Monday, December 31, 2007

It's Hard to Believe

"It's hard to believe."

Depending upon where you place the emphasis on that statement, the meaning, or at least the nuance can change. Place the emphasis on "hard" and you may be talking about the difficulty in believing a certain truth, or story. Place the emphasis on the word "believe" and you might be referring to the difficulty that believing a certain truth will place upon your life.

As I contemplate the truths that I say I believe, specifically regarding my faith in God, I would have to say that both of the above statements are true. There are truths about God and His dealing with His creation, that I find hard to believe. And there are truths about God and His dealing with His creation that I find make it hard to believe.

Now, let me state from the outset, that I DO hold to those truths put forth by the Apostles, the Early Church Fathers, and by the more recent Statements of Faith. But, I also must say, there are lots of aspects of the Faith to which I profess that are hard to believe. (I guess that's why it is called faith.) I also hold to the fact that those truths, which may sometimes prove hard for me to believe, are also those that make belief (that is living out the reality of those truths) hard as well.

For example: I find it not easy to believe that Jesus walked on water (though I DO believe it). It's hard to believe because I have 1) never seen it, and 2) never done it. (Though I did try once!) And, on the other hand, when I read about Jesus telling His followers to sell all they have and give alms to the poor, well I'll just be honest here, I find that hard as well...especially to do.

So, where am I going with all this? I am "going" into my new series of sermons on the foundations of our faith. Those things we build upon as followers of Jesus. Those foundational blocks, without which, our building of faith would soon tumble to the ground.

I have been "pushed" into this series because of two things. First, the denomination of which our church fellowship is a part, the Evangelical Free Church of America, is in the final stages of re-writing it's Statement of Faith. The ongoing revision process has caused me to take a closer look of those truths I have "signed on to" as a part of the National EFCA Ministerial, and thus I felt it was important for our church to take a good look at our belief statements as well. Second, and maybe more importantly, we live in a culture in which there is an increasing syncretism within the Christian church. Not knowing deeply what we believe and why we believe it, leads us to believe just about anything coming down the pike. And I am not just talking about pressure from the outside, but more misinformation from the inside. All one need do is to spend some time in a well-stocked Christian bookstore, listen to late night Christian radio (day time has its problems too) or watch any number of popular preachers on television.

So, for this week's message I am focusing upon the truth that it is hard to believe, but it is oh, so wonderful to do so. The truth of God is so amazing, so huge, so impossible, that to stand in front of it all will cause us either to run away in disbelief, or to cower in fear or to stand in awe before the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. My text for this week comes from the end of the section where Jesus has feed the 5,000 (hard to believe), walked on water (hard to believe), told his followers they must eat His flesh and drink His blood (hard to believe). At the end many are leaving Him because He is hard to believe, but when He questions His 12 Peter responds, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68-69)

Yes, it's hard to believe...but, where else can we go? Care to go with me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when you study this series out..... I'll be praying for you, amigo.

Dan-o