3-10-2019 A Real Faith Challenge



March 10, 2019


God has worn me out all week with one question, “what is real faith”. This single, short, to the point question has been my “challenge of the week”. It has been both constant and inescapable. So, so I don’t struggle alone, I want to share the same challenge with you …


I’ve been blessed to be in ministry as either a part-time lay staff, minister of education or Pastor for 20+ years. I’ve set through hundreds of team meetings, budget meetings, ministry meetings and special meetings, cool-headed meetings, hot-headed meetings and spontaneous meetings. In all these meetings congregations were asked to step out in faith on a variety of opportunities. During that time, I’ve found myself captivated by several common observations.


For you to understand my heart and what you are about to read, you first need to understand the filter from God’s Word through which I’ve experienced those observations.


  1. Faith is not required if we (you and/or me) 1. have the ability to accomplish something on our own (without God) and 2nd we can accomplish it within our own means (no assistance from God). That is, if we decide to move on something based these two foundations, there is no faith requirement involved. We are just asking God to bless and adjust Himself to our finite plans.


  1. Real faith is the exact opposite of the above. Real faith is 1. always God led and 2nd always beyond our own immediate means. That is, if we decide to move on something based on these two foundations, there is a real faith requirement involved. For real faith to blossom within us, enabling us to bear “much fruit”, it must be led by God to go beyond ourselves. If not, God does not receive the honor or glory.


The Holy Spirit confirmed this through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…


Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB)
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.


  1. Often the “faith response’ is proportional to how we perceive God’s current blessings on ourselves and our church. If we are meeting budget, God is blessing us, we find ourselves open (willing?) to His leading. If we aren’t meeting budget, then we perceive that God really isn’t blessing us and, is saying, “no”. Yet, is He? Because God may be testing us by asking us to step out in faith (desiring to bless us even more abundantly) to accomplish something we can’t and wouldn’t do ourselves?


Too often we rationalize a conviction based on our own personal biases. When we really should be is driven to our knees seeking God’s infinite wisdom instead of using our own finite wisdom. The results of being driven to our knees should result in no one being able to get us off our knees until we receive confirmation from God… but we haven’t and we aren’t and therefore in my observation, we rarely exercise real faith.


Hebrews 11:6 (NASB)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.


  1. Speaking of prayer. A ‘faith response’ demands prayer.


James 4:2 (NASB)
2 … You do not have because you do not ask.


Tragically, the majority of us (trust me, I believe it approaches 100%) who attend a ministry meeting “(business” meetings for the hardcore) have not spent a single minute praying for either God’s leading or the issues at hand prior taking their seat at the meeting. How do I know? Because of the questions asked. Observe and see. Virtually all the questions will be ‘internally oriented’ rather than ‘kingdom oriented’. “How do we accomplish this… rather than “How will God use us to accomplish this”. “Can we afford this” … rather than “How will we seek God’s provision for His blessings and honor”?


By the way, (for the hardcore) these meetings are always about ministry… never about the church’s business. Because what other business does the church have? Have you ever noticed (I’ve been guilty too) that in many cases, the opening prayer almost always includes… “God bless us as we do your business”? Folks, God does not “do business” He only “does ministry” ... and so should we. Besides, God doesn’t ‘do business through us’… He chooses to accomplish His ministry by ‘inviting us’ to be part of the joy of His work.



John 2:16 (NASB)
16 … He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business."


So, how can we do anything with God (let alone ‘for God’) if we haven’t met with Him first in prayer prior to our meeting together to know His will?


Luke 19:46 (NASB)
46 saying to them, "It is written, 'AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' …


How will we have confidence that God is leading us if we are not in prayer… prior to… during… and after a ministry meeting?


  1. Too often we fail to respond in faith using the rationale that God doesn’t want us to be foolish. I cannot count the times I’ve heard someone use the verse…


Luke 14:28 (NASB)
28 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?


Usually, this verse is used in to make a point about finances. Do yourself a favor and read the context of that verse. The context is about discipleship. Being willing to do as God commands and being willing to be faithfully obedient to the very end. It has nothing to do with budget, tithe income or ability.


  1. Lastly, I want us to consider the checkbook. Consider two things… 1st Whose money, is it? and 2nd If God were to return today what would a huge checking balance do, to advance the kingdom? Do we have faith because of the security of a great amount in the checking account or is it because we have a great God?


Enough for now. You’ve now read what my challenges have been this week. I’ll share more thoughts and details next week. By now, I am confident that you are countering these points with 101 arguments. Good!! Join the ranks, that’s exactly what I’ve done with God all week.


By the way… so far, I haven’t scored a point against Him… my guess is neither will you.


Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry