In Deuteronomy 34 we read this statement about the death of Moses. "Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He (God) buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is."
If you are a fan of Elvis, you might make a trek to Graceland. If someone is Catholic, they might go see the tombs of former Popes at the Vatican. And if you wanted to honor our fallen soldiers, you might make a pilgrimage to Normandy. This is a way we honor our dead; we visit their tombs. We do this with loved ones and maybe even to revere great men and women or celebrities we admire.
In extreme cases, people even go to such places and turn those tombs into idols, turning reverence for the dead into godlike worship. Moses was a great man. He had faithfully led the people of Israel well for many years and, as a result, many might have been tempted to visit his tomb to honor him; and honor might have turned into reverence and reverence might turn into idolatry.
So God buried Moses. God alone knows where Moses was buried. In truth, Moses wouldn't have wanted anyone to worship him anyway. His whole life was pointed toward the God he served; so why in death would he want people to honor him? He was just a man, just a servant.
Nikolaus Zinzendorf once said "Preach Christ, die, and be forgotten" and while that seems overly harsh; it is truth. Our life here is fleeting and the point of it is to point others to Christ so that our (and their) eternity may be forever with Christ.
So Moses lay in an unmarked tomb. Unknown to all but God. All glory to God, as it should be. Honor not men, but God alone.
In the book of Exodus, God leads his people by several ways as they head toward the promised land. Two that are amazing are the pillars of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13). The people are supposed to follow these two pillars wherever they go. It's pretty simple actually. If the pillar moves, we move. If the pillar stops, we stop. There is a part of me that envies the simplicity of this kind of straightforward communication from God. I mean, one of the most common questions people ask me as a Pastor is "what is God's will for my life" and a pillar of fire telling you where to go is pretty clear...right?
But, it must also have been frustrating. There was no predictable pattern to the pillars. Sometimes they would stay in place for a long time. Other times they would move after just a few days in camp. Those of us who like to be able to plan our routines and schedules would find it VERY frustrating.
But the point isn't if we like the leading of God or not...the point is that we follow the leading of God. In truth, sometimes we DON'T like the leading of God. Sometimes he takes us places we don't want to go. Sometimes he makes us stay in places we would rather not stay. Sometimes he leads us out of places where we wish we could linger. But we go where he leads.
I don't have a pillar of fire to lead me, but I do have the word of God (a light to my feet), the example of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide me...and that's plenty. Now, I just have to follow Him.
Over the next few weeks here at Six Points, we have several major events happening that could have eternal ramifications.
First, 20 students and 4 adults from our church will head to Oklahoma Wesleyan University for a week of church camp where they will have a chance to grow in their faith (and have a lot of fun too!). Last summer, 4 of the students who went were baptized while at camp and we are praying that God will once again do a mighty work in their lives. Will you join me in not just praying for safety (but please do) but also for salvations, calls to ministry, commitments to sanctification and other moves of the Spirit in their lives?
Then, District Conference is coming up and our church will be sending 3 delegates to represent us as a church. Pray that they will help our District and Denomination make wise choices as we seek to be faithful to our call. That weekend is also VERY special as our own Andrew Colaw has completed his ordination requirements and been approved to become an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church. We will have a special celebration for him on Sunday, June 26, after church and hope you will join us to congratulate him on that day for fulfilling the call God put on his heart!
Finally, our VBS is coming up fast as well. This year's MEGA Sports Camp will be a lot different, but looks to be a lot of fun. We already have over 80 volunteers and 85 kids signed up with several weeks to go...we are praying that God will use this 4-day experience to reach kids with the good news of Jesus' love for them. Last summer, over 20 kids accepted salvation! Will you pray that, once again, God would do a great work at Six Points?
We are working hard as a staff and team of volunteers to get ready, lots of preparation is going on...but it's all done with a great purpose in mind; a kingdom purpose. God is on the move and we are going to be ready!
John 4:35 "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest!"
Back in 8th grade I was in a terrible Christian garage band with several of my friends from youth group. My buddy John played guitar, Ryan played drums and I was on vocals. We didn't have anyone on bass, so sometimes John's dad played in the band with us (embarrassing). We did a bunch of covers and a few original songs...mostly just 80's and 90's worship stuff. Really we sat around a lot when we were supposed to be practicing and came up with cool band names. We had way more names for our band than songs or gigs. At one point we were called "Straight up Sideways" "The Squared off Circles" "Hey that's My Mailbox" and "Definitely Maybe"...but our normal name for our Youth Group band was "The Ed's" (short for Everyday Disciples). Most of those were just silly, but everyday disciples is actually pretty good. I don't know who came up with that one; but I think it's powerful.
We tend to think of the Disciples (Capital D) as the 12 guys that Jesus handpicked and hung around with. But a disciple is just a student or learner. Anyone who learns from a teacher (a coach, a professor, a pastor, a rabbi) is a disciple of that person. They seek to learn from them and to be "like" them in some ways.
We are all, as followers of Jesus, everyday disciples. In our everyday lives, at work, at home, in school, at the store, at the movies...we represent and follow the example and teachings of Jesus. Everyday is another opportunity to follow Him and his way. Be a disciple. Be one every day. Today, tomorrow and each day you have life. If you mess up, that's ok; that's what grace is for. Try again tomorrow. We are all "The Ed's"
It's important to say thank you in life. I try, whenever someone does something nice for me, to say or write thank you. I was taught as a child (and teach my own children) this rule. If I get a gift, I try to write a thank you note. If someone opens a door for me, I say thank you. I believe appreciation is important. That's part of the reason that we observe days like Mother's Day, Father's Day and Veteran's Day here at Six Points...to say thanks to those who have made a difference in our lives.
I am glad for Pastor Appreciation month (not sure I deserve a whole month) in October and for those of you who choose to show your appreciation for me and for Pastor Andrew and Pastor Lisa that month...it does help us feel loved!
But, I want you to know that I am thankful for you, especially those of you who volunteer in the MANY important roles around our church. While our staff work hard, we absolutely could not do the work of this church without the countless hours put in by our volunteers and our volunteer leaders. I want to echo the words of the Apostle Paul who often took time in his letters (which we call Epistles) to thank the people in his churches who he didn't see as his audience or his fans...but his co-laborers in the Kingdom of God.
In 1 Corinthians 1:4 he said, "I always thank my God for you" and I feel the same way about my church here at Six Points. I am so thankful to God for you. Your faith, passion, love and service are an example to me. Your dedication to your church and to Jesus are an inspiration to me. Thank you for your love, your prayers, your commitment and your kindness. I am proud to serve Jesus with you. Thank you!