The Gospel of Luke: Strengthened in Spirit
November 15, 2020
Jesus has an interaction with an “unworthy” Roman officer whose slave needed healing. Jesus healed the slave in response to the officer’s faith, not because of all the great things he had done. Trusting in God isn’t blind faith. It gives you access to God. Faith is choosing to focus on what you know to be true. It’s making a bold move based on reliable information. Ryan Bramlett • The Gospel of Luke: Strengthened in Spirit • Luke 7:1-10
Series: The Gospel of Luke: Strengthened in Spirit
Message: The Missing Ingredient
Pastor: Ryan Bramlett
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November 15, 2020 NotesStrengthened in Spirit | The Missing IngredientRyan Bramlett | Luke 7:1-10Traders Point, how are we doing? It’s so good to be with you, everyone at the campuses, everyone watching online. I’m so glad you’re spending part of your weekend with us. And, I want to encourage you to lean in over the next couple of weeks for a few reasons. One, Aaron, our lead pastor is going to be back next Sunday to kickoff a brand new series called Flow. He’s also going to begin his rap career right here on this stage. It is a really good series, very practical for the end of the year and as we look ahead to 2021. You don’t want to miss that. Also, over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be unrolling what we call vision lanes. And what vision lanes are is a way for us to communicate where God is at work in our church and where he is leading us into the next year. What we’ve done is just kind of broken it up into three big areas—Traders Point campuses, leadership development, and vulnerable children. And each week we’re going to hit on a different one of those. We’re going to kick it off today. We’re talking about vulnerable children. And you see, God has a heart for the fatherless. He goes as far as to say, “I am a father to the fatherless,” and he calls his church to have the same heart. So, here at Traders we actually have something called FAM, which is our foster and adoption ministry. We serve about 75 families through fostering and adoption. We also partner with several organizations. We even helped launch something called care portal, which is not specific to Traders, but it’s for the whole state. It’s a way for churches and other nonprofits to meet the needs of vulnerable children here in our city. And this past week, maybe you saw this, but we partnered with the Colts and Ashley Furniture to get 25 beds back here in our resource center. Yes, we can celebrate that. So, whenever that call comes to keep a kid in their house, we can provide that. Or if a kid needs it, we have it here and are ready. You know, we also partner with global organizations like Back to Back in Mexico, Missions of Hope in Kenya, all for the same thing. We not only want to meet the physical and tangible needs of vulnerable children, but to bring them the love of Jesus. We believe that is where God is leading us in 2021. There is going to be more of how you can partner with that at the end of service, so be on the lookout for that. It’s incredible to see God working even in the midst of the craziness and all that is going on. He is at work. I know for me, life lately is a little bit different. Just with everything else everyone is doing too, but if you don’t know me and my family actually sold our house a couple of months ago and we moved in with my old roommates. And, by my old roommates, I mean my parents. It sounds a little bit better when you say it that way, but it’s fine. They’re great, we’re great. A couple of weeks ago… We like to slow things down on a Saturday morning. Is anybody with me? The week is busy, Saturdays we like to slow it down and make a big breakfast. And, I don’t do a lot in the kitchen. I’m not the best. But, like all dads out there, I make breakfast. I know how to make eggs, French toast, biscuits and gravy. So, a couple of weeks ago I’m making biscuits and gravy, and I’ve got the sausage frying in the pan. It’s really a plant-based alternative, but it’s frying in the pan. If you know about biscuits and gravy, it’s a super-simple thing to make. You just cook the sausage, put flour down, pour milk in with salt and pepper, and you’re good to go. So, I’ve got the sausage going. I’m looking for the flour and I can’t find it anywhere in my roommates’ kitchen. So, I’m looking in the cabinets and the pantry, and I finally see it. It’s on the top shelf, and it’s in a Tupperware container with a blue top. I’m like, “Finally,” and I got it and bring it down. I just start sprinkling my flour on top of my sausage. And then I pour the milk in. If you know anything, the flour is what thickens it, it’s what gives you that good, thick gravy. No one wants watery gravy, right? But, after I put the milk in I start stirring and stirring, it’s not thickening up. I have my daughter there, Veda, she is four years old. She is watching me and even she knows this isn’t looking right. And I just keep adding more flour into it, thinking, “Maybe it’s old flour and you’ve got to add a little more. Maybe it’s a different kind of flour. Maybe the plant-based sausage is not coating itself well with this thing.” It would bum you out to know how much of this white substance I put in there before I realized, or even had the thought, “Maybe this isn’t flour.” So, I grabbed the container and I start eyeballing it. I’m