Today was my first Sunday without a church service to take as I have left my present post to move on. I was reminded the other day of a sermon I preached in March of this year and I find I am doing exactly as I preached. After 58 years living in my home town I am about to move away to a small group of village churches where I am to hold a house for duty post.
A walk of faith taken in trust.
The sermon can be heard ; http://www.bridport-team-ministry.org – sermons
March 16th 2014
Lent 2 Genesis 12,1-4
A couple of weeks ago I was handed a book with the accompanying words “I think you might find it interesting”
The book presented by the ++John Sentamu was called“faith stories” 20 true stories of faith changing lives today.
Today we have heard as Tom wright calls it “The beginning of a great costume drama” the faith story of Abraham.We have heard of Abrahams submission to God, God tells him “to leave you country, leave your family and your father’s house and go to a land that I will show you. In the message it says” So Abraham left just as God said”, no questions ,he went off on journey with no idea as to where he was going and how long the journey would take but he had a reassurance from god that all would be well. Abraham had faith in God , he trusted God completely.
I’ll make you a great nation and bless you.
I’ll make you famous;you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.
Abraham would be divinely favoured by God.
Abraham offered his beloved son on an altar in obedience to God. His submission allowed God to make the decisions for his life. He sacrificed his belongings, his relationships, his security and even his own child allowed God to act in his life.
I want to share with you a story very similar to that of Abraham ,it is of a young man who worked as a journalist, who in his words “lived a life that was exciting, dynamic and fun”. On a Sunday he could be found at the back of the church, complaining about how boring the service was and although everyone was nice it was just very very dull compared to his exciting life. One day he was challenged “ to be honest .I’m sick of you moaning. either leave or do something about it.”with the suggestion that he used his skills as a journalist to start his own service,he didn’t leave the church he accepted the challenge he used his skills and set up a Michael Parkinson/Jonathan Ross meets Song of Praise type service interviewing members of the congregation. slowly he began to enjoy church , people were laughing ,not bored. His church life became exciting, dynamic and fun as enjoyable as his journalistic life.
However, there came a point when God called him to leave to go to a new place, that place was to work for the church.
he was to set off on a journey to a new place, that place was to a leadership role, the same role as Abraham. Matt was going to leave behind the security of a well paid job, but he didn’t let that bother him he wrote to friends who agreed to come up with enough money to make the move possible. He became his church’s evangelist there to fill the empty pews. In his testimony he tells of how he felt he was in a scene in one of the Indiana Jones movie where the hero steps out onto an invisible bridge, he believes it is there but he knows that he is going to have to walk on it to test it. everything in his soul says to make the step, even though it looks like he could fall to his death. Both matt and Abraham took that step in faith, trusting God. As matt puts it we cant always see where god will take us next, or even if there is anything there if we agree to walk the bridge. it is hard and god will push us to our limits , but he will be there walking beside us.
Abraham’s and Matts story reminds us that faith and trust must involve more than hoping for the best in times of uncertainty. Faith often brings on uncertainty through acts of sub mission to God. Faith and trust often means taking a voluntary step from the known into the unknown in response to God’s leading. And faith often requires a voluntary giving away of persons, positions, or possessions in response to God’s nudging. It can involve acts of great, even heartrending, sacrifice. As Abraham’s life portrays, true faith in God means a life lived with God in active response to his guiding Spirit.
He gave up his comfortable homeland to take on a role beyond his imagining. In both Matt and Abraham’s complete act of submission and sacrifice, God showed himself trustworthy,providing all he had promised. Abraham didn’t grow in submission only to see his life whittled away and left empty and powerless. Instead, each sacrifice Abraham and Matt made resulted in richer blessing. some final words from matt who never went back to journalism, you my have guessed ,he is now a priest.
” often life can feel uncomfortable, but I am learning to trust God to take control; of my journey,and every time I do he sets me off on the most remarkable adventure. I let god in and he transformed me me from the inside out. he never fils to stir me, to change me,and to help me to be a better person.I ‘m just blown away by Christ and I can’t stop telling people about it, there’s no life like it”