Bold Faith Initiative

Living For Jesus BOLDLY

Archive for the category “Bold Faith”

Take Your Place

1 Peter 1:6-9

Peter, along with almost every believer of that day, had some pretty hard times to face in his everyday life. So we see that some things never change! We all know some people (maybe even you) who are really struggling today to overcome some very hard times. But trusting in the truth of God’s great love for you is fundamental in overcoming the situation as you walk by faith.

How you look at the problem has a lot to do with how long it takes to get above it. Peter tells us to keep our focus on these things.

1. The trials are temporary, not permanent
2. Your faith is the victory that overcomes the world.
3. How you endure and overcome it brings glory to Jesus.
4. Staying stirred up in the joy of worship and praise in the midst of the trial is huge.
5. The more we hold onto God’s ultimate love for us, the more our inner strength grows until our faith and confession move that mountain out of our lives. So, enjoy the victory Jesus provided for you before, during and after the trials, and rise above it all until you take your place “in Christ” on this side of glory!

H. J.

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Make Hope Your Focus

1 Peter 1:6-7

When athletes enters a sporting event they want to do well; they do not enter their event hoping to lose. As appealing as it may be just to enter an event and win, in reality, it is just not enough to enter the event. It requires them to develop their abilities and participate.

How are abilities developed? They are developed by training THROUGH resistance. If we want to develop stronger muscle it requires us to work the muscle THROUGH resistance.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we all want to finish well. Like an athlete, our faith needs to be trained like an athlete’s muscle. Today’s Scripture, speaks of troubles, which can come in the form of trials or temptations. They are necessary for the refinement of our faith. These troubles are a part of the spiritual training that develops our faith, just as physical training strengthens muscles.

So why does the athlete endure training? For the joy of victory! How do they endure? They make the joy their focus! They endure through the pains of training, so when they enter their event they will have the best opportunity to hear the cheers. So why do we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, endure the spiritual training of our faith? For the living HOPE of the resurrection that awaits us (v.3). How do we endure? By making this HOPE, in all its forms, our focus!

Most are not fond of physical training. Neither are they fond of spiritual training which come in the forms of trouble. If we look upon them for the result God intends for us in our life; rather than, the momentary discomfort they bring. Like an athlete we can rejoice through them knowing that they are refining and proving us to be genuine.

It is the genuineness of our faith, refined by the troubles of this life, that will bring about praise, glory and honor when our Jesus returns. This HOPE my friends is the focus that will cause our FAITH to endure. So rejoice not in your troubles, but through them, because you know they are making you a genuine disciples of Jesus. God Bless you in this Hope!

T. H.

The God of Hope

Here are 2 links to messages that were preached on February 2, 2014.

Shane Looper – Lockwood Community Church

http://www.lockwoodchurch.org/media.php?pageID=6

Jeff Bream – Northview Christian Church

http://sermon.net/northviewchristian/sermonid/1200177884

Bold Faith III: LIVING HOPE

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Welcome to the 2014 Bold Faith Initiative.  Our theme this year is taken from 1 Peter 1:3-9.

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

As we contemplate this Scripture and it’s meaning, and other passages as well, may The Lord infuse within our hearts and minds this Living Hope which will transform the way we live and think.

Perhaps you could set a goal to memorize this passage that is so rich with meaning!

Go to worship the Lord with fellow followers of Jesus Christ.

Obtain a wristband which will remind you of the great hope we have in Christ so that we may live with Bold Faith.

Blessings upon your adventure with God this month.

Day 5 – “Little Faiths”

Matthew 8:18-27

             One night when the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a fierce storm caught them by surprise. Matthew’s description of the situation is vivid. He writes that a “furious storm (in Greek, a seismos, from which the word earthquake is derived) came up on the lake.” Further, “the waves swept over the boat” (literally, “the boat was hidden under the waves”).

            Where was Jesus during this crisis? He was asleep on a cushion in the stern. The frightened disciples woke him with a cry: “Lord, don’t you care that we are dying?”

