Monday, October 27, 2008
I often tell the people we now fellowship with planting a church is just part of the blessing we enjoy as we engage the Lord and each other here in Charlotte. The other wonderful blessing comes from the international family of churches we're relating to. A few weeks back we had Tommy Stanley with us from Lees Summit, Missouri. Last night, we were blessed by the prophetic sharing and teaching of Isaac Olagunju. Isaac and Holly are members of Jubilee Church Atlanta, a church that has played a vital role in what's happening here in Charlotte, under the leadership of Carl Herrington. I can add that Isaac and Holly have been a tremendous blessing to Debbie and I, including the hours of iron sharpening fellowship we all enjoyed this weekend.
At our gathering last night, Isaac brought greetings from Carl and encouraged us by sharing how much this body of believers has been a blessing to them. He described the love and warmth that energizes them as they head back to Atlanta each time they visit.
Isaac also challenged those of us who may be minimizing any contribution we may have to the church plant by reminding us we are all significant to what God is doing here.
During Isaac's message we learned
-belief does not rest on legal proof or material evidence
-Faith includes hope, but hope does not necessarily include faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see
Another version: the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. It gives assurance about things we cannot see
As we reflect on the "faith" Chapter, Hebrews 11, Isaac challenged us to consider the question: "what story is the Lord writing about our lives?"
What is faith?
-believing God even when there is seemingly no evidence. Hebrews 11:7 Faith produces obedience
-believing God even though you may not know where He is leading you. Hebrews 11:8-10
-receiving God's promises, even when medical opinion says "no way" Hebrews 11:11-12
Phillipians 4:19 God has promised to supply every need. God has obligated himself to provide every need. Isaac reminded us there is a difference between our needs and our wants
Matthew 6:33 defines those needs: food and clothing
(I also remembered I Timothy 6:6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and  we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. Wow! I know I have a great deal to learn here)
II Corinthians 12:9 His grace is sufficient
I Cor 10:13 Jude 24 He will not allow anything into our lives that we cannot handle
Romans 8:28 The Lord is working all things together for our good
Joshua 1:9 With all these promises, we're challenged to "be strong and corageous"
In the midst of our struggles, we have to learn to be real before God. Isaac reminded us that Jesus prayed "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me". We are not going to hurt God's feelings by being honest.
Faith is also:
-Making Costly sacrifice. Abraham shows us that faith is making the ultimate sacrifice. We learn in Hebrews 11:17-19 that God did not withhold his only Son.
-Praising God. Job shows us faith is praising God even when everything important to us has been taken away Job 1:20-22
In this Isaac encouraged us with the idea God is our biggest cheerleader. In the midst of trials, He is cheering us on. He is not sitting back as an uninterested bystander.
Final questions to consider:
Do you trust God to follow Him even when you don't know where he's leading?
Do you believe God enough to act upon what He has spoken to you, even when it seems impossible to human eyes?
Are you standing on God's promises as they pertain to His will in your life?
Faith is ultimately a renewing of our attitude. We must give up our fears and trust that GOD IS IN CONTROL!