I Want To Believe But… Some Things Are Beyond Belief.

2Kings 7:1-2

Life is full of miracles. It’s crazy the ones we struggle with! If there is a Supreme Being, then why would we question whether He can rise again, bring abundance, heal, deliver, answer us, change our situation, produce financial miracles, etc?!

 

If God wants to do something, however He wants to do it, that’s His prerogative.

 

The story of Naaman
Why dip in a river? Symbolism, obedience, humility, simplicity, etc.

 

“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations—a trust in a God who has shown himself worthy of that trust.
Certainty isn’t the heart of faith—trust is.”
– Atheist-turned-Christian, Alister McGrath
For more, check out the article at http://www.jesuslovespeople.com/doubters.html

 

Why would Naaman go, even though he wasn’t sure?
He wanted to believe! He needed to believe!

 

“All this doubt and questioning, all this searching and discarding, all this angst – this is normal. This is important and good and part of it.
Here is my best advice: Listen to the longing.”

– Addie Zierman

 

Check out the full article!

 

The Existence of God
   The chemical properties of water
   The earth, the sun, the moon
   The uniform laws of nature

 

“Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.”
– Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics

 

   Chaos is the absence of order.
   Darkness is the absence of light.
   Cold is the absence of heat.
   Evil is the absence of good.

 

   More in depth resources on the Bible, creation, God, etc. are in last week’s notes.

I Want To Believe But… Where Do I Start?

The Church Blog
Asking the right Questions
When Believing Isn’t Easy

JOHN THE BAPTIST
John 1:29, Matthew 3:16-17
Matthew 11:2-3

Let’s be real… everyone has their doubts.


“Start with Jesus.”

Because if He’s not legit… none of the rest matters.

What I found…

Love people — Even your enemies!  Matthew 5:38-44
Forgive… and forgive and forgive  Matthew 18:21-22
Put other people first… above what you want  Mathew 20:26-27
Give everything you can to those in need  Matthew 5:4, 25:44-45
Don’t think too highly of yourself  Matthew 23:12

The way Jesus lived is the best way to live…
and it’s the way I want to live.

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic…or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis

When you focus on Jesus, the questions seem to not be so big anymore.

Faith isn’t the opposite of doubt.  Faith overcomes doubt.

1. “Why is God Hiding from us…”  Why doesn’t he just show himself?
Didn’t he already do that?

2. Is the Bible reliable?  Hasn’t it been changed?
An interesting talk from Tim Mackie on how the Bible was put together
(The video will start at the important part, but watch the whole thing if it interests you)

3. Doesn’t Evolution/Science disprove the Bible?
An interesting interview to listen to later

4. Isn’t Religion to blame for a lot of the bad in the world?
1. Religion is a tool and it (like other tools) can be used for good or evil.
2. Christianity has done A LOT of good
3. Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion
– Religion is about us trying to reach God.
– Jesus came to bring God to us.

It’s about Relationship
Matthew 11:25-26
Matthew 11:28-30

I Want to Believe But… all this suffering in the world!

  • If God is all-knowing and all-loving why does He allow people to suffer?
  • Why does God allow pain?
  • Why does God heal some people and not others?
  • Why does God allow children to suffer?
  • What about terminal illness?
  • How do you reconcile the idea of the temple of God being sick?
  • Why would God create someone He knew would suffer?
  • How can you have joy in your salvation when daily life is such a struggle?
  • What about people who are disabled?
DISABLED? – a disability is “a restriction”

Helen Keller

Author of 12 published books and countless articles
1st deaf-blind person to earn Bachelor of Arts degree
International speaker and lecturer
Presidential Medal of Freedom
National Women’s Hall of Fame
That’s the picture of a person who was ENABLED!
The bumps are what you climb on.
– Warren Wiersbe
We often ask the wrong questions because we have a limited, tunnel-vision perspective.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Perhaps God chooses what’s “normal.”

WHY DOESN’T GOD INTERVENE MORE OFTEN?

David wanted to know that, too!

Psalm 13; 10:1; 35:17; 6:3-6; 22:1-2

Jesus knew to be delivered from His suffering would mean you and I could not be delivered from ours! He couldn’t have it both ways and sometimes that’s the choice we have.

WHY MUST PAIN BE A PART OF LIFE?

Romans 8:28

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

God has purpose in the pain! I know, I know, we don’t like hearing that. But often our answers are not beyond the pain, but in the midst of it!

James 5:14, 4:2

God isn’t interested in a Q&A session, He wants a relationship with us. So it’s a lot deeper than we can get to in one week. Stay with us a few more weeks. There is more coming to help you answer those lingering doubts, unanswered questions and skeptical moments.

Skeptics Welcome — I Want To Believe, But… Week 1

The general belief about Christians is that they are mindless robots believing what they are told to believe.

God welcomes skeptics and doubters

God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.
– Max Lucado

The Bible is full of skeptics, people that God still used in spite of their doubts!


