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What's In Your Hand?

Then the Lord said to Moses, “What is in your hand?”

 

When it comes to the idea of church planting, I, in a lot of ways, feel like Moses.

I haven’t yet planted a church. In fact, it’s still very, very early days in the process. My walk down this path is still young, and I have a lot to learn. But the weight of what I’m doing and what I could be doing in the future, lays heavy on my heart and mind.

I want to be transparent with you from the get-go. As I walk this journey, I want to let you in and, inasmuch as I can, show you what’s going on internally. Maybe we can call these blog posts, “Confessions of a Church Planter in Training.”

For me personally, the idea of church planting is down right scary. I’m excited, yes, but I’m being challenged in ways that I’ve never been before, and in more ways than one, I don’t feel qualified to be doing this.

I can relate with Moses’ anxiety and apprehension even if to a small degree. Just for clarity sake, I am in no way trying to inject myself into the Exodus story but, like Moses I too am a human and, like Moses, the prospect about what I’m about to do is beyond my abilities and comprehension.

I like the Exodus story – it’s inspiring to me in a deep, down, intimate way. I imagine a lot of people overlook the smaller details and recount the more miraculous events of the Exodus. I’m a small details kind of guy. And I can relate to Moses' personality in more ways than one.

 

At the beginning of the Exodus narrative, Moses reveals himself to be a frail man with anxieties (Ex 4:10), apprehensions (Ex 4:8), uncertainties (Ex 3:11) and doubt (Ex 4:1). God was calling him to do something crazy, something beyond his ability, and definitely something beyond his comprehension. Here was God calling Moses to challenge the most powerful human figure on earth and demand the release of Egypt’s largest slave force of the time.

 

Mind…blown.

 

I can appreciate Moses’ hesitation.

 

I digress.

 

Dare I make the comparison though between church planting and the Exodus story? I don’t do this lightly but here’s what I see…

 

Church Planting

The Exodus

God, I believe, is calling a man who has a frail, anxious, apprehensive and uncertain outlook to the task at hand

God called a man who had a frail, anxious, apprehensive and uncertain outlook to the task at hand

I feel underqualified

Moses definitely felt underqualified

Planting a church will spread the Good News and, proverbially speaking, potentially ‘set people free’

God set free approximately 2 million people

I believe I can see how God has been equipping me for the task

God equipped Moses

 

And here’s the point: In everything that transpired with the Exodus, it was God. Yes, Moses was the direct object through which God acted but it was God who was the active agent in it all.

 

Godcalled…

Godequipped…

Godset free…

Godprovided…

 

And yet, in all of Moses’ shortcomings and character flaws, he provided. God was gracious to Moses and helped him every step of the way.

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I once heard a sermon many years ago that really impacted me. My wife and I were part of a church plant in Australia and the first sermon preached was on Exodus 4:2 and appropriately called, “What’s in your hand?” The sermon was fitting for the situation as the church planting team, understandably, felt anxious, apprehensive and uncertain about what the future had in store. Despite all the ‘what ifs’, they relied upon the grace and goodness of God and the calling he had placed upon them.

The church plant was humble and small. We met outside on an undercover basketball court at a local high school and every day for 2 ½ years – sun, rain, hail, or wind – we met on that court. It truly was a beautiful experience. We didn’t have much but what we did have we gave back to God. And so, on that first church service, the pastor asked us “what’s in your hand?”

Here I am seven years later, journeying down the same path asking myself the same question, “Matt, what’s in your hand?”

Is the Exodus narrative about church planting? No. Do I find inspiration in it for church planting? Yes!

In Moses’ hand was an inanimate object, a wooden staff. But God used it to change the course of history for his people. A simple, wooden staff.

As I walk this path, I’m constantly asking myself to look at what’s in my hand and more importantly, to remember who put it there – God. To him be all the glory.

 

It’s a good question to ask yourself. The answer can be rather eye-opening and humbling.

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