Top Soil and the Burning Bush

Moses met the Lord at the burning bush. He was a fugitive, a wanderer. Wanderers have no anchor for problems. Moses learned to worship and understand his end and the purpose of God for himself and for God’s people, for all people. (Exodus 3:1-10; Proverbs 21:16; Luke 22:37)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11538
11:00 AM on 9/9/2018



 P. Schaller

Praise God. Great to be in the house of God this morning. Did you come by kayak, canoe, raft, life preserver? It’s raining out. I’m so happy to be here. Is Melvin here? He’s usually in the evening. Some of you have gone through the Footsteps program so we have a Bible to give to you. It doesn’t mean it’s over and we never see you again. You get the Bible to keep coming back and studying your Bible. This is not the end. This is the beginning. It’s the end of the Footsteps but then you go to the 8th and 9th and 10th. Keep going and walking. Then the offering and the message.

The message is about Worship. It’s going to be an awesome message. We had it at 9:00 and it was so good. We are in the city of Baltimore. This is a great place to live. I love living here. I’ve lived in 4 countries and this is a great place for me and my family. Sometimes people get in trouble living here. Turn to your neighbor and ask them. Ever get in trouble in Baltimore? What kind of trouble? Spiritual trouble. Legal trouble. Talking from experience over there! I could get in trouble wandering. That’s a key word in our message. I feel it will speak to us and help us and bless us.

Then we will end our service with a prayer and have the pastor come down to the floor and you’re free to come down and have prayer or a word of love or encouragement. A pastor can put his hand on you and pray for you.

Ex. 3, A couple days ago, I had a message for the family because we are back to school, working. I asked Scott to get the door for me for a prop. Then when I got here, I changed my message, so the door goes to the side. We probably won’t use it.

Ex. 3:1, we are in God’s presence today and we need him. We are here. May your anointing manifest your Son to our hearts. We need a message, more than just Bible teaching. We need a message more than knowledge. We need a message from your Holy Spirit. We come hungry. We come whatever. We are here. For the internet audience, to visit them in their homes and minister in our heats. We have come and want to hear from you.

Ex. 3:1-2, he saw a burning bush but not like what he had seen before in the desert. It catches fire and burns and is consumed. This was different. One of our brothers here was scuba diving for an oil rig in the North Sea, P. Dan Sirgione. He told me this story. Hard hat with the screws. You are water tight. He’s down 300 feet under water in the North Sea welding and doing work. He told me a little fish swam up to his helmet, the glass face. And a little, yellow fish swam to him and went back and forth and said, good morning! Then he swam away. I don’t know how you figure your life out but I want to say sometimes things happen and you may have a sense this is different. There is something about this burning bush. It’s not consumed. In this case in his story, he considered that fish to be a messenger from God saying, good morning! I don’t personally live seeing everything around me that way but some people their life has no mystery in it. Their life is regular, mundane, the same. No God. Blessed are the pure in heart. They shall see God.

First word is 1) Wander. People wandering. Prov. 21:16, Have you ever been a wanderer? I have. I remember as a teenager, I’d wander into a party and wander out. I’d wander home. I’d go to the library. I’d wander around the library. Friday wander. Monday morning I’d go to school. I’d play sports. I was on teams but in my heart I was a wanderer. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. Yes, I went to school. Yes, I had jobs. Yes, I’m in a family but you can be a wanderer. After Moses killed a man in Egypt ad became a fugitive, he ran away and was 40 years in the wilderness. I believe he was a wanderer there. I was a prince in Egypt. I was maybe going to become Pharaoh but now I have nothing here. What is your purpose, Moses? I don’t have one. Luke 22:37, Jesus said this and it’s powerful.

The fourth word in our message. He said the things concerning me have an end. 4) End. [He’s not doing them in order.] It doesn’t mean end of time. It means the things concerning me have a purpose. I have a goal. I am on a mission. The things concerning me like to you people Jesus could say in Israel in Jer 14:10. My people love to wander. I wonder as I saw the tennis yesterday, part of the match, women’s championship and I watched it and thought about it and people. I love thinking about people and also a lot of emotion and feelings and so on. How easy it is when I’m a wanderer not to have an anchor when I have problems. Not to have a place to be where I can say I will not be moved. I have something going on in my life from God in my heart. I say this about Moses.

