Last week, I had the privilege to preach the story of the Exodus. It is undoubtedly the greatest story in the OT. It headlines the festivals, becomes words for prophets/teachers, is recited to children, and still carries with it formative power.
Oppression and suffering comes before the parting of the Red Sea.
This is OUR story.
1) God is still moving us to new places. He is still leading us to new land.
2) The enemy continues to pursue and there are many moments when we want to "go back" to the regular, routine, and ordinary.
When chaos, worries, fears, and other forms of suffering take root within our hearts, they become our identity. When we allow these "forms of oppression" to drive us, then we become enslaved. And, when we become enslaved, freedom and liberty becomes a scary thought. This is why children who are rescued from brothels and child slavery have to be taught what freedom is. When the cages are opened and strangers are waving them to freedom, they hesitate because their cell is all they have known.
This is not only true for individuals; this is just as true for churches. When we allow the ordinary, routine, and regular to determine our future, then we are standing with the Israelites in Exodus 14:10-13 saying, "Let is go back. We don't freedom. We don't want something new." To operate with the mentality of--"If it ain't broke; don't try to fix it"--is a sure sign of defeat.
1) I want the church to have the reputation of being a place that frees people. I want the unchurched and the neighbors around the church to know us as people who are about setting humanity free. This is the cry from the cross!
2) We must pray for imaginations and for dreams. God is still doing something new among us. These are exciting times to be Christ-Followers.
3) We need to be able to affirm the traditions that root us in Scripture, prayer, and the will of God...yet, at the same time letting go of traditions that keep us from experiencing the freedom that Jesus is inviting us to live into.