Welcome to a new feature here at the blog!
We live in a society that is over-taught and under-inspired. My hope is to help a bit with this by weekly looking for inspiration and sharing a few of those sources in a post with you. Let me know your thoughts.
Maybe this goes without saying, but I don’t expect you to agree with me about everything I post here. In fact, I expect some of the things I post will rattle your theological cages. My suggestion? Be inspired by people who aren’t perfect. Realize you won’t agree with everything I share here. Eat the chicken, spit out the bones.
So, without further ado, here are three sources of inspiration for the week:
The Sent Life: This is a podcast I just discovered on Facebook yesterday. It’s by a brother named Jonathan Ammon. Jonathan is connected to the #NoPlaceLeft network and is passionate about reaching the unreached, making disciples, and building up the church. I’ve listened to a few of his podcasts so far and I’ve been really encouraged. The content is good, but more than anything, I hear in his voice a focus on “sentness” that I don’t hear other places. Jonathan is not a house church guy, necessarily, but for those of you who are, you will find much to be encouraged about. Also, for a church planter, he has a ton of perspective on healing and hearing the voice of the Lord that I don’t hear in most church planting circles.
Shawn Bolz: The other day I had some time with one of my sons and we were talking about the place of the prophetic in the church. He was asking good questions and listening as we read through 1 Corinthians 12 through 14, but when we got to a certain point, I decided to bring up Shawn’s facebook page and watch him minister prophetically to people. After the first video it was obvious that my son was seeing the purpose of the prophetic and was more hungry to see it operate in his life. I was too. Want to be encouraged that God knows you and loves you and wants to communicate that? Check out this video and this one.
Just a Little Faith: Finally, this picture by Earl inspired me. I know, I know, we all know that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to cause things to move in the Earth. But often we forget how small our faith needs to be if God is really in something. This was just an in-your-face reminder that something so small (like my faith) can really change things on the planet.
Stagnancy can kill your walk with Jesus.
We can get to a place where we know the love of the Father, understand the sacrifice of the Jesus on the cross, encounter the Spirit, know the word, and have confidence that we’re really saved and stop. And while all these things are essential, if they fail to touch the trust you showed when you first threw yourself at Jesus and asked Him to save you, your spiritual life can grow cold.
The cure for this stagnancy is to regain “the faith of leap.”* This is the kind of faith that causes us to stick out our neck and live on the daring adventure that Christ calls us to. It’s not safe, but it’s the kind of faith that God called Abraham to when he told him to “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you,” (Genesis 12:1). It’s this kind of faith that takes risks that culminates in Romans 4:22: “And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.“
Two friends are modeling this for me really well right now.
One is a mentor with a long history in his job. He took a buyout from his company that was closing down and at the leading of the Lord, he got a college education and moved to a state he had never lived in. Two or so years later, he’s still waiting on the provision of the Lord, but he never waivers in his faith. In fact, you’d never know he was jobless by talking to him. In that place having heard from the Lord and but not yet knowing where the Lord’s answer will come from, he’s living out the faith of leap.
Another friend of mine went and got some training in North Carolina about planting churches. He loved it and came back and shared some of the content of the training with me. As we talked, he looked at me and said “I need you to intentionally stretch me. Can we get together every so often and have you challenge me to stretch myself?” Since that time I’ve watched my friend get out of his comfort zone repeatedly. He’s started hosting gatherings, he’s started reaching out to lost people, he’s started to challenge people where they need to be challenged. Every time I see him look at something outside of his old comfort zone that the Lord is asking him to do and say yes to it, he’s living out the faith of leap.
None of this makes either of these two guys super spiritual. In fact, at first glance, you might be tempted to think there is nothing remarkable about either of these guys. But they are learning to meet Jesus in the leap. And because of that, they are becoming more and more remarkable in a way that only a few living close to them can see.
Can I ask? Can I probe just a little? Are you living out the faith of leap? When was the last time you did something in your Christian walk that you weren’t sure was going to work out, but you were sure God was leading you into? If it’s been a while, go back and ask the Father for the faith of leap. I’m sure He’s willing to talk.
*Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch wrote a phenomenal book called The Faith of Leap (affiliate link). The premise of the book is that there is a kind of faith and community that can only be regained by tackling risky tasks for the glory of God. I would encourage you to read the book, but the title alone communicates volumes.