Sermon from our Red Deer Church – Daring Faith Pt 4 – Dave Thordarson
So we’ve been talking about daring faith for the last few weeks, it’s a series by Rick Warren, and some of our small group, our life groups are doing the series as well, and what is that? What is the daring faith? Well it’s that song we just sang. Thank you worship team by the way for that. It was awesome; awesome. And that last song we sang was called “Do it Again” where I’ve seen you move the mountains and I believe you’ll do it again. That’s a daring faith to see, to rely on God’s promise because he is faithful to his promises, and it says that in the song too – your promise still stands, great is your faithfulness, so I believe. And because God is faithful to his word, to his promise, we can have faith, we can have a daring faith. That song also talked about walls. I’ve been walking around these walls thinking why are they still here? But I believe. You’ve never failed me Lord. And I think of the walls of Jericho in the Bible where the army got the promise from God that those walls would come down, and they believed God’s promise and they walked around those walls in that city. And God fulfilled his promise, they came down; that’s a daring faith.
I’m sure when they got that word from God, “All you got to do is just walk around and they’ll come down, you don’t even have to fire one shot and this city will collapse.” But they knew God, they trusted God, they believed God on his word, and they believed his promise so they used that daring faith. It’s amazing. That’s what Richard talked about last week was to have faith like a soldier you need to be committed like a soldier, committed like an athlete, courageous, in it to win it, daring. But how do we begin that? And that’s this week’s part of the talk, part four. It starts in your mind, daring to imagine. It starts by changing your thought patterns from “not me” to “how me”; from “I can’t” to “how can I?” You’ve never failed me yet. OK, let’s do this God, right?
Why do we have imaginations? It’s because God gave it to us, God has an imagination, the greatest of all. God created everything. I talked about that the last time I spoke, it was God’s creation, because God thought it up, and spoke, and created; amazing imagination. There’s you and me, we’re here; it takes quite an imagination to think of this. It’s the same with us, nothing becomes reality until we think it up in our head first. The songs we sang here today, somebody had the idea before those words were sung. The car you drove here in, somebody had to think that a car would be a good idea. The church was God’s idea; what a great thing that we can come here and sing songs and praise and worship together and be in God’s presence as a family together, God’s idea.
The Bible talks about our imagination and using our minds, and it kind of has some guidelines for us too. Like it talks about things we shouldn’t imagine, like lust; lust is something we shouldn’t imagine, we shouldn’t go there in our minds. We shouldn’t worry; worry is another way to misuse this gift that God has given us. There are things we can’t imagine according to scripture, like heaven. I try to imagine heaven, but it’s beyond what I can imagine. The most incredible thing in your mind is even beyond that. You can’t imagine the love of God, God’s love; God is love. You can’t imagine it. You can try and that’s OK, but you can’t do it. And then there’s things that scripture says you should imagine, there’s things you should think about. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.” It’s right there. So, we need to unlock our God-inspired imagination so we can have a daring faith right.
There are some things that will help us, some things we should know about it. Number one – my imagination shapes my life. My imagination shapes my life, my way of thinking shapes my life Proverbs 23:7, the first part of it is, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Say that with me – “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” His heart, his mind, as a man thinks, so is he. And I talked about this just a few minutes ago how when you’re in the “I can’t” there’s no way. If you say “I can’t”, you will never see past the wall. If you start to say “how?” you start to imagine what the other side of that wall is like, and you will ask God how to bring that wall down. And I’m good at that, I’m good at seeing the wall myself. I’ve had lots of experience of saying, “No, I can’t, not me. No, no, no.” Just this for instance, speaking in front of you all here today, for many, many, many years – and I’m not stealing Brad’s testimony, but it is very similar to what Brad talked about a couple of weeks ago – for a long time I felt a calling to do more than just play songs but to study God’s Word and to bring God’s Word and to speak like this, and I would say no to God. Have you ever said no to God? It’s not a good answer.
So one day me and God actually hashed it out and I said, “Fine.” And when I accepted God’s call so to speak, then I could start to see. I started to ask, “Well, how do I do this?” I started to tell people. And then you can start to see in your mind what that would look like, and you can start to fulfill that call, and here I am today. You can decide if it’s worth it or not. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Keep your heart or your mind with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. In other words, be careful how you think because your life depends on it. How you think determines where you’re going to go, determines how you’re going to respond, that determines what you’re going to see.
