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Moses is close to 80 years old and has spent 40 years living in a foreign land, raising a family, tending to the sheep that belong to his father-in-law, a Midianite who also is a part of their religious system. He has had a call on his life since birth but in his zeal, took things into his own hands and had to flee for his life. There were things for him to learn if he was to be of use to God, and God never gave up on him!

The Angel of the Lord, who some interpret as the Christ before his incarnation, is revealed to him in a burning bush that is not consumed. Something supernatural is happening here, a sign through which God is going to reveal his purposes, and through which he wishes to invite this man to partner with him is rescuing the people of Israel from Pharaoh's control. God waits to act, looking for one who will respond to his revelation, which is precisely what Moses, now somewhat less self-confident, does!

Then come some important words ... "So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush .." (Ex 3:4) Moses gave this sign his full attention, turning aside from what he was doing or focusing upon, his own direction and purpose, to enter into this space, this holy space with God, in order to learn something (why the bush was not burning up). Moses' response to this theophany (God showing something of himself to humankind), would set something in motion for the sake of the whole world.

God's response to Moses' self doubt ("who am I?"), was to say "I am .. with you!" When we see ourselves as an individual, isolated, self-reliant, independent of others including God, then we are most vulnerable. We are prone to miss our calling, stay rather 'small' and miss out on life's greatest adventures. But when like Moses, we turn to discover, to learn, to be enlightened and transformed, then all sorts of opportunities begin to open up to us.

As much as this principle is true for when we turn to listen to and receive from the Lord, I want to invite you to believe that this is also true for when we turn to truly listen to and learn from one another. To give the relational need of Attention is to risk being changed by what we learn from people by listening well and allowing our mindset, our perspectives to be changed, to grow.

Many missed this opportunity at the time of Jesus because rather than hearing his words, the very Word of God now one with Jesus of Nazareth, they resisted him and even sought to destroy him in their pride and arrogance. But like the burning bush, the Word of God is indestructible, it lives and abides forever (cf. 1 Peter 1:23).

My prayer for 2023 for you and myself, is that this would be a year of expansion in the Lord. Expanded hearts and minds, expanded community and expanded Kingdom expression here in Alberni Valley.

Grace, Mercy & Peace,

Pastor Mike.

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