Crazy God Part 2: Where There Is Faith

The place seated about a thousand. But a typical Sunday saw 700 gathering to worship. It was empty now, filled only with padded seats and silence and band equipment onstage.

And me.

I needed a plan. My wife and two sons (one in the belly at the time) had come here 4 years ago to start this church with our pastor.

I was the worship pastor.

The church had grown and quickly acquired a large meeting space. We were blessed financially, and we were blessed with a harmonious group of people. The band and singers were sincere and skilled musicians, and I had an army of great-hearted volunteers around me.

But, there in 2009, I was asking for a plan, a direction, an imagining of what the worship ministry should look like, according to Him.

God never gave it.

Instead, over a span of months, He morphed my request into a grander, loftier question.

In the South, we would say He “messed with” my question…He stirred it up, changed it without my permission.

The question turned broader. Maybe I shouldn’t zero in on just this ministry, I thought. Maybe I should understand what He wants for the church as a whole. Any church.

The question became:

“Where on Earth are you most pleased with Your church?”

Seems harmless, doesn’t it? No one would hear that question and forecast 5 years of challenging tests of faith…of wilderness…of miraculous provision.

“Where on the Earth are you most pleased with Your church?”

The question was out and there it rested, no doubt as God rubbed His hands together, looking forward to answering this one.

I expected God to point to some church in the African bush, under a tree, dancing and clapping with joy over their Savior. (And no doubt He could.) Then maybe I could visit. You know, see what they’re doing, how they’re doing it.  And all with good intention and pure motive to be the church God wanted.

He never pointed to anyone.

He answered in few words.

Months later.

 

In between the question and answer were months of studying Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Oh, the wonders of Romans!

I had never taken the time to read Romans in context…from one end to the other as a whole.  I was amazed how much “faith” was interwoven through the book and was a key ingredient in what God was serving up.

Abraham’s faith.

Faith that Jesus died for us.

Faith to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.

Our relationship with God is built on faith.

By faith, we are counted righteous and accepted by Him.

By faith, we live day to day, following His Spirit.

After months of studying through Romans, wrestling to understand some parts, and finally resting in it, God answered my question with those four words that wrecked and wonderfully changed our lives.

Q: Where on Earth are You most pleased with Your church?

A: Where there is faith.

Did you catch that? It was really quick. Here it is again in case you blinked.

Where there is faith.

God could point to any church on Earth with faith in Him and be pleased. Not just “we believe there is a God” faith, but faith that affects every footstep…faith that gives God opportunity to do something only He can do…faith that stares gaping-mouthed into a request from God and says, “Ummmmm…………..OK, if You say so!”

He didn’t provide a model to study or pastor to emulate.  He invited us to look at Him.  To believe Him.

Where there is faith.

So, there we have it. The words that started something, like the opening pistol-shot at a race. The first God-words spoken here at the beginning of our story. The first statement of truth that God would further teach with years of miraculous provision and tough-love lessons.

 

Where there is faith.

 

Such a simple phrase. So beautiful. So inspiring.

Learning what it meant…just scraping the surface of understanding it…would break us and change us forever.

 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Hebrews 11:6)

 

Read Crazy God Part 3: Seeing Vision

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