Who do people say that Jesus is? The Barna Research organization reports that nine in ten American adults say Jesus was a real person, but only 56% believe Jesus is God. The question was so important that Jesus takes a poll and asks his disciples what they heard others say. Their answers vary. Then he asks his disciples what they think. Of course, it is Peter who hits the nail on the head.
2,000 years ago Jesus was dead. The stone had been rolled in front of the tomb and the tomb was sealed. This was the end of the story for most Messiahs in the 1st century. But something different happened in the case of Jesus. It was so different that even the disciples had doubts at first. But then the astonishing truth became clear.
Faith is the bridge between where I am, and the place God is taking me. Hear what skydiving, Peter’s walk on the water, and making a decision to follow Christ all have in common.
The Disciples doubted. John the Baptist expressed his doubt when he asked Jesus, “are you the one?” We have our doubts. Thankfully Jesus didn’t reject those who doubted. Instead He encouraged them to stick around and develop their faith. How do we handle our doubts?
Life can knock us down so that we lose hope. The Apostle Paul believes that the story of Abraham can renew us with hope.
Life sends us curve balls. We lose our job. Our spouse dies. We file for bankruptcy. We get a divorce. We are hurt in a severe accident. A child becomes addicted to drugs. The list goes on and on. Mary the mother of Jesus was thrown a curve ball when the angel tells her that she will give birth to the son of God. Her reaction to Gabriel’s curve ball is a helpful example of how we might react.
Signs of quitting are everywhere…a half read book placed back on the bookshelf, a car jacked up on blocks rusting away, a diet which was abandoned or a faith that has grown cold. The Christmas story deals with the issue of giving up. Zechariah and Elizabeth were close to giving up in their old age when a surprising event changed everything. Instead their waiting paid off.
Faith is the most powerful force in the world. When an individual believes something, it can energize them to act. When Jesus was crucified the closest people to Jesus believed he was dead. They believed that his death meant the end of their call to be disciples. But something they saw caused them to believe differently.
A (Christian) lifestyle of generosity, prayer, and compassion characterized the faith giant Abraham. From the foundation of his faith, good works followed.
When the world was a mess God picked Abraham to help him fix the mess that humankind had created. Abraham did such a great job that three major world religions call him one of their most important figures. He changed the world because he was able to do one thing. In this message we will explore the one action that can help us build a strong faith foundation.