That in Exodus 3:2 when he turned aside to look at the burning bush, he had not seen that before. The bush was not consumed. How could it be on fire and not consumed? We are people that have fire but it isn’t destroying us. Our fire is the presence of God in our lives. Our fire has a goal, a direction.

We are baptized with fire in Mt. 3. I baptize you with water but another coming after me will baptize you with fire.

Our God is a consuming fire, Heb 12:28. God talked to him because it was first the burning and Moses made an effort to look and it was then that God spoke. It’s similar today. When we notice something, when we look, then God speaks.

Ex. 3:3 Foxes Book of Martyrs is a history of martyrs of the Christian church. Some of them are gruesome murders. Drownings, burnings at the stake…the spiritual message and the message of the martyr. Sometimes before dying they would proclaim Christ and some not feeling any pain from fire. They would be burned and not burned. I recommend the book to you as a believer. I’m fascinating by the burning bush. I want to see the church on fire. I’d like to see God. I want to go back to the wandering point.

Jer. 14:10, they loved to wander. I go to the airport a lot. I travel as you know. In some weeks, I go to Hungary and then the Paris conference and back. Four weeks later, I go to Israel with the church. There is a group of us signed up a year ago. How many of these people I wonder are wandering at airports. I travel for work or to see a friend but in the whole nature of life, I think we are wanderers. We are. I heard of another rapper that died, 26 year old young man singing rap music about sex and drugs and suicide and the devil. Okay. Really? Is that the message? That’s the message. Sometimes that’s all people know. That’s all there is. The wandering lust, wandering spirit. The rich people do it. They go from one house in Colorado to another in New Mexico to another in Hawaii. People live in China and then in Europe and back home. We do it locally from a movie theater to a restaurant. My people love to wander and they love to have it so. When this happens to Moses and he looked at a burning bush, something big happened. At the burning bush was holy ground. Holy ground. Worship. Worship happened at the burning bush. God said to Moses, take your shoes off. Thank you very much. I’m gone. I’m out of here. I go buy a car. I go on vacation. I am running away from God. I am running away from holy ground, from a calling, from being rooted and grounded, from the reality of God’s mind.

You see what happens to us is the Holy Spirit gets ahold of your heart and then your mind. Your heart and your mind. Now your mind is fascinated with God. You start to talk about God quietly in devotional and reverential tones. You start to read booklets about God. Doctrine booklets, hearing messages. You start to talk to people and listen to others as they in a sacred, reverential way are speaking about J.C. with honor. Let’s call it top soil. 1). Wander. 2) Top soil. Dirt. 4) End/purpose. I pulled into my driveway and there was a chipmunk smashed in the driveway flat, perfectly. My son or me or my wife drove perfectly over that chipmunk! I looked at him. Flies were there. I got a shovel, dug a hole, scooped it up, buried him and had a moment of silence! That chipmunk returned to the earth, the top soil. With all the bacteria and decaying leaves and earth worms and everything that makes top soil awesome stuff. Top soil is like your life. Death, broken hearts, lost money, lost friends, resurrection life, future, nutrition. We went deep sea fishing off the coast of Maryland and the navigator said about 30 miles from shore are underground hills. That’s where the tuna fish are. Nutrition, food, life. Death in the sea and the cycles. Your life and there are some precious people who come to this church and they lost a son on the streets of Baltimore. They lost a child. I can’t imagine that. Top soil. Lost a job. Maybe gained a great job, has a future, bought a house, got married. Beautiful life. Top soil. This church has top soil. Your life. And we like it. God likes it; we like it. Moses has top soil. Moses was a prince in Egypt and now a fugitive in Egypt. Broken heart, Moses? Yeah. Have you lost your people? Yeah, they are slaves in Egypt. Top soil. Real pain, real trouble, real difficulty, real life. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Everyone in this room you are not ordained of God to wander. You are ordained of God to have a seed planted in your top soil. For God to be with you in your heart break and life.

