Living and Giving the gospel
Our faith, at it's essence is something that we share.
When we truly love people and when we truly believe what we say we believe. Sharing our faith becomes not an optional piece to our faith but a core part of it.
We have homework. Sam did something cool with it at his job, welcome him up to share w/us.
I want to talk about the idea of courage
Jack @ Hermit Lakes So my parents have a dog, he's a large weiner dog, named Jack who we all really love. Well years ago my grandparents had this cabin in Colorado that the family would sometimes go to. It was in this secluded valley surrounded by these mountains, it was really beautiful. Well one year we took dog the wiener dog Jack up with us. And I was expecting his to roam the fields and chase after birds, and jump into the lakes and have the time of his life. Well that didn't happen. See, jack was afraid that we were gonna leave without him, that's our guess, so when we'd go on all these adventures, he'd just sit by the door and do nothing. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world and he misses it because he just stays by the door.
Fear kept - on porch / Big life.
And for so many people, fear ends up keeping them on the porch. From living a big life. This isn't a new challenge:
Heard - this week - scared. -- Courage. I've heard from a lot of people during this series that even though we've worked really hard to be practical on how to share their faith, they're scared to. To which I say "Absolutely! So am I! That's what courage is for." Courage is the ability to do something that scares you.
One thing we see if the Bible is that following God is something that requires courage.
The Christian faith is not something that produces a safe, boring, predictable life. The Christian faith involves getting out of your comfort zone, facing your fear, burning the ships, taking a leap of faith.
There's a story in Genesis 12 that I recently re-read and it really meany a lot to me that I want to just briefly share.
This isn't a new challenge. In Genesis chapter 12 we read about the initial forming of the people of God. Center around the patriarch of our faith - Abraham and his wife Sarah (Abram and Sarai)
Genesis 11 ends with the fact that Abraham and Sarah barron and unable to have children. This isn't some sort of judgement on them by God, this is simply a matter of being old. Abraham is 75 years old. / Sarai 65
And then in Genesis 12, the story shifts and a story about barrenness becomes a story about new life and resurrection.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (Genesis 12:1)
Amazing, the only instruction god gives is "Go". Leave your country, leave your fathers household.
No GPS There is no clear destination, there is no GPS, there is no map, there is no 'Turn left at the dairy queen.' - It's just "go". Doesn't tell him how to get there, he just simply says 'Go'.
Very common - The Bible - that is filled page after page after page with people who are taking these exact kind of steps of faith.
Where they don't have all the answers, where they don't have everything all figured out. They just know the word from the Lord is 'go', so they go.
Abraham's response to this big, vague, open-ended invitation of God is 'Yes'. Abraham says yes to God.
Paul tells us in Romans 4, that's the only noble thing Abraham does.
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? (Romans 4:1)
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. (Romans 4:2)
What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)
Abraham wasn't the holiest person that ever lived, he wasn't the strongest, or the bravest, or the most full of faith. But when God said 'Pack up and go' he says 'Yes'. That's why he's listed in our NT as this hero of the faith. Not because he was some brilliant thinker, or the most moral man or anything like that, it's simply that he says 'Yes'.
Following God is risky. - Which is why you need faith. When everything is safe and comfortable, you don't NEED faith.
It's not faith until there's risk.
I don't want to be too basic here: But faith is believing things you can't see. Never think that following Jesus will result in a safe life. Following Jesus is always going to require trust.
Anne Lamott - "Help / Thanks / Wow" Anne Lamott who's a really interesting author she says that she believes all prayer boils down to one of those 3 words: "Help Thanks Wow" And I really like those words, I think that's brilliant. If I'd just be able to add one more word to the list it would be this prayer: "Yes" So much of prayer is learning to say yes to God.
We find the courage to share our faith when we remember that Jesus is already pursuing every person.
So we understand that we're not "bringing" God to someone. God has already been there, interacting with them.
Everyone on the planet has a history with God. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians. There are people in the church that are saying 'I am a Paul guy.' And others who saying 'I prefer Apollos' - which was another preacher if you will. And Paul is not a fan of this kind of thinking.
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (1 Corinthians 3:3)
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? (1 Corinthians 3:4)
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (1 Corinthians 3:5)
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
(He saying: I can share the gospel with someone, but only God can actually turn that into something)
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. (1 Corinthians 3:8)
For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. (1 Corinthians 3:10)
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11)
We as Christians, are unable to lay the foundation for faith, only God can. And believe it or not, that's an encouragement. That God is always at work turning people's hearts towards himself. And when we come along, we're just adding to a conversation that's already taking place between them and God.
(God) wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)
This is not just God's heart, it's also his mission.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Not our mission - HIS mission. So bringing people into relationship with God isn't our mission, it's HIS mission. So we're not asking God to help us with what we're trying to do, sharing our faith is us getting on board with what he's doing. And that completely changes the feel of sharing our faith. Because I'm not initiating something, I'm adding to something that has already been initiated.
And so what we're going to do for the rest of our time tonight is we're going to pray. I've asked some people to come and lead us in prayer. Specifically for those right opportunities. That we're not just firehosing everyone down with the gospel message, but we're believing that God will provide us with the right opportunities.
And we're also going to pray for receptivity in peoples hearts. So when we go out and share our faith, that people's hearts will be open, and soft, and receptive.
And then lastly, Gail is going to come up and we're going to pray for all the people who have been put on our prayer wall, so these are people who are far from God for whatever reason. You were given one of the names as you came in, and you're going to have the opportunity to specifically pray for that person.
So first off, I'd like to welcome up wonderful Bobette to lead us in prayer.