A Contagious Faith

It is one thing for people to hear the song you sing. It is quite another when they begin to sing it too. I suppose that, in our day, one of the marks of a song making a mark is that covers of the song will start popping up on Youtube.

This seems to be the way the faith of the Thessalonian believers was making a mark on their part of the world. In the first chapter, Paul points out that their faith was seen in their desire and practice of imitating him and imitating Christ in such a way that they had become quite an example to others (1 Thess 1.6-7 – discussed HERE).

But he goes on to explain how he has come to know this. He explains in verse 8:

“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.”

These believers had not merely shared the hope of the gospel in proclaiming it all over that part of the world. They shared it indeed, but they lived it in such a way that their confidence in God, their faith, had “gone forth everywhere.” The way they lived was spreading this hopeful joy in the person of Jesus wherever they went. Continue reading A Contagious Faith

Revision of Vision

Dwelling upon the many powerful moments this week, the second phrase to which our attention has been drawn is simply, “Enlarge the Vision.”

Every pastor has something of a vision of seeing lives transformed. But, when faced with the challenge to expand or enlarge that vision, it can seem like being accosted about our lack of faith. We want to see God work in amazing ways but don’t really believe that He would do that – not in us or in our circumstances.

I could put a pretty “holy” spin on that by telling you it’s because I recognize what an unworthy tool I am and that, for God to do anything at all in and through my life, it’s nothing short of miraculous…but that would only highlight the absurdity of thinking what God can do is in any possible way dependent upon me. Ridiculous, no?

I have a small vision (if any at all) because I have a small faith. Continue reading Revision of Vision

Any Old… Donkey Will Do

I have a number of heroic figures in my life. One of them is my dad. I think there are a number of folks that would put him on their hero list, but the biggest reasons I do are ones that most of you would never know.

There was a man I knew to be a contradiction that my dad had the dubious honor to pastor. He claimed to have a ministry on the weekends at the fishing docks of a popular lake. He was almost never actually in church. He was a stubborn, difficult…

Well, he reminded me a lot of the story of Balaam (Numbers 22). He was a prophet that had been solicited by an enemy of God’s people for the purpose of cursing the people of Israel. He just couldn’t do it because God wouldn’t let him. But there was an interesting exchange when he was going along to attempt to help this enemy. Balaam’s donkey was spooked by the presence of an angel – which Balaam could not see. After a couple of serious beatings, the donkey spoke to Balaam.

What the donkey said is not particularly important. Balaam listened because she spoke truth. There is a powerful point to this simple but marvelous account: when God has something to say to us, any old… donkey will do.

Continue reading Any Old… Donkey Will Do