Most of us grew up in very strict, orthodox churches and thus don’t really enjoy going to church. I did not much care for church as a child. Apart from Sunday School outings, there really was not much to like about it. Honestly, what fun is there to be had when you have to sit motionless for an hour on a rock hard chair? My gran used to have a pin in her hat specifically for those moments when you dare move. Kicking your legs or twiddling your thumbs meant that you were not listening and thus resulted in a sharp prick with the pin. Needless to say, we did not move much and church became a chore.
A while back Jacques, Luke and I started attending The Bay Christian Family Church. We were immediately struck by the informality of the church. The dress code is smart casual and most people wear jeans; everyone is warm and welcoming and we felt right at home from the minute we set foot in the door. We certainly did not expect to have a good solid laugh as an added bonus to receiving God’s word. Dr Allan Bagg has an incredible passion for God and it shines through with every word he speaks.
Two weeks ago he delivered a sermon on “I AM” and told the story of Moses on Mount Horeb. Now, as a result of my childhood church experiences, when I heard Exodus, I thought: O Brother, Condemnation ahead! Boy, was I wrong! I hope I can do him justice in re-telling the story that had us all in stitches and left me laughing so hard that I had tears rolling down my cheeks. Here goes:
Exodus 3: Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
Dr Allan: I wonder if they really spoke like that in biblical times? Think about it: you are walking along and see a burning bush, not being consumed. Are you more likely to say “Check it out!” or would you say “I will now turn aside and see this great site”? It would be more something to the effect of “Dude, check it out! That’s just rad!”
This had us giggling, but then it got better.
Exodus 3: 13-14: Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I Am has sent me to you.
Dr Allan: Moses was a man with a speech impediment, so when he was told that he need to address the people of the land, he asked “B…b…b….b…but w…w…w…w…who s…s…s…s…shall I s…s…s…s…say s…s…s…s…sent m…m…m…m…me?”
Typing it out definitely does not do justice to the way he said it. Everyone in the congregation was laughing, it was hysterical. He had our attention! Then the message came:
I AM has sent you!
Who is I AM?
I AM (fill in the blank), I AM whatever you are in need off!
Are you looking for peace, I AM PEACE!
Are you looking for better finances, I AM BETTER FINANCES!
Are you looking for health, I AM YOUR HEALTH!
Are you looking for love, I AM LOVE!
Are you looking for joy, I AM JOY!
The Great I AM is with us every day in everything we do!
Thank you Dr Allan for a very powerful message brought through tears of joy!