, the mountain of God. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him. And you might underline that phrase, the angel of the Lord.
I will come back to it. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire in a bush. Moses was amazed because the bush was engulfed in flames but it didn't burn up. Moses said to himself, amazing, why isn't this bush burning up?
I must go over and see this. And when the Lord saw he had caught Moses' attention, God called him from the bush. Moses, Moses. Here I am Moses replied. God told him do not come any closer. Take off your sandals for you are standing on holy ground.
We will stop there. God proceeds to tell Moses he has seen the suffering of his people. And now he is appointing Moses to go back to the Pharaoh and demand the release of the Jewish people. And Moses was stunned. He hadn't heard from God for 40 years. But in reality God was preparing him. As I said before Moses spent 40 years in the Pharaoh's court finding out he was a somebody. 40 years in the wilderness finding out he was a nobody. And 40 years in the wilderness with the Israelites finding out what God can do with a somebody who realizes they are a nobody. So these 40 years may have seemed like a waste of time to Moses. He had given up any hope of doing anything for his fellow Jews but God was getting him ready.
Chuck Smith once told me that everything is preparation for something else. So I want you to think about your own life for a moment. You might be going through something that makes no sense to you right now. You are asking why am I going through this trial at this stage of my life? Why am I having to learn this lesson? Why am I facing this hardship? Or why am I living in obscurity?
Why? Because God is molding you into the man or woman he wants you to be. And God was preparing Moses. He just goes about his normal tasks.
So what were they? He tended sheep. He is watching over his flock and the Lord comes to him.
Let's go back to verse 1. We read that the angel of the Lord appeared to him. Notice it is not an angel of the Lord. It is the angel of the Lord. That may be a reference to the fact that this was what we call a Christophany.
A Christophany is an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. So the Lord comes to him and speaks through this bush. Now this wasn't uncommon to see a bush on fire. That can happen.
But this was a bush that kept burning. So effectively it was an ordinary bush doing an extraordinary thing. In other words God was doing something out of the ordinary to get the attention of Moses. And I would suggest to you that sometimes things happen in our lives that are out of the ordinary to get our attention. Because what may seem to you like a coincidence is actually providence. And what you may perceive as an interruption may be intervention.
Let me illustrate. I was just back in Nashville, Tennessee y'all. And so I was flying back to LAX. What is the deal with LAX? This is like the worst airport in the country. And it is always under construction. And what are they doing?
All I see are things that light up. That's it. And all the lanes are closed off. I am done venting. I feel much better. Worst airport.
Seriously. But anyway. So I was scheduled to fly back to LAX. And I was going to take an earlier flight and connect through Dallas. But as it turns out the flight that I would be taking was late.
Therefore I had missed my connection. So we rescheduled and I took a later flight to LAX. And so I got on this plane. American Airlines flight. As I am boarding I wanted to work on my message. And I wanted to plug in and I asked is there a place to plug in on this plane.
And the flight attendant said yes there is. And by the way I am a Christian. Nice to see you Pastor Greg. I said well great.
Nice to be with you. So I was on the flight about two hours in. I had to go to the bathroom.
Yes preachers go to the bathroom. So I came out and she was standing there and she said can I talk to you for a moment. I said sure. And she started to cry. And then she told me about a crisis she was facing.
A very serious crisis. I won't tell you what it was. But she said I knew you were in Nashville and I prayed you would be on this flight. She said because I follow you on social media. And so I said well here I am. So I shared some scripture with her and we had prayer together.
And she said I knew the Lord was going to put you on this flight. Because like you posted on Instagram an interruption is divine intervention. I am like ok.
There you go. So I was thrilled with that. And I found that often extraordinary things happen in ordinary circumstances. It is not like I get a message from God in the morning.
You know like a mission impossible right. God speaks to you audibly. No. It just happens when you are doing other things. So sometimes when something happens out of the ordinary pay attention. The Lord may be leading you or the Lord may want to use you. So it is a burning bush.
It is an ordinary bush doing an extraordinary thing. It is almost like Moses was like this bush. He was older now. Skin weathered.
Days tanned from the sun. Probably thought he was done. God was just getting him ready to rumble. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody.