God has called you to be a worshiper. 3) Worship. You take your world and get respectful before God. Not selfish and arrogant. Not proud and cocky and say this should not have happened to me. This is dead wrong. I am angry with God. We knocked on a door and two brothers went to a door and a man was ripping angry at God because 13 days ago his wife died. He was ripping angry at God, and he said so. What’s wrong with that? I can understand. Yes, I’m angry but you and me, come on. We cannot let these things happen in our top soil to destroy our lives. We have to look for something greater than our pain, tears, trouble. We have to realize chipmunks die and wives die and people die. Where is it written no one is to die? That’s in the top soil, the framework of God’s reality. I’m sorry about it. An Almighty God says, Moses. You listen to me. I am God and you are not. If you hear from me, your life will have a purpose. You won’t even believe what I will do. Only an arrogant person wandering from one thing to another who is not somehow drawn and understanding you are not in charge of your life. You got top soil. Period. And a lot of crap in there. Cow manure in your top soil. A lot of stuff there we don’t care so much about. It is what it is. The Almighty God of heaven and earth has visited us. We should get real low and say thank you. Plant your seed in me. Teach me how to think. You know what happened to Moses. He got real humble and respected and took his shoes off and got connected with the most important thing in reality. The Lord said I’m going to send you back to Egypt. Moses had his struggle. Five times he said no, I don’t want to go. I can’t speak. The fifth time God got angry with Moses. Knock it off. When we become worshippers, we are drawn into something transcendental. We inhabit eternity. We are in his presence. That presence is beautiful. My wife and I, our last son is gone out of the house and we are alone together. First time. Empty nesters. We are learning how to live and get along together. I have my study in the back room of the house. When I came out to say hello to her, she said you’ve been in there six hours. I didn’t know that, but it’s awesome. I love it. I’m praying. I’m reading this book. I’m memorizing verses in the presence of God. I love it more than anything. It’s an honor. We’re not anything. Forgive me for me as an illustration. I have to say you are. You are. You are top soil with Jesus Christ planted and recognize this is the goal. All the time with Jesus on the earth. One of the fascinating things about Jesus with people he would be teaching and talking and he’d bring them forward. This is where we are going. This is what will happen. He was never lost or wandering. At the last supper, this is where I’m going and you will be following me and I’ll prepare a place for you. Follow me. I’m not wandering. If you are wandering in your life, I want to help you and encourage you. It’s a joy when you don’t wander anymore. I wandered into the party, the event, the movie theater, a relationship. I got in a relationship I wish I never did. I wandered into it. When Moses got his feet under him with God.

Ex 3:7, I want to add there I know their sorrow. The Jews in Egypt, I know their sorrow but I got you, Moses. I got a direction for you. You’re the guy. You’re my man. We are sitting here thinking I’m not a Moses. I’m not a great person. I know. None of us are. We have Christ. We should be boasting and solemnly worshipping. We can say my life has something going on. I am top soil but the seed of God and reality of his words and communion words are leading me into this calling and purpose he has in raising a family. Jesus please plant seeds in my family. Having a business, Jesus make it what you want it to be. Show me leadership and guide me in wisdom. Maybe my company has a little influence but a very good one because it has an end or goal or purpose of glorifying God.

Ex 3:9-10. I will send you unto Pharaoh. What? Really? You will send me to Pharaoh? That can be said many ways. I will send you to Glen Burnie. There I have a plan for you. I have an appointment for you and this young lady. She is the one for you. I am God. I have a young lady for you to be your wife and have a family. You’re not wanderers. I didn’t make you to wander and try to find your own way. I’m a Good Shepherd.

My sheep wander on the hills in Ezek. 36:8. You fall away from God and it becomes some routine. You need to find a burning bush somewhere. You feel the life of God and the plantings of the Lord are in my heart. I have a purpose. I believe you, God. I was on my own going to go where the sun was shining. I’d rather be rooted and grounded in you God. I’ve already done it my way. I want to do it your way. Find your way and follow you. Sometimes it’s what we don’t want to hear. I will send you to talk to Pharaoh. If you go Moses, millions will come out and you’ll be on the other side of the Red Sea worshipping God who did it. He brought you out. I love it when I don’t have it my way. I can bring all my things before a living God. I’m not living in my lust or own way. I have to be very reverential before God in every area of my life. I could be seduced and deceived and blame God and the church and everyone for my lousy top soil. We love your top soil. Stay here and hear what God has to say to you. There will be a harvest one day. All that rich nutrition in the soil brings forth this great fruit of God. Man in his wanderings doesn’t do it. A woman that is following me is bearing fruit and glorifying me.


Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.



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