ABCs of Faith – Just Faith

ABCs of Faith – Just Faith

Encouragment
Researchers identify, in broad strokes, three major culture types. One culture type is power/fear. Relationships, politics, and even worship is driven by power encounters and failure produces fear. Another culture type is based on honor/shame. Everything is weighed by the honor or shame something brings to themselves, their family, workplace, or community. The third type is innocence/guilt which puts great stock in adhering to law (written or unwritten), failure is identified and punished through guilt. The researchers note that all cultures have some flavor of all three but that one will be predominant. As we continue looking at faith, specifically “justified by faith” we’ll see how the Good News of Jesus touches our fear, our shame, and our guilt.  Paul wrote at length about faith, j
ABCs of Faith – Inherited Faith

ABCs of Faith – Inherited Faith

Encouragment
We often think of inheritance as money. That’s probably so more times than not. But inheritance can also be land, possessions, or that famous dish that has been passed down through the generations. I inherited a hickory cane that was once my great-great-grandfather’s. In some places, titles such as Count and Duke are inherited. What we think and believe about God is often, in a sense, inherited. I have Anabaptists roots that I inherited from folks that can be traced to Reformation times. Some of you, in the same way, may be Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptists, etc...not so much by choice but by heritage. (Sorry if I left our your particular roots) As we consider Inherited Faith we are not, however, considering religion, tradition, or denomination but something deeper and
ABCs of Faith – Hearing Faith

ABCs of Faith – Hearing Faith

Encouragment
A few weeks back we began our ABC’s of faith with Acquired Faith. That article looked at the beginnings of faith and Romans 10:17.  “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, NASB95)  Sometimes we gain the attitude of one old married gentleman that said to his wife, “I said I loved you once if anything changes I’ll let you know.”  Hearing faith is not just for when we initially turn towards Christ, but every day, in every circumstance, and everywhere we go.Paul was upset with the Galatians. That’s obvious when you read his letter. “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” (Galatians 3:1, NASB95) Paul’s issue was their turning towards religious acts for assurance instead of si
ABCs of Faith: Growing Faith

ABCs of Faith: Growing Faith

Encouragment
We know the basics of about growing, it’s all around us. A seed planted germinates, sprouts, grows deep and pushes up. One sign of life is growth. We see it all around us, even in ourselves. Sure, most of us have stopped physically growing. But we all continue to grow in other ways or something is wrong. When considering growing faith the question isn’t whether it grows or not, but how can we encourage along?Paul wrote, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NASB) Faith grows in community and family, but only if it is put to use. Just getting together and sharing a moment doesn’t exercise faith. If it did, then we w
ABCs of Faith – Focused Faith

ABCs of Faith – Focused Faith

Encouragment
There’s a lesson in faith that can be learned by plowing a field. For those that didn’t live a rural life let me explain. A plow turns the soil over to make it easier to work and folds the remaining organic matter into the ground. As the plow moves ahead, it leaves behind a shallow trench called a furrow. The goal is to keep the furrow as straight as possible. It’s not as easy at it sounds.One day a grandpa farmer explained the basic of plowing to a grandson. He then pointed to a tractor and plow and said, “get to it.” The young man knew the first furrow was key to plowing straight. He focused on an object in the distance, opened the throttle, and dropped the plow. He dutifully kept the hood ornament of the tractor aimed at his distant object. Reaching the end of the field, he turned
ABCs of Faith: Effective Faith

ABCs of Faith: Effective Faith

Encouragment
Attention please!  Will the last person that literally moved a mountain like Jesus said, please raise their hand. Anyone? Me neither. It appears that we have a disconnect where reality meets promise. Or do we?  We’d all like an effective faith that could move literal mountains with just a word. We read the promise of Mark 11:23-24, trying to follow the formula with hit and miss results concerning things far less formidable than mountains. Maybe we’re missing something.Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will
ABCs of Faith: Doing Faith

