A MESSAGE BY STEPHEN HAYES
As Christians, we know how this entire story ends. SPOILER ALERT: The devil will be cast out and Jesus reigns forever.
Since we know how it ends, we can begin to wonder if what we do even matters. "Does city church really make a difference if it says that we win in the end anyway?"
The answer is "YES!" God uses our decisions and free will to make things happen in our future.
As we navigate the ups and downs of life, we have an unfair advantage as believers because our faith and belief in Christ Jesus empowers us with amazing abilities.
Two Types of Faith:
1. Preventative Faith
John 11: 21"Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
As Martha grieves the death of her brother Lazarus, she shows us preventative faith. Preventative faith is what we possess before what we perceive as the end comes. This type of faith says, save me before the bad things happen. For example, "Please God, don't let me lose my job." "God, don't let me get sick."
But what happens when the storm comes and preventative faith is no longer enough? God offers us a deeper level of faith.
"Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” - John 11:14-15
2. Resurrection Faith
John 11:.22 "But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”
If you've been through a hardship, you know that you serve a God who resurrects that which is already dead. Resurrection faith, faith gives us the authority and power to speak peace into the storm, knowing that the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the also dead dwells in you.
Recipe for Resurrection Faith:
1. BELIEVE it: Believe that you you serve a God that brings the dead back to life, and that you have the power and authority to speak to peace to the storms in your life.
2. REMOVE it: We may still have relationships, habits, unforgiveness, etc., in our lives, which keep us from resurrection faith. We can't find resurrection unless we get these things out of our lives.
3. SEE it: When we lose sight of God's resurrection power, we must do as Jesus did, and refocus our eyes to the heavens and the Father where there are no boundaries.
4. SPEAK it: There is power in prayer and speaking your faith. Prayer doesn't have to be particularly beautiful or exceptionally long, because it's not the length of your prayer that makes it powerful it's who you're praying to.
5. RECEIVE it: Sometimes there are certain rituals in religion that can limit our experience and withhold us from new faith. As we pursue the voice of God, we should remember that the spirit is always on the move. Don't allow an old memory keep you from new experiences in life. God rewards growth with testing and with pruning. Don't reject direction, receive it.
God, thank you that you know the end from the beginning. As we join in your perfect work, help us move beyond preventative faith and toward resurrection faith. When we forget, remind us that you are the God that can bring dead things back to life. Deepen our faith, God, so that we are able to speak peace in the midst of lives storms. In Jesus name. Amen