Exodus-intro3

INTRODUCTION


There are times in our lives when we recognize that we need to re-group to move ahead, when we need to embark on a journey. Maybe we find ourselves in bondage on some level; or maybe we feel called by God to step out of our familiar existence and to move into uncharted waters; or maybe we are simply moving into a new facet of life.

The question is this: How do we prepare for the journey so that we make it to the destination? The answer lies in knowing how to travel, what to expect, and what to do once you get there.

As my wife and I embarked on a journey through Atlanta, Georgia a couple of years ago, on our way to a mountain cabin deep in the Chattahoochee National Forest, I contemplated my youth. You see, I was fifty-seven years old, well adjusted (whatever that means), happily married, and living the life of my dreams as an associate pastor in a small church in Longwood, Florida. I pondered the many journey’s involved in getting to this place in life.

The traffic was heavy as it flowed through downtown Atlanta like a stream snaking down the mountains carrying with it all that got caught up in its current. I was taken aback as I remembered my life back in the 1980’s. I was in my twenties back then and I felt like I could tame the world! I have always had an unwavering passion for life, for experiences, and the unique beauty of my surroundings, whatever and wherever that might be.

I never doubted that I could “make it” in life! The world was mine to conquer. Though my ambitions were also tempered by the reality of daily living…I woke up each day with a drive to plow through on my own, like an explorer headed out into the wilderness hoping to discover a vast paradise deep in the underbrush of my mind.

I was in love with a young woman (alas, my first love as a young man) and moved to Georgia, joining the Army so that I could be near her. I soaked up every new experience that I could muster. Life for me has always been a smorgasbord of new experiences, each unique in its own way. But I was trying to do life “My way”. It didn’t work out so well.

So here I was in Atlanta once again! All those old memories started to come back to me and the ghost of their experiences flooded my mind: hiking up Stone Mountain and camping on the steep side (though we weren’t supposed to camp there); looking at the vast expanse of God’s creation from Kennesaw Mountain and feeling the presence of soldiers that once skirmished in the fields below; walking through Underground Atlanta and experiencing people from all walks of life…..all these things overwhelmed me as if it were yesterday.

Often, life is good when we think back. I find that I remember the good times much more than the bad. I believe that this is an easy thing to do when one learns from those times. It’s a pretty hard thing to do when one keeps repeating the same insanity day after day expecting a different outcome (the classic definition of insanity!)

I was taught when I was young to “be my own man”, to be “independent” and that anything I would achieve would be achieved by my own willpower. My parents didn’t necessarily teach me this, society did. You see it everywhere, from Burger King’s “Have it Your Way” to every store trying to personalize your experience so you will buy more from them. We often grow, feeling like we are the center of existence and even spiritually, we often feel we are the center of God’s world. In fact, many preachers want to make you think that. Why? Just like stores, it’s savvy marketing. When everything is centered on you, you are more likely to keep coming back for more in that elusive quest to reach the top of the mountain, the ultimate in pleasure, the answer to all questions…..It’s all about me, right?

As I have looked at my journeys and the journey of a thousand others, I have seen much in common with the Exodus story in Scripture wherein Moses led God’s people out of bondage through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

Jesus wants us to embark on a journey. I believe that Jesus wants us to view life as a journey and to embrace each season of our life on this journey. Indeed, Jesus wants us to be free. He wants us to find true fulfillment in life….a fulfillment that can only be found in Him. That, my friend, is the Promised Land! This may sound like I am saying, “it’s all about me”. The truth is, when we make our lives all about God, indeed, when our lives are all about Jesus and others around us, we find true fulfillment and freedom. We find the Promised Land.

Often there are a number of legs on the journey that are a part of the larger quest to reach the Promised Land. I want to help you identify your journeys, prepare for them using Biblical principles, and to lay the groundwork that will help you navigate the many obstacles and pitfalls that often keep us from reaching that sacred place. Additionally, I want you to know the secret of living in the Promised Land once you arrive.

My prayer is that, as you read these pages, as you possibly see yourself in this narrative that is shared by so many of us in life, that you will be given the strength to depart on a journey and the knowledge of what to expect along the way so that you will be able to enter and live in your “Promised Land”.

Let’s prepare for the Exodus of our lives.

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