Guest Speaker for Bashford United Methodist Church June 28,2020
Good morning, the scripture reading from this morning is from Exodus chapter 17 verses 8 through 15
The Amalekites Defeated
17) 8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."10So, Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.11As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him for him to sit on. Aaron and Hur then held Moses hands up -- one on one side, one on the other -- so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13And this allowed Joshua to keep going and overcome the Amalekite army with the sword.14Then the Lord said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." 15Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. he said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation."
the word of God for the people of god, thanks be to god
Well good morning beloved. i am very happy to spend this time with you. it warmed my heart when i was asked to speak again at Bashford United Methodist church. It is an honor and privilege and I thank you for this opportunity to continue to share my ministry.
Some historians believe that the amalekits were distant relatives to the Egyptians. their origins came from northern Africa. the conflict with the Amalakites was not long after Israel had escaped from the bondage of egypt. and according to the sacred text. pharaoh's army was wiped out. the word of God indicates that the amalakites were very loyal to Egypt. the metaphor here is that the destructive forces of the amalakites who were loyal to Egypt pharaoh. were coming back to break down the spiritual community of Israel. they had wished to put the people of istrael back into a place of spiritual bondage. now raphidim which is the location that this battle took place, is known as the place of murmuring and contentious bickering. prior to the battle with the amalakites, it is there that the Israelite went against Moses. and let him know that they believed that he had led them there to die. all in the church should practice avoiding murmuring against the men and women of God. who are our leaders. bickering with one another solves very few problems within the church. men and women of God should always do their best to reason together. come to a loving conclusion in every matter. being quick to anger with one another generally speaking rarely resolves an issue. If we speak the councel of the holy spirit during these moments. then listen to the still small voice. we may discover that our reaction of hostility and toxic language. does not line up with being spirit led.
Now Moses had gone into prayer for answering when the murmuring and bickering was done by the Israelite. God revealed to him to strike a rock with his staff. which in turn water sprang forth and turned into a steady stream for the people of Israel. who were thirsty. It fed the people both physically and spirituality. that is just a little background on this location of raphidim.
Joshua's name in Hebrew is Yahoshua, which translates to God or Yahweh is our salvation. the name Jesus is a modern translation of the same name. Joshua is an archetype for the warrior aspects of the messiah who does spiritual battles for the people of God. Aaron was of the Priest clan, and Hur was a laymen, who was a friend of Moses. Raphidim is also where the manna fell from heaven. God is always our source of spiritual sustenance. all we need to do is make it a daily practice to look to the spirit of God for our abundance.
the adversarial forces had come against Israel at raphidim. Moses stood on a hill to intercede for Israel. our pastors and ministers stand on a hill. they hold their hands up and pray for the congregation of the saints of God. they intercede and ask for God to help in the battles. through prayer and ritual they wield powerful tools in prayerful consideration. their focus is on everyone and beyond the congregation of the saints of God. But listen, Even pastors and ministers get tired.
Aaron and Hur ran over to Moses and took a rock and put it near hims so he could sit on it and rest. the word is a very specific word in the Hebrew culture. the word is Samekh. which translates to mean prop or support. the samekh was often used as a cornerstone in building a strong foundation for a house. so a priest who was Aaron and a laymen who was hur ran over to their spiritual leader, Moses. Gave their shepherd strong support and encouragement. both of them Aaron and hur, priest and laymen worked together. they held his arms up high. one on each side of him. giving Moses the spiritual strength needed to defeat the dark forces that were coming against the spiritual community of Israel.
one thing to take notice in this passage. it is not only Moses, or Aaron or hur or even Joshua, doing all of the work. there were many others of their community involved in accomplishing the task at hand. all who are joined in the body of Christ are valid and important. from the pastor on down to the laymen. doing the work of ministry. the pastor or minister is the shepherd of the flock. the congregation of the church. we all know this. we would all do well to remember that the church does not belong to anyone, but God. this is a strong component of the mystery of Christianity.
when they had won this battle Moses was instructed to write the victory down for future generations. the lord is our banner, Jehovah nissi. it is a powerful statement. it is one of victory for the congregation. and when the members of the church lift the arms of their pastor or minister in support. then the whole entire congregation wins. it is becomes a testimony to all generations. the ability of a great church. the church that prays together stays together. it is a standard of love, kindness, justice, mercy, and being centered.
