The Impression of Faith: Pastor David Payne

Sermon Transcript

I just want to say, for any of you that are joining us today, whether mobile app or online service, however it is you’re joining us, we’re glad that you’re here with us at Grace. It’s an honor to have you. I’m excited to be here, excited about what we’re going to talk about. How many of you in here are rollercoaster people? Who in here is a rollercoaster person? A few of you? Let’s try this. How many of you have ever seen a rollercoaster? We’ve seen them, right?

Okay. Great. You may not be a rollercoaster person, but you know what we’re talking about here. So, I’m not a huge rollercoaster person. I’ve been on rollercoasters, but I’m not an “I’ve got to conquer every rollercoaster” guy. My family isn’t. My son is sort of, but my family really isn’t a “conquer every rollercoaster” person. I remember going on my first rollercoaster when I was a little kid at a place called “Worlds of Fun” out in Kansas City and riding the rollercoaster. You know, it was the little, tiny, baby rollercoaster, right? It had hills that were just barely big enough to call them hills. You know? You got over the little hill, you came down the backside, and there wasn’t much to go. But they would still brake as you came over the hill because you’re a little kid and it’s a tiny rollercoaster.

And I remember getting off it feeling like a million bucks. And I went on a couple others. And my kids, through the journey of their growing years, have conquered some rollercoasters. And I remember their first time because when they lined up to conquer the rollercoaster, the first rollercoaster that they went on, it was similar. It was the little, tiny thing with the little, tiny hill and the little, tiny bend. And you went around like nine times because there’s hardly any rollercoaster. So, you just do it over and over and over.

And parents — and we were like this. My wife and I were the same way. We lined up along the edge with all of the other parents and we look at our kid and we’re like, “Ah! Look at them! They’re on a rollercoaster! Oh my gosh. Look at them. And they’re not crying! Oh, they’re so beautiful!”

And we would weep about it. And then parents would line up as your kids are getting off the rollercoaster. They’re coming off the rollercoaster and you’re standing there with a giant teddy bear and cotton candy and a trophy and a first place medal. “You made it! You did it! Ahh, I’m so proud! I want a photograph. It’s such an amazing moment.”

And Janelle and I were the same way. We looked stupid. You just look dumb, but your kids did it. And so, they made it. The conquered the rollercoaster. And then there are middle-sized rollercoasters. There’s probably a whole system. And if you’re a rollercoaster person, you probably know it. I don’t know it. I just know they got bigger, the hills are taller, it’s faster. All that kind of stuff. My kids went on those. We went on some of those.

And then, most recently, we were at Universal fairly recently. There was a rollercoaster — this was probably a few years ago. There was this ride. I don’t even know if I can call it a rollercoaster. I think it is. But there was a rise where it started by you climbing up the stairs, you get all the way up to this platform, and then they load you onto what is apparently the rollercoaster. You sit down, but you sit in a way that the rollercoaster kind of slides out and then it just stops. Literally, you’re just facing straight up.

We saw it. We’re walking by and we see people do it and I’m like, “They all need therapists. They need medication. No one should ever go on that. That is the fast track to hell, right there. And people were on it. And my oldest daughter looks at me and she goes, “Dad, I think I want to do that.”

I was like, “(Inaudible), you need to be out. Get out, demon. You cannot do that.”

And she was like, “No, I think I want to do it. I want to do it.”

So, I’m like, “Okay. Well, you go ahead.”

Y’all know what’s next. And she goes, “Well, dad, will you go with me?”

And I was not excited about that, but what do you do? You’re the dad. And so, I immediately said, “No, but your mom will.”

That’s what you do. No. I went with her and we climbed on the thing and laid on the deal and we laid there and the rocket ship took off. We just, “Ahh!” You know? You lose your bladder. The whole thing. You go up over the top. We don’t talk about that part. And then you ride the ride and it’s awesome. We came off and we celebrated like crazy. There was a moment when our kids were really, really little and they got on their first rollercoasters that we were astounded by their bravery, their confidence in being able to go on that. They didn’t know anything. They weren’t sure what to do. This was out in front of them. They were probably a little scared. Mom and dad knew everything was going to be fine, but they didn’t know that, so they conquered something.

