Oswego Christian Church
Manna, Stop the Grumbling…

What ruts do you tend to get stuck in?  I know it’s super easy to get stuck in a rut spiritually and feel like the life in your relationship with God has all but drained out.  Tune into this message to find out a SUPER practical way to start getting out of those ruts.  Be sure to pass this message on and let us know how God is impacting your life!I t Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)
OPENINGILLUSTRATION:Years ago I took a staff trip for a ministry I worked for to Colorado.  It was beautfiful, we stayed in one of the staff members family cabin that was huge and elegant.  We were hiking and talking about ministry each day and having a blast. Until our boss said, “we need to rent a jeep and go jeeping in the mountains…”There of course was no argument.  So, we went, filled out all the paper work and got the jeep.  We went back to the cabin to get ready, water bottles and that sort of thing, when my boss – who happened to be one of my best friends, said, “let’s take it out and test drive it…”To which, I of course said, “yes”He drove us around in the meadow that was out behind the cabin at the base of this mountain.  We were bouncing around and having a blast out there just tearing it up.  When he asked me if I wanted to drive.  To which, I of course said, “yes” I started driving, the top off this jeep, the cool mountain air hanging over us.  It was picture perfect.  I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going when all of the sudden the wheels to the jeep got sucked down into these ruts in the meadow. and instead of gunning it and muscling it out, I hit the breaks and slowed down – only to leave us high centered in this jeep out in the middle of a meadow a mile or two from the cabin – with no one knowing we were gone. -it was basically the beginning of a horror movie…Ruts are terrible, aren’t they – they drag you in and once you are in one, it’s hard to get out of it.It’s SO easy to get caught in a rut in life-to feel like your life is groundhogs day – waking up, eating, working sleeping, waking up, eating working sleepingIt can be a rut-you can even get caught in a rut spiritually – where your life with God starts to just be the same thing over and over again and you feel like there’s no life in it…So, what do you do if you feel like you are stuck in a rut with God?BHow do you find your way back?BIBLE:We are going to be opening Exodus 16Let me tell you the story of what’s going on…The Israelites are again faced with a difficulty – this time, they have no food. They have faced Enemies, they have faced no water, and now they are starving…And they again cry out to God and complain about Moses…Exodus 16:3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”Boy, they are laying it on thick now…  “If only God would have killed us with the Egyptians…”We used to sit around pots and eat meat and all the food we wanted…  But you’ve brought us out to starve to death…-No they didn’t…-they may have had food, but they are cherry picking what they want to rememberThey don’t remember the Egyptians killing off a generation of boys to maintain population control-In Exodus 1 it says the Egyptians despised them and worked them ruthlessly…-they be makin it out like they be having the time of their lives, like it was some budweiser commercial – when the reality was – they were slaves…  They had nothingBut God, again is gracious and he does something miraculous…  He rains down a bread from heaven and provides quail for them daily…-the Israelites call itMana means, “What is it?”They are supposed to go out daily and collect about a gallons worth of it for them to eat and on the 6th day they are supposed to go out and collect twice as much so they can rest on the Sabbath…But some of the people ignored God’s command – they would gather more than enough on days they weren’t supposed to and woke up to find it full of maggots-or they went out on the sabbath to collect and didn’t find any..Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?  “So, they tried to get away with something and it didn’t work…”But listen to what God says to them…Exodus 16:28Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?ILLUSTRATION:I have these little organisms in my house, they eat my food, I can leave a room and come back and they will have destroyed it, they randomly turn on lights and leave them on.  But I love them.  I love them a lot.  But on of the most frustrating things I experience with these organisms is that I will ask them to do something, and they will do something different. I will say something like, “clean the family room and pick up all your stuff” and 10 minutes later I will find them in their room playing with their toys and telling me that they did what asked and besides, their toys in their room needed to be sorted and you have to play with them to sort them, so it’s fine”I literally am going grey because of this…Here is what I have to explain to my little organisms – because there is a problem when a loving authority in your life asks you to do something an you ignore it…  The problem is thatRelationships are predicated on trust.And when trust is lacking or non-existent the relationship is in peril.I don’t care if you are talking about an employer employee relationship-relationship with your spouse-your relationship with your kids-or your relationship with GodWhen trust fails relationships failI want you to notice what is beneath the Israelites desire to collect more mana than they needed for the day, or to go out on the 7th day even though God clearly commanded them not to – and what’s crazy is, He commanded them not to to give them a day offThe “what” that is behind their refusal to keep God’s command is a lack of trust that God will follow through on His part of the deal“I know you came through today, but will you come through tomorrow?”