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In 1979 Dr. Larry Reynolds moved to Denton, Texas, to become the founding pastor of Southmont Baptist Church. During his twenty-eight year ministry at Southmont, the church grew to a membership of more than 1800. The church, which began in a small storefront, now meets on a campus that includes three educational buildings, a fellowship hall, an activities center, and sanctuary. After retiring as the Senior Pastor of Southmont in December, 2006, Pastor Reynolds has remained active in the Denton area conducting weddings, funerals, and leading Bible studies. He and his wife, Carol, have traveled extensively. In addition to five trips to Israel, they have visited Jordan, Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Moses - Part 3

Moses
 (Exodus 3-4)

1.      In the book the Power of the Plus Factor Norman Vincent Peale tells the following story:
Once walking through the twisted little streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong, I came upon a tattoo studio. In the window were displayed samples of the tattoos available. On the chest or arms you could have tattooed an anchor or flag or mermaid or whatever. But what struck me with force were three words that could be tattooed on one’s flesh, Born to lose. I entered the shop in astonishment and pointing to those words, asked the Chinese tattoo artist, “Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, Born to lose, tattooed on his body.” He replied, “Yes, sometimes.” “But,” I said, “I just can’t believe that anyone in his right mind would do that.” The Chinese man simply tapped his forehead and said in broken English, “Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind.”[Power of the Plus Factor, Norman Vincent Peale]
2.      Truth is many people in our world go through life with “Born to Lose” tattooed on their minds…they feel totally and completely inadequate… they are plagued with feelings of uselessness and insignificance and do not believe they have any real worth or value…
--sometimes such feelings are engrained in them by parents who fail to understand the importance of helping children develop positive feelings about themselves…read this week that by age 5 most of us have developed the basic self-image which we will carry the rest of our lives…[Jack Eicholz in Homemade]
--sometimes feelings of inadequacy are the result of constantly being faced with the unrealistic expectations of others and the pressure to produce more than we’re capable of producing…even the most gifted of people can succumb to this kind of pressure…for example, Princess Diana of Wales was arguably one of the most glamorous and influential people in the world…but she faced tremendous pressure to be more than she could be and do more than she could do…and according to news reports near the end of her life her self-image had deteriorated to the point that she struggled with the eating disorder of bulimia…[Coming Home, James Dobson, pp.102-103]
--and sometimes we try to cover up our deep-seated feelings of inadequacy with an air of self-sufficiency bordering on arrogance which is only skin deep…learned long time ago when someone is constantly having to tell others how smart or strong or competent he/she is, deep down inside that person doesn’t feel very smart or strong or competent…
3.      In Exodus three we find Moses working as a shepher…for 40 years he had been a shepherd…he had come to think of himself as only a shepherd…he had come to view himself as a leader of sheep, not as a leader of men…but God had different plans for Moses…Exodus 3 and 4 tells the wonderful story of how God intervened in Moses’ life…
4.      From his example there is much to learn about overcoming feelings of inadequacy…

I.  To overcome feelings of inadequacy we must remember who we are
1.      Moses wasn’t always a shepherd…if you know his story, you know he actually was reared in the court of Pharaoh in Egypt…born during time when Pharaoh decreed that all Hebrew male babies be drowned in the Nile River…Moses’ mother hid him until he was three months and then put him in basket in Nile River to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter …God arranged it so Moses’ own mother was enlisted to take care of him in Pharaoh’s court…
2.      No doubt, Moses heard that story many times…he had been taught that God protected him and apparently had special plan for him…but somewhere along the way he forgot who he was…

1.      Lesson in that for us…we need to remember who we are…we are God’s creation…we have been made in the image of God…listen to these words from God’s word:
--Psalm 8:3-5 – “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained, what is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?  And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?  Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty.”
--Psalm 139:14 – “I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works.  And my soul knows it very well.”
2.      Need to remember that we are not here by chance…we didn’t come into being by accident… we are here because God chose to create us…

