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Exodus: Preparing a People

Our Fall Sermon Series begins September 13

This post comes from Corey Widmer in our September Issue of Third Press.

In one of my favorite movies, “Shawshank Redemption,” there is a character named Brooks. He has spent most of his adult life in prison, and after many decades of confinement, he is finally approved for release. In a scene toward the end of the movie, he exits the prison gates, suitcase in hand, walking out as a free man into a world he hardly knows anymore. Everything has changed. The world has passed him by. He finds that he does not know how to live as a free man without the constraining rhythms of prison life, and he increasingly feels useless and destabilized. Finally, after a few disorienting weeks, he takes his own life.

Brooks was freed from prison, but he did not know what he was freed for. He was released from captivity, but he had no purpose and direction for his new existence. Freedom needs a purpose.

This Fall, we’ll be studying and reflecting together on the book of Exodus. On the one hand, the book of Exodus is an amazing story about God freeing his people from horrible suffering and captivity in Egypt. But much more than what they are freed from, the book of Exodus is about what God has freed his people for. He frees them not so they can wander about aimlessly, but so they can fulfill the purpose he has given them to be his missionary people in the world. In Exodus 19, perhaps the climax of the book, God tells them, “You will be my treasured possession among all people…you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (19:5-6). They are freed for a purpose!

Many of us know we are free in Christ. We are set free from sin and death and judgment by his grace, thanks be to God! But what are you free for? What are we together as a community freed for? What are called to be and do? The church is not a receptacle for saved people to sit around and enjoy their redeemed status–the church is God’s purposeful community that is given a holy calling from God in the world. Using the book of Exodus, we will be looking at how God is preparing us as his people for his holy purpose. 

This comes at a good time for us as a community. The staff and strategic planning team of Session, along with the help of the TAG group that facilitated numerous focus groups in the Spring, are entering into a season of vision and strategic planning for our congregation. We are asking God what he wants for us in the next few years and how we can be faithful to the call he has on our congregation. We want our plans to be guided not by our own ingenuity but by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Will you pray that God will guide us as we pray and discern together, and that God would use the book of Exodus to reveal more of his will to all of us?  

Thanks be to God, we are not just free from sin and death, we are also freed for life, purpose and hope. God is preparing us for his holy calling.