Summary: This sermon deals with how faith helps us on the journey through uncharted waters of accepting new challenges in Christ.
Accepting the Challenge
Last week I shared with you a challenge for the coming years here. A challenge that I believe God has called us to. Let me share it with you again. It¡¦s a challenge to become relevant in the lives of people who do not know Christ. Here are some specifics.
„Y Reach 75 people this year ¡V men women and children led to Christ.
„Y Increase our worship attendance to 300 in two services over the next two years ¡V while not cannibalizing other churches but reaching unchurched and unsaved people for Christ.
„Y Raise 500,000 dollars through our capital campaign over the next 3 years to build our Family Life Center as a tool for reaching unreached people in our community.
„Y At the same time increase our annual giving to missions to a tithe of our annual income. That means 10% of our tithes and offerings going outside these walls to missions here and around the world.
We talked last week about the sacrifice and commitment that would take us to these goals but I realized that for most of us to accept that challenge would mean a real change in our lives. You see we cannot reach those goals unless we are all in on the process. I have already challenged my staff and will be challenging out elders and coordinators to come up with specific objectives that help us reach those goals. I am challenging you to help us reach those goals. Here¡¦s the reality though for almost all of us ¡V reaching these goals will cause us to truly enter into uncharted waters of faith in our lives.
For courage in the face of uncharted waters - Turn with me to Hebrew 11:1-16
1) We need faith for the journey. Noah had never experienced a flood. Abraham had never left home. Sarah had never conceived a child. None of these men and women who were used greatly in the plans of God had ever done these things before. They were stepping into uncharted waters. The definition of faith is ¡§the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.¡¨ How can we have an assurance of these things we hope for? How can we have faith for the journey on which we now embark? Some would say you can¡¦t raise that kind of money in a rural community like ours. Some would say that you can¡¦t reach 150 new attenders in 2 years in a small community, some would say that you can¡¦t possibly reach 75 unsaved folks in 365 days ¡V I say they¡¦re right ¡V we can¡¦t. But God can. You see I am asking you to step out on faith ¡V believe that you can accomplish great things because God says you can. We can have an assurance and a conviction because God has given us promises. We are given the promise that if this is God¡¦s vision ¡V He will bring it to pass ¡V if we are only faithful to do our part. Here are some promises you can take to the bank.
„Y Mathew 19:26 ¡§Jesus looked at them and said, ¡§With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.¡¨
„Y Phil 4:13 ¡§I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.¡¨
„Y Eph 3: 20 ¡§Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations¡¨
We set out on this adventure of faith - with only the promise of Gods provision in our weakness and a conviction that - If God could speak through Baalim¡¦s Donkey, and the Rooster¡¦s Crow for Peter. He can certainly speak through us.
If He could use a murderer, a thief, and a fisherman as preachers - He can use us.
These hero¡¦s of our faith launched out on a lifes journey with only a promise from God. We are setting out on a 3 year journey with the promises of God to bring us through.
2) We need faith to face opposition. A man named Plautus in 100 BC or so said and it still holds true ¡§Where there are sheep, the wolves are never very far away.¡¨ Noah faced the unrelenting scorn of his neighbors. Abraham it says v 9 ¡§by faith lived as an alien in the land.¡¨ He had no home he lived as a nomad always with the pressure of his neighbors. Sarah faced the scorn of even her own maidservants. Keep reading and you will find stories of Jacob, Joseph, Moses and others who faced amazing obstacles in their journey but faced them with the courage of faith. We face fear and obstacles as we make this journey together.