Epistle July 2015

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The Church Meeting in Jesus’ Name

602 Oak Knoll Dr.

San Antonio, TX 78228


July 2015

Event Calendar

July 19 – 26 World Evangelism Conference

Both Sundays at 10 am and every night at 7 pm, ending Sunday the 26th with the morning meeting, featuring our own home-church missionaries from Mexico and Poland, as well as sister-church pastors, all sharing their passion to preach salvation to those who have never heard.

October 16,17          Men’s meeting

November 29          Thanksgiving meeting

Dinner on the grounds

January 17, 2016    David Spurgeon, Sunday 11:00 AM

February 12-21, 2016        Revival Meeting with Mike Veach


Somebody Else


 10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses…

Exodus 4

By the time Moses sees the burning bush which “is not burnt” and is understandably amazed at the sight, he is pretty much burned out himself. He is 80 years old now, a late blooming husband and father, a wilderness dweller, and apparently content with the simplicity of his life, keeping someone else’s livestock, grazing them year in and year out, in the “backside of the desert.” An occasional caravan traveler passing along may not have been aware that this nomad shepherd visible in the distance with his flock on the hill was no ordinary Bedouin. This unremarkable old man walking the dry hills of Midian surrounded by bleating bovids had actually lived an extraordinary life, including an astonishing deliverance from death as an infant and an incomparable education in Pharaoh’s household. He had mastered the art of war by experience in battle, and had become an important political figure in Egypt before he was 40 years old.

But in the prime of his life and height of his career he felt an unshakable sense of destiny and divine calling, foreseeing that God, according to Stephen’s sermon, was to “deliver his brethren by his hand.” It was God’s call, and the calling itself is the most significant and astonishing opportunity in anyone’s life, more important than career, politics and even marriage. And Moses chose it, embraced it, and committed himself to it. Yet it happened that when he acted on God’s call his fortunes were immediately reversed, and he became a fugitive from justice, a murderer hiding in the desert.  There may have been room for him to think that God had forsaken him, but after forty years he doesn’t seem noticeably resentful or bitter, or for that matter, even terribly curious. Well, it had taken a while, but God was here now, ready to move.

Consider the Deal

I don’t know if Moses sensed God’s presence during his 40 years of desert life. I don’t know if he regularly worshiped, or prayed. But when God outlined his thoughtful and exciting plan to deliver all Israel at once, and bring them out with wealth and substance, and lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey, Moses started making objections, and yes, they were pretty miserable protests. First, who am I? I am nobody to Pharaoh, why would he listen to me? I am nobody to Israel, why would they hear me? And by the way, who are you? I don’t know your name. Where have you been all these long years? And that obnoxious, woolly mob of mouthy, insubordinate Hebrews – they won’t believe me. They didn’t believe me when I was somebody, why would they believe now that I am nobody? And did I mention that I am not a good speaker? I’ve forgotten my Hebrew, and I’ve forgotten my Egyptian. Besides, clinical studies prove that people are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of death! That’s me.

But Moses needed to take the time to consider what God was actually offering, at least while he patiently answered every objection. I will be with you all the way, and you will come out of Egypt, and will serve me on this very mountain. You can call me I AM THAT I AM, tell them that is my name forever, and they will hearken to your voice. And I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with mighty wonders. And you will have miraculous signs to confirm your every word. They will believe, I guarantee it. And I will be with your mouth, and I will teach you what to say. (Wow, I would love that!) And then the gem in the text, after every objection was fully answered, Moses said:

O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

Ok, in colloquial Hebrew this was to say, Lord, send someone else, not me. I’m not interested. I tried when I was young. Now I am old. I don’t care anymore. I was excited by youthful exuberance remember, way overeager, and man I got it wrong, and now I have no ambitions. I have grown deeply cynical. I don’t think anything is going to change. I’m not your guy.

