Friday, December 9, 2011

Steps of Faith for the Next Generation

The following is from the conclusion of the message given to us on December 4th at Crossroads.  The message began with a reading from Luke 1:26-56.  Audio of the entire message, and, in fact, the entire hour of worship can be found at

...You remember that last week (Nov. 27) I referred to Romans 4 verse 16.  In this particular verse it shows how we, who are not related by blood to Abraham, come under the promises that were given to him two thousand years before Jesus, that he would be a blessing, and that his family would be a blessing, that there would be a wonderful future.  We come under that blessing by faith.
Romans 4:16

The promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring-—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all.
The promise comes not only to those who are of the law, that is, of the Jewish heritage, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.

When we come to trust Jesus Christ, the promises of God that were given to Abraham come down also on us... and the promises are not only for any one of us, but also for our children, for the next generation. 

That's something important to know because a lot of us, as I said last week, spend so much time being worried about our kids. 

God is not going to abandon us.  We can trust him.  No matter how challenging the times are.  You can trust God.  Not only for ourselves but also for our children.

That's why I showed the picture of the duct tape on the van.*  For many years that van carried Tonia and , the adults, but also our kids.  I'd like you to think about this.  There's no duct tape on the van that God gives.  It doesn't close off the next generation.  They can also be claimed under the grace and mercy of God.

There's only one qualifier.  That's that word "trust."



Coming into a relationship with God where we know that God is our Father.

We come into that right relationship simply by trusting.

That doesn't mean we can't have questions.  Trust does not mean never having any questions.  You can see that in the story that we just shared from Luke 1.  When Mary is confronted with this wonderful promise does she have any questions?
Luke 1:34

Mary asked the angel,
"But how can this happen?..."
How can this happen?  How can this be?

You may be wondering the same thing about the assurance God wants to give you about something in your life.  How can it happen?

So you can ask those questions.

But then, when you receive the assurance--when an answer comes that God gives--then it's important to step out.  Because trust is not trust unless you step out in faith.

It's just like Hayden is sitting in this chair.  If he did not trust that chair to hold him up, would he be sitting in it?  He probably doesn't think about it at all.  But you can't trust without actually relying on it.  If we say in our head that we trust but we don't act that way, is that really trust?  No, it's not.  Then we're walking in fear.

God wants us to know.  That's why he keeps reassuring us with his promises over and over.

Over the past two years many of us have struggled with doubt and questions about our future.  We've asked, we've prayed, and God has answered with miraculous signs.  God has given provision for this church.  This is a testimony to the faithfulness of God for those who trust His Word.  It's about the Word of God.  And for those who trust His Word, God has been faithful.

God has been faithful.

So it's good for us to ask for assurance  It's good to ask for prayer and to have Christian friends come alongside... but then the time comes when we have to act--trusting God.

Mary said "How can this be?"  Then God gave an answer.  And then Mary said, "Let it be."  "Let it be with me according to your word."

Let it be.  I'm not going to resist anymore.

How many of you today know that there's been resistance?  ...  How many of you today know that there are some areas of your life where God is calling you to step out in faith--but there's just this huge block--this resistance.  ...  God is calling you to step out in faith.

I'd like to dare you to do something today.  I'm not going to ask you to talk, but I would like to ask you to come forward so we can pray for you...  If you just raised your hand I'd just like you to come up so we can pray for you now.

[Several people, perhaps a dozen or more, came forward.  I then prayed for them.]

Here we've got a lot of Marys and Josephs.  They need the assurance.  They need to know in some way that you are with them and that they can step out in faith and do what it is you are calling them to.  

Oh Father!  I pray that you would grant to each one the assurance of your salvation that you poured out for them on the cross.  I praise you Lord and thank you for what you have done for us.  

Whatever there is in our lives that still stands as a resistance to you and your ways, in Jesus' name, we ask that you would take it from us.

Would you repeat that with me?

In Jesus' name, we ask, that you would take it from us.

We ask, Lord, that you would do that now.  And I pray that each of these here would take a step of faith, whatever it is that God is calling them to--whether it's stepping out in some ministry, following your call in some way in their lives, so they can know, Lord, that you are with them every step of the way.  and that you are with them for their children.  

Father God I thank you and praise you.

If there are those here, Lord, who do not yet know that they are under your blood, under your salvation, I pray that you would grant to them, Lord, the assurance of your love.  We pray in Jesus' name.

God bless you all.

You know it's not just about coming up one time in church.  It's a lifestyle.  It's taking steps of faith every day.  Every day God calls us to different things.  It's a matter of paying attention to what God is saying to us, checking it out with a couple friends and then stepping out.

Don't try to do it all by yourself.  It doesn't work.  That's one of the reasons we gather as a family in church.  That's one of the reasons we have this thing we call communion... so you will know you're not alone.

Now I wish that we could all gather right up here in a little circle, all together, and have communion together.  Wouldn't that be sweet?!

Did you know that, in your home, with your family, that you can gather your family around and share the Lord's supper?  Did you know that?  There's no rule in the Bible about that.  We have a tradition that the pastor presides, and that makes everybody feel comfortable, but I'm not sure God always wants us to be comfortable.

God is going to be calling us to step out in different ways.  Yes, I'll preside here.  That's fine.  I'm used to it.  I'm more or less comfortable with it, being in a big group.  But I encourage you, if the Lord calls you at some point, maybe at Christmas time, to share this gift of God...

If you want some coaching, I'll coach, I'll help you learn.  If you're the head of the household, it's a wonderful gift to give to your family.  God calls us to step out in faith. Don't do it unless your convinced.  Don't do it just 'cause the pastor said...

We're going to share the Lord's supper at this time.


* The van's back door has a broken latch and shouldn't be opened right now so with sofistikated duct tape I'm making sure it stays closed.  Just don't close off your family, or the others God wants to bless through you, including in the generations to come.

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