Monday, August 24, 2009


Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.

These words are a quote from Miracle on 34th Street. They are spoken by the character Doris Walker, played by the very talented Maureen O’Hara in the 1947 version of the film. Maureen’s character is a “no-nonsense” special events director, employed by Macy’s department store. She recruits a man named Kris Kringle to fill in during the Thanksgiving day Parade, since the previous Santa was not able to fulfill his duties at the last minute.

Despite Kris’ insistence that he was the real Santa, Doris was just too cynical to believe. It took a short jail term and a trial for her to finally believe in him. The quote above shows the radical turn she took when she allowed herself to truly believe in Kris.

Last week we analyzed our church vision statement to see how we measure up to what it says. This week we will begin taking a hard look at our church’s “Key Characteristics” to measure them against our actions.

The first of our church’s “Key Characteristics” that we will be considering over the next number of weeks is faith. The church constitution reads as follows.

Faith: Faith is the key to our identity. Our common faith in Jesus Christ defines who we are. Hence, we identify ourselves individually by His name, as Christians, and corporately as His body, the church. This common faith creates unity in the church and makes us family. Through faith we receive the grace by which we become daughters and sons of God, brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ, and brothers and sisters to one another.

When we make faith one of our key characteristics, and place it in our constitution for everyone to see, we had better be able to back it up. Are we a people of faith? When God moves in our church or in our individual lives to accomplish something, what is our first reaction? Do we move ahead with whatever God has laid on our hearts, or do we check to make sure all the money is in the bank and that we have a backup plan? What did Abraham do when God called him out of Ur? He left. He did not question or squabble. He simply obeyed. This certainly puts Hebrews 11:1 into perspective, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Another point that this “characteristic” makes is that our faith in Christ unites us together as a family. We do seem to have more of a family atmosphere at EFBC, than some other churches I have been to. However, is it truly our faith in Christ that binds us together, or is it simply the common interests that many of us share? Perhaps there are so many who are biologically related in our church that is gives the impression that we are all bound by Christ.

Faith is the building block for all Christian life. Without faith we can do nothing. Without faith, we are not cleansed by the blood of Christ.

When you go to the dinner table for supper and sit down, do you wonder if the chair will hold you up? No. You just sit. That is an act of faith. You have faith that the chair will do its job. Likewise, we must have faith that God will do what He says He will do.

In our individual lives and in our church, God gives us a vision for who He wants us to be. Along the way there are a number of tasks that must be accomplished. Our job is to do the tasks even when they don’t make sense. For example, God told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations even though Abraham had no children, Sarah was past the point of childbearing, and Abraham was very old. When God gave them a son, God told Abraham to sacrifice him. This made no sense, but Abraham obeyed.

When God gives us a vision and the tasks that go with it, what will our response be? Will we try to make all the pieces fit, or will we simply obey? What about in your own life what will your choice be? My prayer is that we will truly make faith a characteristic of our personal lives and in the life of our church. I we will, then nothing is impossible.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)

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