And then, when they were a little older, they went on the middle-sized rollercoaster. But if at 12 or 15 or 18 or 20 or, like some dads, they take their little five year old because they won’t go on anything and they’re like, “Listen, get over here and go on this baby rollercoaster because it’s the only thing I can ride.” If my teenage kids or my adult kids or grownups were still riding the baby rollercoaster, we would all be shocked at that. Like, “You’re 41. Get off the baby dragon.”

It would make no sense. It would capture our attention. We’d be amazed by it. We wouldn’t understand it. It would make no sense to us. The same way that someone who goes on the rollercoaster where you lay on your back and shoot up over the top and it looks like everyone’s going to die is amazing. Everything in the middle kind of just makes sense.

I want you to write down a big idea. We’re notetakers at LifeSong Church, so I want to just encourage you to grab a note. If you don’t have something to write on, tear a piece out of someone else’s notebook or borrow — this is what I tell our church. Borrow their arm. Write on their arm and then take a picture of it for posterity. They can wash it off later. Okay? So, that’s what you’ve got to do.

But here’s what I want you to write down. This is your big idea. The big idea is both the absence of and the abundance of faith makes an impression on Jesus. Both the absence of faith and the abundance of faith make an impression on Jesus. There is a measure of wide-eyed amazement for Jesus at the absence of faith as much as at the abundance of faith.

Now, listen, if you’re here and you’ve never been to church before, you’re just checking out church, someone duct taped you, threw you in a trunk and dragged you here, if that’s how you got here, I just want to say it’s great that you’re here. For most of us that are here, we, at some point along our life, made a decision to follow and serve Jesus. And we’re figuring out how to do that well. And in this journey of faith, we’re all aspiring to be full of faith. We want to have an abundance of faith. Everybody wants to have it and we have some concept of it amazing God. Even if we don’t understand it fully, we’ll talk about this in just a second.

But nobody thinks about it on the other end. I want you to look at Mark 6. We’re going to read a passage of Scripture together in Mark 6. If you have your Bible, you can open it up. If you don’t have your Bible, but you have a phone or an iPad or something, you can go online and download the Bible App and you can pull it up on your phone, which is what I’m going to use today.

Mark 6:1. I’m going to read out of the New International Version. This is what it says:

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown,” — so there was a place, He was doing some stuff, He left and went back into Galilee. He was around the Sea of Galilee.

It says, “Accompanied by all of his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue,” — much like we’re doing right now. There’s some similarity here, and Jesus is teaching in the synagogue — “and many who heard him were amazed.”

So, Jesus is not off in a synagogue somewhere else. He’s not south of town. He’s not far away from where He grew up. He’s in His hometown. Galilee wasn’t huge, and the place He was in the Synagogue wasn’t actually that far from His home. And He’s teaching and there were people gathered, just like you are here, and as the Word of God, the scroll was being read, and the teaching was taking place, and Jesus was communicating about it, Scripture says that many who heard him, people that were there, were amazed.

This word in the Greek talks about and kind of has this context of kind of this wide-eyed, wondered amazement. This, “What? Oh my gosh,” kind of like the parents sitting outside the kid’s little rollercoaster. Just like, “Oh my gosh.”

And all these people are gathered here. Now, we’ll see what happens here. They connect some dots in a minute, but it starts off for them with Jesus in the synagogue and they’re amazed at His teaching. And this is what it says. They start to say to themselves things like this:

“‘Where did this man get these things?’ they said. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given to him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?’”

So, let’s pause there at the end of Mark 6:2. It says that they’re shocked and awed at the wisdom that’s coming out of Him. He’s teaching with authority. There’s power in His delivery. They’re amazed by Him. And then they are connecting some dots. “Wasn’t this the guy who healed the guy next to the guy next to me? Wasn’t there a house that a roof got torn off and somebody got dropped in and He said, ‘Your sins are forgiven? Pick up your mat and leave?’ Is that Him? I’ve heard the stories. I’m hearing the power. This is amazing to me. I can’t believe it. Isn’t this that guy? Isn’t it Him? Isn’t it Him?”

They’re amazed at this. But, look. I want you to look at what happens here.

