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This morning’s sermon was the first in a series titled Time to Build. Today’s was Building A Life of Faith.

Jude 1:20
Hebrews 11:6

Hebrews is like the Faith Hall of fame.

Faith is… (something that always involves risk)

Believing when you don’t see it.
Heb 11:1
It’s visualizing the future in the present.
“I’ll believe it when I see it” should perhaps be changed to having to believe BEFORE you see it. If you are an architect or an artist (the two examples our pastor used), there is a vision in your head that you have to believe will work before you begin a project.
What’s your call? What’s God calling you to? Does it look impossible? It’s not.

Obeying when you don’t understand it.
Heb 11:7
I’ve been told that Noah had never seen rain, and so had no clue what the heck rain was and why he’d have to build a giant boat.
Heb 11:8
Abraham lived in what was modern-day Iraq and was 75 or so years old when God gave him his “mission” to travel to another land with Lot and then eventually end up the father of Israel.
Our pastor mentioned growing up, how parents have to kind of help direct their children. He said that God is wiser than parents, and that if you ignore Him, you will miss out. (Basically.)

Giving when you don’t have it.
Heb 11:4 — It’s how, not how much, and attitude, not amount. When you give, you give either out of reason or revelation. If you give out of reason, you give based on what you feel you can afford, not based on faith. If you give out of revelation, you give based on what you believe God wants you to give, out of faith.
Malachi 3:8 — Where your money is, so is your heart. Or at least, it’s an indicator.
2 Cor 8:3
You can never out-give God.

Persisting when you feel like giving up.
Heb 11:27 — 40 years; the focus was on God, not the people
Our pastor asked three good questions, and gave three little snippets…
1. Do you always feel like being nice to people? …No. — If you acted on that, how many friends would have?
2. Do you always feel like going to work? …No. — So would you still have your job?
3. Do you always feel like reading your Bible? …No. — Would you grow in your faith?
Eph 3:20
It’s not living on feelings.

Thanking God before you receive it.
Heb 11:30 — They gave a shout of victory and thanksgiving BEFORE the walls fell.
Mark 11:24
You can’t fix it, but He can.
Faith = believing is doing something even though you don’t see it.

Trusting even if you don’t get it.
Heb 11:39-40
Have you ever used a vending machine? Has you ever been really looking forward to that Twix or that 3 Musketeers or whatever thing from that machine that you really love, and the vending machine just eats your money and doesn’t you give your treat? have you ever kicked or shaken that vending machine?
Do you treat God the same way you treat that vending machine?
He’s not a vending machine. He does not give you things that are bad for you. (Not that a Twix on occasion is bad for you… Moderation, right?) He gives you what is best for you.
God hears and answers every prayer. He just doesn’t always answer the way you want Him to. It’s Yes, No, Not yet, or I have a better plan.
Character > Comfort
Holy > Happy
Genuine holiness –> lasting happiness
Living by faith does not mean you will have no problems.

It was a really interesting sermon, and he challenged us to think about which of these aspects we need to work on.

Now for the “Strength” thing.

Today’s Max Lucado devotional! (Which I am posting because I feel like it.)

What Are Your Strengths?
Romans 12:6
There are some things we want to do but simply aren’t equipped to accomplish. I, for example, have the desire to sing. Singing for others would give me wonderful satisfaction. The problem id, it wouldn’t give the same satisfaction to my audience…
Paul gives good advice in Romans 12:3: “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities” (PHILLIPS).
In other words, be aware of your strengths. When you teach, do people listen? When you lead, do people follow? When you administer, do things improve? When are you most productive? Identify your strengths, and then… major in them…. Failing to focus on our strengths may prevent us from accomplishing the unique tasks God has called us to do.