Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot about living by faith these days. I was reminded recently about what it says in both the Old and New Testaments: “the righteous will live by faith.” Paul also tells us that we walk by faith and not by sight. But that’s hard for us to do, isn’t it? For me especially because I like to know what is coming down the road. I would like to know what will be happening in the future now. But God doesn't show us the plan, until He feels we need to know. Perhaps it is because it allows us to rely more on Him. The Christian life involves living in dependence upon God. But what is faith? What are we supposed to be living in? I recently read that one way to view faith is this: “God-directed risk.” What a powerful definition of faith. Think about it, we are supposed to be living through God-directed risks in life. Living based on simple trust in God’s promises and unseen protection. Obeying the Spirit. It’s the risk of taking God at his word and finding God completely trustworthy. Now, I don’t know about you, but it’s easier for me to write that than to actually do it! But we are called to constantly live in this way. The question for us now is: are we living by that kind of biblical faith?
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Why is it so hard to follow The Great Commission? In reality, it really isn't that difficult. So why do we have a hard time with this one? It was the last thing Jesus told his disciples to do before he left, “Go into the world…” and that commandment lives on in our churches today. But it is so difficult sometimes. What if you knew that by simply walking across a room and saying hello to someone would change that person’s life forever? Would you do it? I remember as a kid going to a retreat called TEC (Teens Encounter Christ). I thought I had a good attitude about being a Christian, but really I had a “ho-hum” attitude about church and the “Jesus thing” at that point in my growing up. But I remember this leader at TEC, seeing me sitting on the floor as we gathered for personal reflection, getting up and walking over to me and talking with me. He even prayed with me. It changed the course of the weekend retreat, and ultimately helped lead me in my faith towards Christ. To this day I remember him and what he did. 10,000 steps. That’s roughly the distance we travel from sunrise to sunset each day. Are we using those steps wisely? If we knew those steps could change someone’s life for eternity- well we just might change the way we walk.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Psalms 31:24 says: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” As the church, God calls us to something bigger than ourselves, and there are times when we ponder: What if? But the “what ifs” we should be asking ourselves are: What if we stepped into all God has created us to be? What if we stepped into all that God has called us to be as the church? Look, risk is a given. I remember a line in the movie “Grumpy Old Men” that went, “The only regrets you have in life are the risks you don’t take.” There is a ring of truth in that. But we don’t like to take risks in church. We like to play it safe. Pursuing who God has called us to be is essential. Action is required. And here is one thing when taking risks that we can be guaranteed of, we will be tested. And it’s at that point, at the point of being tested, when we all too often begin to count the costs, decide they are too high and retreat or don’t do it. We become sidetracked by legitimate fears and our vision looses momentum. Fear overtakes faith and we give up, resisting the unknown and never knowing what we will have sacrificed on the other side. But Scripture calls us to push through and overcome our fears. Our faith must prevail over our fear if we expect kingdom change to take place. David told Solomon, his son, in 1 Chronicles 28:20, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.” We know we’ve been granted undeserved influence in our communities, and we must now lead the church forward. What if we fully embraced the life to which we’ve been called in ministry? What if we broke free from our fears and stepped into all we were created and called to be? I have no doubt that if we did, He will use us to change the world.