1.   There is a very interesting book entitled Show Me God by Fred Heeren…subtitle is “What the Message from Space is Telling us about God”…book looks at some of latest discoveries from space and what those discoveries tell us about God…one thing scientists have learned is that the conditions under which we live are incredibly rare in the observable universe…one scientist put it this way:  “On Earth, a long sequence of improbable events transpired to bring forth our existence, as if we had won a million-dollar lottery a million times in a row.  Contrary to the prevailing belief, maybe we are special…” [Robert Naye, Astronomy, July, 1996, quoted in Show Me God, Fred Heeren, p.63]
3.      The biblical message is that we are special…and remembering that helps us overcome feelings of inadequacy…one of my favorite poems was written by Herb Barber over three decades ago…
Believe it, you are a real find, a joy in someone’s heart.
You’re a jewel, unique and priceless.
I don’t care how you feel.  Believe it.
God don’t make no junk.
4.      And remembering that…remembering that we are God’s unique creation --sinful, yes…fallen, yes…feet of clay, yes…but still made in the image of God—helps us overcome feelings of inadequacy…

II.  To overcome feelings of inadequacy we must remember what we have
1.      And what we have is the presence in our lives of the God who made us …the biblical message is that God is intimately involved in His creation…He didn’t just make us, push us out into the universe, and leave us on our own…He made us to live in relationship with Him… He is with us…He gives the incredible gift of His presence and His strength and His direction for our lives…and when we lose sight of that and begin to think we have to rely on ourselves alone, that is a sure path to feelings of inadequacy…
2.      Think that’s the main point of the conversation between God and Moses in last part of chapter 3 and first part of chapter 4…Moses would raise an objection and God would say, in effect, “Moses, don’t worry about it.  I’ll be with you!”
--in 3:13 Moses said, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’  Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’  What shall I say to them?”…and God said, “Moses, don’t worry about what to say.  I’ll tell you what to say.”…and he gave Moses a preview…
--in 4:1 Moses said, “What if they will not believe me, or listen to what I say?  For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”…and God said, “Moses, don’t worry about making them believe you.  I’ll take care of that.”…and then He gave Moses incredible demonstration of how He would convince the people that Moses was speaking for Him…
--in 4:10 Moses said, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou has spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”…and God said, “Moses, don’t worry about your inability to speak well.  Remember, I am the One who made your mouth.  I will be with you and help you communicate clearly.”
3.      And the main point of that entire conversation is remembering that we have in our lives the presence of God is essential to overcoming our feelings of inadequacy…

1.      There is an important principle here don’t want you to miss…for the believer the remedy for inadequacy is not building ourselves up…not making ourselves stronger…not even making ourselves more competent, even though we should always strive for excellence…but for the believer, the remedy for inadequacy is looking to God…
2.      Think about some things the Scripture says about that…
--“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)…not “I can do all things…” but…”through Him who strengthens me.”
--“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)…not our grace…not our power… but His!…
--one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 41:10…God is preparing His people to return from 50 years of captivity in Babylon…had no idea what was before them…no idea what to expect when got back to Jerusalem…overcome by insecurity, inadequacy, fear…and to them (and I believe to us) God said, “Do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”…notice the repeated us of the personal pronoun “I””I am with you…your God…strengthen you…help you…uphold you…”
3.      What want you see in all that is as believers we overcome feelings of inadequacy not by being self-sufficient…overcome feelings of inadequacy by relying on God’s sufficiency…

Conclusion

1.   There is a very expressive painting that has made a permanent expression on my…not sure where I first saw it but I will never forget it…older man and young girl (assume his granddaughter) are in rowboat on small pond…little girl has her hands on the oars as if she is propelling the boat through the water…sitting behind the girl, the grandfather also has his hands on the oars…and it is obviously the strength of the grandfather which is causing the boat to move…

2.   That’s how we should approach life…ought to keep our hands on the oars …ought to do the very best we can do…but all the while remembering that in reality our strength come from God…and the way to overcome feelings of inadequacy is remembering that we are God’s creation and that God is constantly with us…