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Is This the Time?

Ron Kelly


Ron Kelly

Senior Pastor, Village SDA Church, Berrien Springs, Michigan



  • August 24, 2019
    12:15 PM
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Lord bless this time annoying our hearts me a sweet spirit be in this place I pray Lord that you'll bless the study bless the decisions may we be able and willing through your power to follow your lead to make the changes your calling us to make and May Many be benefited because of it in Jesus name I pray Amen when I was young pastor I picked up one of the administration use and I saw a very interesting article it had the it had a drawing of a shepherd kind of an outline had a staff in his hand and the title got my attention it was in Title give us leaders not managers now that would be an interesting article to read and there is a difference between management leadership although a good leader needs to be a good manager or should be especially if they work for the church because they have to wear many hats but leading and managing are 2 different things. But what intrigued me the most was who had written the article it was written by 2 Methodist professors now I'm not sure why this is but on my computer right now every time I open up my web browser. Because I had done some research and probably because it's trying to check back into that same G. Mail portal I have the statistics of the Methodist church over the last 100 years and it is a very discouraging thing now our roots are out of Methodism primarily and so many of the habits the great awakening that swept across Europe in America in the early 18th hundreds was a Methodist movement. And the Methodist Church and the method as experience broke off into lots of churches when you talk about the United Methodist Church that's an organization that brings into it several Methodist movements but I want to tell you if you wanted to graph the membership of the Methodist church all you need is a cliff and this should make us very sad it's just one more indication of the death of Protestant religion in America and you would say oh but Pastor the mega churches yes the mega churches that's the subject for another day. GIVE US leaders not managers you've heard me say as of late if you get along well with people that's good you can follow if you help people get more done that's good you can manage and I'm paraphrasing from John Maxwell but if you can help people grow that's even better you're a leader it's the hardest work to do but it's the most important and as I've quoted from Edward Friedman in his book failure of nerve you know that what is most critical in the role of a leader is the emotional independence to make the difficult decisions and whether the ride through all the way to the other side of someone's maturation his phrases from the parents to the president's Jewish psychoanalyst deceased and yet his words speak on so this morning I want to look at the story of the golden calf take out your bulletins I want to read the quote we have right there before we get going because today I'm preaching for more leaders more managers the quote comes from manuscript released it's in a segment titled reflecting Christ in your bulletin. I want to thank Simon arc is in ski for his beautiful and intriguing photographs on the inside of this bulletin one of our B.S. students. This is when Moses went up to the mount of God to receive from Jehovah the tablets of stone the children of Israel were for the time left under the leadership of Aaron but Aaron showed himself to be weak and yielding ugly words for leaders when he should have stood firm for principles words principle or principles these elements are critical for reflection they're worthy of some serious meditation today he should have stood firm for the principles of righteousness yielding to the request of the people he made the golden calf they demanded and in her commentary on this story she says this is a time for decided action those who stand in positions of responsibility must not follow the example of their and my sermon this morning is intitled Is this the time I wonder if we're not on our way out of spiritual Egypt but we might be running into the same challenges that they had indeed I suspect we are for whether it's the home or the school or the church or whether it's the scientists at large we have a very interesting phenomena going on now this terminal be substantively the same but somewhat different than the last one and I'm going to start it a little bit different. Last week I took home the people who drove the image out at least I drove them to the airport so they could go home and while I'm driving around the airport I'm having a good conversation with them but when I turn around to come haul I decide to listen to the radio so I turn on a talk news station and while I'm listening they have an interview with Vincent Gill and sigil is married to Amy Grant I don't know if he had won a recent award I think he had produced a new album. And I was intrigued by the conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee but pretty soon he started saying something that began to bother me. He almost stumbled over him self of how many times he referred to somebody as a non judge mental person and after a while it was like and it got even worse because it wasn't enough for him to laud the accolades of modern affirmation on this individual he went a little bit farther and he said and not like all those evangelicals now I don't want anybody here to be a judge middle person can you say men but I'm afraid modern society and the church have an unfortunate agreement on the idea that nothing should be judged Now when Jesus writes in the Sermon on the Mount judge not that you be not judged that word can be used for the word condemn Jesus was not saying take a mindless numbing relationship destroying dysfunctional absence of evaluation into your life and everything will be OK nobody else anything bad about you and you shouldn't say anything bad about anybody else that's not what Jesus was saying as a matter of fact Jesus would go on