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134 Good Word: Why invite the presence of God into your life with Captain Emmanuel Masango

134 Good Word: Why invite the presence of God into your life with Captain Emmanuel Masango

Could you use a good word from the Good Word?

Today, Captain Emmanuel Masango is bringing us the Word from Exodus 33:12-20.

Captain Emmanuel is a Salvation Army officer, or pastor, currently serving as The Salvation Army Territorial Youth Secretary in the western U.S. He preached here at a gathering of Salvation Army youth leaders from all across the West.

He looks at Moses’ conversation with God from Exodus 33. Moses had a job, a ministry, a responsibility—but he was looking for something more.

Show me your glory, show me your presence, he says, maybe feeling a little distant from God.

Can you relate?

Do you have the glory of God in your life? The presence, radiance of God?

Listen and subscribe to the Do Gooders Podcast now. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.

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Emmanuel Masango: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” Do you guys know what a wretch is? You can talk back, it’s that portion of the service you can. You guys know what a wretch is? Somebody who’s messed up. Like me, like you, like all of us in this room. Because the Bible says: All we like sheep have gone astray, each one in his own separate way, and God has laid upon him (meaning Jesus) the iniquity of us all (Is. 53:6). So we could be described as a wretch in one sentence and then the next thing we’re saying, my chains are gone and I’ve been set free.

My God and my savior has ransomed me. Like a flood his mercy reigns, amazing love, amazing grace.

Lord we love you and we thank you for wow, hanging with us this week and all the amazing conversations you’ve been having with each and every one of us, some of them through the microphones of the speaker and some of them through people that are fellowshipping with us around the tables, over lunch or during a break. We thank you. We thank you that your spirit knows each and every one of us, the areas in our lives where we step into the season with celebrations and then there’s times where we’re coming in with so many hurts and burdens and all those things and your spirit is doing his work, bringing healing and hope and comfort and deliverance and forgiveness and just giving us a new start and a hope and the future, because that is the promise in your Word. And I pray for this, Father, and in the name of Jesus. Amen.

So just a quick disclaimer, I don’t know if it’s a disclaimer, I like to be encouraged when I preach, so I will occasionally hope for an amen. I’m going to try not to ask for it, maybe just one time today, I might ask for it one time because Jim is in the front, so I’m going to ask him to say amen.

[Amen.]

Oh, there you go. We got a one for the meeting. So we’re done. The sermon is not done, but we got the amen out of the way. So we’ve been hanging out this week, on Monday night, Albert Tate spoke, the way I heard his message, the conviction that God gave to my heart is that I need to have a renewed awe and wonder of the place where I live, where I work, the miracles that God does and is doing all around me, I’ve lost some of that awe and wonder of what he’s doing in the place he’s placed me.

When Heather spoke yesterday, the conviction I got and the thing I remember from her message is that I need to trust God to do good and to delight in him, and I need to hang out to remain in the pasture that he has me until he opens up the door for me to enter the next season.

So the place, the pasture, and then this morning, Captain Caroline spoke about the power, the power, not the power in ourselves, but the power that comes when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, and it’s not a power for you and I to boast about how good we are, but it is a power that allows us to be witnesses first in Jerusalem, where we hang out and work and live and serve, then we’re going to go to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. But most of us are not going to be asked to go into the ends of the earth, most of us just get across the street to go minister to somebody. Can I get an amen?

So I used to live, when I first came to the U.S, I lived in a city named Spokane and I have some people from Spokane here, I had the privilege. Yeah, I had the privilege of serving alongside Jeff Pods and a few other amazing people in that area. So one time I think it was like March or April, a group of guys said, Hey, let’s go hiking on this mountain, Mount Baldy. And I reluctantly said yes, because two things I don’t like to hike and I don’t like to camp. I did that all my life growing up, so that was like, okay, I will go. So I packed up a little bag, we went and kind of camped out up on the top of this mountain. I was like, why did I do this to myself, but I tried to be positive, didn’t complain or anything. So it’s time for bed, we go to sleep, I was so cold, probably colder than you’re feeling right now because it was in Spokane, the whole night I’m thinking, what am I here, what am I doing here, I should have said no.

So I got up to get the fire going again, and I could not wait to leave that place and go back home. So if you ask me to go for a hike, I will probably not be available. I generally have no desire to walk long distances or climb high mountains. I have nothing on my bucket list that includes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro even though I’m from Africa, I have no desire to go up Mount Everest or Denali in Alaska. I like to stay on the solid flat ground. However, one thing I know I love to do is to do what God has called me to do. I love to preach, I love to teach, I love to serve the Lord the best way I know how. If you tell me, Emmanuel, let’s do some serving, some working, some preaching, you got me. But if you say, Hey, let’s go hike I will say, let’s try this another time.