looking at it, and I put my finger in and taste it. “Yep, for sure not flour. That’s powdered sugar.” It matters not how much powdered sugar you put into biscuits and gravy, it is not going to give you a thick gravy. There was a missing ingredient. It didn’t matter how much I added of that beautiful powdered sugar, I needed something else. There was no substitute for the flour. What we’re going to be looking at today is this missing ingredient that Jesus is going to talk about. You see, we’ve been studying chapter 6 in the book of Luke (it’s an account of the life of Jesus, of his teachings, his miracles) and chapter 6 is just filled with all of these teachings. There are these wild verses like, “Love your enemies.” He even gives us a new value system to live by. Then he gets to the end of it, and look what he says. “I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” And he gives us all those teachings and all those things. As we move from chapter 6 to chapter 7, Jesus is going to introduce the missing ingredient. All of those things are great, and they will give you a better life, and you’ll have this strong life. But without it, it’s not going to give you this well-built life Jesus wants for us so badly. Without it, that gravy is not going to thicken. Without it, that cement won’t mix and you won’t get the life that can survive the storms that can not only survive, but thrive out of them. I love the way he picks things up, because he gives all of these teachings, things we can do. But then he says, “Don’t forget about this,” and that’s what we’re going to be finding out today. What is that missing ingredient to a well-built life, to be strengthened in Spirit doesn’t exist without it. We’re going to pick up on that today. So, Luke 7 starting in verse 1. Take a look at this: “When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death.” I want to pause for a second because there is a word there that most of us read, and we can’t just read past it without having some thoughts and some feelings behind it. That word is slave. We can’t read that without thinking about American slavery, and what it is and what it means. And so, I just want to pause and talk about it here within the context of what we are reading in Luke. And one big thing to see is the word slave and servant are actually the same word in Hebrew. In our lives, those are two very different things. But for them, they were used interchangeably. And even in the New Testament, you’ll see in the translation I read they will actually go back and forth, referencing him as a slave and as a servant from one time to the next. Maybe even your translation just uses servant the whole time. What I do want to say is the Bible does not advocate slavery. We are reading a historical account of real-life Rome, what is going on there. This is descriptive. That’s why we’re picking up on everyone in this culture. They couldn’t have pictured a free world like we live in today. Everyone was subservient to someone else. Through your family, through your work, through your government. That’s what’s going on, just to recap. Jesus steps into the scene and he hears about this slave who is sick and near death. Look what happens next. “When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. ‘If anyone deserves your help, he does,’ they said, ‘for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.’” So, what’s happening here is these Jewish elders are going to Jesus because their guy, this Roman officer, says, “Can you help me out?” So, they go to Jesus and they say, “We have this guy, and he is the best.”What we’re going to hint at here, with the Jewish elders, is how different it is from the missing ingredient we’re talking about. Because the word they use to try to come and talk about God and how God shows up, the only word they have is this one: DeservesDid you catch that? They said, “If anyone deserves your help, it’s this guy.” But the thing is, the Jewish elders, they didn’t even believe in Jesus. They were going to Jesus for this guy. This guy built them the synagogue. This guy is kind to them. This guy helps them. They have faith in this guy. So, they come to Jesus and say, “You’ve got to help him. He deserves it.” Then Jesus just starts making his way there. He’s like, “Sure, let’s go check things out.” What’s fascinating is this Roman officer takes a completely different stance from these Jewish elders. He gets it. He understands the missing ingredient to a well-built life. Take a look at this: “So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, “Go,” and they go, or “Come,” and they come. And if I say to my slaves, “Do this,” they do it.’” Very different, one group saying he deserves it, the other saying, “Listen, I know I don’t deserve it.” But it didn’t stop him from making the ask. Have you ever prayed for something knowing you didn’t deserve it, just hoping God was going to show up? Like you sat down at your desk on Friday knowing you did not study for this test, but just started praying, “God, give me the wisdom of my ancestors. Give me the answers to this. Please Lord.” You’ve been driving with the gaslight on for three days, knowing you should have stopped and saying, “I’ll get up early in the morning. Then I’m going to get gas.” Now you’re on your way, light is on, just praying, “God, I know I don’t deserve it, but do not let me get stuck on the side of this interstate. Just