to say be as wise as serpents and as harmless as dogs and if there was anybody who had iron sharpening iron moments with his constituents the nation of Israel it was Jesus and He is the active agent of the Godhead in the Old Testament the story we're going to read about today is Moses dealing with Jesus Jesus said before Abraham was I am and they wanted to stone him. Now while we should not be condemning the Tory there is a huge difference about the kind of affirmation that make people feel good while they're practicing soul destroying habits. And I want you to understand that good judgment and much love are at the foundation of effective leadership but the idea that we go along with the world while they all want to feel good no matter what they do and we plunge ourselves into these soul destroying habits and vices is a stench in the nostril of God We are not to be negative condemning people but in the same breath we are to be loving principled people the Bible says the righteous contend with the wicked and if we never have the ability through lack of substance of character to say no under the influence of my stewardship of leadership this will not happen then we will find ourselves in the same place Aaron did and by the way Aaron's decision cost 3000 people their lines and if you read out of the book of Deuteronomy Chapter 9 you can see that God was so upset with his failure of leadership Moses says that he intended to execute him as well at the end of this day after everybody has convinced the new leader to do it their way 3000 people their corpses. Are on the plains beneath Mt Sinai it's only been a few days since they all stood around the mountain and listened to the thunder and watch the lightning and heard the voice of God and said all that you have said we will do and a few days later they find themselves stressed out at the absence of Moses take your Bibles and open them up to the Book of Exodus Chapter $32.00 is this the time I'd like to suggest you today that if you're not careful you will find yourself watching your children and your loved ones slip away caught powerfully in the grip of this society's allure and all the while acting like they are your children and your siblings friends or even your parents if the roles are reversed all the while wooing and beguiling and seducing the ones we love when what this world really needs right now and our homes and our schools and our churches is somebody who say wait just a minute Exodus Chapter 32 Moses is on the mountain the people are missing their visible manifestations of God The Vaness the station God has given them as the cloud by day and the pillar by night they are not without manifestation and by the way this generation has received more manifestation of divine power than any generation in the history of man but there is one generation that will receive more I think it could be this one. We are not to fear as the signs multiply around us as the birth pangs for deliverance come upon this world friends God is going to take us on a journey out of Egypt into that heavenly Canaan and he's going to manifest himself with greater power because this time he won't be saving only the literal sons of Abraham Isaac and Jacob he's going to be saving all the faithful all around the world for the final time and when he manifest himself for the final global deliverance it's going to be greater than the manifestation of the plagues and the Red Sea and the water and the food Nobody needs to be afraid unless they love the world. And that makes me afraid every once in a while because life's pretty good I don't expect the K.G.B. to show up at my door tonight after the sun goes down I'm not afraid like the pastors in El Salvador that I might be stopped and held at gunpoint and extorted for money I get a salary every month I live in a nice home and drive a nice car and come to a nice church with nice people. Moses is gone it's important you know that Moses is gone God is specifically stretching this people they've had Moses at every moment. But now they are left on the floor of the desert around Sinai and they have a chance to start thinking about and talking with a meditating about God Himself God allows people to be stretched out and any leader that understands people and growth knows that if you're going to change somebody they're going to have to go through some growing experiences and you don't step in the way to save them from it. There some people have never learned to manage money some people never learn to manage their time some people they've been so sick they've been so protected and and coddled all their life that they come to adulthood and they are weak this world require some strength. I'm so thankful for a mother who would not do for the thing for me the things that she knew I needed to learn to do myself but here they are you know when you're a new Christian God steps in he answers prayer after prayer after prayer but after you've been a Christian for a while sometimes he says I'm not going to answer the so quick I want you to wait on me do you trust me have I been faithful in the past and this was the journey for Israel instead of all of sudden you know want want run around wringing their hands we don't have Moses we don't have Moses Moses himself was in the potential place of being deified by the people which is what made striking the rock such an offense later on no they're not going to get a sign but you need to know that the Thunder On The Mountain is still there because Moses is meeting with God in the pillar by day of cloud and by night a fire is still there it's not as if they were without the manifestation of God's presence but God keeps Moses up on the mountain long enough for them to have a little growth moment and it could have been but it wasn't verse one of 32 Chapter 32 now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain the people assembled about Aaron and they said to him Come make us a God who brought us up from the land of Egypt we do not know what is become of him this stretch was a strain and I want you to take your Bibles and turn over to the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 