We each face one or more crucibles in our lives: crossover events that change us. A loss of a job. A betrayal. The death of a spouse, or a child, or a parent. These are moments when we may feel trapped, like there's no way to move forward. In this post we will learn to recognize these experiences for the crossover opportunities they really are, and in the process, learn the one thing we must do to crossover to the other side.
Every week I publish my sermon notes so that you may read them for yourselves. For my parishioners, this could be a good review from the weekend before. And it gives you a chance to see what I intended to say! For other pastors and ministers, feel free to borrow and use any of this material. I'd love for God to be glorified by you incorporating these notes into your own worship.
Summer Singles Part 7: Crossover - 07.15.12
Intro: When you watch the 1956 movie, The Ten Commandments, what do you think? Nothing but a fairy tale? Great story, but what does it have to do with me? Wow, special effects have come a long way in the last 56 years? LOL. Today I want to talk about this crossover event of Moses and the 2-3 million Israelites crossing the Red Sea. But I want to make it personal. Today we learn that...
We all have crossovers! We all have that defining moment of our lives when everything changes. When things don’t work out the way we expect. I faced such a crossover 3 1/2 years ago. I had sold my business. I had become a pastor. I was serving the Lord with all my heart. Yet one day I sat in my boss’s office and heard those words, “We are letting you go.” It was not what I thought would happen. It was not my plan. Out of that crossover event came the opportunity for a new church, Church Requel. Today, some of you are facing your own crossover. Examples - loss of job, financial setbacks, loss of spouse, sickness, storms. Let’s talk first about what crossovers look like.
4 Characteristics of Crossovers:
“... Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly.” Exodus 14:10b ESV
The first characteristic is obvious. Fear! Terrified might be more like it. Different versions describe the Israelites: “terrified” (NIV); “panicked” (NLT); “totally afraid” (MSG) When your life turns upside down, your first response is paralyzing fear. You don’t know what you’re going to do. You don’t know how you’re going to respond. You want someone to pinch you so you can wake up from this nightmare! That’s your first signal that a crossover opportunity may be coming your way!
God does not want you to live in fear. He knows that when life hits you hard, that will be your first response. He won’t cut you off because of fear. But He doesn’t want you to stay shell shocked in fear either. His Word has a lot to say about fear:
Number of Bible verses about FEAR: ___427___
When my fear is the greatest, that’s also when...
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today.’”
Exodus 14:13a ESV
Faith and fear go together. It’s actually impossible to have faith without fear - otherwise it wouldn’t really be faith. Those are words that sound good on paper, but they are mighty difficult to live out when faced with a crossover opportunity. Fear will be the instinctual natural reaction, while faith will be the reasoned, chosen response. Fear of the crossover actually helps me see my faith for what it really is... or isn’t.
“You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” James 1:3 MSG
Crossovers are not just about me. They’re also about God...
“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:18 ESV
It’s so easy for us to think so small - to see the world around us as if it revolves around us. It’s all about me! We joke about that, but it’s sadly too true much of the time. When things don’t go the way I expect them to, I have the opportunity to see the world in a fresh, new way. It’s not all about me. It’s all about HIM! With the Israelites, God saw this not in the fearful way they saw it. He saw it as a way to reveal His glory. Everyone - Israelites and Egyptians alike would know the glory of God. Sometimes it takes a crossover event in our lives to stop long enough to consider God’s glory. The truth is...
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright.” 1 Corinthians 13:12a MSG
Ultimately this is the direction of the entire world. When we get to the end of the story (Revelation), we’re told that all will glorify God...
“Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?” Revelation 15:4a NIV
So when we are in that crossover experience, we should know that we are getting a chance to see a preview of God’s glory, if we’re willing to see it. One thing has to take place first for me to see God’s glory for what it really is...
“Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, ...” Exodus 14:31a ESV
The Israelites back was literally up against the Red Sea. They had no escape, no way on their own to overcome the mighty army of chariots and horsemen. They were powerless. And as hard as it is to believe, powerless is a great place to be! Because it’s when we are powerless, that we will most rely on God’s power to replace ours. God’s power takes over when 2 things happen:
“... so the people feared the LORD, ...” Exodus 14:31b ESV
We come back to that word “fear.” We never actually stop fearing. We simply replace the fear of our circumstances with the greater fear and respect of God’s power. We fear His power and what He might bring about MORE than anything mere men or circumstances could bring our way!
Jesus: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch the soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 NLT
How is this result practical? How does fearing God more than my circumstances help me in the midst of tough times? I’m also convinced of God’s love for me... that He’s told me no less than 5 times throughout the Bible that He will not leave me or forsake me... that He has plans for me... that He has a purpose for my life.
When I fear / respect God’s power, I either choose to believe Him or not...
“... and they believed in the Lord and in in his servant Moses.”
Exodus 14:31c ESV
The Israelites believed in the Lord. They saw the power of God replace the power of the mighty Egyptian army. Put yourselves in their shoes for just a moment. They’re standing on the other side of the Red Sea. Not only did the sea open up and allow them to pass on dry ground, but they watched as the Egyptians got stuck in the same places they didn’t get stuck and watched the walls of water collapse in on them. Now all that was left of Egypt’s power was floating dead - without life or power - on the seashore. The Israelites vision would be forever changed.
The same is still true for us today. When we face a crossover, we turn to God and to His power. The sooner the better! We admit that we don’t have the ability to make it happen, but we know God does. We admit that all we can see with our eyes is the circumstance before us, so we ask God to help us see the possibilities before us with His eyes.
How do you remember to trust God and His power and His vision in the midst of any circumstance? Pull out any American coin or currency. On the front of every coin, on the back of every bill, are the words “In God We Trust.” Allowing God’s power to replace my own, fearing God more than my circumstances, believing Him more than my vision takes more than a motto. I must also...
“GOD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!’” Exodus 14:15 NLT
It’s important to recognize that the command to “start moving” in v. 15 came BEFORE the command for Moses to “lift up the staff.” MOVE came before the WATERS DIVIDED! God says the same thing to us today. “Get moving!” Our trust, our belief in God’s power is not demonstrated by our prayers (our cries to Him). God says, “I’ve heard your cries. Start moving!”
When I lost my former job, I began moving almost at once to start this ministry. I had done nothing about it before. I had not planned it before. I had taken no action at all before. But once I lost the job I knew what God wanted from me. I knew the direction He had given me. I needed to MOVE FORWARD. I saw the Crossover Opportunity we now call Church Requel. I didn’t have it all figured out. (I still don’t have it all figured out!) But that’s what faith is all about. Taking the next step, and then the next step and then the next step. Move forward!
Maybe you’ve had your own crossover events like me in your past and you can identify with this MOVE FORWARD element of trusting in God’s power rather than on your own. My challenge to you is to keep moving! It’s easy to stop relying on God’s power and to start relying on our own.
Some of you are there right now. Don’t allow FEAR to take over. Know your FAITH is being tested. Allow God’s glory be revealed and start relying on God’s power to cross over to the other side.