“I know you said we don’t have to collect today, but only a few days ago I was starving in the desert”The Israelites actions, not their words betrayed their lack of trust in God’s timing and provisionMaybe that’s you…Maybe the rut you’ve fallen into with God is because you don’t really trust HimWe all say we trust Him, but what do your actions say?Some of you are thinking,“but Kent, I tried that before and I felt like God hung me out to dry”I get it, let me speak a few things into trusting God 1.  Trusting God is NOT magicI don’t know if you know much about CS Lewis’ life, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia – but His mother died of Cancer when he was young.  In his book, surprised by joy, Lewis talked about him praying for her – this was before he was a Christian a huge part of what led him to Atheism“My mother’s death was the occasion of what some (but not I) might regard as my first religious experience. When her case was pronounced hopeless I remembered what I had been taught; that prayers offered in faith would be granted. I accordingly set myself to produce by will-power a firm belief that my prayers for her recovery would be successful; and, as I thought, I achieved it. When nevertheless she died I shifted my ground and worked myself into a belief that there was to be a miracle. The interesting thing is that my disappointment produced no results beyond itself. The thing hadn’t worked, but I was used to things not working, and I thought no more about it. I think the truth is that the belief into which I had hypnotised myself was itself too irreligious for its failure to cause any religious revolution. I had approached God, or my idea of God, without love, without awe, even without fear. He was, in my mental picture of this miracle, to appear neither as Saviour nor as Judge, but merely as a magician; and when He had done what was required of Him I supposed He would simply–well, go away. It never crossed my mind that the tremendous contact which I solicited should have any consequences beyond restoring the status quo.”Lewis’ approach, and I would say the approach of most people who are not familiar with God is to think they can utter magic incantations and have God do what they want…God is not magicLewis did not, in that moment, see Jesus as Savior or as Judge – he did not see God as He is, but as Lewis had hoped Him to be.So, then how does it work?2.  God makes good on His promisesILLUSTRATION:You can’t just read this passage and decide you are going to go out into the desert and wait for God to provide Mana…  Unless God has told you He will do so…-if you go out into the desert, you better bring a sandwich…God’s provision of Mana was directly related to God’s leading of His people…But…God has made promises to you and IMatthew 6:33-34 – Seek first God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness and He will take care of all your needsBLuke 11:11-12 – when you are being questioned for the Kingdom, the Holy Spirit will give you the words you needBJohn 16:33 – you will have trouble in this world – but Jesus has overcome the worldMy gut is, most of us don’t experience the depth and richness of God’s provision and timing because we have not risked trusting God.ILLUSTRATION:I’m not perfect at this, but I have worked hard to try and be the guy who leans into trusting God with my actions more than my words.  And I have found that when I do, He not only gives me the mana for today, but He often is kind and generous to give me the mana for the Sabbath rests as well..  What I mean is there are some many times God has graciously given to us beyond what we could ask…It is not easy, it feels scary at times, but I’m telling you, it’s SO much better than being stuck in a rut that feels dead and lifeless..CLOSING:I have thought a lot about what would have happened if Dan and I had not figured out how to get out of that rut… We actually ended up scouring the meadow for rocks and boulders and would jack up a wheel and build up under it and then the next…  If we had spent all day figuring it out and ran out or rental time in the field stuck in a rut, we would have missed one of the most spectacular adventures of my life.  I will never forget driving up these back mountain paths opening up into mind blowing water falls and then the woods fading away as we hugged the side of a 1000 foot drop off cliff.  It was incredible.  And all because we got out of the rut…So, I was trying to put all this together and tie it into a bow so you could have something practical – some rocks to put under your tires to start getting out of your rut and practically trusting God…  and this is what I came up with…See, faith is not something we proclaim, it’s something we live bySo, I wanted to give you a practical way to live by faith this weekI want you to commit to praying this simple prayer this week every time before you go into a meeting, or start your shift, or return from lunch break or come home from work, you get the idea…“Jesus, “this” is yours, if there is something you want to say through me, or something you want me to do to show your love, I’m yours and I will do it.”That’s it.   I want you to start practicing trusting JesusBecause the more you trust, the more He shows up!Relationships are predicated on trust