28 I want to show you the curses in the blessings Deuteronomy. About 3 books over Chapter $28.00. Now you need to know in the chapters of 27 and 28 in Deuteronomy are the blessings in the curses you need to know that the results of disobedience in the curses take up about twice as much narrative space as the blessings the curses that is twice as much narrative space as the blessing. Why because we are so prone to leaving the path of righteousness God wanted to make it very clear that there would be dire results if they deviated his love would not change his shepherding would be constant but after all they had seen and been through here they are in the promised land this is a generation later than where we're reading in the Book of Exodus Genesis didn't Romney 27 verse 15 I want you to see the very 1st curse Now how did this work you put 6 tribes on Mount evil those were the children of build build and Silpa along with Reuben and Zabulon Now Reuben violated the marriage bed. And I'm not sure why Zeppelins on Mount evil but that's where the curses the people who say Amen when the reading of the law they say amen after every curse over a Mouse Gear is them are the children of Leah and Rachel and after the Levites who are standing in the valley and by the way this is the same place where the woman at the well met Jesus that well is down in the valley near Cyc are and when she refers to our fathers worshiped on this temple she's talking about Mt Gary as him and so they are the children of Leah and Rachel and here are the children of their handmaids and the Levites are in the middle of the valley and they're reading out the blessings in the curses and every time they read a blessing the people on Mount charism say amen. And every time they read a curse the people amount say amen I want you to see what the very 1st curse is Deuteronomy 27 verse 15 so they're the Levites they're getting ready to read and here we go curse it is the man who makes an idol or molten image an abomination to the Lord the work of the hands of the craftsman and sets it up in what what does your Bible say secret Here's a curse the 1st of what will be several The 1st curse is for someone who has the audacity who has the spiritual rebellion and daring to set up an idol in some secret corner of his house. Imagine the sense of indignance see in the heart of God after he has manifest himself as the ever present gawd. And Aaron is getting ready to roll over and cave in to the idea of a corporate worship system surrounding this golden calf Now when you come down to the end of the curses in the blessings I want you to look over at Chapter 28 I want you to see just how serious this is chapter 28 verse 32 what's on the line thank you your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people while your eyes look on and you're in for them and the King James Version says but there will be no might in your hand this version says and there will be nothing you can do how many of us have stood by watching while the enemy of our happiness not a Babylonian kingdom but a Babylonian mentality. Has been seducing our children into the embrace of the world. And I'm here to tell you the ideologists opportunities in this age are multiplied and varied although they are not automatically recognized how many of our children are being seduced and drawn away from us in our very presence and we feel almost powerless to do anything about it. This is what's at stake friends it's our churches in our schools it's our future grandchildren and our children's well being it's the vitality of their marriages what I'm talking with you about here today is a principled approach to Christianity where the Holy Spirit can bring conviction take the word of God and make it live and we have enough confidence of what leadership looks like and what's motivating it to do the right thing. But today I want to tell you that in those blessings and in those curses there are some very interesting promises. Look at chapter 28 verse 7 Chapter 28 verse. These are the blessings it says the Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you they will come out against you one way and they will flee before you 7 way 6 and as I was reading over this it struck me that really Deuteronomy 27 and 28 are a leadership Covenant as well. Now I'm here to tell you back when my children were very little I established the fact that their mother and I were the leaders in the home. And if anyone ever cares to read the spirit a problem see you'll find out that the 1st lesson the child needs to learn is the lesson of obedience pity the teachers who receive the children who have never learned this lesson have mercy is right but you know what I am not willing to go through life without any money in my hand and if they come at me from one direction I'd like to see God stand up on my benefactor as my benefactor and I'd like to watch them flee 7 ways this is a leadership covenant when we abide by the principles of heaven we do not find ourselves powerless although our children do it times choose to go other ways but we have not lost our respectability when we practice loving principled Christianity you have to practice loving principled leadership in the hall Your children must know in our schools in our churches that the leaders are motivated by love that they go beyond what they were never have to do for money but they will not violate conscience and they will not be disloyal to the God of heaven for the sake of favor popularity position or anything else Aaron is there before the people Moses is gone and they come around him and it's a strange thing that I am RAM and Jack Abed can have 3 children and they can be so very different this is Moses elder brother but he does not have the character of Moses and when they start pressing him he makes a fatal mistake he begins to dialogue with them. If you are a leader you need to understand once you have a rebellious or obstinate spirit in your presence dialog will do you very very little good if you begin to dialogue with someone who resist and resents and rebels against your duly appointed God ordained authorized