a standard is a banner or a flag that is waved high over the place of victory.
it is always imperative that all church members always do their best to work things out with one another. the pastor is the churches leader. it is not their job to be the fixer. it is their job to help educate and provoke the congregation to have a deeper relationship with God and with one another. peter an apostle of god had caved under pressure from the Jerusalem Christians. he started avoiding the gentile Christians. all because of the circumcision issue. peter had not gone for the counsel of god on this. i believe if he had. he would not have never distanced himself. now Paul on the other hand. also an apostle of God. rebuked peter. Paul did not support this and felt that it was against the fulfillment of the law. which was to love your neighbor. the circumcision according to Paul was of the heart. a servant of god. so we have two examples here. one of what an individual led by his head or flesh, as well as an individual who was spiritually led. both were men of god, but one had errored. but the beauty of this. peter bounced back and loved all of the brethren. to understand that each person can work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. in other words. to overcome their own fleshly problematic desires and to obtain a mature level of spirituality. tamping down the desires of the ego. to walk the walk. i implore everyone no matter where they are spiritually. to increase your faith. to pray more. and to sit in the silence with an open listening heart. allowing the desires of the spirit to become greater than our fleshly repetitions. it is a deep message. but one that is so incredibly simple but a powerful tool for the righteous. make the burdens on the pastor or minister far less by focusing on finding solutions to problems on your own. if however individuals are not able to negotiate those waters and find their own answers. then of course seek the counsel of the pastor or the minister.
I myself never get involved with what I call church politics. the bickering and the feuds among some within the church. it is a an energy that can drain our spirituality. murmuring and bickering within the church community solves nothing. it only creates divisions and deep levels of separation from one another.
another way to lift up the arms of a church leader is to give to the church. tithes and offerings is a very important aspect of ministry. if a person has the ability to give. then one should give. we are currently in a restricted time period. where meeting in person in church is not very practical. however, the church still has bills to pay and salaries to honor. i ask that you would consider doing what you can to sustain the church during these troubled times. I leave it up to the individual to discover the benefits of tithing to the church. in my opinion, tithes should always be given to any institution. that supplies individual spiritual needs through its teachings and ministries. I encourage all of you to give a portion of your time, your talents, and treasure to the spiritual community that serves you. i recommend reading the book of acts to further understand this concept.
when attending church be it in a physical place or a virtual one. I always prepare my heart before entering that sacred moment of the service. this allows for the spiritual leader to be able to teach better. providing both the recipient and the leadership much nourishment from God. always remember when doing church that our personal desires for a specific thing in worship are not the desires for everyone present. the pastor or the minister are looking at the big picture. church isn't about what we as individuals want. it is about service to god. the pastor is always doing his or her best to bring balance for the good of the entire congregation. please keep these pitfalls in check. learn to find a lesson in every direction the minister is delivering to all that are present. Individuals can participate with the church leader too. how? by praying without ceasing for their leadership. lifting up their arms every day in prayerful support. but always remember to respect the spiritual leader. don't tell them should have, could have, would have done. collaborate with the ministry rather than being divisive or adversarial. Sunday mornings is not the time to share your ideas with the minister. call the office during the week and ask to make an appointment. the ministers job on Sunday mornings is to shine a bright light and to help lead in worship. all of us should do our very best not to be a distraction from this. I myself am guilty of this. so please know that i am not scolding anyone. I am reminding myself in this message today as much as i am speaking from my heart to you.
Encourage your leaders such as Pastor Amanda taking time off for spiritual renewal. but not just for spiritual renewal. give the leader time off. restrain yourself from contacting them on their days off. the clergy needs rest too. pray for their continues growth and knowledge so that they in turn can share that wealth and wisdom with the members of the congregation.
always push yourself to participate in church functions. don't leave it up or others to do. it is my own experience that quite often only around twenty percent of the congregation volunteer for things that need to be done. sadly it is the same individuals who again and again are the ones volunteering. while eighty percent are doing very little to help the churches ministry. that twenty percent often burns out and leaves the church. quite often it is the members siting in the church that stifles the churches growth.