It is no surprise to me that the years had beaten Moses down. But this was the bold young man who wanted to serve God with his strength, and was willing to sacrifice even his royal position to obey his spiritual calling. This was the same thoughtful, selfless and spiritual man who chose to suffer with his true people rather than sinfully and carelessly enjoy his special privilege. Now, forty years in the desert backside had shattered his confidence. His sense of destiny and all spiritual desire had faded and ultimately vanished. Time had swept away even his yearning for his own nation, and what is more, his compassion for his own parents and siblings, who were still slaves in Egypt under hard, racially-motivated bondage. The man was not ready to try again, even to save his own family. God would just have to get somebody else.

Consider the Disobedience

I wasn’t the kind of father that would allow my children to say “no” to me. I hear it from other children all the time though. Mama says, “come” and child says, “no!” There is something about that vocal, decisive disagreement in children that sticks in my craw. I may have tolerated hesitation in my children, but if they ever told me “no” they would have immediately received a swat so stinging that they wouldn’t be embarrassed by it at all. They would sail right past embarrassment and resentment and straight to, “yikes, that hurt, let’s make sure that never happens again.” But that is what Moses is telling God. No thanks, send someone else. And God was not happy about it either. Moses recognized God’s anger and decided to obey, but that galling attitude he bared was deep, and is common to all of us. We tell God “no” all the time, perhaps dancing all around that specific word, but the meaning is inescapable. God knows the attitude well, and does not like it.

Consider the Deflection

I sometimes tell God that if he wants me for anything, all he has to do is ask. And I think I really mean it, although of course, I’m not sure how strong I will be to follow through with such a commitment if he were to ask something difficult or painful. But even if I genuinely feel a desire to serve him, and be useful to him, and to please him, I think the “somebody else” sentiment is at play every day in my earthly life. That’s because there is so much to do that must be done, and God will simply not intervene to give us a special calling to do it. But he has given us plenty of general instructions about what he wants done.

4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.                                                                                             1 Thessalonians 2

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;                                                                                        Colossians 3

21 [Now God] make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ;                                                                                    Hebrews 13

There is often much good to do that we expect to be done, but we hesitate to do it ourselves. We want our suffering brethren to be helped, but we expect someone else to do it. Nowhere is this more visible than around missionaries. At a mission conference one time I had a good brother tell me, “Brother, if there is ever anything you need, just call me.” I told him I wouldn’t, because that would make me a mooch. If God leads you to give, then give, but if not, I won’t ask you for anything. After the brother walked off a little aggravated, a fellow missionary told me someone had just told him the same thing, and he replied, “well, I could use a new set of tires.” The sincere offerer shook his head and said he just couldn’t right now. And I’m sure that was true. But the attitude that stands out to me when I think of these examples is, Lord, I’m for your work, but use somebody else.

Consider the Disconnect

Jesus specially invited several people to join him in his mission during his ministry each of which said, yes, but, let me first go… (Luke 9). Oh, what a loss of opportunity – invited to be a participant in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Who would turn that down? Well they did. And we do too.

In Moses’ case, there was no one else prepared by God for the work he wanted done. Moses knew Egypt, he knew the desert, and he had been slowly and deeply meekened by God. Who else would God send? OK, so you were disappointed by God. And things didn’t turn out like you expected. But here you are. There are works to be done, streets to be preached, tracts to be passed out, messages to be shared, Bible studies to be given, neighbors to be invited, chairs to be stacked, sick to be visited, friends to be warned, deep subjects to be studied, children to be mentored, sufferers to be listened to, prodigals to be sought out, marriages to be salvaged, missionaries to be supported, weary to be encouraged, all of which if we don’t do, won’t be done. No one else is available, no one else knows what you know, and who you know, no one else sees the needs you see, and nobody else has the opportunities you have right now. Jesus once said, “the things concerning me have an end” (Luke 22.37). Well, the things concerning us also have an end. Don’t let the years, or the daily grind, steal your ambition. Lord, don’t pass me by when you’re calling, send me, use me, call on me.