So if you were to get to the book of Exodus, when you open up the first chapter, you get the history of the nation of Israel, the chosen people of God that are suffering in a place named Egypt and Egypt literally means a place of bondage. They have been slaves for over 400 years. And then there’s a young child named Moses who was born into a really difficult situation and miraculously he’s saved, and he’s that same guy that God will call to redeem his people. And on Monday that’s one of the passages that Albert spoke about was the call of Moses. If you keep reading, Moses actually comes up with some excuses why he should not do the job, but God says, it’s still your assignment. And he says, I can’t speak, God gives him his brother, Aaron to go with him.

When you get to chapter 14, the Israelites are finally free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last. They’re going to the promised land but when the Egyptians begin to come after them, this army, instead of trusting in the God who delivered them, the Israelites say, Moses, we could have died in Egypt and would’ve been okay with that, you’re letting us die out here in the desert. God miraculously opens up this red sea, they walk through, when they get to the other side, they’re unable to find drinking water and they begin to complain. They start to feel hungry and rather than trusting in God’s provision, all they can do is complain.

They even say things like this, it would’ve been better for us to be in Egypt, because at least over there we said by the parts where they made the food and would’ve all this food, seriously, these guys were slaves rather than trusting God in the moment, they looking back to a life of slavery. It is really weird how sometimes when things are not going the way we think they should go, we begin to look back at a past that is actually not as good as we think it is.

Anybody ever do that?

Yeah, I know I’ve been there, but rather than trusting in a God who defeated the Egyptians, rather than trusting the God who delivered them from 400 years of captivity, rather than trusting the God who had just given them food and water in the desert, they begin to murmur and complain, so Moses has this unenviable job to lead over a million complaining, grumbling people.

I only have three kids and their complaining gets me really close to saying things I don’t want to say. My lips are sanctified at least in this moment. I have led people, Jenifer and I have been blessed to be pastors of churches, amazing experience, we would never trade for anything, but every once in a while we had difficult situations and passionate discussions with people, which is a different word for conflict. But through all of that, God was faithful. So Moses has over a million people that are grumbling and complaining. And when we get to this passage, I’m going to read tonight, he is on this journey of leading a people that are very difficult. If you’re a corps officer, you probably have people that are difficult. If you’re a volunteer, you probably have kids that are difficult. If you’re a supervisor somewhere, you probably have people that are difficult. I hope your subordinates are not sitting right next to you.

Here we go—Exodus 33. If you have a Bible, Exodus 33, verses 12 through 20. Exodus 33:12-20:

Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

Yes, they’re grumbling, they’re complainers, but they’re your people God. Verse 14:

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

I don’t know if you see right there, Moses says a long request and God’s response is concise—my Presence will go with you and I’ll give you rest. I don’t know if Moses heard this part or not, but he continues:

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

So Moses has this job taking this group of people to the land, to the promised land. And he gets to this point where he is having this conversation with God. And I’m not sure if I have ever had as intense or as a bold a conversation as he has here. But he says, God, you have told me, you have known me by name and that I have found favor on your side, God I have found grace in your sight, a different translation will say, but you have not told me who’s gone with me. If you’re pleased with me, he says in verse 13, teach me your way so that I may know that I found favor.

So Moses is saying, God, I have this job, I have this assignment, I have this ministry, I have this responsibility and God you have not given me a person to go with me. And I go all the way back to Exodus when in chapter three, when Moses is given these excuses. God says, your brother is going to go with you. So why is Moses saying, God, I don’t have anybody. If you’re in leadership, sometimes you are working and you have people around you and yet, sometimes it feels like you got nobody around you. You have people that have raised their hands and said, yes, I’m with you, but maybe they are not actually doing the work they promised that they’re going to do.

So he says to God, if you have known me by name, if I found favor in your sight, tell me who’s going with me. And then in verse 18, he makes a second request. He says, now show me your glory. A different translation will say, it sounds like he’s begging. He says, God, please show me your glory. Moses, you got people going with you, Moses, you got other leaders with you. Moses, you got Aaron with you. If you read in the earlier verses, God actually says, I’m going to give you an angel to go with you. In fact, when you go back to chapter 15, God’s presence was seen as this cloud during the day and pillar of fire by night. So Moses, how come you are saying you want more when God has already given you the cloud and has given you this pillar of fire, and God has told you this angel is going with you.

