Faith Isn’t “Believing in God” ~ Its Trusting in God

1341194_84514919On Sunday we looked at the topic of faith. And rather than seeing faith as belief, we talked about how faith is really all about trust. Faith is about trusting in God, and putting that trust in action. Those are the two aspects to faith: trusting in God, and putting trust in action.

And this is such a different, healthier, and more biblical way to look at faith. Rather than seeing faith as a set of intellectual beliefs or doctrines, see faith in a relational way. See faith as putting trust in a person, not just believing certain things about a person.

That’s what we looked at on Sunday. How Hebrews presents faith as an active thing, a trusting thing, not just a belief thing.

We ended asking a serious but important question: do you trust in Jesus? This moves the discussion beyond just debating doctrines, and positions and moves to a heart level. Do you trust Jesus? Do you trust him to guide you? Do you trust him to care for you? Do you trust that his way of living is the way of living?

Because this is really what is at the heart of faith. Living a life of trust.

 

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Faith is trust in Jesus, and putting that trust in action.

Teaching Points:

  • Culture sets our normal.
  • Faith as belief is the normal way of thinking about faith.
  • Faith is trusting in God, even in the dark.
  • Faith is trust in God, and putting that trust in action.
  • Trust without action isn’t real.
  • Placing our faith in God is never wasted.
  • Are you willing to trust Jesus?
  • Trust can begin with a decision.
  • Is there some junk in your life you need to get rid of?

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? How amazing was that camel picture?

How have you thought of “faith” before? Why is it important to place trust in Jesus in the tough times? What helps you to do that? How is your trust in Jesus right now? Is it high or struggling? Is there any junk you need to get rid of? Who can help you do that? Can you bring them in?

Questions for Young Families:

Talk with your kids how faith isn’t just about believing but actually trusting. Why not try it out practically to show the difference and do “trust falls” with your kids to talk about how trust means stepping out.

Weekly Challenge: Trust in Jesus and live out that trust.

What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up Like You Thought He Would?

planb-postcard-frontOn Sunday we started our new series called Plan B. And we began by saying something that is honest, but difficult: Plan B’s suck.

They just do. They are hard, they are difficult, and they not only can test faith – they can break our faith. Because true “plan b’s” of our life are where we cry out to God – “why” and “where are you?”. The hardest situations to really move through are when you’re following God’s will and your life falls apart. It’s easy to understand why things fall apart, when we make bad choices. But the really tough “plan b’s” are when we follow God, and things still fall apart. It’s at those points that we do cry out “why God?” and “where are you God?”

So we began by recognizing that Plan B’s are hard. That they are difficult. That they not only test faith, but they can also break faith.

We then began to look at the life of David, who had many plan b’s in his life. He gets anointed to be King of Isreal, and then nothing happens for a long-time. And when things finally start to get moving it all falls apart so quickly. He becomes a hero killing goliath, gets noticed by the King, becomes a favorite of the people, starts to marry the King’s daughter – and it all looks like God’s promise that he will be king will come true.

But it all falls apart. And it falls apart badly, as Saul (the present king) tries to kill him.

David moves from being sure of how God is moving his life forward, to doubting and unsure what is going on. The promise that seemed just around the corner, now seems so far away. So David does what any of us would do – he runs. He runs for his life. I also think he runs too because he is not sure what to do or where to go.

And this is the trouble in Plan B’s; we have the temptation to run but so often we run in the wrong direction. Rather than running towards God, we run away from him. Rather than running towards community and church, we run away from those connections. But this isn’t what David does. David in 1 Samuel 19 runs to Samuel. He runs to the prophet the one who anointed him. David runs but doesn’t give up on God even in the dark.

And this was our main point on Sunday. That in the Plan B’s of life we can’t give up on God. We can’t give up on God, when things fall apart. And just because we aren’t in control, doesn’t mean that God has lost control. If we ever want to find our way towards God’s promises it means not giving up on him, even as everything falls apart. I’m not saying that’s easy. I’m not saying it’s simple. I’m simply saying I think that’s the only way we get through the hellish places we sometimes find ourselves. We need God.

So we ended with this challenge: that if you’re in a plan b place, don’t run from God but lean into others. Share with others where you are at, be like David and run to trusted people, run to God and don’t give in to fear and darkness. Next week we’ll look more at that. But I think the first thing we need to do when Plan B’s jump out unexpected is to resist the temptation to run and to lean into God, others, community, and care. And that’s what we learned on Sunday.

 Sermon Notes

Big Idea: When Plan B’s happen, we can’t give up on God.

Take Aways…

  • What do we do when our plan A’s fail?
  • “Everyone has shattered dreams” Pete Wilson
  • Sometimes the plan b’s in our lives bring about God’s best later on.
  • God’s will in the moment doesn’t always come to pass
  • God’s promises don’t have expiration dates.
  • When Plan B’s happen, we can’t give up on God.
  • “Your dream may not be happening, and things aren’t turning the way you expected, but that doesn’t mean your life is spinning out of control. It just means you aren’t in control” Pete Wilson
  • Don’t run from God

Adult / Group Discussion Questions

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

When have you been in a “plan b” in your life? What made it hard? What made it easier to get through? How did God get you through it? Can you relate to the temptation to run when things get tough? How so? Are you in a plan b place right now? If so, who can help you and support you during it? If not, who can you support that is in a plan b place.

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families

Talk to your kids how sometimes hard things happen. Talk to them about the importance of turning towards God. Share with them from your own life, how that’s happened and what you did. Use your life to teach them, and to get closer to them.

Challenge for this Week: Don’t run from God but lean into others / Support others who are in a Plan B place.