Greg Laurie here. And I want to personally invite you to the Harvest Ministries Israel Tour. April 9 to 19, 2024. Listen this is your chance to walk in the steps of Jesus literally in what we call the Holy Land. Learn more at Israel.Harvest.org Shalom And now Pastor Greg continues his message called How God can turn your mess into a message. God has a plan for our life at every stage of our life. God wants to use you when you are young. God wants to use you when you are middle aged. God wants to use you when you are old. God wants to use you when you are old and you still think you are young. God wants to use you when you are young and you think you are old.
Whatever. God still wants to use you. Nothing is sadder than someone that has not learned to age gracefully. When a girl turns into a cougar.
Please don't. When a young man turns into a dirty old man. You're a dirty old man, that's it. And by the way, if you're over 50, you can no longer shop at Forever 21.
I'm just telling you, you need to know this. They should start carting people at the door. Excuse me, ma'am, how old are you? Well, I'm 50.
You cannot come in. What, no, you can't come, there's a store over there, go over there, it's called Over 50, there's you. Well, I think one of the reasons that God can work through young people so effectively is young people are flexible, they're open, they like action. They like to do stuff. I went to Disneyland not long ago with Levi Lusko, his daughter Clover, and I took two of my grandchildren, Christopher and Allie. So all they wanna do is go on rides, and rollercoaster rides and there's one picture of me where we're coming after, I think it's Space Mountain.
You know how you can get the picture at the end and I'm too cheap to buy it, so I just took a screenshot of it. But everybody has their hands in the air with a smile and I just look like I'm ready to throw up. Because I was.
And so we're walking along and after I'd just eaten a corn dog and a churro, there was a rocking chair and a porch on Main Street and we're on our way to some crazy ride and I so wanted to sit in that rocking chair and take a nap, you see. So old people become sad in their ways, they like routine. They sit in the same place at church every Sunday, come on. I know, because I know where you sit, I know.
I look for you, and I'm sad when you're not here, by the way. But when you're young, you know you're open to what God wants to do. Here's my point, Moses was 80. 80 years old, this is an age where people are, long past retirement, people will say, well we're retired now, okay, what are you gonna do? Well, we're gonna just relax. We're gonna live a life of leisure. We're gonna get the motor home and we're gonna just take it easy. You know what, that's nice to have some time off, but I think you're far better off if you say, look at all the free time I have, how can I now glorify God with my life and serve Him?
And guess what? If you take that attitude, you may live longer. Extensive studies have been done on those who have entered into retirement and for those that simply chose to live a life of leisure or no longer had any purpose in life.
Many of them died at a younger age. I just read a study that followed 7,000 people, age 50, for more than a decade, and researchers found people die at a younger age if they felt their lives had little purpose. Listen, as a Christian, your life has purpose. God has allowed you to go through all that you've gone through, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to mold you into the man or the woman that He wants you to be, and you have something to offer.
You have something to do, so get out of your La-Z-Boy and find out what God's plan is for you. Moses got started at 80. What does the Lord say to him? Verse six, Exodus three, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now we read that and we think these are great patriarchs of the faith, and indeed they are, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but they're pretty flawed people, too. Abraham, as godly as he was, had serious lapses in his faith. Isaac was biased and did not listen to the Lord.
Jacob's mistakes are legendary. So here's what I think God is saying. Moses, I am the God of men who have failed and who need second chances. Moses, I am the God of ordinary men and women who have accomplished extraordinary things.
That means I can use you. I know you messed up, Moses. I saw, you looked to your right and you looked to your left, but you should've looked up, because if you looked up, I would've said, no, no, no, no, no. I know what you did, but I've seen the suffering of my people, verse seven. I've seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt. I've heard their cries because of their task masters, and I know their sorrows. God has seen, God has heard, and God knows. God's aware of what you're going through right now. He sees it. He hears it.
He knows it, and he cares about you. Hebrews 4.15 says, this high priest of ours, speaking of Jesus, understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So the Lord say, Moses, you are the man, and just like that old bush is burning over there, you're gonna burn with my message. Now you would've thought that Moses would've fallen down on his face and said, thank you, Lord, for second chances, but instead he becomes a human excuse machine. Now this may sound humble at first, like I'm not worthy, but in reality, God had called him, so it was an act of disobedience. Let's look at his excuses, because these are the same excuses we offer as to why God would never work through us. Excuse number one, Moses effectively says, I'm not deserving to be used by God. I don't deserve to be used by God, Exodus 3.11. Who am I? To appear before Pharaoh, Moses asked God. How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? He did have a point. If you were God, would you have picked Moses?
