Risking Following God

 
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**We had some technical difficulties and had to piece together some of this sermon**Let’s be honest, following God can feel risky – there are people who will write you off, family members who feel uncomfortable around you, things you feel you are supposed to do that scare you to death.  Tune in today as we evaluate whether this risk is worth it and where God is in the midst of your trials and fears. 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)

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OPENINGILLUSTRATION: One of my favorite rides at Silver Dollar City is the ride the Electric Spin.  It’s just this HUGE spinning disk that it’s rocking back and forth in a U shape.  It’s one of those that gets your stomach all in a knot. 
I love to take kids on it because it has the feel of a roller coaster, but it’s pretty mild. 
A while back, I took one of my nephews on it.  I always make a big deal about how I can’t believe they don’t buckle you in and how scary it is.  You know, you’ve got to build these things up.
And then it starts, it takes off spinning, going up and down.  You feel like you are dangling over a cliff and you look straight down 50ft and hurl towards the end of the tracks… I looked over to see how he was doing and I almost died laughing his face was complete terror and his eyes were darting back and forth like he was possessed or something.
Oh man, I may have built it up a little too big… 🙂
WE:I think we’ve all gotten ourselves into something that was bigger than ourselves and then wondered what we were thinking -your eyes darting back and forth as your world spins faster than you know
-Maybe for you the leap was starting your own business and struggling through years of low profitability -Maybe you got married as a naive young woman and didn’t know just how difficult it was going to be to work through all of the stuff that comes along with marriage -maybe you thought having kids would be the solution to life’s problems and realized they only come with a whole host of new problems
We all know what it’s like to be in that moment where you realize the ride you thought you were on is not the ride you are on-and you are left with your eyes darting back and forth and feeling overwhelmed and scared
What do you do when you feel like you are dangling over a cliff?
Today, we are jumping again into the story of Israel and the Exodus and I want to catch you up to what is happening. 
The Israelites have been set free from Egypt -the first born child has been killed in the Egyptian families -The whole nation of Israel has marched out into the wilderness and God asks them to do something strange.
He tells them to turn back and camp at a place called Pi Hahiroth where they will be hemmed in by the dessert and the sea.  God has been leading the Israelites with this miracle of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night..
God tells them He wants them to turn back so they can draw out Pharaoh, so God can display His glory in him one more time…
Pharaoh, I think this may be Amenhotep II during the 15th century, I’ll post an article on FB later.  But Amenhotep was arrogant and vengeful.  Whoever it is though, this Pharaoh looks out and realizes the devastation the loss of an entire nation of free labor is going to bring on his country and he sees the Israelites hemmed in, and he goes out with his army to attack…
Exodus 14:8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 
You get the picture, these Israelites have gone out boldly, you might remember that last week we learned they were armed for battle.  But now Pharaoh is after them. 
This is the moment they are dangling over a cliff -shortly – they will be surrounded the finest chariots, the best horseman, and an entire army
This is when Israels boldness turns to fear -literally, their eyes start darting back and forth as they process all of the terror in front of them…
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.-they will say to Moses, “why did you bring us out here?”  they will tell him they never wanted to go in the first place – which is not true…
Listen, anyone who ever led anything worth doing has experienced this momentRisk is easy to talk about but painful to live outBRisk – especially risking for God will cost you…
Jesus knew this…  it’s why when people approached him about following Him he would say difficult things to them…
“I’ll follow you where every…”  “The son of man is Homeless” Luke 9:57-58 B “First, let me bury my dad”  “Let the dead bury the dead, you go proclaim the kingdom” Luke 9:59-60 B “I will follow you, let me say goodbye”  “No one who puts hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God” Luke 9:61-62
I am reminded of the CS Lewis quote from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe when Susan is talking to Mr. Beaver about meeting Aslan the Christ figure…

The Israelites have risked it all Maybe you’ve risked it all to follow God -some of you have given up relationships with family -you’ve decided to use your retirement funds to help support the church -you’ve started dreaming about a ministry that you haven’t told anyone about, but God has laid it on your heart
And now, you feel like the Israelites out in the dessert with an army on one side and an ocean on the other…
If that’s you today, if you feel like you are hemmed in – hanging over a cliff Let me give you the words Moses gives the Israelites and the words God gives them…
Listen…
Exodus 14:13:1413 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still… This is SUCH a powerful. I’ll never forget the person who first highlighted this passage for me Mrs.  Lois Wells, who many of you know, she was in the last stages of her cancer and I was sitting in her living room with the shades drawn, I’m assuming because the light was difficult for her.  We laughed and prayed together and then she shared this verse with me…  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still…  It seared into my heart, because here was a woman in the grips of a fight for her life and she was teaching me about life…
You only need to be still.  The actual Hebrew word (חרש) Pronounced “Ha-rush” is more like, “You need to chill out” or “keep quiet”
And then it happens – while they are all in the midst of their eyes darting back and forth, God moves.  The cloud and the Angel of the Lord move between the Israelites and the Egyptians, Moses stands and God parts the water and the Israelites walk through on dry land.  The Egyptians pursue and the waters close in over them…
And God is saying to you, “chill out” I’m comingWhen Jesus talked about worrying about how you’d be taken care of in this life as a follower of Him, His answer was this…Matthew 6:33-3433 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still Christian, can I encourage you today -don’t give up in your ruthless pursuit of Jesus -don’t give up on the dreams and vision God’s putting in your heart – even if they feel risky
There are troubles that will come But Jesus’ promise to you is that if you seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, what you NEED will be added to you…
So, what are you waiting for, why not take a risk to serve Him? It may feel risky to trust God, but the real risk takers are the ones who walk away from God.
Because those who risk for the Kingdom are backed by the King Those who run from the risk are on their own
So, today, here’s my encouragement for you risk it, be ready for the fear, and in that moment, remember the Lord will fight for you, “chill out”
My friend Lois, as most of you know, didn’t win the battle with cancer, but she won the ultimate battle, because her faith was not in this world, but in the one who controls the world.  She has not be lost, only translated into the hope of eternity.  If you have never accepted Jesus – maybe you’re watching this online later, don’t wait another minute to turn to Jesus and get baptized.