Mark 6:3, somebody says, “‘Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”

There was a moment where everything was wide-eyed wonder. Everybody’s looking at Jesus, listening to Jesus, hears a story of Jesus, hears the power of God at work through this man, Jesus. Everything has gotten them captivated and captured. And then something begins to happen in their mind that begins to disconnect them from the incredible power of God that’s coming out of His mouth, being poured forth from the Word He’s reading and the miracles that have been performed through Him. Something in their mind begins to get in the way, and that’s actually what this offense talks about here.

The Greek word is skandalizo, and it means, simply, that there began to be something that tripped them up. Something had tripped them up. Look at the person beside you and say, “Don’t trip.” Go ahead. Tell them, “Don’t trip.” Now, look at the person on the other side and say, “Well then, stay out of my way.”

Go ahead. Alright. And they took offense. Skandalizo. They were tripped up by something. And Jesus observes all this and hears all this and picks up on what’s going on.

And He says to these people, “‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’”

And it says — I love this — “He could not do many miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”

I’m like, “Why did you have to put in the first part?” The fact that some people got healed, isn’t that — that’s good, right? Why do we have this, “You know, Jesus just couldn’t do much. Just a guy that was paralyzed walked, and a guy that was sick got healed, and a leper with no more leprosy. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s not much.”

Jesus couldn’t do much except heal a few people, and then this:

“He [Jesus] was...” — what? — “...amazed...”

Same word that was used to describe the people’s engagement of Jesus that disappeared when something tripped them up is the same word that is used to describe Jesus’ response to their getting tripped up. They were in wide-eyed wonder of the wisdom and the power of God and their mind somehow caused them to move from a place of they heard the stories, they know the stories, they met the guy who had a miracle performed, they knew the guy who had his leg grow out — they knew some of it. They were talking about it. “It was right in our town. Right down the street. Maybe it wasn’t in my town, but it was the town next to me. I know it. This is the guy?”

They packed it in. And then they’re mind got in the way and they began to try and rationalize why it happened and what happened. And what captured Jesus’ attention, what caused Jesus to go from a place of powerful teaching to a place of, “Are you serious? Are you joking me?” was that they had known of and heard and been engaged in what God was doing, and yet, now, weren’t able to stay confident in it. Their mind tripped them up.

Now, there’s a contrasting story in Luke 7. So, if you would, turn your Bible just over a little bit to the book of Luke. We’re going to read, from Luke 7, a similar word, but a little different scenario here. Here’s what it says:

“When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum.”

They’re on the edge of the sea.

“There a centurion’s [Roman soldier’s] servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal the servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, ‘This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.’ So Jesus went with them.”

Now, I want you to just pause here for a second. Here’s what’s going on: You’ve got a leader in the Roman oppressive government and military here in Israel. They’re in charge. They run the show. They’re the boss. There’s oppression. The Israelites don’t like them. It’s not a great relationship. Then there are these Jewish leaders in this community, and this centurion, through this season of time, had helped with some things in the nation. He’d helped the indigenous people. The Jews had been served and helped. He’d helped with the Synagogue. He demonstrated value to the people that they were oppressing, and it built great relational equity that he needed to trade on. Because, right now, something that is desperately important to him is the life of this person who’s in his household; his servant; someone he cares for deeply.

And he knows that there is no other shot. There’s no way that he hasn’t tried everything, every known solution to whatever the sickness is. Whatever is wrong with this servant, he’s tried everything. He’s gone to Roman doctors. He’s asked all kinds of people for home remedies. He’s tried eating kale, which doesn’t work for anything. Don’t eat kale. He’d done everything. And no answer. The servant’s still sick. The servant’s still on his deathbed.

“What do I do?”

And here’s what he knows: He knows what the people in Mark 6 knew. He knows the stories of some people that have been healed. He’s heard about this Jesus. He may even have heard it in meetings with the Romans about concern about this guy named Jesus, maybe potentially a messiah that the people are rallying around, and what do we do with that? Is there going to be an uprising or a riot?

