Faith: Not in a Floor Plan

One of the best movies I have ever seen is called “Simon Birch”.  It is a story of a young man who was born with a disability, but he continued throughout the film to talk about how God had a plan for him; How God would use him for something great.  Here I need to offer a spoiler alert for those of you who have not seen the film, and would also like to say that it is definitely worth the watch.

The film is about this young man who is searching for his place among the community…no one wants him, not his family, not the teachers, not even the leaders in the church.  He is an outcast because he is different, not unlike many of us.  Along with this, He continues to tell others that God has a plan for him.  Simon and his friend Joe are on a search for Joe’s real father, but the thing that is interesting to me is that this youngster has more faith than many of us could ever imagine.

It reminds me of the scripture in Matthew 17:20 that states, “He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.””

This is the type of faith that Simon had and by the end of the film, his faith allowed him the chance to be the hero that he claimed God had put him here to be.  This heroic act took a toll on his small body, but his sacrifice lived on in those that he worked to save.

One of the best lines in the film for me comes in a scene where the pastor of the church is telling him his “place” in the church.  Simon responds with, “Faith is not in a floor plan.”  I think we need to take that mentality into our churches today and realize that we cannot find faith in the layout of our churches; the “place” that we feel others ought to take in the church, or even the structure that we place into a service.

In order for our faith to be effective in today’s church, we must allow the Spirit of God to do the work that is necessary for us to carry out the plan that God has for our lives and for our churches.  We must realize that sometimes our “structure” is actually the very thing that is holding us back from growing in the Lord today.

I ask you today to examine your idea of the church, of the people of the church; take a close look at what you feel God should be doing and then take a step back and allow Him to do what HE feels should be done.  Today, we need to realize that our “Floor Plans” for the church may just be the very thing that is holding us back from fully experiencing the Glory of God in our own lives.  Trust in him today and allow Him to do the work He deems necessary, you won’t regret that decision.

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Keep the Faith

One of the things that has been on my mind for weeks, maybe even months, is the topic of faith.  Faith is important to our Christian walk, and many times, believers neglect their faith when trouble strikes.  Faith is important for many reasons, especially when it comes to being a Christian.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of things you do not see.”  It takes faith to believe in a God you cannot see, but much like the wind, our faith is not based on what we can’t see, but what we do see.  We can’t see the wind, but we have faith that it is there because we see the effects of the wind.  In the same way, we can’t see God, but we know He is there because we see the healings, we feel His spirit, and we know that He is there in the midst of our storms.

Anne Graham Lotz put it this way, “If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from something that’s as obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my problems and my pain and my unanswered prayer. I just have to trust Him.”

I feel that we can take a lot from this statement, because it embodies the faith that we have…God brings blessing from one of the most gruesome, troubled times in history; how much more so can he bring blessings from the problems and pain that we struggle with?

It reminds me of the song by Garth Brooks called “Unanswered Prayers.”  Look at these words:

“Sometimes I think God for unanswered prayers, remember when you’re talking to the Man upstairs; just because He doesn’t answer, it doesn’t mean he don’t care; some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

I know it may be a song that isn’t exactly sharing the Gospel, but look at it with me on this…Just because he may not answer the prayers that we pray, it doesn’t mean that God has given up on us.  God may be choosing to with hold what we ask for because what He intends for us is greater than what we can even imagine.  Many times we lose faith because answers do not come either in a time frame we set, or they don’t come in a way that we hoped they would.  This is where I want to offer encouragement in this way…those may be the blessings we miss because we have failed to keep the faith.

Keep your faith strong today.  Don’t give up just because you didn’t get the answer you thought should have come.  Over the next couple of weeks I will explore why our faith is so important, especially in this day and time.  Keep the faith and trust in God.

“God does not always heal us instantly the way we think. He is not a jack-in-the-box God. But God is walking with me through this.” — Thelma Wells

Dying to Self

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

You must go through the valleys and trials of this life, dealing with grief, to be able to climb to the heights of spiritual glory.  You must become tired and weary of facing life alone before you begin to search for, and find, the fellowship of Christ in your life.  You have to come to the end of all you know, the end of self, before you can even begin to live.

The mourning of inadequacy is a struggle that catches the attention of the Most High God.  This verse from Psalm 34 states that the Lord is near to those who are brokenhearted, those who are torn down and troubled, and he saves those who have a contrite and crushed spirit.

I can tell you this…the happiest day of my life was when I came to the understanding that my own abilities, my own morality, and my own goodness was still insufficient in the eyes of God.  I had to publically and openly confess and acknowledge a need for a Savior in my life.  I had to admit the need for Christ in my life.  This admission truly opened my eyes to the fact that my mourning was turned to joy and my suffering into singing.

I owe this change to Jesus Christ.  Many owe this same change in their own lives to Christ as well, and it is this change that gives us hope and helps us keep it together when the going gets tough.  Colossians 1:17 states, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Everything that we face is held together by the one who was here from the beginning.

Many throughout history have acknowledged this Savior in their own lives.  Napoleon stated, “I know men, and I tell you, Jesus is more than a man.  Comparison is impossible between Him and any other human being who ever lived, because He was the Son of God.”

Arnold Toynbee made the statement, “As we stand and gaze with our eyes fixed upon the farther shore, a simple figure rises from the flood and straightway fills the whole horizon of history.  There is the Savior.”

If these men saw the need for a Savior, and the greatness of Jesus Christ, we too should see what He can do in our lives.  Today, we must realize our need for a Savior.  We must come to terms that our own deeds, while they are good, are still not enough to get us much more than a pat on the back from others if we do not have a personal relationship with the One who died for our sins.

Today, we must realize that Jesus Christ is not just a man from the history books, but a living Savior who gave up the joys of heaven to walk a mile in our shoes and lay down his life for the sins that we have committed.  Jesus Christ came to give us a chance to have more than just the joy of this life, but the joy of a life eternal with Him.  Is he your Savior today?  Do you know Him?

Find renewal today…die to yourself…find life everlasting with Christ.