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Believers Challenged to Live Life of Faith

Believers Challenged to Live Life of Faith

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Megachurch Pastor John Lindell urged weary Christians Wednesday night to persevere in the faith and not miss God’s calling to new opportunities, even if they seem uncomfortable.

Lindell is certainly one to confront challenges. He started James River Assembly of God in 1991. Today the Ozark, Missouri-based church has an average Sunday morning attendance of 6,000, making it the second largest church in the Fellowship.

In his sermon at the Pepsi Center, Lindell recounted how in Acts 17, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter repeatedly expressing grave concern to the church he had just visited in Thessalonica. Five times in the chapter Paul mentions the faith of church members. It’s no less important a topic today, Lindell said. “When it comes to ministry, the condition of your faith is critically important,” he said.

There is a correlation between a person’s level of faith and their fullness of the Holy Spirit, their attitude and their blessing by God, Lindell said. He noted that Hebrews 11:6 says it is impossible for the Christian lacking faith to please God. “If we want to please God we have to live a life of faith,” he said. And, according to Galatians 5:6, faith must be expressed through love.

“As a church leader or a layperson, what is your level of faith?” Lindell asked. “Are you living by faith as you are leading your area of ministry?”

Abraham is the classic example of faith, Lindell said. New Testament writers invariably mention Abraham, as Stephen did in Acts 7 and Paul did in Romans 4. Genesis 12 records the beginning of Abraham’s walk of faith.

Lindell recounted how the Lord in Genesis 12:1 told Abram to leave his country, people and father’s household in order to go the land He had planned for him. The life of faith is a life of leaving, Lindell said, and God’s people must be willing to say good-bye to the comfort of current situations.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a geographical move, Lindell explained. A lot of people think by finding a new church home they can leave difficulties behind. But they find similar friction with similar-minded people, just in a new locale.

Genesis 12 speaks primarily of a calling on a spiritual rather than geographical journey, Lindell noted. When God asks us to do something He always starts with the easier and works to the harder,” Lindell said. “God knows that change is difficult—for most people it’s a near-death experience.”

Stepping out in faith while heeding God’s call might involve multiple areas of a Christian’s life, according to Lindell. Some people have to be willing to leave where they are emotionally. Others have to be willing to leave financially, spiritually or physically.

Such scenarios are troublesome for the majority of American Christians who are content, Lindell said. But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a new opportunity that could be more rewarding, albeit more challenging.

Congregants bored with the same routine may need to hear from God about new ministry needs lurking on the horizon.

Initially James River Assembly targeted young families, but recently, changes began after the realization that the congregation had aged. God called the congregation to leave behind comfortable ways of the past and do something new.

Many churches and individual Christians miss God’s plans because they refuse to leave safe and secure environments, Lindell said.

However, when God instructs Christians to leave, he doesn’t always give specific directions about where to go. Lindell cited Hebrews 11:8, which indicates that Abraham immediately obeyed God’s call, even though he didn’t have a clue as to his destination.

“The life of faith doesn’t come with a map,” Lindell said. “We like it all spelled out. But faith doesn’t work that way.” Being in a condition of dependence upon God isn’t a bad place, he said.

There is no blessing in going halfway and getting cold feet, according to Lindell. He said of all the new ventures James River Assembly has tried – from planting churches that now draw hundreds every week to an annual Independence Day outreach that drew 110,000 people last month – all required a step of faith that involved being unsure of what would happen. Sometimes there are unexpected bumps in the road, but that still doesn’t mean God’s people shouldn’t start the journey.

Yet too many times Christians grow weary and lose their zeal because they forget God’s promises. Lindell issued a challenge for those in need of renewal of God’s empowerment, to those who believe God is calling them to leave a comfortable place and to those who have been called by God, but somewhere along the way stopped walking. Others. Lindell explained, have simply forgotten God’s promises. Finally, some are reluctant to try to overcome the obstacles they are facing or to embark on a long journey.

Whatever circumstances Christians find themselves in, above all else they need to praise God for his faithfulness and keep going, Lindell said.

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