authority you ought not to engage them in dialogue just think of pilot it's not just Aaron if pilot would have exercised his duly appointed authority by the empire of Rome and a sense of principles about justice he would have dismissed the crowd at the beginning but the longer you engage with someone whose spirit is completely upside down the better the chances yours or your leadership will be twisted in your influence will mar the experience of those who trust you and look to. You see friends leadership requires a stake in down of principle very early on in what you're doing otherwise you become squeezed into the mold of the world yes Israel's about to be led into apostasy by a pastor are you listening Israel is going to be led into apostasy by a pastor pastors are not God please do not use them to leave your convicted conscience Please do not use them to do something that the Bible says or the spirit of prophecy in principle the precepts says is wrong please do not go to find relief from the conviction of God when He tells you to do something to a pastor please don't go to find your way out of that conviction from a pastor pastors were never to be between you and God. And wise pastors don't put themselves in that position you walk out of here today and don't like this message it was called the divine worship hour and the the young woman who prayed here Miss dent prayed that the words that I say appear would come from God And while I'm fallible GATT God does have the ability to apply them specifically to your life and to the preachers. Aaron makes a fatal mistake to enter into dialogue with people who have the wrong spirit and the wrong direction and the only way it goes from there is now known but you need to know something Aaron did have authority. It was God appointed to Moses and through Moses to Aaron and Aaron's failure to exercise it resulted in thousands losing a chance to continue this earthly sojourn authority is an evil word today especially moral authority it just so happens to be however that as our society implodes morally indulgence actualization these things that supposedly bring freedom are actually bringing a curse the boomerang of the values of the 60s is coming around to take us out from the back side it's absolutely imperative that our parents exercise proper duly constituted God given and will be held responsible for authority. And it's important that you're not taking your cues about how to raise your children from the latest self-help guru on esteem is them for your child read the Bible what we're about to read right here is Jesus in the Old Testament dealing with his erring children the principles for leadership especially parental leadership are woven all through the Scriptures study them out reflect on them and take away from that which will probably look fairly old school I'm sorry for all the people who stood at the judgment bar of their parents' parenting without enough humility to know that on or is what the commandment says Now if you've been abused or something that's way off the charts that's different but our generation my generation has found itself quite cocky and confident to decry the mistakes of the previous generation it just appears however that we're not getting ready to hand our children our grandchildren a better world something's wrong about that picture. Authority properly exercised is salvation to people it's not for you to have a big head it's not for you to dominate and dictate although rebellious people will call you a dictator rebellious folks have learned how to manipulate and fight back rebellion by the way the Bible says is like the sin of witchcraft pretty ugly Association the proper exercise of authority is salvation for people if my mother had not reigned to me in in certain moments if my mother had not disciplined me where my life have spiraled out of control that authority exercised with kindness is the model God has left throughout the Scriptures for us but people are afraid to exercise authority because they can be criticized for not being nice. And nice is important to this generation now let me be clear nobody needs to be a nice when they're exercising authority they just need to know they'll be called on nice so most so Aaron thinks if I ask them to give up their earrings that'll kind of get to them and they won't do this I want you to be back at pilots court will offer them barabus and they will want Jesus but when the devil is in the crowd the direction they're going to see going to be stopped by a few little speed bumps of pride and money and I don't know what it's like if you've only been 2 months gone from Egypt there must've been an awful lot of ear piercing going on because they were poor slaves before but they got all that jury and they sure put it on fast maybe the holes in their ears hadn't even healed all the way yet but the Bible has some pretty graphic language to talk about them getting it out and I suspect there's a few bloody year lobes around the camp but they're going to get their bearings together and Aaron is going to be the one that fashions the care of. It's not enough that he fashions the cap though he fashions the calf and he's now riding a wave of immense popularity and he goes farther turn back to Exodus Chapter $32.00 it's not enough that there's a little at the base of Sinai there's going to be an altar as well remember he's the leader of the Levites or will be verse 4 he took from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool that gold into a molten calf and they said this is your God Oh Israel I want you to hear insane this who brought you up out of the land of Egypt now when Aaron saw this he built an altar before and he made a proclamation he said Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord. So the next day they rose early and they offered burnt offerings and they brought peace offerings and the people sat down to eat and drink and they rose up to play which is another way of saying after they were full and drunk they began enjoin things that should never have been enjoyed in public and what the wrong people clearly it was a licentious immoral