ABCs of Faith: Doing Faith

Encouragment
Do you remember learning to ride a bicycle?  Perhaps you had training wheels and a bike that was just your size. Maybe your dad steadied you as you wobbled down the street. With some practice, some falls, and some tears we overcame the fears and learned to ride. Then came the next challenges, how do you turn? How do you stop?  Soon we were buzzing all over on our bikes without even thinking about what we were doing. Keep that in mind as we consider our next ABCs of faith: Doing Faith.James sums up his examination of faith by saying, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26, NASB95) Sounds like our bicycle. For a more fuller understanding take the time to read his whole thought in James 2:14-26. In it, he shows how faith and wor
ABCs of Faith: Confident Faith

ABCs of Faith: Confident Faith

Encouragment
Sometimes a court of law will throw out a case due to lack of standing. Unless you’re into legalise, this may sound strange and has nothing to do with physically standing at the right time. Instead, “standing” means that the plaintiff, the person suing, has to meet a certain number of criteria before the court may consider the matter. Has an injury occurred? Were they the ones injured? Is this lawsuit in the right jurisdiction? The term “standing” is actually far older and goes back to when kings judged. Did the person have the right to stand before the king to plead their case or cause? In similar terms, we are invited to confidently approach God in faith. Confidence Several verses mention confidence. The writer of Hebrews said, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne
ABCs of Faith: By Faith

ABCs of Faith: By Faith

Latest Articles
Sir Isaac Newton was a man of science. His list of discoveries is long and include the fundamental laws of motion, thermodynamics, and gravity. Yet Newton was also a man of faith and often wrote about the intersection between his discoveries and God. In an appendix to Principia Newton wrote of God, “He is not Eternity or Infinity, but Eternal and Infinite; he is not Duration or Space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever and is every where present, and by existing always and every where he constitutes Duration and Space.” Using more modern language – God is both eternal in the sense of time and infinite in the sense of place. Newton understood this from his study of math, calculus, the ways of matter, and by faith. By Faith… The writer of Hebrews provides a succinct definit
ABCs of Faith – Acquired Faith

ABCs of Faith – Acquired Faith

Latest Articles
Visit any Kindergarten classroom, and you’re sure to see the ABC’s on the wall. No matter the language the Alphabet or its equivalent is the building blocks of writing and communication. That basic understanding of the ABC’s leads to words and the sharing of thoughts, hopes, dreams, feelings, and fears. In the English language, we have twenty-six letters from A to Z. Perhaps you remember learning your ABC’s and the little song that is often used. Maybe you’ve laughed as a youngster struggled with the order and suddenly jumped from f to j.  Is there little doubt that the ABC’s are basic and foundational?For the next 13 weeks, we’re going to go through the ABC’s of Faith. Twenty Six articles exploring aspects of faith moving from A to Z. In many ways faith is like the Alphabet, it is bas
Of Charlottesville and Barcelona

Of Charlottesville and Barcelona

Encouragment
This has been a hard week. It began with the protests and ultimate violence in Charlottesville Virgina. Continued with the raw meat of President Trump’s comments which sparked a feeding frenzy of angst and anger in the media. And closed with the fatal attacks in Spain from a radicalized Islamic terror cell. I keep my nose out of current events and politics on the pages of Lambchow. But as I listened to the news, argued with the reactions, and sought God about these events a truth emerged.  Charlottesville The events in Charlottesville began when several groups that share the evil belief of white supremacy lawfully gathered. The stated goal was to protest the removal of a statue honoring a Confederate General. General Robert E. Lee led the Confederate army during America’s Civil
reThink48 – Whatever is Praiseworthy

reThink48 – Whatever is Praiseworthy

Encouragment
For the past eight weeks, we’ve been reThinking Paul’s instruction found in Philippians. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, NASB95)  Our goal has been to reframe this verse and open our eyes to look for these attributes. To see their totality in God and the glimmers we often miss in each other. Before we close this series, however, there are two topics yet to consider- Worthy of Praise and Dwell on These Things. Worthy of Praise Paul’s instruction to dwell on what is worthy of praise is like a wrapper that contains all the others. While we struggled to understand a few words in