get me to work.” He didn’t deserve it, but it doesn’t stop him from making the ask. I’m not worthy, “Because I believe,” and he calls him Lord. The Jewish elders weren’t calling him Lord. But he says, “I believe you are who you say you are. I believe that you have authority. I understand authority, I have authority, because I understand my position within the Roman military. So, if you just say it, just say the word from where you are. I believe it can be done if you’re willing.” And Jesus’ response is incredible. You will be hard-pressed in all the Bible to find Jesus taken back like this: “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’ And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.” The missing ingredient, what we need for a well-built life is: Faith.That’s what the Roman officer had. That’s what allowed him to make such an ask. That’s what allowed him to believe in God the way he did. He’d never met Jesus before. But faith, and his great faith, he puts it out there. And it says, “Jesus was amazed.” Other translations say, “He marveled at this man’s faith.” But what is faith, really? Because I think a lot of times, specifically in our culture, when we talk about faith it’s usually prefaced with a word in front of it. It’s like blind faith, right? You either have blind faith, or you have reason. You’re either logical, or you’re faithful. But what I want us to see is that those two aren’t on opposite ends of the spectrum, that faith is not just something that some people have, it’s actually something we all live with. Faith, you need it on some level just to function, just to get from here to home and back. For example, every morning you get on the road, you’re on the interstate and driving 65, 70, 75, 80—I don’t know your life. But you’re driving really, really fast. And there is an imaginary line between you and all the other cars that are going. It is by faith—you’re putting faith in all the other people. And you should not be putting faith in those people. There is nothing they have given you that says, “You should trust me at these high speeds.” You trust me every morning, and I drive my car into buildings. But none of you ever think about that. You’re like, “It’s fine,” and you drink your coffee. So, it’s not a question of, do we have faith. We place faith in all kinds of things. I think the question it comes down to is, “What are we going to place our faith in?” And a lot of people say, “I would love to place my faith in God, but I need more proof because there is no way to know if there is a God, and there is no way to know that that’s the God.”And I hear that, but it’s an absolute statement. It’s really a faith statement. It takes just as much faith to believe there is a God in front of me as to believe there is no God at all. There is a gap and we have to make a decision. We get to choose, “Are we going to believe, are we going to have faith?” So, what I was us to see is what does faith in God really mean? It’s not blind faith, because that’s not the faith we follow as a church, it’s something very different. And it’s foundational to everything. I love the way Romans 4 talks about it, because it kicks it way back to Abraham, to the beginning when God starts developing these people, the group of Israel. It’s even by faith back then, and it shows us exactly what faith is. It’s not blind. Take a look at this in Romans 4: “So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, ‘I have made you the father of many nations.’ This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” It was not a blind faith. He looked up and said, “I’ve got to place my faith in something. I’m going to go with the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” Is there anybody here who has seen God create new things out of nothing? Bring dead things back to life. This is what faith is. That we come to God and we say, “God, I believe you are who you said you are.” He summarizes it perfectly in verse 20: “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” What is faith?That’s what faith is. It’s not blind, it’s attached to something. It’s attached to the God who brings dead things to life, creates new things out of nothing. I’m going to trust, I’m going to be convinced, that he is able to do whatever he promises. That’s faith. I love the way Aaron talked about how we interact with our faith a couple of weeks ago. He gave this definition that I thought was beautiful because it moved past this idea that you can either be faithful or logical, you can have evidence or you can have faith. It’s a combination of both. Look at the way he described it. Faith is a bold move into an unknown future, based on reliable information.And when I read that I was like, “That’s so good,” and the picture I got was of God for sure, but it made me think of marriage. I can remember getting married, and at the time I had known my wife for a little bit more than a year. I had not given her a lifetime worth of reasons to have faith in me. I gave her enough to walk down the aisle. I gave her enough to say, “I do.” It was a bold move into an unknown future based on what would be questionable, not reliable, information on who I was. From there, it was one bold move after another. I didn’t have enough faith in her to get through a lifetime, but day-by-day, little-by-little we grew in faith. We became more faithful. Why? Our marriage, our relationship didn’t create