Number two, imagining is essential to living by faith. Deep. Imagining is essential to living by faith. It’s like the song we were singing – I’ve seen you move so I can imagine you moving again in my life. That’s faith; faith is seeing the results with your spiritual eyes. Hebrews 11:1, what is faith? Read it with me. “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.” It’s confidence and assurance; confidence. Faith is a way of seeing confidently what we don’t see with our physical eyes, it’s a way of seeing our hopes and dreams come to life before it has even happened. Faith can open the eyes of our heart, and we can see it, we can picture it in our mind, we can dream it, we can visualize it with confidence and assurance. What a gift, the imagination God gave us, what a gift. When God calls you, imagine it and visualize it. God gave us our minds to use them. God encourages us to use them so we can move forward in faith, God encourages us, and it’s in the Bible. I think of Abraham, and he was 90 years old, he was old man. And God came to him and said, “You’re going to father many, many children, be the father of great nations, your descendants…” He was old. Imagine that, picture being old like that and God saying, “You’re going to have a bunch of kids.” Just picture… I’m not going to name any names. Pastor Nate, where are you? Picture God saying you’re going to have all kinds of children. He didn’t have any kids yet, he was 90. And I’m sure when God said that he was like, “Sarah, I don’t know about this.” But God wanted Abraham to imagine, he wanted him to be excited.
Read this, in Genesis 15:5-6 it says, “Then he brought him outside and said ‘look now towards heaven and count the stars if you are able to number them’. And he said to him, ‘so shall your descendants be’.” What was God doing then? He was igniting Abraham’s imagination, he was getting him excited about his call, helping him think, “yeah, OK, yeah I can see that.” Our ability to see God inspired hopes and dreams in our mind allows us to move forward in faith with assurance and confidence, with a daring faith. Ephesians 1:18, “As I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” The eyes of your heart, the eyes of your mind; not your physical eyes, the eyes of your heart. God has a calling for your life, and if you can’t imagine the calling, you hear the calling and you can’t imagine it, then you’re just kind of existing. When he calls you just look at the stars so to speak, imagine it, because God can do far more than we can ever imagine, so imagine it, dream it. I want a God-inspired life, I want to live; I don’t want to just exist.
Number three – doubt is the enemy of imagination. In James 1:5-7 we read, “If any of you lacks wisdom you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” You must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. Your imagination, well, your thoughts will either be governed by your fears or your faith. So your faith will allow you to be moving forward I want a faith that propels me forward. I don’t want to just move back and forth with no direction. And that’s what doubt will do to you, it will destroy your imagination. So we kind of have it backwards nowadays. We have beliefs, I believe; but we tend to doubt our beliefs, and believe our doubts. Beliefs are meant to be believed, doubts are meant to be doubted; so we need to doubt our doubts and believe our beliefs.
If we let our imagination be controlled by fears we will be freaked out a lot of the time, we’ll be walking around worried, stressed out, we would kind of be miserable all the time. But faith trump’s that. Let faith dominate your life and imagination, trust in God; with God all things are possible. If you focus on that you’ll imagine the good things, you’ll have less worry. Faith is your guide, not your fears. Your faith will move you ahead. And you’re going to have doubts and fears. I have them, I had them today. You’re going to have doubts, you’re going to have fears, so you don’t have to have it all together; but you can choose faith, and faith will trump your doubts and fears. In Mark it talks about this man had a son and he was possessed and it was a really hard time for him I’m sure, and his boy. And they came to Jesus, he brought his son to Jesus, and he says this, this is his dad talking, “It has often thrown him into the fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” I love this response by Jesus. He says, “if you can.” Could you imagine? He’s like, “If you can do anything” and Jesus just says, “”Don’t you know who I am? If I can?” And then he says, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.”
So he believed, and he used his faith. He came to Jesus with his son even though he doubted his belief, he chose faith and that was enough. So in spite of your doubts and fears, Jesus. And it’s hard, we need to do what we can to minimize those doubts and fears in our life. Get into the Word is a good way. See God’s promise; it’s here. Praying is a really good way, communicate with God. Another good way is to surround yourself with people, it takes courage; surround yourself with people who will encourage your courage. That’s why we believe strongly in life groups here, and that’s one reason, it’s because you need to surround yourself with people who can pray for you and encourage you to encourage your courage, help you grow in your faith. And it’s not too late to join one, if you want to join a life group just talk to Victor, it’s never too late to join one. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will encourage your courage.
Number four – God’s Spirit and God’s Word fuel my imagination and grow my character. God gives us his own spirit. God’s spirit, God gives us his spirit so we can use it, fuel our imagination. John 14:16-17 says, “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, Holy Spirit. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.” This is where power comes from. This is where courage comes from. How do you get it? It’s pretty easy, God is offering it to you. It’s easy to get God’s spirit.
