#220 (12/02/06)
Called to Soar Part I

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Dr. Phil is the author of five New York Times number one best sellers: Family First, Relationship Rescue, the Ultimate Weight Solution, Self Matters, additionally has just released his latest book, Love Smart. Find the one you want, Fix the one you’ve got, giving readers a plan to find not just any relationship, but the committed, loving, joy filled relationships they’ve always waited for.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" O God, Our Help in Ages Past "
" Challenge Us, Oh God our Father ”
“ This is My Father’s World ”

" Arise, Shine "

ANGELA MARTIN – “He Touched Me”
CHRIS TOMLIN – “Indescribable”

The Message

I am humbled, excited, and I am filled with all kinds of emotion with the realization that God has called me to be the next Senior Pastor of this congregation. You know there are challenges, and there are opportunities and I feel like a kid the night before Christmas because it is something that I have known was going to happen my entire life and I have waited 50 years for this opportunity. When you look at the different calls that people have had throughout their life, 50 years is not all that long. I look at the call of Moses for instance. What you have to realize is that Moses was 80 years old before he received his call. 80 years old!

You can divide the life of Moses into three distinct parts, the first 40 years was living in the lap of luxury. He was raised in the court of Pharaoh; Pharaoh's daughter raised him. 40 years that way. The next 40 years he spent as a shepherd; he was hiding because he killed an Egyptian and he spent 40 years in the Sinai Desert raising sheep for his father in law. It was at that time, at the age of 80, while grazing the sheep through the mountains and through the deserts that he saw a burning bush that was not burning. Hard to imagine.

Let me read this text to you. It is in the third chapter of Exodus, verses 1-14.

Now Moses was attending the flock of Jethro, his father in law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush and Moses saw that though the bush was on fire, it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I'll go over and see this strange sight - why the bush does not burn up." When the Lord saw that he had come over to look, God called him from within the bush. "Moses, Moses." Moses said, "Here I am." Then the Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and I am concerned about their suffering so I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and bring them up and out of the land and bring them to a good and spacious land. A land flowing with milk and honey. And now the cry has reached me. So now I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt." But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" And God said, "I will be with you." Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them the God of your fathers has sent me to you and they simply say, 'what is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" And God said to Moses, I AM who I AM. That is what you are to say to the Israelites, I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:1-14)

40 years in the court of Pharaoh, 40 years in the Sinai desert, and 40 years leading the Israelites through the wilderness. And, like all of us when we are first called we say to ourselves, 'who am I?' When Moses is saying all of this, these feelings of inferiority start to come into his mind. Moses thinks, "How can God call me? Doesn't he know, for the past 40 years I've been doing nothing but leading sheep? And he thinks I can lead the people of Israel? I am a murderer that's why I'm hiding out here and He expects me to go back to Pharaoh as a murderer. Who am I that He would choose me?" The natural instinct of every human being is to look at ourselves and in so doing, we see the negative and it's easy to add up all of the negatives.

But God comes and He answers the question. He didn't start telling Moses how great he was, he didn't give him all of his priority lists, he didn't give them a Kiersey Bates Temperament Analysis Test, nor did he give him some type of motivation test. God didn't do any of that. God didn't tell Moses what a wonderful leader he was or could be. How did God respond to the question from Moses, "Who am I?" The answer was, "I will be with you." In other words, it doesn't matter what you've done, it doesn't matter what your weaknesses are, it doesn't matter what your strengths are, it doesn't matter who you are because "I will be with you", says the Lord. When God calls us to a task and to a responsibility to do something, to be the best father we can be, to be the best mother we can be, to be the best friend, the best neighbor, the best New Hope counselor, all of these thoughts start to run through our minds, "But oh what if somebody says this and says that and how can I have the ability to do this and do that?" When we look at ourselves all we can see is the negative and think, "Who am I? Who am I?"

