9 Words That Can Shape Faith

Ice.jpg
Two boys stood at the edge of a frozen pond. One of them said to the other, "Billy, I believe it will bear our weight." "Do you?" asked the other. "Yes." "Then get on it." "No," said he, "I don't want to." "Then," said the other, "you don't believe it will bear you."

I am sure other church planters have heard comments about having great faith to start a church. I can't speak for others, but I wouldn't call my faith great, I'd call the One who I put my faith IN great. I've already been on the ice enough times, sometimes by choice, other times, I've been thrown out there by life. Certain words keep coming to mind that have shaped my faith in God. Words that again and again, seem to always keep me moving farther out on the ice...


1. Transparent.

Why do we use transparent tape? So the tape doesn't get in the way. Often following Jesus Christ gets confused with "spirituality." It isn't. Jim Wallis has often said, "Faith is personal but it isn't private." Jesus didn't spend all day in Bible Studies, he lived life and taught from what he experienced and confronted each day. People could see God through his life. Can people see Jesus in yours?

2. Obedience.

When I was struggling with the call to ordination, a friend said to me, "it isn't faith if you know the outcome." One of the biggest reasons people don't grow in their faith is they choose not to obey. Faith is lived out in obedience.


3. Tenacious.

I found this word recently in James' letter to the 12 tribes (James 1:1). Tenacious is a great word! It is a stick-to-it-iveness that goes beyond what is most often seen in lives. Who do you know who really sticks with it? Let me ask ya, do you want a patient faith or a tenacious faith?

4. Integrity.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. (Matthew 5:37) When you tell the truth, you never have to remember everything you've said.


5. Sacred.

Honor what God has set aside as important. You don't know all that God knows and neither do I.


6. Tradition.

Honor what holy people have said as important. Those have gone before are like coaches. Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history - they didn't win a single game. Based on experience, who would you listen to on the field? (Information on Self-Efficacy)

7. Sabbath.

Growing in faith isn't about just getting in touch with oneself. It is about spending time with God.

8. Spontaneous.

God is unpredictable so why do we feel we have to be so predictable?

9. Generous.

When I was 16 I was convinced that 50 cents a day could help a child. As a teenager, I adopted a child through Compassion International. When Eduardo wrote to me as his "parent" I didn't know how meaningful that was. When I had kids - then I knew. That and other experiences have taught me how that if you want to really change the world, be generous, not powerful.

May I Ask? What words have shaped your faith? How have you acted on them?
May I Suggest?
Pick a word and focus on it for a week. Learn about it and live out what you learn. Step on the ice!

3 comments:

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Ken,

To your list, I would append vision. I don't mean vision in the corporate sense (designing a strategy to fulfill ambition), or even the creative sense (a grand design attuned to the core principles of an artifact or narrative).

Instead, I mean vision in the metaphoric (allegoric?) sense -- that when one is grounded spiritually, one feels the scales fall away and that they can see. To put it succinctly: vision in the "Amazing Grace" sense, then.

Basically, the impression of clarity one gets when one is properly aligned.

That's the sort of soul-refreshing breath of fresh essence that excites and inspires people to help others to put themselves in a position to see, too. It's contagious, because it compels one to share what they feel inside.

Yours,
Cheeseburger Brown

Ryan Dunn said...

This may be closely linked to your "tenacity"... but I think "fidelity" helps to shape my faith. Faith takes a faithful presence. Presence with God and presence with others. We need to be faithfully present.

This post moved me today. Thanks for sharing your insights with us.

JediPastorKen said...

Cheeseburger: Vision definitely adds a lot especially in our current climate. It goes well with http://roshanthomas.blogspot.com post on Inspirational Leadership.

Ryan: Fidelity is a great word. I would think it would fit well with the idea of Sabbath too. I'm glad to know this connected with you.

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