Could it be that Moses is looking for something more? Moses is looking for something better? Moses is looking for more. The word glory in Hebrew means radiance, splendor, brilliance. It can also be translated as that which has weight. So the glory of God is not just something that is bright and shiny like a star, the glory of God represents the weightiness of God. It represents the very presence of God.

Come on church that’s the amen spot.

Thank you. Ooh, could get preachy now.

The presence of God is what is represented by the glory of God. So when Moses says, God, show me your glory, he’s saying, God, show me your presence, maybe he was feeling a little bit distance from God, and he says God, show me your glory. I don’t know about you but I know over the last two years I’ve been working and trying to pray and trying to read the Bible but sometimes I’m like, God, they told us two weeks to stop this [pandemic] spread.

Two years later, we’re still dealing with masks and all these things. We have to do church in a tent, which is actually awesome by the way. At least if you’re not cold.

Here’s a question: do you have the glory of God in your life? Do you have the presence of God in your ministry? Do you have the radiance of God in your family? Do you have the presence of God? Maybe we do not need any new programs, what we need is the presence of God. Maybe we do not need the latest technology or strategies and leadership or, and many more conferences, what we need is the presence of God. Come on church. Lord, I’m pleading with you, show me your glory. Life is hard, show me your glory. I got a diagnosis from the doctor I did not expect; God, show me your glory. We stood in the alter and she said, till death do us part, but she just told me she’s not going to hang here anymore; God, show me your glory. I raised my kids upright and I told them to serve the Lord but as soon as they turned 18, they want nothing to do with God or church or any of that; God, show me your glory.

Do you invite the presence of God into your mess? Because somehow we think we got to only talk about God and invite God when we’re singing the songs and dancing. Well, most of you don’t dance, but I love to dance during, in worship, but we think that’s the only spaces where God is. We’ve got to get to a place where we go down on our knees and say, God, show me your glory.

God, show me your glory.

I don’t know—it’s a really, really bold request.

So here’s the point, my friends, the point is this: you and I need to invite the holy presence of God into our lives. First of all, in your life as an individual, secondly, into your family, thirdly, into your ministry. If you’re a pastor, if you’re a corps officer, a youth worker, a volunteer, whatever you are doing in ministry, none of it makes sense. And the other three preachers already said this, none of it matters if God is not in the midst of it. None of it is satisfying, none of it is fulfilling, if God is not in the minister of it. You and I have to invite the presence of God into the midst of our lives, in our ministry.

But Moses has his reasons. He says the only way people can see that we’re different from the other nations is the presence of God. The distinguishing mark between the rest of the people and the people of God is the presence of God. I have the privilege of hiring people sometimes into our department or other appointments I’ve had, and when people send their resume, the goal is to stand out from all the other candidates. They tell you their experience, their education, all these things, the idea is I want to rise to the top of the list that you have.

But if you and I want to stand out in this world, maybe it is not about the Christian bumper stickers, It is about the presence of God in our lives. It’s okay, you don’t have to say amen to that because you’re like, oh no, I got a bumper sticker. And there’s really nothing, there’s nothing wrong with the bumper stickers. I’m just saying it’s got to be more than the sticker says. It’s got to be more than the Facebook memes that we love to share. It’s going to be better than me putting a picture on Instagram of my Bible and my coffee because they always go together. And if Jesus drinks coffee…anyway, so invite the presence of God.

But Moses says his reasons for asking is that the presence of God is what distinguishes him from the other people. In verse 13, he says the only way that I have known that I have found favor with you is if you go with me, the only way I can be assured that I’m on the right path, God, is when you are with me. I don’t know about you every once in a while you go through this dark season of life, we are not sure if you are in the right place, these are the moments where you say, God, if this is the place for me, if this is the pastor for me for this season, Lord, show me your presence.

I think I touched on this already. I have three kids, I have three boys. Amazing, awesome, wonderful kids. I decided not to show any pictures of them, because I like to do that, and it’s probably annoying, but I’m not really bothered by it if you’re annoyed, but they love to ask questions and they love to ask can I do this, can I do that. Most of the time I try to be the good Christian dad who say yes, you can have it child, but sometimes I’m like, I said, no, like three times, and they keep going. Or sometimes I say yes, but they actually didn’t listen to the yes, they were expecting a no, so I say yes and they say, oh dad, can we please, I’m like, dude, did you just listen, I was just talking to you.

