Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You've Got Mail!

I will be giving this sermon at a youth retreat this weekend. Though it is your typical sermon, I still wrote a manuscript for it. I hope you like it:

Do you have email? What are some of your email names? How often do you check your mail? If God were to send you an email, what would it say? If God were to give young believers like yourself one command, what would it be?

Let me give you a few examples of email that I have gotten this week. I have gotten offers to win millions of dollars in American money and Euros. I’ve gotten offers for cheap pharmaceutical drugs. I’ve gotten coupons, advertisements, and fake emails that I don’t even know and probably don’t even exists. For everyone one email address I block as spam, I am sent 10 more it seems.

I am surrounded with junk mail, and it is hard at times to differentiate between junk mail and real mail. I don’t know how many times I have opened an email thinking that it was from a friend or family member, and come to find out, it was just spam.

We likewise are surrounded by junk in our lives. It is hard at time for our culture to differentiate between a true believer, a fake believer, and a nonbeliever. And as a result, I believe that God is sending us a message. The question is, what is that message, and who is it sent to, and who are to respond?

To answer that question, lets open our Bibles to Exodus 3, and read the familiar account of Moses and the burning bush.

The first thing we see in this text is that WE MUST FIRST MEET GOD.

Let’s be honest, we’re going to enjoy this weekend. We’re going to get on a spiritual high. But then, we’ll return to our daily routine, and end up back to were we were before. Nothing will really change. We’ll just add to our list more broken promises made to God.

I hope you have come here this weekend hoping to change. Let’s not go through the same old motions again. Let this be a weekend of change. But how do we make this a weekend that will truly change our lives? By meeting God.

In this text, Moses meets God, and is in awe. He is called to remove his sandals for the place was holy. Imagine what it must have been like to be Moses. What changed the life of Moses wasn’t a retreat or a song, but simply meeting God for who He is. Sadly, too many Christians today haven’t really met God, but have only met a god they made up. It is time for us to meet God as He truly is, and be in awe in His presence.

There are a couple of things we need to know about God, if we are wanting to be radically changed this weekend:

God is in control, you are not. We must therefore humble ourselves
God is holy, you are not. We must therefore imitate his holiness.
God knows what He is doing, you don’t. We must therefore do His will.

It is time for us to meet God this weekend. Let’s not go through the motions, but find ourselves in His presence. And when we do, we will realize that we our nothing, and yet are counted as worthy for dying for.

The second thing we see in this text is that GOD IS AWARE OF THE EVIL AND THE STRUGGLES OF THIS AGE.

Let’s face it, it isn’t easy being a teenager. And it isn’t getting any easier. Do you honestly think that God is unaware of that? We act like it sometimes. We try to take things into our own hands, just like Moses whenever he murdered an Egyptian. We act like God is unaware of our struggles, needs, and desires. We act like God doesn’t care, and we therefore take things into our own hands. How silly we are!

This is why the first point is critical. We need to take some time to really know who God is. God knows all things and is aware of all things. He is not surprised by your struggles and fears. We need to realize that God is in complete control, and is working everything out for His good and for His glory. And despite the circumstance, we need to submit to His will.

Notice in this text how God has seen & heard & knows about the affliction of His people. The biblical writer is giving us language that makes it clear that God is well aware of the situation. He is on top of it. He didn’t wake up one day and notice that Israel was in slavery and say to Himself, "how did that happen." No! Rather, God has been hearing their prayers, seeing their struggles, and know that they are in need for a savior.

But also notice that as a result, God is doing something about it. God isn’t sitting back hoping for the best, rooting for the good guys. Rather, he is involved and sending out one who He is called forth to deliver them. Notice how involved God is. Notice how in control He is.

Just like the Israelites in slavery, God is aware of the evil and the struggles of the Church and of the culture, and likewise, God is doing something about it. Don’t think that God is ignoring you. It might seem like He is, but He isn’t. The Jews were in slavery for 300 years before Moses delivered them, and I am sure those generations felt like their prayers were falling on deaf ears, but they weren’t. God saw, heard, and knew their affliction and was doing something about it.
God is aware of your struggles, your hurts, and your pains. Trust in Him to get you through them.

God knows that your having a hard time with your parents splitting up, your boyfriend/girlfriend broke up on you, a friend betrayed you, you feel all alone, etc.
Finally, and this is the message/the command that God is writing to us today, and that is; GOD COMMISSIONS HIS PEOPLE.

Why was God in this burning bush? Why did God meet Moses? To simply to send Him out to do His will.

Why do young people believe that there is an age limit on who God uses? Why have teenagers and young adults bought into the lie that God isn’t ready to use them? Throughout Scripture and history, God has used young people to impact cultures, save lives, and change hearts.
Many of the great revivals in American history were started by teenagers and college students. Many of the great men and women in the Bible were teenagers. Mary and Joseph were likely middle schoolers whenever Jesus was born. God used young people in the past, and He still uses them today. Why can’t you be used by God? Have you ever let Him? Or, have you thought there was a waiting list for the Great Commission?

The message that God is sending to you today isn’t how to save money on car insurance, or how to buy cheap pharmaceuticals, or that a lost friend is wanting to meet up, but rather that He is sending you out into the world to change it. The message of God today is simply to Go!

You are God’s messenger where you go: whether it be in the classroom, on the sports team, in your family, among your friends, in the cafeteria, in the locker room, in your youth group, in your church, or where ever you are. Realize that God is sending you out to change the world. God uses people like you. Are you willing to be used?

The email is simple: GO!!!!

Let this be your burning bush moment. Let this be the moment whenever you decide that your not going to go through the motions, but are going to live radically for Christ, impacting your friends, your family, your school, your peers, and your culture. Do not be shaped by the world, but shape the world for the glory of God!

Don’t give excuses like Moses, but rather suck up your pride, and follow Him. Go were He sends you, do what He tells you, speak what He says, and fulfill God’s will for your life. The days of going through the motions are over. Embrace God’s message to you today, and impact your culture for God’s glory.