anything new in her and in me, but it revealed who we were. It allowed us to see who we were truly, who God was calling us to be. And the more I got to see, the more I fell in love and the more faithful I became. It didn’t happen overnight, but it was day by day and little by little and season by season, and baby by baby, and miscarriage by miscarriage, and long nights, stupid fights, and coming to the end of myself and being exposed for who I am. Not who I wanted to be, but for who I was in that moment. And she met me with love, grace, and acceptance. And our faith in one another has grown over the past 10 years. I look back now and I’m like, “I didn’t love you 10 years ago. Not the way I do now. I didn’t have faith in you then like I do now,” because there was no way I could have known until I said yes. There was no way I could have known until I put my faith in her. Now, it’s so good. Because now I know who she is, the mother she is, the wife she is, how strong she is, how kind she is, how loving she is, how graceful she is. And I just get this picture that with our relationship with God that’s what it’s like. It’s one bold move after another, taking reliable information and taking a step at a time getting closer and closer to him. From the time we first stepped into that relationship going, “God, I’m in love with you. I believe in you. I trust you,” and then 10 years would go by and it would be, “God, I had no idea how big you were. I had no idea how loving you were. I had no idea how kind you were. God, I had no idea how much better you were going to make my life.” Until the point we pass away, we die, and we go into eternity and we’re in heaven, and then we really get it. This idea of, “Oh, I had a glimpse of it back then. I thought I knew who you were. I thought I knew your love. I thought I knew your grace. I thought I knew your mercy. But now that I’m in perfect relationship with you, now that I see you for who you are, oh my faith is not marked by anything. It’s abundant. It’s limitless—my faith for you.” That’s what’s its like to have faith in God. It’s not a blind faith. It’s based on reasonable information. Our faith is based on who God is. God says, “Take me at my word. Don’t just close your eyes and grin and bear it and say, ‘I’m going to believe even though it’s against everything I think and feel.’” No, no. God says, “Faith in me is rooted in who I am. I’m a faithful God. Trust me, take me at my word.” Literally, this book is 1,000 pages, story after story, generation after generation showing God’s faithfulness. How he saves people and families and societies. How he does it over and over again. He says, “Take me at my word. Read, learn who I am. Take me at my story.” And then he says, “You want faith? Take me at my Son. Take me at my sacrifice that I would make for you, that I would empty heaven and send my only Son to live the perfect life that you couldn’t live. And then he would sacrifice all, giving his own life for you. When you think about faith, why I’m asking you to trust me, why you can have faith in me, it’s because I’m willing to do whatever it takes.” God says, “Take me at my Spirit. Take me at my Spirit, the seal. If you can come to have faith in me, if you believe I am your Lord, I have authority and I will give you my Spirit. This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave, he is going to live in you so that you can know without a shadow of a doubt that I will never leave you, I will never forsake you, and I will always be there for you.” We’re putting our faith in a God who brings dead things to life. We’re putting our faith in a God who speaks and new things come out of nothing. This is what faith is. This is what it means to place our faith in God. What it doesn’t mean. What it doesn’t mean is that faith is blind, that we’re just numb to things, that we just stumble through life and hope that it gets better. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard. It doesn’t mean that we just get a bunch of good things. It doesn’t mean that we necessarily get a good life the way the world says a good life should look. We’re not exempt from pain. He does not give us a crystal ball into the future to say, “This is what it’s going to look like and this is how I’m going to shield you from it.” Faith says, “I’m going to take you through it.”You know, there’s this incredible chapter in the Bible. It’s Hebrews 11, and what it is it’s a whole chapter talking about by faith. By faith Abraham did this. By faith Noah did this. By faith they walked through the sea on dry land. It is amazing. If you want to get fired up this week, read chapter 11 and you’ll just see all the ways God shows up and how faithful he is over and over and over again. But as you get through there, you get to this last chapter. I don’t want to say it’s the lost chapter, the forgotten chapter, but it’s definitely not read like the first part. But it shows exactly what faith is and what it isn’t. So, take a look at this. It says these incredible things were done in the name of God by people who had faith. They did all of this. And people celebrated them, and they were seen as successful. But others still had faith. “But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world…” Have you ever met people like that? They had this incredible faith. They were really great people, but they were experiencing hardship and bad things were happening