Pastor’s Garage February 23, 2023

I’ve been reading Abraham’s story recently and have been fascinated by the
faith he had. In Genesis 12 God basically told him to get up and go to the
land he *WILL *show him. The destination was not clear. As the story of the
bible unfolds, we learn that the faith of Abraham was what saved him and he
is commended for it in Hebrews 11. Later on in Genesis 22 Abraham was told
to sacrifice his son (a son by the way that was no small miracle!) and as
they are climbing the mountain his son asks him about where the lamb is for
the sacrifice that they are obviously prepared to carry out. Abraham’s
faith arises and he says something like, “Don’t worry son, the Lord will
provide.” And as we know God honors Abraham’s faith and he provides.

Now Abraham is not the only example in scripture, but I believe the
faith that God wants us to have is this kind of faith. The zero hour faith.
The step off of the cliff faith. The all in faith. The faith that says yes
without the destination being clear. The faith before the answer. The faith
that leaves nowhere else to turn. The faith that takes us into discomfort,
danger and risk

Paul told Timothy to train to be Godly in 1 Timothy 4:7. Paul likens
training in Godliness to physical training. The only way to get stronger,
faster or to have greater endurance is to push yourself to the edge of what
you can currently do… and then push a little more. This makes sense for
physical training, but rarely do we think of training to be Godly like
this. To increase your strength in say the bench press, you keep adding
more weight to the bar and pushing yourself harder and harder. But how do
we do this spiritually? How do we grow our faith? How do we train? I think
there are two parts.

First we need to listen for God’s voice. In both instances mentioned above
it says that Abraham listened to God or heard God. We need to be in a place
where we can hear God’s voice through the word, through prophecy, through
the still small voice, from a trusted friend, our conscience etc… For
most of us we probably just need to stop and listen for more than 5 seconds
because we are too busy and distracted… Meanwhile God has been screaming
at us! And this could mean many things. It could mean holding strong in the
face of adversity, trials or sickness instead of walking in fear or
avoidance. It could mean a change in career or where we live. It could mean
a call to missions or to reach out to a neighbor. It could mean walking in
greater purity or being willing to sacrifice something we love. It could
mean giving generously. It could mean many things. But very likely God has
something for each of us! The important point here is to hear God’s voice –
don’t just go and do something crazy!

Secondly, once we have heard, we need to step out in faith and obey. It
will likely not be easy. It will be hard and it will require our faith to
rise up! But I don’t think there is any way for our faith to grow or to be
made real unless we face things that require faith. The test of our faith
produces something beautiful (Romans 5:3–5; James 1:2–4; 2 Peter 1:3–9) and
one of those things is more faith and a stronger walk with God.

I want to live my life as a pastor and as a father that models an
adventurous life of faith for my kids and for the people I have the
privilege of pastoring. I think many of you would have similar feelings.
What do you want your kids and grandkids to see when they see you? Someone
who lived the safest life possible or someone who chose to follow God at
any cost? Where might your faith take you?

In his book “The Comfort Crisis,” Michael Easter says this, “Most people
today rarely step outside their comfort zones. We are living progressively
sheltered, sterile, temperature-controlled, overfed, underchallenged,
safety-netted lives,. And it’s limiting the degree to which we experience
our ‘one wild and precious life’… But a radical new body of evidence
shows that people are at their best… after experiencing discomforts.”

He is not a Christian author. It is not a Christian book. However, I think
it reveals and affirms that we were not made for comfort and ease. We long
for challenge and danger and risk. This is the way God made us and we are
at our best when we walk into discomfort and into the regions of faith.
Where might you need to go or what might you need to do so that no-one but
God could make it happen? Where faith might be the only thing you are
standing on?

Do you need to give generously to the church?
Do you need to make amends with someone?
Is God calling you to missions? To a career change?
Is God calling you to be more disciplined?
Is God calling you to give something up?
To do something that doesn’t make sense?
What is God asking you to do? Maybe you need to listen for a bit?


Pastor Dave