September 4, 2011: Where is God Leading You? Leading Us?

Posted on : Sep 1st, 2011 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Ever wonder what God is thinking?  What God is feeling? What God is saying?  I think about that a lot.  I can’t imagine the anguish God feels when God sits through the kind of experience we had last Sunday after worship with our Presbytery’s Engagement Team.  God’s heart must be breaking!  Is this really what Christianity is about?  As I’ve shared with so many of you this past week, what we experienced on Sunday was not “of God,” it is the Church’s fighting to retain control, dominance and the subordination of our lives.

Sunday was an excruciatingly painful experience for me as well.  As I’ve shared with many of you, I am a pre-natal Presbyterian.  Both my maternal and paternal grandparents founded a Presbyterian Church in my home town that has become one of the leading voices of GLBT oppression.  My mom and dad were a youth fellowship couple of that church who fell in love, married and raised their kids in the Presbyterian Church.  Thankfully when we were young, we moved to a new Presbyterian Church that my grandfather helped organize.  My father’s father was a very effective leader and businessman.  He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Presbyterian new church developments all over western New York. Thankfully my “home” Presbyterian Church was much more liberal and inclusive than the one my grandparents founded.  So for all of my adult life, 33 years to be exact, I have served in the Presbyterian Church as a Pastor.   And though it was not mentioned, this congregation has also served our Presbytery in a way that no other church in this Presbytery has ever done – and to the best of my knowledge that no other church in the denomination has ever done – you “gave up” your pastor for four months so I could serve a church that was in severe crisis in our Presbytery!

Our church and I have given more to our Presbytery than any other church in this presbytery.  That is plain and simple.  I have chaired two major committees of this Presbytery and led four major congregations through intense periods of conflict.  This church has given tremendous leadership to this Presbytery.  There was a time when George Lynch chaired our Committee on Ministry (a major committee of the Presbytery), Lisa Bove chaired the Nominating Committee and I chaired the Mission, Interpretation and Promotion Committee.  We deserve to be treated with much greater respect than we experienced on Sunday.

As horrible as Sunday’s experience was, it clarified one thing.  It’s time to move on.  That’s exactly what our Scriptures are about this Sunday.  The Old Testament story is God’s call to Moses from the burning bush, in which God calls Moses to confront Pharaoh so that God’s people may be set free.

Just today I received the following devotional from the “God Is Still Speaking” series:

Then the God said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what God, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’”  (NIV) Exodus 9:1

God said to Egypt: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”  This doesn’t mean that oppressed people can’t worship God.  It means that all people should be free to bow to no other god but God.  No person should have to bow to any god of racism, imperialism, sexism, heterosexism, nationalism or materialism.  God wants all people free to worship God and God alone.


Dear God, empower our struggles against every exalted oppression that rivals your place on the throne.  Make us free to worship you and you alone.  Amen.

About the Author
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.

This Sunday we begin our September Series, “3 Steps for Spiritual Discernment.”  The first is, “Sensing God’s Calling or Leading.”  Where is God leading you in your faith journey?  Where is God leading us?  We begin that conversation on Sunday!



~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Exodus 3: 1-12

From a burning bush, God calls to Moses, and Moses asks God, “Who Are You?”

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; and Moses looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.  And Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burnt.”  When God saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”  And Moses said, “Here I am.”  Then God said, “Come no closer!  Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  And God said, “I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham and Sarah, the God of Isaac and Rebekah, and the God of Jacob and Rachel and Leah.”  And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then God said, “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt; and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Matthew 4: 18-23

Jesus invites 12 longshoremen to come and follow him.

As Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he watched two brothers—Simon, who was called Peter, and Andrew—casting a net into the sea.  They fished by trade.  Jesus said to them, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of humankind.”  They immediately abandoned their nets and began to follow Jesus.

Jesus walked along further and caught sight of a second pair of brothers—James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  They too were in their boat, mending their nets with their father.  Jesus called them, and immediately they abandoned both boat and father to follow him.

Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kindom of heaven and healing all kinds of diseases and sicknesses among the people.

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