July 6, 2008

Faith

I spent time with my family this weekend in Spring and happened to pick up the book my dad is reading entitled "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I read the entire thing yesterday and was challenged by it. I highly recommend it. Basically, it got me thinking about faith. Somewhere in the book, he asked the question that I've been thinking about ever since. Here it is:

"What are you doing in your life right now that requires faith?"

The Bible tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith, but I have been thinking about how much of my life doesn't require faith. Most of our American lives are financially comfortable (definitely compared to the rest of the world), in comfortable neighborhoods, surrounded by people like us (that make us feel comfortable). I know that is me for the most part. There are not many times that I force myself out of my comfort zone and make myself do something that God has to show up in in order for it to happen. 

Francis Chan calls these lukewarm Christians. Ouch. Ouch some more.

You're probably thinking: but wait, Christine, you guys are headed off to a "foreign" land to start a church from scratch completely on faith. This is true. It is a risk of faith, but as I was reading this book I realized that in some ways I have already crossed that line. What I mean is that I've already said, "Yes, God" in my heart and believed Him for this move and all it entails. But I can't ever let my faith be a "past" faith. It has to be constantly moving forward. I could step out in faith and obedience, move to Charlottesville, and then sit in my house and insulate myself from people who need Jesus around me. Each day in this transition is going to be a new step of faith and I can either cower and try to control the situation or step out and make it where I can't do anything but wait for God to show up. 

I really want the second option to be true about my life.

And I really want it to be true about the church. 

It's been interesting the feedback we've gotten since we went public with this crazy church-planting idea. Most people have no idea what church-planting is, which is understandable. More than one person thought we were going to be in the business of building church buildings. Ha! It doesn't bother me that people don't know what it is. But most people's reaction when we tell them about it and invite them to join us is to laugh. I didn't think anything of it really until I was reading in Genesis recently:

"And God said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." Sarah was listening at the tent door which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore, Sarah laughed within herself saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

I'm not saying everyone has to pick up and do what we're doing. But I wonder how many times in our daily lives that the Lord asks us to take a risk so He can do something, like befriending a neighbor or giving an extravagant amount of money to a need or reaching out to a widow or feeding the poor, and we just laugh and think, "Ain't no way". 

My point is....well alot of things....but basically that we can't leave this faith thing to those we consider "super spiritual". It's the basic foundation of what it means to be a follower of Christ. He loves when we believe Him and despises our unbelief. So as I take one step of faith (to CVille), I don't want to stop there. They may be baby steps, but I'm going to keep taking them. He hasn't failed me yet!