But something in him is saying, “This is significant to me and I don’t have an answer and I don’t know what to do with this. And so, I’m going to do and go wherever I have to go for whatever I have to do to get an answer for what matters to me, even if I don’t understand it or haven’t been connected to it.”

And he says to the Jewish leaders who he’s built equity with, “I can do nothing. I don’t know Jesus, but you might be able to make this happen. Will you go find him? Will you deliver a message?”

And the Jews, these leaders, go and find Jesus. And then it says they delivered this news, and they advocate for the centurion, which is completely uncommon. They advocate for him. “You should do this, Jesus. He deserves Your attention.”

Like, what? Some of these people could be the people that aren’t sure they even trust Jesus themselves. They’re concerned. They’re religious elders, perhaps. And they say, “You should do this.” Maybe, for them, it’s a political move. “Maybe if Jesus does something good and God shows up and, poof, the servant’s better. Maybe the centurion will be better and he’ll help us with other stuff.”

Maybe it was political for them. But, whatever it was, they advocated for the centurion. And it says that Jesus went with them. Now, look at this.

“He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to you. But you say the word,’” — but You say the word — “‘and my servant will be healed.’”

Now, listen. The centurion knows something that apparently the people in Mark missed. The centurion says, “Look, I don’t know You, I have no relationship to You, I’m not sure who You are, I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to actually like You. What I know is something that matters to me greatly. It is a big deal. I could lose this servant. I don’t know what else to do, so I’m taking a chance on Jesus. But here’s what I know: Based on the stories I’ve heard, based on the reputation in the Roman government, based on what the religious elders have said to me, based on what the Hebrews have talked about, based on the stories I’ve observed, based on the communities where people have gathered and celebrated radical transformation in someone’s body, here’s all I know: I know that based on all of this, if You say the word, if You say the word. You don’t have to show up on my doorstep. You don’t have to get on my property line. You don’t have to come under my house. You don’t have to see the person. You don’t even have to lay hands on them. I understand You have authority, and if You say the word, then something’s going to happen.”

Now, here’s what the centurion says:

“‘For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’”

When Jesus heard this, what He heard the centurion say is, “I know that when I say the word, stuff obeys. I know that when I speak to something, there’s action. When I say, ‘Go,’ it goes. When I say, ‘Come,’ it comes. When I say, ‘Stop,’ it stops. When I say, ‘Jump,’ it says, ‘How high?’ And if that works for me, I understand that You have authority over things I don’t understand, but I do understand and have faith in Your authority.”

And Jesus says this wonderful thing:

“When Jesus heard this,” — still not speaking with the centurion, only speaking to his friends, Jesus turns to the people who were following Him and He says, “‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’ Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.”

Luke 7:9. When Jesus heard this, He was what? Amazed. He was amazed. Jesus stood in wide-eyed wonder at the depth of faith of one who, perhaps, had never conquered the baby rollercoaster, had never walked through the middle rollercoaster, but sat on the seat and got turned face up and didn’t know what to do except take a shot that if Jesus spoke, His authority would play out in the life of my servant.

Now, listen. Here’s the deal: Everybody in here wants to experience God’s favor. Everybody here would want to know that God is moving on their behalf. We would want to have an abundance of faith. But what I want you to see is Jesus is not amazed by the absence of belief. Someone who doesn’t know better, hasn’t heard the stories, hasn’t heard the wisdom, hasn’t experienced the power, He’s not surprised they don’t have faith. In fact, what stuns Him is an abundance of faith despite having experience. And what stuns Him or what causes His jaw to drop and His eyes to open is when someone who has heard the stories and knows the word and has experienced His power lets their mind get between what they’ve watched the power of God play out to do and the thing they need God to move in or the thing God has called them to now, and they’re paralyzed by it.

“I see You speak. I hear the stories. And yet, I’m not sure.”

If you’ve walked with God for any length of time, there are probably space where you’ve had a moment like that, where you’ve walked with the Lord and You’ve heard the stories. I’ve seen a man’s leg grow out in my hand as a group of us prayed for him. I’ve seen a young lady’s spine that was fractured, the MRI comes back and it’s like no more fracture. I’ve watched God move unbelievably. Why are there moments like that for you and for me, and then we come to places where we’re like, “Mmm... I don’t know?”