John 3:6,7 say, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying you must be born again.” That’s how you get the spirit. Now, how do you do that? You just believe that God is offering it to you. You believe Jesus died and rose again, you believe and you accept it. You can’t do it on your own, it’s a heart thing. God will give you a spirit. You’ll never be different until you see things different. You’ll never see things different until you get a different spirit in you. God Holy Spirit makes a difference, it propels you in life, it gives you courage, it gives you the hope to dream.
Another thing God gives us to fuel our imagination, his word; his word. Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Look at me, this is not perfect. This is perfect, God’s word is perfect so don’t take my word for it, get in God’s word. So be fueled by God’s word, it gives us new life because it fuels our imagination. Relying on God’s word and his spirit will clarify your vision, it’ll clarify your call, it’ll clarify your dreams. It’ll show you God’s promise, that he is faithful to his word. Fuel your faith and it’ll grow your character. God’s spirit and God’s word will grow your character. 2 Peter 1:5-9 say, “For this very reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleanse from their past sins.” And how do you add to your faith? God’s word, God’s spirit.
Number five, this is really important – if your dream is from God it will somehow be connected to his church and his plan for this world. If your dream is from God, it will be connected to his plan. If your dream is all about you and how you can be selfish, it’s not from God. I’m not saying you can’t have a big screen TV, they’re good. But don’t say, “God wants me to have the TV.” At Colossians 3:1,2 says, “Since then you have been raised with Christ. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Set your mind on things above, not earthly things. Set your mind on things above, not earthly things. Say that with me – set your mind on things above, not earthly things. Every dream God gives you will be attached to his kingdom and his church somehow, because we’re here for his purpose, you’re not here for just you. God wants to use you, God wants you to dream, he wants to use you for his dream, he wants to use you for his plan.
James 4:3 says, “When you ask you don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” God didn’t create us to live self-centered lives, just get up, go to work, go home, watch TV. They want a big screen, big screen TVs are good; but it’s not part of the plan. That’s not all we’re here for is for big screen TVs, that’s not it. So when God gives you a dream it’s going to impact his church and his plan for the world. So how do you know what his plan is? Here. Better yet, in here the words of Jesus tells us what God’s dream is. Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore and make disciples in every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things that I’ve commanded you, and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” That is called the Great Commission.
God’s dream, do you know what God is doing? He’s building his family. God’s dream is to build his family. God is going to have a dream for your life, a specific dream somehow going to play a role and be connected to his plan, the growth of his church, the growth of his kingdom, the growth of his family. We weren’t put here just for ourselves. Mark 8:35 says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” I want to live. I don’t want to just exist, I want life. Choose faith, daring faith based on God’s promises. That’s what God wants you to do, unlock your imagination, imagine great things. Ask yourself these three questions, when you when you get a call from God you think you do, ask three questions to yourself – first ask “What if?” What if I did that? What if? What if this was being done? You’ll start to see and say, “Why not? Why isn’t this being done, why not?” Or lastly say. “Why not me?”
God is waiting for his children, and that’s you and me, to imagine the solutions. He’s waiting for us to imagine the solutions. God wants to use you in a way you’ve never even thought of. Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” So let the size of God determine the size of our goals and our dreams, and then go for it. Move against your doubts and fears, say, “Why not me?” and move forward in faith with a daring faith; the daring faith.
Let’s pray. Father God I thank you for your word Lord. I thank you for your spirit God. I thank you that we can be fueled by your word and that we can rely on your word, we can trust you and your faithfulness God, and that allows us to be faith, to have faith. So Lord I pray God that you would open the eyes of our hearts, that we would start to see and imagine what it would be like for us to answer your call. Lord I pray Lord that everybody here would know you, and would open up to you Lord. If anybody here doesn’t know if they have the Holy Spirit, if they have Jesus, it’s easy like I said earlier, you need him. He’s there, he’s reaching, he’s saying, “I’m here, I’m ready to fill that brokenness, that spot that you need in your life and to help you move forward in faith. Help you move forward to help you live, to help you not be just blown about by waves in the sea. I’m here to give you focus.” So if that’s any of you, I’m not going to make you come up here or raise your hand or anything, but I’m going to say this prayer – God knows your heart. You can say it with me, you don’t have to be loud. Lord Jesus I thank you, and I believe in you. I believe that you died on the cross for my sin. I believe you rose again. I believe Lord that you defeated death so that I could have eternal life, so I could be with you, so I could know you, so that my sins could be forgiven. So Lord Jesus I just ask Lord that you would fill that spot in my life. I need you to move forward. God, come into my life now, in Jesus name, amen.