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Archive for April, 2011

“Many years ago,” the story goes, “a man named Blonden strung a tightrope across Niagara Falls, and proceeded to traverse the raging waters.  A crowd gathered as he successfully made his way back to his starting place.

Who here believes I can cross over Niagara Falls again, but this time pushing a wheelbarrow?

The exhilarated crowd began shouting, “We believe, we believe!”  And sure enough, Blonden steered that wheelbarrow successfully across The Falls and back, to the riotous applause of the onlookers!

Who here believes I can cross over Niagara Falls a 3rd time, but this time with a man in the wheelbarrow?

The crowd could barely control their enthusiasm, so spectacular were the achievements of this death-defying tightrope-ist.  “We believe!  We believe!” they shouted, all the louder.

Blonden replied, “Ok, then who will be my first volunteer in the wheelbarrow?

Silence.

Faith is getting in the wheelbarrow, not just screaming, “I believe!

When was the last time you were in “God’s Wheelbarrow?”  Perhaps today should be that day?  I know I’m in God’s wheelbarrow right now, as we trust Him with our future.  Care to join me?

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Faith

Faith is a funny word.  It’s one of those religious words like grace or saved that has a definite meaning, but can seem elusive to define on a pop quiz.  Yet, it ought to be the easiest thing in the world to state clearly.  After all, faith is the only certain means to gain right standing with God!  (Romans 5:1).  It is the only certain way to please God!  (Hebrews 11:6).  Surely something this important can be easily defined.

Hebrews 11:1 actually does define it: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Ok, but even that seems a tad abstract to a Concrete-ist like me (I think I just made up a word: concrete-ist).

So, without further ado, let me offer up synonyms for Faith that make sense to me.  Call me Roget, ’cause here goes:

  • Faith = Taking God at His Word.   If God has said it clearly in His Word, then don’t run the risk of calling God a liar.  Call it what He calls it.  That’s faith.  So, for example, when God says that I was “bought at a price” in 1 Corinthians 6:20, He means that the price was the blood of His dearly loved Son, Jesus.  And perhaps I’m feeling a tad unvaluable or worthless one day.  The solution:  Take God at His Word, that I am of supreme value to Him … so much that He was willing to pay the highest price imaginable (His Son’s Blood) to purchase me to be His own.  When I “take God at His Word” in this way,  I exercise Faith (often as an assault upon my misguided feelings) and honor Him.  A win-win.  I am supremely valuable, because God says so and proved it via His Son’s death for me.
  • Faith = Risk.  Under my current pen-name Roget, I declare these 2 words to be synonymous.  They are.  When I risk something to follow/obey God, I am exercising faith.  Where there is no risk-taking, there is no faith.  That should be a troubling thought.
  • Faith = Action Verb.  It’s funny how Christendom has turned the word “Faith” into a noun… as in, The Christian Faith. I think this is dangerous, for it shields us from the raucous, vulgar, untidy reality that Faith is not a list of beliefs, but an action verb that messes with life.   So, in Hebrews 11, take a look at all of the verbs that describe the great “Men of Faith.”  Each begins with the phrase “By faith, So-and-So did …”   Some classic examples of action verbs:
  1. By faith Noah built an ark
  2. By faith Abraham left his hometown…
  3. By faith Abraham offered up Isaac…
  4. By faith the people walked through the Red Sea…
  5. By faith the people marched around Jericho’s walls for 7 days…

Faith is an action verb.  No action, no faith.

Finally, you may be wondering what prompts my thoughts on faith.  It’s simple.  God has made it clear to me that I am in a period of Transition in ministry, which will require me to Risk, To Take Action, To Walk By FAITH.  And so I do, today.   I walk by faith, like Abraham, leaving the known & secure of JMU collegiate ministry, to…. well, that’s the point.  I don’t know the “to.”   I only know that I’m supposed to leave.  So I leave.  It’s crazy, it’s sane, it’s scary, it’s exhilarating… it demands trust in what God has promised me.

I trust Him.  He will make the way clear, eventually, as I walk with Him… by Faith.

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