November
10
2019

Coping with Your Crisis of Faith

Coping with Your Crisis of Faith Exodus 3-4 November 10, 2019
 
Two words from scripture to begin the message this morning.  The two words are “Moses went…” Exodus 4:18 
 
Those two words begin the journey for Moses to head back to Egypt, tell the king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go free.  “Moses went.” 
 
The dynamics behind those two words, “Moses went” are similar to what we experience after much prayer and consideration, to submit the resume, the resignation, or commit to serve in a local charity.  
 
“Moses went” means faith was put into action.
 
But before the scripture could say, “Moses went,” it was a messy scene with Moses.  The popular label or definition for what Moses experienced with God is often called “a crisis of faith.”
 
Let me offer a few definitions about a crisis of faith before we move into the scripture.
 
Definitions  Someone said, a crisis of faith is “When you seriously question whether what you believe/how you see things spiritually/what you're committed to is actually true.”
 
Another source states a crisis of faith is a “A profound sense of abandonment settles over you. Prayers seem distant and hollow.” 
 
William Blackaby states a crisis of faith is “When God ask you to do something you can’t do. You face a crisis of faith.”
 
But, “Moses went.”
 Let’s look closer at what Moses experienced with God before Moses went.   Now for the sake of time, let’s remember that God had been speaking to Moses from the burning bush. Exodus, chapter 3 and 4 contains the dialogue between God and Moses.  For the sake of time, I want to just focus on the reaction of Moses to God’s instructions.
 
When God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand he let the people go, Moses said: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh…” 3:11
 
When God assures Moses, He will be with him and bring the people out of slavery, Moses asked: “If I come to the Israelites and say to them the God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me what is your name? what shall I tell them?” 3:13
 
When God tells Moses how he will break through Pharaoh’s unwillingness, Moses said, “But suppose they don’t believe me or listen to me?” 4:1 
 
After God’s provides signs to Moses of the power Moses will have to demonstrate to Pharaoh God has sent Moses, Moses said, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant.  But I am slow of speech and I am slow of tongue.” 4:10
 
Moses was having a crisis of faith.  He was wrestling with whether to believe what God was asking him to do was possible.  God had asked Moses to something on his own, Moses could not accomplish. 
 
His crisis of faith had four questions about God’s plan. 1. Who am I = am I unqualified? (3:11) 2. What if they ask your name = Who are you? (3:13) 3. What if they don’t believe me? = What if I fail. (4:1) 
4. I am not good enough. = depending on myself more than God. (4:10)
 
Before Moses went, Moses struggled.
 
Idelman Illustration: A pastor tells about going to visit his grandmother when he was a child.  He states after a day or two playing out in the yard and bugging his older sisters, he would become bored.  His last resort for occupying himself was to play with his grandmother’s puzzles.  He said there was one problem.  His grandmother kept her puzzles in a plastic bag and there was no box with a picture of what the puzzle should look like when it was completed. He would empty the pieces out of the bag, connect the edge pieces first but without a picture to see, he would become frustrated and give up on the puzzle.
 
• Moses had trouble seeing the big picture of how God’s plan to use Moses was going to be successful.  • Moses struggled to connect the pieces of instruction that God was giving to him and believe God’s plan could really happen.  
 
All the great Bible stories of the people led by God and used by God and loved by God share a common experience like Moses, they also experienced a crisis of faith.     Elijah, Job and Jonah, the disciples of Jesus, just to name a few had a crisis of faith.
 
We’re not alone when part of our actual experience of God is a time of struggle, questioning and fear.
 
I would suppose you have asked similar question to the four questions I have mentioned. You ask at the:  • Death of a loved one. • Challenging illness. • Adversity in a significant relationship.
• Financial struggle. • God’s leading and nudging you to a particular way God wants to use your life.
 
God will allow us to have the painful crisis of faith/struggle because the struggle will teach us about Him.  
 
The crisis is very uncomfortable, but through the spiritual pain, God will reveal himself.  
 
Dr. Ravi Zacharias tells about a young woman who has a condition known as CIPA.  The initials stand for a long name, but her condition is that her body doesn’t feel physical pain.  She could touch a red-hot burner on a kitchen stove and feel nothing. She needs constant supervision.  Her mother once said, “I pray every night, that God would give her a sense of pain.”  Dr. Zacharias writes, “…The pathway of (spiritual) pain can be the means to recognizing our own limits and the rescuing grace of a God longing to reach us…”                                                                 (Zacharias, The Logic of God, p.18)
 
There is purpose in the crisis of faith even though painful. Dr. Henry Blackaby reminds us of what we will learn from our time of crisis.
 
• You have to decide what you really believe about God. • Can he and will he do what He said He wants to do through you? • Can God do the seemingly impossible through your ordinary life? • The way you respond to His invitation reveals what you truly believe about God, regardless what you say.                                                               (Blackaby, 7 Realities…p.89)
 
Crisis of faith will come.  Yes, some people may go with the flow easier than others.  However, for those of us who are willing to admit
sometimes our faith is no larger than a mustard seed, a crisis of faith will come.  No one gets a pass.
 
You see this picture.  The older gentleman is Toby Mac.  Years ago, he was with the Christian band, Audio Adrenaline. Many of us remember their hit song, Jesus Freak.  Toby Mack, for several years he has been a successful solo artist.  
 
The young man in the picture is his 21year-old son, Truett.  His son was found dead at their home in Franklin, Tennessee last week.  Here is part of the statement Toby Mac released soon after his son’s death. “My wife and I would want the world to know this…We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor.  He is the God of the hills and the valleys.” (Churchleaders.com) No one gets off the hook from facing a crisis of faith, what remains to be seen is how we cope and respond.
 
The Bible says, “Moses went.”  Next week we’ll take the conversation a little further about the adjustments Moses made as he responded to the moment of calling from God. 
 
But Moses went. What situation are you facing which remains to be seen whether you will follow God’s leading?
 
Author and pastor, Francis Chan just announced he and his family are going to Myanmar to serve as missionaries.  Some ask why he would leave the US and the comfort of pastoring a mega church and make his rounds of speaking engagements to go serve in slums.  
 
Chan’s response was insight for why Moses went and how we respond to a crisis of faith.  Chan said, “There are things that I don’t like that I come under (God’s leadership). That’s what it means to have a king. That’s what it
means to have a lord. When you say that he is the “Lord” of your life, that means your master now is going to ask you to do things that you don’t want to do.”   (Churchleaders.com, 11/7/2019)                                            
 
Moses went! What situations could be a test a challenge for us as a congregation to see whether we are willing to follow God’s leading?
 
Congregational Application Let me offer one.  The Christmas holidays are coming.  Christmas is one of the two key times of the year when people who normally don’t attend worship services will attend.  We’re going to have some flyers produced that we can give out door to door in our neighborhood.  The flyers are to let people know we’re here, who we are and invite them to worship during the holidays.   The challenge this is going to take will be some walking. How many houses we can reach, I don’t know, but it is going to test us. Some of our folks will not be able to participate.  No problem!  Some folks might be able to walk a couple of streets. Awesome.  Still others can walk for blocks.  However, this is a key time for us to be face to face with our neighborhood.  
 
It’s also a key time to say okay God, we’re going door to door in your name.  We may knock on 300 doors.  We may knock on a thousand, but we’ll now watch and see what hearts only God can touch that need to receive what God has to offer through us.  Give prayer and thought to this outreach event because for us it’s a moment to put our faith and passion about Jesus in action.
 
Moses went, and next week we’ll consider the adjustments he needed to make that are adjustments we need to make so that we “go” as God calls us

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