Why is it that the faith that I should have and the cooperation I should provide and work with God as I’m relying on God turns into a place where I take the reins away from God? Why do I ever move to a place of control when my job is simply cooperate?

So, I want you to write down three things. I’m going to challenge you and pray for you and I’m going to talk really fast. You’re like, “Really? Now you’re going to talk fast?”

Nobody write a card to Pastor Chip. “Pastor Chip don’t let him come back.”

Okay. Here’s the deal. First thing. Just jot this down. This is Hebrews 11. The book of Hebrews 11 is known as the Hall of Faith. It’s a catalog of amazing experiences and places throughout history here where the miraculous intervention of God plays out through extravagant faith in the life of an individual, and it’s cataloged here for us to read, to build our own faith and celebrate the places and ways that it took place. That’s what kind of happens here.

And so, in Hebrews 11:1, it starts out with this statement about faith. It says this: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. It gives us assurance about the things we cannot yet see.”

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. Here’s how I want you to write it down. Just jot this down: Supernatural faith is a guarantee despite human confirmation. Supernatural faith is an absolute guarantee. If God said it, if He’s declared He’ll do it, then our job is to trust it. It’s a supernatural guarantee. God cannot lie. God can’t promise something He doesn’t deliver on. If the promise hasn’t manifested yet, it doesn’t mean God’s changed His mind or He’s a liar. It doesn’t mean that. It means that we don’t yet see it.

But, for many of us, the idea of acting in faith is really strong at the start and it fizzles over time. It begins with, “God, I’m going to pray in faith about this thing,” or, “God, I feel like You’ve challenged me in this way. I’m going to stand on this thing.”

And we pray about it and then we go, “Hmm? I don’t see it yet, God. I’m looking over there. Are people moving? Is my wife changing? Is my husband changing? Is my boss changing? Is this happening? God, You called me to go to this place and do that. I’m not sure about that, so I’m going to pray about it. But if I don’t see the circumstances working out for me, if I don’t see human confirmation, I begin to question the deliverer of the message or the place of the promise.”

Human confirmation is something we wait to see. We don’t base our standing or our confidence in the guarantor based on it starting. He said He will do it. He said He will deliver it. He said He has made it possible. My job is to stand on the promise because supernatural faith is a guarantee. It’s a promise. It’s a guarantee, despite what I see around me. And some of you — some of you — need to be reminded that your job is to stand on what God has said, not evaluate what’s going on around you to determine whether or not God is faithful. God’s faithfulness is in the promising. Our faithfulness is in the standing. His proving is in the delivery. He will surely bring to pass that which He has promised. He will surely.

And even though I opened my eye and look to the said and I don’t see it yet doesn’t mean God is not at work and that His promise is not true or that it’s void. Supernatural faith is a guarantee.

Here’s the second thing. Jot this down. Pleasing God exists where relying on God is required. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Now, listen. Everybody wants to please God. Everybody wants to please God. Everybody wants to. Those of us that have a relationship with the Lord, we want to please God. But if you’re in here and you’re not sure what you think about God, but if you believe there’s a God you probably want to please Him. Like, “I’d rather make Him happy than sad. That would be good. If there is a God — and I think maybe there is a God.”

If that’s where you’re at and you’re not sure yet about Jesus, you’re not sure about surrender and you’re wrestling through, but you’re like, “I do believe there’s a God,” everybody wants to make Him happy. Even if it’s born out of inordinate fear or inappropriate understanding of relationship. “I just don’t want God to squish me. I want to please Him.”

Even if that’s all it is, we want to please Him, here’s the deal: What Scripture says is that in the places where faith is not being walked out, we could not possibly be pleasing God. The places where we’ve moved from cooperation to control are the places we move to a place where God is not pleased. Now, it doesn’t say that when we move out of a place of faith we’ve angered God. It does say that in our seeking to please the God of the universe who gave His only Son to deliver us from all of our mess and make us right in relationship with Him and to please Him.