experience imagine that one of the worst parties that's ever gone on in the history of earth is happening over at the base of Mount Sinai it's a drunken orgy and Moses is up on the mountain and the cloud is still there in the funder and lightning is still there and the people are down on the floor of the desert interacting with each other in evil ways and Aaron is there as the presiding patriarch I guess feeling pretty good about it all. And the Lord spoke to Moses for 7 go down at once for your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt of that corrupted themselves they quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them they made for themselves a molten image and worshiped in and sacrificed to it and said This is your God who is it who brought you up from the land of Egypt and the Lord said to Moses I've seen this people and behold there are an obstinate people now let me alone that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them and I will make of you a great nation I wish I had a bit more time if you're a leader and you have not been applying Aaron then you have paid a high price whether it's as a parent or a leader of another sort and if God were to come to you in those hard moments and say you know what I'm going to let you out of this you don't have to do this job anymore you'd be pretty ready to say God Would you hand me the release papers I want to sign him right now but Moses didn't do that. And God put him in a posture to mediate be an intercessor there's Moses. Praying for God's people I'm going to take you just to the Varian Moses comes down off the mountain God didn't tell him how bad it was Joshua says sounds like there's fighting going on down there and Moses says No I'm afraid not but Moses doesn't understand how her riff Ikeda is and as he comes down off the mountain from being in the presence of God he is overwhelmed with the evil and there where the people can see him he breaks the tablets strides through the midst of the congregation grabs the calf and throws it in the fire he grinds it up to pieces has to deal with his line brother and in the midst of it all he calls out of people who will be faithful the Levites rallied to him $3000.00 people die and within a few months of having left Egypt. A crisis of leadership has cost people daddies in mommies and people brothers and sisters friends is this the time should we not spend time with God to understand what our God ordained duty is relative to the sphere of our influence is this a time for weak willed spineless people who are content to watch Babel and woo their families away from them and have no might in their hand are always not to claim the blessings of Deuteronomy Chapter 20 or gods that are make you the head not the tail and they may come at you one way but they're going to run away 7 are we not to make a new commitment to what it means to be a leader and to understand that popularity and favor and the pliant sea of the people is never a way to chart a course to higher ground. Whether you're standing before the kids in the classroom or sitting at the table with your children whether you're a teacher in one of our schools or whether you're a pastor or a leader a father or a mother or a grandma or grandpa if you want to take your children out of this barren desert out of the slavery of this world to the better land you cannot practice the leadership of a man like Aaron you will have to decide that the price of disfavor and be misunderstood is worth it and when you see them on the other side of the law be cheap enough your job is to take people from immaturity to maturity by God's grace you're called to bring them into a posture of submission when rebellion and willfulness is the case in the course and if you hadn't noticed our kids grow up and make more money than we do right out of the gate and they don't really need their parents they don't think but you didn't stop being a parent just because your child hit the Suppose it mature age of 18 or 21 and while you don't direct and guide the same way the failure of you to fulfill your role may be the eternal loss of their lives. What is my hope my hope is that on the other side I'll have a little family reunion a big family reunion. With everybody that was under the sphere of my influence I'm thankful that love is the real foundation of true leadership and I'm thankful that the people who never cheered me could endure the lack of my love towards them but their love never wavered that's called relational maturity that's what's needed. Let's press together made a bond of affection make us 1 May we be faithful to each other faithful to God faithful to our charges may we not be afraid of be misunderstood for indeed it is the lot of leaders why would the Methodist professors write give us leaders not managers because managers never make the call that stretch and strain and grow people and take them to higher ground but we're pressing on the upward way and so I'm appealing to you today may you follow the principles and precepts of this word with love in your heart and trust God to make you the head not a tail and when they come at you one way say God take me through this I often praise God that he's a shield to those who walk upright. While I'm walking I'm swimming against the stream in the 21st century and so are you probably if God wasn't guiding the way we'd be out of business and close down but until God gets out of the way let's go confidently with him all the way to the New Jerusalem and let's take our children with us that's what Moses said to Pharaoh when he said you can go but leave your children and Moses said Oh no no no we're taking our children with us I want might in my hand I need to be respected to be respected I need to be principled and loving and consistent and true. And by God's grace anybody who wants to be close to the anchor of love at least the ones who know me best can sit under the shade of my tree come eat food under the banner of my love. And may we enjoy the journey all the way this is the time May we rise up and be faithful leaders Amen. 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