(GLC Africa and French Caribbean World Sector Forum, 1 August 2015)
PART 2 (PART 1 here)
Let’s look at point number one this afternoon – “Trusting in God’s presence“. Turn over to Exodus 33. Are you trusting that God’s presence is with you today?
This is important because I know what it’s like to be on a mission team. I remember when Patrique and I left Syracuse to plant the Washington DC church in 2008. And to see the church grow and blossom it was awesome. I remember Jesse. Jesse was actually part of the ICOC church, he and his wife came on over, saw the truth and became a part of the church there and have now come to be with us in the West (LA).
But I think we got to really ask our self do we trust in God’s presence? I hear a lot of disciples say I feel lonely, oh this that and the third. What do you think is going to happen when you go to – not another state, not even another country, but another continent?
Are you really close to The Lord? Because if you really are it will change your attitude.
Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
Can you imagine God saying that to you, “My presence will go with you”?
I read this passage and it’s interesting in verse 12 Moses – “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.” ~Lord you say lead it but I don’t know who is really going to come with me.~
You know with the mission team we don’t really know who is going to come with us either. We would love to take everybody but the truth of it is: Can you get in? Can you get a visa? Can you raise the $5000 that everyone is going to raise in order to be able to land strong so we can get jobs and don’t have to worry about money money money money money. We got to save and prepare to get there. This is huge.
Moses was like: “Lord if you’re not with me I don’t want to go. I can’t do this on my own strength I need your presence with me.”
Again I don’t know who is going to go with us. But we have a pretty good idea! We just had an amazing lunch with some incredible brothers and sisters. You know, what I do know is that the people who are going to be on this team – they got to be close to God. They have got to be teachable and eager to please the Lord.
And when you are close to the Lord you are at peace. And when you’re close to Lord you know that he – as he says in verse 14 – will give you rest. Are you at rest today? Are you at peace spiritually? See you know how close you are to the Lord if you are at peace. You know that God is in control. (The GLC we know can scramble things up a bit so you I am not talking about right this moment!) But Moses understood: “there is nothing I can do without God”.
That is what distinguished him. Because that is what it says here – he is like: “God if you don’t go with me what is going to distinguish us from everyone else?” In Africa there are a ton of religious people, millions of religious people. The thing that distinguishes us is that we are true baptized disciples of Jesus Christ. The thing that distinguishes us is that we are close to the Lord. But are you?
Are you truly trusting in God’s presence? You know how you know? When you’re all alone or you’re with someone else. When your not in church. When you’re in the presence of other people you can act one way but when you’re all by yourself when you’re with your wife by yourself, with your roommates, how do you act? What if God’s presence was just sitting right there? Listening to you – at home with your roommates? With your spouse? Would your actions distinguish you from a non Christian?
Does your quiet time, your Bible study and prayer distinguish you from a religious person in the world – who doesn’t even believe in baptism? Because you are truly close to the Lord?
I know for me I really got to work on my prayer life. Just one of the things I have been really trying to repent of. Every morning 05:30 I’ve got to get up! I have lost 30 pounds which is awesome – I am excited, but I have been really trying to go after it with all my heart and spend time with the Lord.
We just had an amazing conference at the AMC. And this was a conference that kind of just sprung up. We had an amazing time pulling on in Nick Winn from Cape town. He came out for the first time at the Winter Workshop last January. It was incredible! He said okay you know what let’s do an African workshop.
Well where is the money going to come from? Okay, we will figure it out.
Okay, well how do we get everyone there? Okay, we will figure it out.
We have to pay for people because they can’t fly there themselves. Okay, we will figure it out.
Well where are we going to have it? Well the strongest church right now, let’s go for Abidjan. But they are French speaking, they don’t speak English. Okay, we will figure it out.
And so here we are planning a conference 10,000 miles away with a budget we have got to figure out and we have to fly in all these different people from eight different nations! And I remember being on my knees saying “God!” – I was praying! (I mean I have done Jubilees before, I have done different conferences before but this is a whole other level. An international conference in a language I don’t even speak – a little high school French – but I don’t speak it, you know what I mean?)
I remember working with Blaise Feumba together at the conference. And let me tell you – Blaise and Amadou did a fantastic job. (Amadou and Angel deserve to be appointed evangelist and women’s ministry leader in the kingdom of God!) It was incredible! From the first day we were so taken care of. But what happened… – and God truly really blessed our time there – 498 was in attendance on Sunday, 12 baptisms! It was remarkable – we were on TV! Blaise got interviewed by the National TV service. (And there’s only like two channels!) They came into the service and they videod to it all!
But I know that the success that happened was because we were on our knees in prayer! Because we were close to the Lord, because we said “God, please let your presence be with us.”
Guys, I pray that for you today as you think about Africa and you think about your dream and your visions and goals, you have to ask yourself – are you truly trusting in his presence? That is the only way. You know the Bible tells us “the way the truth and the life”.
If you don’t trust in his presence – you don’t know where he is. Because he is the way. Do you know where God is?