The Five Problems of Moses

I got into a brief discussion yesterday with my son, Ben and my brother, Paul (both preachers) concerning two different types of sermons: inductive and deductive. The difference between the two was summarized as:

1) Deductive tells people what to do;
2) Inductive invites people to journey with the preacher on an exploration.

Formerly deductive preaching was the predominate type of sermon where the preacher would begin with a conclusion and then present arguments to support it. Now it seems that inductive preaching has become much more popular. I asked Ben which type of sermons he thinks that I preach and he said it is a mixture. I think he’s right.

When I was a young preacher I heard Jim Woodroof say that one should only preach what God has first taught you. I’d like to think that my sermons come out of my life and not simply out of my head. My goal is to have each sermon say, “Hey everybody, let me tell you what God’s been teaching me.” Then the big question would be “What does this say to you?”

One of the best post-sermon comments I received today came from someone who benefited from a single line in the sermon. I made some statement about how Moses’ life was going really well in Midian until God “messed it up” by calling him to go back to Egypt. She reflected on her life and how she had finally reached a point where things were going well. It was at that point that God “messed her life up” as well! He called her to a new mission which has had it’s share of new stresses and struggles. Through the sermon she was able to see a larger picture of what God was doing and, consequently, move forward in faith. Christianity is a journey and a destination. This is why we are called “followers” of Christ. Let’s keep moving!

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

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3 Responses to “The Five Problems of Moses”

  1. avatar Adam says:

    “Whenever a person follows their faith instead of their feelings, they are a better servant of the Lord.” I think this is something you said, Byron, and I am pretty sure I agree with it. What this makes me think about though is whenever someone claims to be doing something and they are guided by their heart. Or the holy spirit. Or 'this is something God has called me to do.' Feelings are often misleading towards doing the right action, and so I have to ask when we can ever claim that a feeling is from God. I don't know that I've ever been divinely led to make a decision that wasn't already logical and in accordance with God's law in the first place. I think the only time we can claim that a decision we are making is 'something we are just supposed to do' is when we are 100% positive that the feeling is from God.

    “Has God ever come in and messed up your life?” I think so, but I am not sure. What constitutes God's involvement? Is it anything good? What if I learning something good from a bad situation? If I am thinking of the story of Joseph (last week's sermon) I might say that it was not God disrupting my life at all, it was simply life itself. I want to say that the times that God came into my life are the times that I learned, grew closer to God, and benefited as a person, from the situation, good or bad. However, I don't think every bad situation in life is one that God is orchestrating so that you learn a good life lesson. Too often, I think people blame God for bad things that happen to them. I think they involve his name way too much when they are guessing what he is doing with their life. But, can we only say for certain God's involvement when we are being nostalgic…reminiscing about the good in life, or at least what led to the good?

    “I am being uniquely prepared for a unique mission.” I like this idea, but it makes me wonder. What do I do to get prepared? Do I have to do anything? If so, what? If not, do I just sit by and see what life shows me, see what opportunities fall in to my lap?

    I've heard people say, “don't try to be Jesus for that person.” In Exodus 3:16, God says, “you will be as God to Aaron…” Are Christians as God to other people? Why wasn't God as God to Aaron?

    In Exodus 3:22, it says, “women shall ask of her neighbor…for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing…” Maybe it is simply my ignorance, but it seems like God does not often ask His people to ask other people for help. George Muller's most distinguishing feature that I remember was his unwillingness to ever ask anyone for help whenever he was creating…an orphanage I believe. He always prayed that God would provide and thought it would be a lack of faith to ask a person for help or money. Reading Exod.3:22 makes me think he is wrong.

    I enjoyed, and agreed with, the central message being Faith. Now we have the holy spirit, and the Word. I don't know many people around today who talk with God, back and forth, the way Moses did with the burning bush.

    After all this thinking critically, Byron, I think I need to go watch a chick flick or something, and feel.

  2. avatar Byron says:

    Adam, I'll give you some quick thoughts off the top of my head to make a stab at your questions. Your thoughts are very deep and frankly, really need much better answers that I'm going to give. With that in mind. . .. let's begin with the last question first.

    Muller and Exodus 3:22. The most obvious difference here is that Israel was plundering the Egyptians just as an ancient army would after taking another city captive. This was God's way of giving Israel the supplies needed for traveling to Canaan and setting up their own nation. The gold would later be used for building the Tabernacle (well, some of it was used for the golden calf but that wasn't God idea). Muller never said that his method was for everyone. He felt that God was calling him to do this as a way to demonstrate that God honors people who step out in faith to accomplish what God is calling them to do.

    Which brings us to the first question – How do you know when God's calling you? Feelings are most definitely a dangerous guide! However, that is not to say that feelings should be discounted. I've learned that if God is truly calling me to do something he will communicate in a number of ways – which will probably include some emotions.

    Scripture, of course, provides a sure guide in many instances. For example, it doesn't matter what one is “feeling” adultery violates God's will. In other words there are a number of “choices” that God has made clear will never be within his will. Of course, there are also numerous decisions we must make where there is no clear word in Scripture.

    Another way God often guides us is found in Godly counsel. Proverbs is full of instruction on listening to the wise before acting.

    Sometimes God leads us through recurring situations. Looking backward one can sometimes see how events have been occurring making the next step obvious (although perhaps difficult).

    In determining God's will my advise is to:
    1. Pray – ask God to help you discern his will above your own.
    2. Search the Scriptures – are there any relevant passages that speak to where you are in life?
    3. Take inventory – what has been happening in your life leading you to this point? Is there a pattern perhaps?
    4. Seek out advice – talk with people that are further down the road spiritually than you are.

  3. avatar Adam says:

    I had not thought of looking for patterns. I suppose that is the most effective way we learn in school: repetition.

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