            What did Jesus do? Did he try to calm them? Did he tell them to be strong, and assure them that everything would be alright? Not at all; he rebuked them.

            He said to them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (KJV). “O ye of little faith” translates a noun in Greek, a moniker of sorts: “you little-faiths.”

            Jesus used this devastating nickname for his disciples on five occasions. Clearly, he expected his followers to have bold faith. He looked for it. He affirmed it, whenever and wherever he found it.

            It is important for us to understand that the storm at sea was not a test of the disciples’ skill as mariners, nor of their courage in the face of danger. It was a test of their faith, as are all our trials (see James 1:3).

            The next time you find yourself in a frightening situation – your children aren’t home on time and haven’t called; the doctor’s office asks you to schedule an appointment to discuss the test results; your boss informs you of the upcoming, and possibly permanent, lay-offs – don’t be a “little-faith”. Remember what is being tested. It is not your resourcefulness or courage; not your wisdom or even your spirituality – it’s your faith. Choose to trust God and move forward in obedience.  

 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

S.L.

Day 4 – Eternal vs. Temporary

John 11:38-45, and 12:10-11

Lazarus had plenty of good things going for him:

  • He was a, ‘Hey-come-over-for-dinner,’ friend of Jesus and the twelve disciples.
  • Mary and Martha were his wonderful sisters.
  • He lived a life of devotion to friends and family, which evoked strong grief at his death.
  • Jesus honored him by performing a great miracle and raising him from the dead.

            We give so much attention to the temporary miracle of this passage. John 11:45 begins to tell the eternal side of this great miracle; “…many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.” These are the miracles of great substance—the people who came to eternal, saving faith in Jesus Christ!

            We know something about Lazarus that isn’t written in scripture; Lazarus died– again. We know this because he isn’t alive today (THAT would be a huge headline!). Truth is, sometime later, his family and friends gathered again and wept over the loss of Lazarus. They laid him in a tomb, possibly the same one Jesus had raised him from on his most notorious day. No resurrection miracle this time. No cheering. Just tears and good-byes.

            We don’t know how many eyewitnesses saw Lazarus come out of that tomb at Jesus’ command, entangled in strips of cloth. We don’t know how many people pointed out Lazarus as he went about living his life after he was restored; “Hey, that’s the guy- Lazarus! He used to be dead…” We don’t know how many people heard Lazarus tell his personal story over and over with excitement and awe. One thing we do know; Jesus used a very ‘temporary’ miracle and a friend to bring glory to himself and help a great many find their own personal miracle of eternal life through faith in Christ.

            PRAYER: “Gracious Jesus, even though today has all the earmarks of an ordinary day, help me be your friend, no matter what happens. Keep my eyes on things of eternal significance, and use me to bring glory to you, all day long.”  

 “…many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary… put their faith in him.” (John 11:45)

R.T.

Day 3 – Lazarus’ Extraordinary Day

John 11:38-45, and 12:10-11

             Let’s be honest – Lazarus probably wouldn’t make your Top 10 list of Biblical characters who possess bold faith. In today’s passage we don’t see Lazarus exercising his faith in Christ at all. The entire narrative seems to ‘happen’ to him. Not exactly the stuff of bold faith in action!          

Lazarus gets sick. He dies. He is dead and lying in a tomb for four days, and springs back to life when Jesus declares, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ It’s his biggest day ever, yet Lazarus couldn’t be more passive! Nevertheless, Lazarus’ faith in Jesus put him in the middle of a tremendous miracle that the Lord would use to bring many to saving faith.

            John 11 captures the relationship between Jesus, Lazarus and Lazarus’ two sisters, Mary and Martha. The scene is one of a family and friends mourning the death of a dearly loved man, brother and friend. Jesus clarifies what the miracle of raising Lazarus will accomplish; “…it is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 

            Perhaps one of the greatest evidences of Lazarus’ bold faith is the simple fact that he was a true friend of Jesus before he died. He had followed Jesus during his ordinary, regular days.  Isn’t this the substance of bold faith? Lazarus’ faith in Christ prepared him for tragedy, triumph, or whatever came his way. Do you have that kind of bold faith to support you today?