to them. Why was this happening. But it says, “They were too good for this world wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith,” and it wasn’t because of their lack of faith. It wasn’t because they didn’t trust God. They were willing to do whatever. It says, “yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” So, we see painfully clear here that our faith is not a get out of jail free card. It’s not the idea that I have faith so now I get to spin-move out of all the problems: sickness, pain, and hardship. Faith is not that. It does not give us clarity on our circumstance or a shortcut through life. Faith gives us the power to say, “I don’t know what’s coming, but I know who is behind me. I know God is for me, so I’m okay with whatever comes next.” There is this incredible story of these three guys, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. They come to this spot where they’re following God closely, they are being faithful, and still they are about to be thrown into a furnace and set on fire. They get to this spot where they are standing face to face with their oppressors. And they say, “Any last words? Bow down before us.” And they say, “Listen, we believe. We believe in the God who can bring dead things to life. We believe in the God who creates new things out of nothing. So, we are going to go in this furnace. We believe he can rescue us. We believe we can go in there and come out untouched. “But even if… Come what may, it doesn’t matter because we’re not backing down. We know our God is for us. Nothing can stand against us.” That is what faith is. It doesn’t give us clarity on circumstances; it gives us clarity on God, which gives us confidence. Our faith does not tell us that bad things don’t happen to good people. Our faith tells us that the worst thing happened to the best person. Jesus lived a perfect life, and yet still went to a cross. It wasn’t because of lack of faith, he had the most faith. Our faith leads us to this place of knowing God better. And that is what allows us to move. That is what allows us to move in confidence, not closing our eyes or pretending or avoiding. We get to move through it with confidence. You know, a lot of times faith comes from disruption. Faith comes from tough times. That’s a lot of our experience, right? There are so many of us, our faith came when everything else was moved away. So many people come to faith in a prison cell, on a hospital bed, after a divorce. What is that? Why is that? It’s because we can go through life having faith in other things. And maybe there’s just a little bit of a whisper in the back of our minds like, “Is this really it? Is this what it’s supposed to be?” We can go through life and we can have those voids in our hearts of like, “I don’t feel satisfied. But is this as good as it gets?” Until our lives are uprooted, until our lives are disrupted. And then those things we placed our faith in move, and we’re left not with God as our first pick, but our only pick. And the wild thing is that God in his grace seems to be okay with that as long as we’re coming back to him. We can come back limping, we can come back hurting, we can come back with empty hands. He’s just glad we are back. If you notice the Roman officer, he doesn’t call for Jesus. He believed in him, but he doesn’t call for Jesus until when? Until he needed him. And he just needed enough faith to believe in Jesus. Not only was it enough, but it amazed him. He marveled at it. That’s the kind of faith that gets created out of these situations. When we get to see who God is for who he is, and just how fragile everything else is. That’s a lot of times when faith is brought to new life; it’s when faith does come from that through disruption. I would also say that disruption has a way of shaking our faith too, or waking us up to whatever we believe. That are two sides of the season we are in that I am thankful for, because I hear this from people all the time. “Everything got disrupted. Everything got uprooted. And now I’m coming to believe in God. I’m getting closer to him. I’m trusting him more. I’m more faithful than I’ve ever been.” And that’s amazing. I believe God’s using that in this season. But there are also others of us who are saying, “My faith is shakier than it’s ever been before. I thought I trusted God. I thought I had faith. But now work has changed, and life has changed, the season has changed. People I know got sick. People I know lost their job. Is God who he said he is? If what I believe in is really real, why is this happening?” Maybe that’s where you are. And I just want to point all of us to this beautiful prayer in Mark 9. Just to give you a little bit of backstory. It’s this dad, and he is bringing his boy to Jesus. He comes to him and he says, “Can you heal my son?”And Jesus looks at him and says, “Can I? Do you know who I am? I can heal him. Anything is possible for those who believe.” And this man, you could just feel the honesty in his voice: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” I believe. I want it so bad. Can you help me with my unbelief? I’ll tell you that is a prayer that God can help us with every single day, every single season. If we can have the humility to come to God and to be okay with being that vulnerable, and being that human to say, “God, I know in theory how big you are and how powerful you are and how in control you are, but I’m having a hard time right now. I believe. Can you help me with my unbelief?