Summary: How to respond when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges.


Genesis 18:1-15; Luke 1: 5-25

1. There’s a company on the Internet called Face Lift, aggressively marketing their non-surgical rejuvenating product. Their web page states:

• Think about it . . . you can look younger in just 15 minutes. Simply apply our formula, and lift 10 years from your face anytime you wish! Our revolutionary formula is guaranteed to make you look 10 years younger in just 15 short minutes! No expensive, painful surgery! 100% money back guarantee! For more information, click here…

• WOW! Sounds incredible doesn’t it – and so simple – just rub some lotion on your face and in 15 minutes you’re looking 10 years younger!

• Well, if I put some of that stuff on every 15 minutes for just an hour you could have an 18 year old looking youth pastor! You think it’s worth it?

2. Sorry, that’s not for me – you’re going to just have to get used to this face as it is.

3. Of course, what I want to speak to you about today is getting your FAITH lifted – not your FACE – I’m not lithping - but I can make you this promise – this 100% money back guarantee – well, let’s just go with 100% guarantee – that when you get your FAITH lifted, it will most certainly have a beneficial outcome on your FACE as well.

• Your FACE will glow, the worry wrinkles will begin to disappear

• You will become more accustomed to smiling than frowning

• Abraham Lincoln apparently said that by age 40 a person is totally responsible for the look on his/her face

• So, are you ready to get your FAITH and your FACE lifted?

4. The two Scripture passages we read both deal with elderly people struggling to reconcile their longings, their hopes, their dreams to have a child with the promise of God to soon deal with their situation. They both face the gap between what they desire and what their minds tell them is humanly possible with a good dose of skepticism and doubt.

• Sarah laughed and said to herself: "An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old guy of a husband?" – You could imagine her just dismissing the thought by saying, “Yeah, right! Tell me another!”

• Zechariah responds to the promise of the angel that Elizabeth will fall pregnant and give birth to a son by saying, "Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman." So God mercifully shut him up for the next 9 months so that he wouldn’t go speaking his doubt to his wife!

5. I don’t know if any of you are still hoping and longing for a child, but together we are facing a somewhat similar daunting and doubt producing challenge – that of replacing the roof on this sanctuary and all the additional renovations that will be required to make it a safe place for worship. Whatever way we look at it, it is going to be a costly venture.

• Many or most are older and on limited financial resources

• We no longer have the strength and energy to do a lot of the stuff ourselves that we had in our younger days

6. So how do we respond to this challenge before us?

• Leaving it as it is in the hope that the building will not collapse – after all it’s been that way for quite some time now.

• Hoping that another and younger generation will deal with the problem

• Trying not to think about it because we have enough other problems – our health, our children and grandchildren, whatever to deal with

7. I want to ask you this morning – how do you respond to the question the angel of the Lord put to Abraham - Is anything too hard for GOD?

• If your response is anything other than a straightforward and confident NO – if it is a “NO, …but…”, then you are needing to have your FAITH lifted.

• How will God handle it? I haven’t the foggiest idea – but that is not my or your problem. That is His business. Our job is simply to bring our need before Him in the confidence that He cares for us, that He knew our need BEFORE we were even aware of it ourselves, and that He has a solution already worked out.

• And we make ourselves available to Him in whatever way He chooses to be the channels through whom He works to bring about His purpose.

• Do I need to underscore the fact that there was no immaculate conception in the case of either Sarah or Elizabeth. Both conceptions still took place as a result of regular sexual activity. There was still something for them to do in the process of God’s answer being provided.

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