Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bold and Untamed Faith

Today, it was Mike Gerber’s turn to preach. We’re taking a break from the “House” series; but will be coming back to it in a couple weeks. (Oh the suspense!! LOL I’ve been enjoying the “House” series so much!!) And, as I mentioned before, you can now listen to our church sermons online or on your ipod by going to our church's website.

The topic for today’s message was “The Call of Christ…An Untamed Faith.” I liked the title. It’s such a perfect thing to talk about, because as a follower of Christ, we are ALL called. And it’s not to be the “butt” of the church either - like I wrote about last week. We aren’t just supposed to sit around. Our faith needs to be an active faith; not a passive one.

Mike said that nowadays, the Christian faith has become so tame and domesticated. We seem to have simmered down our enthusiasm for Christ and have lost sight of Him; our first love. We spend so much time building our own kingdoms and pursuing our own goals; even if within those ambitions, it has to do with Christ. For example, he talked about how even on Christian television there is just so much “marketing.” It’s true. There is a lot of marketing of “this” Christian book or “that” Christian book or whatever else they are trying to promote. Sometimes, in all the hype, we lose our perspective.

That is why we are supposed to set our sights on Jesus. We need to take up our cross; not just wear it around our necks. Sure, display your faith. Wear a cross necklace or put a bumper sticker on your car. Nothing wrong with that. The point is, however, that real faith is more than just image; it’s action. Don’t just “wear“ the cross; CARRY IT!

Mike also talked about how everyone’s mission and path in life is different. Some people are meant to be like James Dobson and have a big ministry like that. Others, like me, just have a smaller “ministry” where I only touch a few people who happen to read things that I write. That’s ok. We all have different gifts and different measures of them - and we don‘t know how much we are truly impacting people in GIGANTIC ways just by doing simple things! All we have to do is USE what we have been given and we need not be like Peter and say, “What about HIM?” Jesus says, “What’s that to you?” Don’t worry about everyone else and THEIR mission in life. Just be responsible for your own! You’re not somebody else, you are YOU!! Do the part that was meant for YOU; not someone else’s part. YOUR IMPACT MATTERS!

Another valid point that was brought up is that faith isn’t timid and safe. Faith, REAL FAITH, is risky and even dangerous. Even as I speak, there is probably a Christian somewhere in the world who is being tortured for their faith. Faith isn’t safe. Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean that we are spared from pain and suffering. Jesus wasn’t spared. He had trouble and so do we. However, we have the assurance that those troubles will make us stronger and that the end result is worth it. If Jesus hadn’t suffered, none of us would have salvation! Trouble, persecution, and suffering makes us stronger; and we aren’t always rescued from it right away - or at all, in some cases. Sometimes, we do have to suffer a little while before we get the healing that we need. Other times, we don’t get the healing that we want. “But that’s not fair!” You’re right. It’s not. You know it and I know it (boy, you have no idea how much I know that and have said that - even lately! LOL) So, remember this phrase that Kent always says: “Life isn’t fair….people are weird…..love is the bottom line.” There is going to be a lot of “unfairness” in your life. There is also going to be a lot of weird and even awful people that seem to have better lives than you. But, what is that to you? It’s all in God’s plan and will work out for good (Romans 8:28).

Love IS the bottom line!! It all comes back to LOVE! Even if we can’t see it; it’s there. You can even see it in the examples of people’s lives in the Bible. Job lost everything. He suffered a great deal. But, God restored Him. God lets us grow through our troubles to give us purpose and to save us from the dullness and meaninglessness of life. All sunshine and roses ends up being pretty empty - just look at Solomon. You can have EVERYTHING and STILL have NOTHING!!

Even in the cases where people didn’t get healing in their lives, it still worked out for good. Mike illustrated that by talking about John the Baptist’s experience in prison. He was pretty much just waiting for his last hour to be up and he was having doubts about who Jesus was. I’m sure he wondered if Jesus even cared and hoped that maybe, He would save him and get him out of there. But, Jesus didn’t do that. Why? I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but God always has His reasons. We all have a certain amount of time on this earth and then, we leave and go home (well, assuming that our souls are right with God we go “home”). The time for John was obviously over and God wanted him “home.” So, in a way, he was spared; spared from more pain and torture on earth and given his full reward in the paradise of heaven where he would no longer have to worry about the troubles and perils of earth. So, he was ultimately “spared” and saved.

The message ended with a song by Clay Crosse. It’s a beautiful song called, “I Surrender All.” It has been a while since I have heard it. Wow! Those lyrics are so deeply powerful!! They really resonated with me! So, I have included the lyrics below as well as this link to the youtube video. May God bless your heart as much as He has blessed mine!! God only knows how much I needed this message today!! Here’s to hoping that all of our hearts are surrendered so we can have a live out loud kind of faith that is bold and untamed!

I Surrender All
By Clay Crosse

I have wrestled in the darkness of this lonely pilgrim land Raising strong and mighty fortresses that I alone command But these castles I've constructed by the strength of my own hand Are just temporary kingdoms on foundations made of sand In the middle of the battle I believe I've finally found I'll never know the thrill of victory 'til I'm willing to lay down All my weapons of defense and earthly strategies of war So I'm laying down my arms and running helplessly to Yours

Chorus:

I surrender all my silent hopes and dreams Though the price to follow costs me everything I surrender all my human soul desires If sacrifice requires That all my kingdoms fall I surrender all

If the source of my ambition is the treasure I obtain If I measure my successes on a scale of earthly gain If the focus of my vision is the status I attain My accomplishments are worthless and my efforts are in vain So I lay aside these trophies to pursue a higher crown And should You choose somehow to use the life I willingly lay down I surrender all the triumph for it's only by Your grace I relinquish all the glory, I surrender all the praise

Bridge:

Everything I am, all I've done, and all I've known Now belongs to You, the life I live is not my own Just as Abraham laid Isaac on the sacrificial fire If all I have is all that You desire I surrender all

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