Summary: We can look at the spiritual heroes of the past and view them as neat and tidy people free from doubt and discouragement who have lived untarnished lives. These cartoon caricatures could not be further from the truth.

Messy Spirituality

“Faith in Darkness”

By Pastor Mark McNees

This message was originally given at Element3 Church in Tallahassee FL. To download this message’s corresponding PowerPoint, audio, and artistic elements for free please visit

We are in the second week of a seven week series called Messy Spirituality. What we’re doing is we’re going through Hebrews 11 which is God’s hall of faith or hall of fame. There are fifteen individuals in Hebrews 11, and we’re looking at their stories and discovering that their pathway, becoming part of the hall of fame, wasn’t always simple and it wasn’t always easy. Some would say it was quite messy, this journey. And we’re looking at their stories and seeing how our stories intersect and how we can be as people, encouraged as we go closer to the heart and mind of God.

Lots of different TV shows, and a lot of times we like to connect with those different kinds of TV shows. One show that I’ve really gotten into is a show called Vanish. I don’t know if you know what that is. Basically it’s about this senator, and his family and his wife just vanish. All these people are looking for this senator’s wife and nobody knows all the mysteries and all the things around him and all the different clues, and all these different kind of things. And I was thinking about that as we were continuing in Hebrews 11. It’s actually the next person that we’re going to be looking at, about a guy who vanished. I don’t think they made a TV show about him, but his name is Enoch. And let me just read for you about Enoch. It says in Hebrews 11:5, “It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying--suddenly he disappeared because God took him. But before he was taken up, he was approved as pleasing to God. So you see it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” And it was kind of interesting as I was looking at this, at Enoch. I wanted to know a little bit more about him. So I started studying more and there just really wasn’t a whole lot about Enoch in our bible. But there are some Jewish traditions and stories about him. And just looking at the time period when Enoch walked the planet it was kind of interesting. He walked the planet in a very dark time of earth. Earth was covered with violence and people being sexually perverse. There were wars and theft and lying, and all these kinds of things. And I know for us in the 21st century it’s kind of hard to relate to a world like that, but we’re going to have to do our best to do that. It’s even cool, Enoch, you know we have e-mail and e-joy. So we’ve got E-noch. So he’s a pretty culturally current guy, instead of manually knocking we can electronically knock. The interesting thing about Enoch is that as he was going through life, going through this very, very dark place and this dark world, and he was able to transcend that somehow. So much so that God approved of his faith and of his life, and actually took him home to be with him. And I think that as we look at Enoch we’ll ask why is he part of the hall of faith here? Why is he part of God’s hall of fame?

How do you live out your faith in a dark world?

I think that we can really learn a lot by figuring out how to live life in a very dark world. And to help us understand this a little bit better, Eric’s going to be singing a song. There’s going to be some images going and just kind of really showing what our world is like. And I was praying this morning that God would take the scales off of our eyes. We have really desensitized ourselves to so many things. We’ve desensitized ourselves to poverty, hunger, injustice, racism, and bigotry and all these things. Why have we done that? Because it’s hard, it’s oppressive. It makes us just feel lousy. So instead of feeling lousy all the time we guard our hearts. And then we start just not seeing it anymore. And we stop feeling. But I think we as followers of Christ should feel these things deeper than anybody else, the injustice in the world. We’re in a world that is hurt and lost and hopeless. We need to step out in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be the tangible hand of God. So we’re going to be looking at that today. Please pray with me and just open your hearts and minds as Eric sings.

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