In Numbers 14 we see that Caleb was different by choice. His spirit, his inner man chose to seek and serve God. When our spirit chooses to seek and serve God, we are able to connect with God’s Holy Spirit in an amazingly awesome way. We can choose a different spirit from the norm. This different spirit is a spirit of faith, not fear. Real faith is rare. We observe throughout scripture that those among the people of God who have real faith are in the minority. That’s why it is a different spirit. If it was common, then it would not be different.
The very thing that every Christian should have is the thing that many people struggle with the most. Faith is the foundation of our relationship with God (Hebrews 11:6). It is not so much that the people of God have a problem believing that God is. Our problem is believing that God can! The weakness of our faith is not in the existence of God, it is in the ability of God. People who live in fear will only go as far as they can see. But people who live by faith will go as far as God will take them.
Faith will take you to some uncomfortable and unfamiliar places. But even in the uncomfortable and unfamiliar places, God is there. It does not require faith to go where you have always gone and do what you have always done. If you can see where you are going, you aren’t walking by faith. If you have all the answers, you aren’t walking by faith. If you have it all figured out, you aren’t walking by faith. Faith begins where your sight, your answers and your figuring end.
Faith says, “Lord, I really don’t know where we are going, but I’m not afraid because I’m not the one driving. You are the one in control and I know that you are never lost, so I trust you to take me where you want me to be.” Lord, give us a spirit that lives by faith instead of fear!
The recent police shootings of African-American men appear senseless and unwarranted to many people. Communities across the nation are angry, hurt, fearful, perplexed, troubled, and a host of other emotions. We wonder why a disproportionate number of African-Americans continue to be killed by officers. We wonder if America will ever be a place where ALL people are viewed as equal and are endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The lyrics of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On seem more relevant now than they were when the song was released more than 45 years ago. Many cry out to God asking, “How long, O Lord!” What are the people of God to do?
While there is not one solution to this complex and seemingly systemic problem, there is something that I believe we must do. Over time, doing this one thing will change the course and the culture. We must move beyond enraged to being engaged. I want to suggest four areas of engagement for Christians.
Believe it or not, we are more than half-way through 2016. The first six months of the year seem to have flown by. Now is a good time to reflect back on the year and make any necessary mid-year adjustments. At the beginning of 2016, we introduced a discipleship model to the church. The model is designed to help us grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, and to help us fulfill our mission of making and developing followers of Christ. The process is simple: Connect to God; Connect to the Church; Connect to the World (so that the world can connect to God).
The process starts with connecting to God. Our lives must be built upon the solid foundation of a life with God. So how well have you been able to connect to God so far this year? Are you growing in your love for God? Do your actions demonstrate your love for God in all that you do? How are you doing on your commitments to read more, study more, pray more, and learn more?
As you examine your connection with God, think about how you have been honoring God through praise and adoration. Have you been consistent in your attendance? What about your Sunday evening participation? Don’t just consider your attendance. Look at the spirit of your worship. When you attend worship on Sundays, are you more focused on others than you are on God? Has your worship to God been such that even unbelievers will leave saying, “God is truly among them”? Worship is not just a Sunday thing, it is a whole life thing. How much time have you spent outside of the Sunday gatherings in worship? Is your family stronger because of your relationship with God? Often we start the year running strong, but fizzle out a few months into the year. Don’t wait until January 2017 to renew your commitment to connect to God. Rededicate yourself now.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.