I get to this point where I’m like, Ooh, if you ask me one more time child. Oh usually I am smiling because I’m a nice guy, if you ask me one more time…I’m lying, it’s not how it goes. But do you notice that God does not respond that way with Moses? Because the first time he asked, God answered right away. He said, yeah, I got you man. But oh no, God, please show me a glory. He’s like Moses, I will do this very thing that you’ve asked to me to do. I will show you my presence. He says, I will cause my goodness, in verse 19, to pass right in front of you. Have you asked God for things and God gave you, but you never actually listened or you never actually looked? But you keep saying God, please, please, please, God.

The good thing is, God doesn’t get annoyed like how I do and say stop asking. He’s so gracious, he’s so patient, he’s so compassionate. He says, Moses, my presence will go with you and I will give you rest. Oh Lord, show me your glory. Oh I will cause my goodness to pass before you and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. In the Hebrew, writing in Hebrew poetry, the name represented the nature and the character of the person. So when God says, I’m going to proclaim my name before you, he’s not just excited to hear the sound of his own name. What God is saying to Moses is, Moses, I’m going to show you who I am. I’m going to show you my nature, I’m going to show you the kind of God that I am. He says, I’m a God who shows mercy. Amen?

He’s a God who shows mercy. He’s a God who shows compassion. So God is proclaiming his name. He’s actually revealing his nature, his character to Moses. Have you experienced the mercy of God? Have you experienced the compassion of God?

You see when I have actually understood what mercy is, God giving me, oh, the good that I don’t deserve and not giving me the punishment I deserve, it helps me to be more merciful to other people. If I do not show mercy to other people, maybe I don’t actually know the mercy of God.

God is a God of compassion. If I’ve understood the compassion of God. In the Psalms we read that God is compassionate, is a father is full of compassion, but if I do not understand the compassion of God that is seen in how I do not extend compassion to other people? Here’s the question, are you, merciful human being, do you extend mercy to others? Do you offer compassion to others?

Because the thing I know is really easy to do is to be critical of other people, to judge them, to question them, to question their motives, their intentions. When God says to Moses, yes, you have asked me a bunch of times I will do this very thing that you have asked me. I’m a God of compassion, I’m a God of mercy, I’m a God of grace and you and I, if we’re agents of God, if we’re agents for God, if we’re Christ followers, if we’re leaders, we have to live the same way our Father lives. Amen?

We have to show compassion and extend mercy in those verses using the words of promise. His using these words of promise, they say there’s over 3,000 promises that you can find in the Scriptures. Three thousand promises from God—that’s a lot of promises and God is a God who offers, promises and follows through with his promises. Most of us in our culture today, we have a lot of stories of people that gave promises and broke those promises, but I want to remind you about a God who keeps his promises. A God who says I am with you till the end of time. A God who says, my covenant, will I not break, neither will I change the word that has gone out of my mouth.

The Bible says, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and forever. Amen. So he’s a God who keeps his promises because that is his nature, that is his character. If you and I are going to continue and persist in ministry, we have to invite the presence of God. If we are going to climb the mountain, because sometimes ministry feels like a mountain, doesn’t it? If we’re going to climb this mountain, we have to do so with the presence of God.

Yes, it is good to you have some guys that are going alongside you, it is good to have some people that have actually done some climbing before. If you ask me to be your tour guide and to climb, you’re in a lot of trouble. But if you ask me about the Scriptures, I have memorized a couple verses, I could do a little bit of something there. Amen.

Guides are good, pastors are good, friends are good, disciples are good, but what we need most is the presence of God. Psalm 46:1 says this, some of you might have this memorized: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. God is our refuge and strength and ever present help in times of trouble.

Sometimes I call for help and nobody picks up. Sometimes I call for help and people don’t show up, sometimes you need help and people are absent, but God is an ever present help. Amen. The Bible says the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and I’ve run there a bunch of times the last two years, anybody else?

I’ve needed to go there. The righteous run to it and they are safe. Just before Jesus leaves, he gives the disciples a promise, he says, behold, I’m with you till the end of the age, I am with you till the end of time. This means the times when we’re walking through difficult times, God is present. When we plan a Sunday school class for the kids and nobody shows up, God is present. When you drive your little van to go pick people up for church and nobody actually told you not to bother, God is still present. When we are putting out flyers and signs and saying, come on, we’re opening up The Salvation Army for services and nobody shows up, persist because God is present. Because the book says weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.