“I believe, but can you help me with my unbelief? Believe that you’re still there at my work, and that you’re still there in my finances.” “I believe, but can you help me with my unbelief because my kid is going in a direction I never thought they would. Are you there? I believe you are. Help me with my unbelief.“God, I believe you are there. Can you help me? Can you show me? Can you lead me?” And I believe that is where God shows up. That is where faith is strengthened. Not when we get the things we pray for, but when we focus on the God who is over all of it and we begin to see him for who he truly, truly is. If you’re here today, and maybe this is faith for the first time for you. You’ve been sitting for a while saying, “I want to believe, but there is something missing.” Can I just say that it’s a bold move based on reliable information—into an unknown future for sure, but you can take God at his word. You can take him at his story, you can take him at his Son, you can take him at his sacrifice to just look up and say, “God, I believe, but help me with my unbelief.” Because when we believe, all of us who believe, we get something called grace. Which means we get to pray prayers just like this Roman soldier who says, “I know I don’t deserve it, but I’m taking this to you on another ground. I’m taking it to you on the grounds of grace. That you can see me and you can heal me right from where you are. That you can restore me, right from where you are. “You can bring the dead things back to life. That you don’t have to move, you can just say it and it will happen. Just like for the Roman soldier. Right from where you are, right from heaven just speak, and let it be so.” If you have that kind of faith, which isn’t a lot of faith—it’s not the strength of your faith, it’s the object of it—if you can believe God is who he says he is, that he has authority over all of heaven, all of earth, and what he wants is a relationship with you, no matter how you get there, limping, crawling, with a little bit of faith, he is there to meet you and accept you. And if that’s you, you can text the word Jesus to 87221, and someone from our team will follow up with you this week to begin that relationship. But for all of us, my prayer for us is that we are a faithful church. So, can I ask everyone in the room, everyone watching online, would you stand for this? Stand with us as we take a few moments to reflect. Not to close our eyes, not to pretend, but to see God for who he truly, truly is. This is the God who we have placed our faith in. This is the God of the promise. This is the God who brings dead things to life. Is there anyone here who has experienced God move something from death to life? Is there anyone here that there was nothing before, but he spoke and newness was created out of it? A new love came. A new drive came. New endurance came. You were able to move like you could never move before. Is there a faith that has been created within you that looks like when you have an unknown future and you’re willing to say, “God, I’m with you and I will be faithful.” I don’t have all the answers but I have a good God who cares for me. I have a God who would send his son for me. I have a God who is always on my side. So, come what may, I’m not backing down. You can’t put me in a corner. Because, to live is Christ. To die is gain. We’re going to live either way. My faith will take me places that nothing else can. My spirit will take me. My God is going to take me through this, not exempt me from it, but he will give me the courage. He will give me the strength, because I’ve got a God who is with me. And my God turns graves into gardens. My God turns seas into highways. My God turns shame into glory. Has anyone had shame moved to glory today? My God is the God who shows up and is faithful, and is faithful over and over again. We come to him in faith.And by grace we’re going to pray to him right now. That he could restore us. That he could create something new within us right now and that we would have faith in him, clarity in him. That we would take him at his word. Would you pray with me? God, we believe. We believe there is nothing you can’t do. We believe there is nothing beyond you. We believe there is nothing that gets past you. We believe you’re in control. We believe you have complete authority. Let us have the kind of faith that when you say come, we come. When you say go, we go. No matter if that means running through a brick wall. No matter the sense of darkness we go, knowing you are with us. Knowing you will illuminate the way. Knowing that as we take a step, that seas can become highways and we can walk through them and knowing that you can restore relationships. God, we have the kind of faith that says, “Come what may.” Even if it doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. God, let us be the people who are described by faith that they were too good for this world that, God, your Spirit had worked in us, grew us, and changed us and molded us. God, that we would come to know you more and more until we get to be with you in completion and perfection where our faith is no longer needed because we get to see you face to face. Jesus, be with us, guide us. We love you. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.
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