Yeah, I'm gonna use this guy that murdered the Egyptian. The Lord seems to go out of his way to pick, well, flawed people. Maybe it's so he'll get the glory ultimately. God is not looking, as I've said many times, for ability. He's looking for abelibility. God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. Really what he wants is just for someone to say, well, Lord, I'm in, I'll go.
I'll do it if you want me to do it. I mean, look at Gideon. What kind of a choice is that this is a guy that seems to be afraid of his own shadow. The Lord says, hey, Gideon, you mighty man of valor.
You're gonna lead Israel out of the bondage they're in to the Midianites. But that's because God didn't see Gideon for what he was. He saw him for what he would become. God sees potential in you.
Maybe you don't. You look in the mirror and you see flaws. You see shortcomings. But God sees what you will become. A mighty man, a mighty woman for him. Moses says, well, I'm not deserving.
Well, no, we're not deserving, but it's not based on what we deserve. It's the grace of God that he calls us by. Number two, Moses effectively says, but I don't have all the answers.
Verse 13. Moses protested, if I go to the people of Israel and tell them the God of your ancestors has sent me to you, they won't believe me. They'll ask, well, which God are you talking about?
What is his name? So what should I tell them? God replies, I am who I am.
Just tell them I am has sent me to you. So Moses basically says, who am I? God responds, I am that I am. In other words, Moses, it's not about you.
It's about me. Sometimes we're afraid to share our faith because we think a non-believer might ask us a question. We don't have the answer to. We think, well, I have to go out and prove the existence of God. I don't think you have to do anything of the kind. I think you need to just proclaim the gospel and it will do its work because God's word is alive and powerful. You say, well, shall I quote the Bible to someone who doesn't believe in the Bible?
Well, of course you should because just because they don't believe it doesn't take its power away. Use the word of God. Years ago, when I was starting our Crusade ministry, I was in my mid-30s. I hardly felt qualified to do such a thing and I was in the house of Billy and Ruth Graham one afternoon and I said, Ruth, I'm gonna be doing more of this preaching in stadiums and I don't feel prepared and I feel like I need to really study up and apologetics. She said, Greg, you just preached the gospel.
That's what Billy has done all these years and that's what you need to do and she was right. I suggest to you, you know more than you think you know. All these years of personal Bible study, all these years of sitting in church, all this time you've spent absorbing God's word, you know a lot and maybe the reason you don't know how much you know is because you've never had an opportunity to utilize it. But if you get into a setting where maybe you're mentoring someone or you're teaching a home Bible study or you're sharing the gospel with someone, all of a sudden the Holy Spirit activates those memory banks with information that you've retained and it comes out and what you're saying is so good you wanna take notes on yourself, right? If God calls you to speak for him, he'll give you the words when you need them. So we don't have all the answers but he does. Pastor Greg Laurie with good encouragement about how God will help us speak out for him. Pastor Greg Laurie with good encouragement about how God will help us speak out for him.
I think so and in fact I'm sure of it, his sister Joanna Cash Yates said of the book and of this film this is the best thing ever done about my brother. Because Johnny was very upfront about his faith. You know he wanted people to know about Jesus and from the beginning of his life to the very end, he was talking about his faith in Christ. And so this comes out in this film that we've done but listen, why don't I let you listen to Johnny himself. Now this is a recording of Johnny talking about a time in his life when he was really despondent.
In fact he didn't even know if he wanted to live anymore. So he went into this cave called the Nickajack Cave and he went in as far as you can go. This is a really deep, long cave.
People have actually gone into this cave and never come out again. And he tells a story of how he encountered God in this cave. This is from our film Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon.
Give a listen. And in the darkness, laid down and basically gave up his life. Gave up everything. And God's love brought him back. A moving moment from the film Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. And you know, God's love brought Johnny back time after time.
It's such an inspiring film and what a great source of hope for parents of prodigal children or for the spouse of a prodigal or for the prodigal himself or herself who's searching. Well, we want to send you a copy of Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon on DVD along with a streaming code so you can watch on your tablet or phone or computer. We're sending it to say thank you for your partnership that allows us to bring Pastor Greg's studies to you each day. So get in touch today with your investment. Call 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or go online to Harvest.org. I don't know if you know about this, but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world.
Listen to this. We even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God. So join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well, next time, more hope and assurance from Pastor Greg and our study of the life of Moses. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at Harvest.org.
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