And God answers, "It doesn't matter because I am with you." If God is with us and God is before us, no one can defeat us and we cannot fail. The question is: where was God this week, where was He when 12 miners passed away in the Sago Mine in West Virginia. Where was God? God was there. God was caring for them, and God was taking them home. The fact is that every single one of us as human beings on planet earth will come to the realization that some day God will be there with us too. God will carry us home too and God will be there when we need Him the most. When we need Him the most, He is always there; "who am I?" The Lord says, "I will be with you."

Moses then said, "Who are you, what is your name, what am I going to say if people ask me?" And God said, "I AM who I AM." I AM, He always has been, He always will be. He was in the beginning as He will be in the present and He will be in the future, I AM who I AM. I AM, the one who spoke, and created the heavens and the earth, I AM the one who spoke and put the fish in the sea and the birds in the air and the cattle on the hills. I AM the one who spoke and vegetation covered the earth, I AM the giver of life, the sustainer of life, I AM life. He was in the beginning; He is now and will be forever.

The power in those words, I AM, is amazing. Jesus said those words, I AMíK a good shepherd, I AM the bread of life, I AM the resurrection and the life, I AM the way the truth and the life, before Abraham was, I AM. Who am I? I will be with you. Who are you? I AM, always have been, always will be with you wherever you are, within you, around you, through you, I AM. Then Moses said, "What if they don't believe, what if they don't listen?" God said, "Well I'll give you miracles so they will know that it is true." God gave Moses a staff and He gave Moses the ability to do wonderful miraculous things. I hear about Moses doing miraculous things and I think of one of my favorite golf jokes. If you are a golfer, you have my apologizes because all golfers know this one. The joke is: Moses and Jesus and an old man are golfing together, and they come up to this par 3, a par 3 is where you're supposed to get onto the green in one and then two putt into the hole. So Moses comes first and he hits the ball but he gets it a little thin so it just scoots right toward the lake and he sees it heading for the lake and before it can get there he just parts the waters. The ball lands on dry land and it just bounces across the dry land and onto the green and rolls up about 8 inches from the hole. Next, it is Jesus' turn, so Jesus comes up and takes a nice swing and He gets under the ball and pops it up in the air and it looks like it's going to plop into the lake but instead of plopping, it bounces like ice across the lake, onto the green and he split the difference between Moses and the hole; he was about 4 inches away from the hole. Then the old man comes along and he hits the ball, but he hits it off the toe of the club and sends it shooting off, slicing to the right and he hits a tree and a squirrel falls out of the tree, picks up the ball, starts running across the fairway and then an eagle comes down and grabs the squirrel. The eagle takes off, flying over the green when he's struck by lightning and drops the squirrel. When the squirrel hits the ground the ball pops out of his mouth and rolls into the hole. Jesus looks at the old man and says, "Hey, good shot Dad."

What if people don't believe, what if people don't listen? God's response is, "I will give you miracles and signs and wonders that people will believe." Today I continue to see God's signs and wonders and miracles. I see it in the miracle of a changed life, someone calls our New Hope phone line and they're ready to end it all and then they experience the presence of God in their heart and their life is changed. People who are facing terminal illnesses suddenly get well and they call it coincidences. Things miraculously take place where things fall in line and it's just luck, just great luck. Today it's time for us to call it what it really is, not coincidences, not luck, but rather God incidences. Incidences where God intervenes and does something. It's time for us to quit calling it luck and start calling it what it really is, blessings. It is called God's blessings upon His people. "How will we know and how will we be able to get people to listen and respond," says Moses? God says He will do miraculous things and people will see, people will know. "Who am I," says Moses? God says, "I will be with you." "What is your name," says Moses. God says, "I AM, I AM the bread of life, I AM the resurrection and the life."

What if people don't listen? Miraculous things will take place, God incidences and blessings will happen. Trust God and He will be with you. Rely on the power of God and He will sustain you. Know that God will be with you wherever you go and you will truly soar with the calling that God has given to you and you will succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that as You called Moses, so you call every one of your people. As we take our eyes off of ourselves and look at You and your guidance and your leadership that we can do all things. As we continue to walk with You, that You will walk with us and bless us and go with us. And so we thank You, Lord for everything and we praise Your name always. Amen.

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