We have to live in the places that are beyond us. Without faith, if I can do it on my own, I probably am not pleasing God all that much. I think about Peter. We talk about Peter and we remember the story of when he stepped out of the boat. And we always talk about the part - or, usually we talk about the part where Peter took two or three steps and He kind of dipped into the water and Jesus had to pull him out. We go, “Oh, why did he doubt? He could’ve been the first guy to run a marathon on water,” or whatever.

Why did that happen? But we forget about the 11 guys that were still in the boat. It’s only one dude that bothered to take any steps. There’s a place of faith, and that place pleases God. Our imperfection in it, though it may be real, our struggle to stay consistent in it, though it may be real, that’s the place that God is pleased. And I would suggest that’s the wide-eyed wonder amazement that Jesus experienced with the centurion. It captured Him. He’s like, “This. I feel honored. I feel blessed. I’m so pleased.”

Here’s the last thing I want you to write down, then I’m going to pray for us. Hebrews 11:8. The Scripture says this: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,” — when called to go to a place. Not yet there, but when called to go, he — “obeyed and went, even though he didn’t know where he was going.”

Here’s what I want you to write down: The security we rely on may be the very thing keeping us from the destination we’re called to. The security that we hold onto, the thing that we’re attached to, the place that we are, the certainty of this moment, the thing that lets me remember that I can do it, the thing that I’m tethered to, it could be economic, it could be relational, it could be any number of things, the thing that gives you and I security could be the very same thing that’s keeping you from getting to the destination God’s calling you to.

It takes a measure of faith to step away from the secure place and walk into the place of the unknown. But because Jesus says the word. That’s what the centurion said. “You say the word, You declare that I go, You tell me I’ll be healed, You promise that this will occur.” All of the things. “You say the word and I will go.”

So, it’s a question for you. It’s a question for you. What is the thing that you’ve held onto that is the anchor point of your security? But, deep inside you, somewhere, the Holy Spirit of God has nudged you in some way about a destination, a thing to do, a place to go, an action to take, a step away from what is known, a reliance on a promise you’re wrestling through, and you haven’t yet let go of control. You’ve seen the story and, I’m just telling you, you don’t want to be the one that Jesus is amazed at because you know all this and yet your mind has gotten in the way.

What is it? I’m going to pray for us and I want you to talk to the Lord about it right there where you are. So, if you would, just close your Bible, bow your heads, close your eyes and let me just pray for us, would you?

Almighty God, we’re grateful for Jesus. We’re grateful for Jesus, the strong Son of God. We’re grateful for Him. And God, as we gather here to worship You and honor You today, God, we just lay before you the wrestling match of faith. God, we declare before You we want to make an impression, we want You to be well-pleased, we want You to be standing in wide-eyed wonder at the significance and the full surrender of our faith as we walk in what You’ve called us to, as we step beyond what we know, out of the place of our control, beyond the momentary security of this thing or this place, whatever it is, God, and we walk towards what You’ve nudged us to. For some of you, maybe that’s you need to stop dabbling and you need to get involved. You need to start playing a part in the church. And you’re freaking out because, “If I get involved, I’m going to get known. People are going to know me. They’re going to hear about my baggage. They’re going to know my mistakes. They’re going to understand I’ve got some areas that aren’t Christian yet, and I don’t have it all figured out.”

And so, even though you know the Holy Spirit is nudging you in it, you don’t walk in it. Maybe it’s a small group that you need to start. Maybe it’s a job change you need to undertake. Maybe it’s a ministry area that God’s stirring in you and you’re nervous about bringing it to Pastor Chip for some reason. I don’t know what it is. What I know is this: Almost always, God is stirring a next step of faith. Almost always. And our tendency is to hold on to what we know.

And today, I’m just saying to you, would you just tell God, “I want to step into the place. I want to go toward the destination. I’m going to obey and go, just like Abraham did.”

Father, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would minister confident assurance that what we have hoped for, what we believe You’ve called us to will actually come to pass, that we will stand in faith on Your promise and Your delivery, that we’ll walk in places that we’re not sure we’re confident in our own way and our own capability, God, that You would be glorified and that Your name in Lakewood Ranch and the surrounding areas and in our families would be made famous because of the abundance of our faith.

It’s in Your name, Jesus, the strong Son of God, that we pray. And everybody said, “Amen.” Amen.

John Flowerree