Faith is a Journey, not a switch.
The old joke tells of a woman, racing into a grocery store. She urgently searches out the closest attendant available and pleads, “Do you have anything faster than instant?” I am sure any parent who needed to get children fed before an evening event is able to identify.
Even though it is so very important that you experience your own defining moment with God, we must always remember that a significant faith moment is the beginning of the faith journey. All of the struggle and stress that led to trusting Jesus ends in the decision to follow Christ. So a defining moment is the end of faithlessness and self sufficiency, but it is the beginning of faith.
Psalms 23:4 NLT Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
It will take time to grow in faith. There is much to discover. There are so many changes that Jesus will introduce along the way. Some will be very difficult. There will be days fraught with anxiety as we learn to let go of the things that are really hurting us. And, honestly, living as a stranger in this world is a journey relatively few have taken, but those who have would quickly testify that it is better to live where Jesus lives.
Psalms 119:105 NLT Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Always remember, the path may be arduous and even confusing at times but we are not without instruction. There is a manual for the pilgrimage. To set out on a journey of Faith without a well worn, often referenced Bible, would be a sure plan for disaster. Plan for Victory not disaster.
Faith is the Main Thing, not an accessory.
Romans 12:1 NLT And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Faith as an accessory to a very busy life will never work. Such an approach to your faith journey is just too stressful. And, frankly, it’s really just empty religion attempting to satisfy God because it’s primary purpose is selfish. The true concern of this lifestyle is that others think well of us or at least that they don’t think poorly of us.
This kind of faith journey leads to a lot of “starting” and “stopping”. People feel guilty that there are unmet needs, that there are so few to teach the children or that there are not enough helpers to keep ministries viable, so they add a little service onto their schedule. They serve for a while, but serving Jesus isn’t their priority. So, they get tired, stressed or take offense and then quit. But the needs don’t go away, children still need to be loved and taught and ministries still need help. The inconsistency of this kind of faith journey sends a clear and untruthful message about faith and about Jesus.
We must always remember that serving Jesus by serving others isn’t about us, it’s about Jesus. If we don’t have room in our lives to minister to others, we simply do not have room for Jesus either.
Matthew 25:40 NLT …‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Faith is a Marathon, not a sprint.
2 Timothy 4:7 NLT I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a great thing.”
— James Hudson Taylor
I have long been impressed by the power of the little things. The things that make me love our church are the little things. I love how John are Tammie Orr are fixtures around the Young at Heart center every Saturday and Sunday. Without them and their scores of helpers, there would be no neatly arranged chairs, no welcome table, no giving boxes, and no classrooms ready for teachers and students. I have watched as Allen and Patty Smith, Kelly and Jen Brandt, and Andrea Smith wade in the door of that center tired, half asleep, and at times deeply burdened but committed to making sure that every child encounters love and learns about Jesus. There are countless others who consistently, week after week and year after year, greet people, pray, listen, teach, help, laugh, and generally work at being Jesus to everyone they can.
I must confess, these are my heroes, the marathon runners. They aren’t in it because someone made them feel guilty. They may have been invited, and they may even take a break periodically, but they are in it because Jesus is their priority. And, people need Jesus.
Thank you all for your love for Christ. Thank you for serving Him. Thank you for demonstrating to our guests and community what it looks like to be changed by Jesus!