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What does the faith that God gives each one of us cause us to do?  How do we respond to it?

How has faith changed your life?

Is church just something that you’ve always done, so you’ll just keep on doing it?  Or does it impact your life, cause a change?

Is church just a social club where you get together with people who you like and look forward to seeing them each week or however often you go?  Or is church a training ground and refueling station from which you are sent back out into the world to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom of God?

Is it your faith, or is it the faith that God gives you?

Does this faith ever make you uncomfortable or inconvenienced?  If not, why not?  Do you believe that faith should never make you uncomfortable?  What about those that are afflicted or suffer injustice?  Does that affect you at all?  Or are they just a bunch of whiners?

Does it ever afflict you in your comfortableness?  Does it comfort you in your affliction?  Does this faith demand that you take steps without knowing where you are going, what you will be doing, where things will be coming from, and will not have all the information that you desire?

Does this faith cause you to seek out people who Jesus spent time with?  Does this faith make your hands dirty?

Does this faith question and poke you in ways you would rather not?  Does it question your loyalty and allegiances?  Is this faith costly?  Does this faith guide you in the midst of trial and trouble?  Can this faith be there when it is most needed?  Or does it only work when times are good?

Does this faith cause you conflict with the ways of the world?  Ways of anger, fear, violence, blaming, scapegoating, desiring safety above all else, having enemies, coveting other people’s stuff, believing that buying more stuff will give you meaning, and more.

Does this faith cause you to weep when you see the world – does it break your heart?  Over and over again?  Does it grab hold of you and not let go?  Does it present a way forward and show you that there really isn’t another option – everything else doesn’t make any sense?  That the ways of the world fail us over and over again and yet we have this sick addiction to keep trying them?  How many wars do we need to go through, how many times do we need to use violence, how many foreigners do we need to blame and dehumanize, how many enemies do we need to create and blame, how many people do we need to curse and damn, how many people do we need to take pleasure in their suffering?  How many until we see that these ways don’t work?  That’s why we have to keep doing them over and over and over again.  They don’t work.  When will be see the stupidity and insanity of the ways of the world instead of embracing these ways?  When will be follow the way of Jesus instead?

Does this faith make you understand the prophets and their desire to run far away from God – yet you follow anyway because where else are you going to go?  There is no hope outside of God and God’s way.

Does this faith wrestle with you and leave you with so many uncertainties, yet you know the most important thing there is – that God will not abandon you and God keeps God’s promises?

Does this faith give you life, especially when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Does this faith demand you die daily so that the real you can be released and flourish?

Does this faith remain unsatisfied with just surviving, but pushes you forward, cajoles you into thriving life?

Does this faith see beyond you as an individual and show you how you are connected to so many others and their well-being?  That to turn a blind eye on those suffering around us isn’t just ignoring them and keeping you safe, but keeps us trapped in a cage with a thick wall around us.  We become prisoners of our own desire for safety that can never be fulfilled.

Does this faith that you have been given have impact on your life?  Does it call to your deepest self and invite you to participate in the unfolding of the Kingdom of God?

Is this faith worth devoting your life to and ultimately dying for?  If not, then why not?  What are you afraid of?

How do you respond to that?

By sitting and waiting?  By being scared?  By delaying?  By running?  Or do you take a risk and take a step in faith?  A risk that could lead to utter desolation.  Or a risk that leads to unbelievable life.  I know this much, the alternative – the way forward without faith – without responding to this gift that has been given to us – leads to certain death.  Always.  No exceptions.  It’s just a matter of time.  And when we consider that, which is really riskier – not responding to faith or taking a step in faith knowing that God walks with us?

The invitation remains to all.  The gift has been given.  Will you unwrap it and respond, or will you put it on the shelf for a more convenient time?

I am grateful that God doesn’t consider the same question for each one of us – will I encounter you or just put you on the shelf for a more convenient time?  God invites us to participate in the most amazing thing ever.  What are we waiting for?  Now is the time.  You aren’t alone.  Let’s take a risk together. Jesus is with us and risks it all for us.