            Jesus also called Lazarus, “…our friend.”  Bold faith in Christ makes us friends of Jesus.  Can you think of a better position for a person to be in?

            PRAYER:  “Lord, I will be your friend today.  Walk with me– no matter what I face today, and give me opportunities to demonstrate our friendship.”

 “…this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)

R.T.

Day 2 – Bold and Courageous

Joshua 1:6

             One good thing about growing up in the 1950’s was the abundance of heroes that were portrayed in those earlier days of television. My heroes were cowboys! And I wore my cowboy hat, boots, and holster with 2 “Fanner Fifties” practically everywhere I went.

            There was Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the ever so stoic Hugh O’Brien playing Wyatt Earp. Wyatt had a theme song, remember?

“Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp

Brave, courageous and bold.

Long live his fame and long live his glory

And long may his story be told.”

             Wyatt stood tall as he worked as a U S Marshall to clean up Tombstone. Earp’s courage no doubt flowed from an inner confidence in his own strength and skills as a gun-slinging lawman. But clearly the type of courage that flows from an unshakable faith and trust in God was at the  core of the life of Joshua, who moved westward into the Promised Land, conquering and laying claim to the territory God had  promised him and his people.

            Trusting God and embracing his promises with bold faith are two indispensable qualities of an effective walk with God. Of course we count on Him to deliver our salvation; but we must also trust him to provide everything we need to navigate the course set before us. It’s a BOLD FAITH that allows us to experience the things God has in store for us.

            As we move through this month’s series, ask God to increase your faith, to make it like Joshua’s; BOLD AND COURAGEOUS!

 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the

land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6)

 D.P.

Day 1 – The Bold Faith Initiative

Joshua 10:6-14

             God wants to works powerfully through His people! One of the key issues that Jesus pointed his disciples toward was faith. Five times in Matthew (6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:20) Jesus chided his disciples about their little faith. A potent question Jesus asked at the end of the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:8) was, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” It is important to the Lord that those who choose to follow him have a faith that believes God will move mountains.

            The condition of our world demands it. We live in a crooked and depraved generation and we need, no, we must we must shine like stars in the universe holding out the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16).

            A powerful story in Joshua 10 describes Joshua asking the Lord to do something impossible, to ‘move a mountain.’ After having marched all night long and fought in a battle all day long Joshua saw that more time was needed to do what God had called him to do. God had already worked powerfully by sending large hailstones but more time was needed. So based on his experience with Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, existing in the desert for 40 years, crossing the Jordan to take the land God was giving them … Joshua asked for a miracle in Joshua 10:12:

“O sun stand still over Gibeon, O moon over the Valley of Aijalon.”

            God intervened and answered Joshua’s audacious prayer of faith; a one time deal – never happened again. But throughout Scripture we read of God’s people believing that God works on behalf of His people to bring about His purposes in our world. So we are using this story of Joshua as a metaphor for the impossible things God wants to do in and through our lives!

            The LORD wants us to live by faith and pray boldly with faith. We are to follow up our prayers with bold sacrifice and bold obedience believing that God is working in and through us to accomplish His purposes in the here and now. And we can do this together!

            Jesus prayed in John 17 for His followers to have unity so that the world may believe that God sent Jesus into our world. This is the reason for our Bold Faith Initiative. That we, as the Lord’s disciples in the 21st century, would join together and ask God to work through us to make a difference in Branch County and beyond. That many souls would be saved and that we would give that cup of water, visit the sick & imprisoned, feed the hungry and clothe the naked in the name of Jesus Christ.

 “My prayer is…that all of them may be one…” (John 17:20-21)

J.D.B.

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