I have to say one more…Here’s one more. Have you heard of a guy named David? He says these words, the Lord is my shepherd. I think somebody said something about him yesterday. He was a shepherd himself and he looks around, he says the same way that I take care of these sheep, God takes care of me.

So he says, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, I shall not lack anything. I shall not lack anything that I need for ministry, I shall not lack anything I need to disciple people, to share with people, I shall not lack anything because the Lord is my shepherd he leads me in the green pastures. Oh, I love green pastures. He leads me in the quiet waters, that’s when all my prayers are answered and everything is good. The kids are doing their homework in time, I don’t have to yell at them, and my wife loves me and work is going really good, and ministry is thriving. I love green pastures and I love still waters. God restores my soul.

But then he changes. He says, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Why did we have to go there? I love the green pastures, I love the still waters; Lord, restore my soul. Even though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death I shall not fear no evil because God is not there. You better be listen and say no to that because that’s not in the Word.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall not fear any evil because you are with me. You are present. He is present. He’s present. He’s present. It is so dark, there’s death everywhere, there’s dead bodies everywhere, there’s coronavirus everywhere, there’s lockdowns everywhere, there’s cancer everywhere, there’s divorce everywhere, there’s hurt everywhere, there’s loss everywhere, but God I shall fear no evil because you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me, because he knows the losses that I’m experiencing. He knows the hurts in my heart, so he brings his staff to comfort me.

He knows that I’m hurting. I’m feeling alone yes, there’s a bunch of people around me, but I feel alone, he is present with you even when it is so dark. You anoint my head with oil. I love the oil part because we heard this morning from Captain Caroline oil is…got to talk about this thing called the Holy Spirit. Amen? So yes, I’m going through these dark valleys. I understand that God is there, then he anoints my head with oil, he’s pouring his Holy Spirit upon me. And then Joel says in the last days, I shall pour out my spirit upon all flesh, upon your sons and your daughters, not just the guys, get their anointing, the sisters get their anointing as well. Open a little more juice there sisters. So God anoints with oil, not just the guys, but the girls as well, because we shall all prophesy that’s the promise of God. That’s what we talked about this morning.

Here’s my confession. It is scary sometimes to completely abandon ourselves to the work of God. I touched on it this morning, it’s completely scary to put aside my notes, my plan, type A personalities, my list. I’m not saying the list and the planning and the details do not matter, but all I’m saying is we have to be willing to lay aside and let the spirit of God work. It’s scary, we don’t know how it’s going to go, we don’t know how it’s going to end, we don’t know if God is going to call us to go hike in Africa, we get so freaked out, right? Because we don’t want God to tell us to do things we didn’t really want to do.

So one day I was like 13 years old, my brother comes back from some kind of church camp but different churches together. And he says to me and my twin brother, Hey, I want to pray for you, I’m going to lay hands on you. Hey, we are Salvation Army. I’m not sure if we do this laying hands on thing then, but he’s like super fired up. Yeah, it’s crazy. Let me pray for you. He puts his hands on us like, oh no, what’s going to happen now.

I was completely freaked out, but I didn’t say anything. I just went with it. Just went with it. But I think I got to a point I said, wow, what if God actually wants to do something through this guy here. He’s a little crazy, it’s a little different from what I’ve experienced, what I know, what is within my comfort zone—put his hands on me, my brother, my sister, my life has never been the same, not me, but the work that God has done in my life, first of all, and a couple things I’ve been able to do along the way.

Here’s the deal: we believe we are here this week for a reason, a spiritual renewal, a lot of healing has been happening, a lot of restoration has been happening, a lot of really difficult situations, a lot of us are coming from a lot of hope being injected. Here’s where I want you to step up in faith, I’m going to invite the worship team to come up. We’re going to sing this song, Holy Spirit, I want to invite you to this, sing this song, like a prayer.

We’re going to sing, we’ll sing, I think one verse, one chorus, and then we’re going to pray together. But as you sing this song, sing it like a prayer because I think it says something like, Holy Spirit, you are welcome here. So not just this space, which is awesome, but here is into your heart. I’m not saying you’re not spirit-filled, but say, God, you’re welcome in my heart, and my life.

Maybe he’s going to do something new, something different, something unscripted, which scares me, but what if this is the time to not be scared, what if this is the week to completely surrender to the spirit of God so that we can step into a new season where the power of God in our lives, in our churches, and our corps and our ministries and all the praises and glory will go to God. So if you can, please stand and sing this song as a prayer and then we’ll pray together.

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