Why would God welcome all these skeptics?
Isaiah 1:18
Philippians 2:12-13


Jesus spent a lot of time with imperfect people:
Luke 5:29; Luke 19:2-5; Matthew 11:19; Matthew 9:11; Luke 15:2

Today is Easter, the day we remember Jesus’ resurrection on the 3rd day after His death on the cross for our sins! But it was also day for skeptics: Mark 14:50; John 18:26-27; Matthew 26:16; John 20:24-25; Matthew 27:19; John 19:6-12; Luke 23:39-43; Mark 15:39

Don’t let skepticism lead you away from belief. Healthy skepticism will lead you toward truth, whatever it is.


I want to give you 4 invitations:

1st, to check out a new website, iwanttobelievebut.com where you can ask any question you wish.

2nd, to return the next few Sundays on this journey of seeking answers for your questions and doubts.

3rd, to tell God you’re listening if He has anything to say to you or to show you this week. I dare you!

4th, follow this link and me know if you make a decision, whether to follow Jesus or even to just keep looking.

The Rest of the Story — The Mission is Why

Tasks and mission are two different things.
Complete the tasks but stay focused on the mission.


NOAH

Genesis 6:18
Some people are always working on the boat, the tasks. They never get the mission.

Noah forgot the mission was about saving his family. He built the boat but forgot to lead his family!


DAVID

I know David got it because he wanted to bring the ark back Jerusalem – twice! And he wanted to build God a temple.

But there was that one night he forgot the mission. 2 Samuel 11

And don’t forget about Adonijah. 1 Kings 1:5-6

David led an entire nation to God but not his family.

I am convinced our #1 mission field is the family God gives us.

The Mission is about people!


MOSES

Exodus 16:3 
The reason people complain is they don’t get the mission!


CALEB

Tasks are about today
Mission is about the future!

Numbers 14:24
Caleb never bellyached over food. In reality he tried to tell Israel they were about to inherit more food than they could eat, if they would just have faith in God.

Joshua 14:6-12
Being on mission with God is a team sport. Living for yourself leaves you all alone when the battles come.

You may not be perfect in tasks or efforts.
But aim for perfection on mission!

The Rest Of The Story — Miriam, Aaron and Me

MIRIAM

The oldest of 3 siblings, Exodus 7:7

Watched infant Moses in his basket hiding place, Exodus 2:1-8.

Led the celebration of deliverance from Egyptian army, Exodus 15:1-21

Was part of the leadership sent by God. Micah 6:4

BUT she questioned Moses’ authority. And God answered. Numbers 12

Miriam became distracted by someone else’s calling instead of staying focused on her own.
WHEN YOU BEGIN DOING WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT FOR RECOGNITION, YOU’LL DESTROY THE PASSION!

AARON

Was made a prophet by God to assist Moses, Exodus 7:1

Given great honor! Exodus 28:1-3

Stood between the living & dead! Numbers 16:47-48

He was confirmed by God by a miracle, Numbers 17:1-10

BUT Aaron wanted Moses’ place!
Perhaps he grew tired of playing 2nd fiddle to little brother.
NEVER FORGET THE AWESOMENESS OF YOUR OWN PERSONAL CALLING!

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


When we are not operating in our calling there is confusion, competition, jealousy, frustration, resentment, and more. Something important doesn’t get done, we work in our own power and ministry doesn’t receive our best.

But when we do operate in our gifts and callings there is fulfillment, peace, teamwork, collaboration and usually success. Amazing things get done, things fit, we work in God’s power and ministry gets our best effort!

We must not forget what we are called and gifted to do and why we are doing it!

If we forget that everything we do is ministry, reaching someone for Jesus, creating places for people to meet with God, encouraging those who struggle, strengthening marriages, discipling kids & teens, then we’re just making coffee, telling Bible stories, giving hugs, playing music & singing songs!

Everyone has something awesome to do for Jesus!

Click here to find a place to serve at 29:11?

The Rest of the Story — Servant Leader

More important than ability, talent and intelligence is attitude.
Moses was a leader who led for the purpose of serving!

Hebrews 11:24-25
Exodus 2:11-12

We should be men and women of such integrity that even when people disagree with our actions they never question our motives.

Exodus 2:16-17

No matter the details,
it is always the right time
to do what is right!

The events of Exodus 32:9-14 and Number 14:11-20
were the real test of Moses’ motives!


The life of Moses, this servant-leader, was a foreshadow of what Jesus would do for us:

A people in need of deliverance,
God sends a deliverer,
he stands in the gap,
serves everyone and
leads those who will follow.


Jesus gave another example of a servant-leader in the story of the Good Samaritan.
The “leaders” ignored the man in need!
The Samaritan noticed and did something!

He approached the man in need
He supplied for the needs
Gave up his seat, his place of comfort
Put up his own finances
Expected to help further!


Mark 10:45

  • We are called to lead others to Him. We do that through serving!
  • Serving comes before leading.
  • As followers of Jesus, we are all called to serve one another!

 

It’s not about me

The Rest of the Story — Awesome Faith

Romans 12:3

Matthew 17:19-20

PEOPLE WITH AWESOME FAITH ARE THOSE WHO LIVE THEIR FAITH!
– They make decisions based on their faith, or I should say they don’t make decisions outside their faith.
– They don’t need someone to remind them every week or ask them “have you prayed about it?” Their faith matters in everything.
– And that was the difference in the lives of people like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Ruth, David… need me to go on?

Half a truth is often a great lie. – Benjamin Franklin

This is why it is important to not take something online as fact. And it is important to not read portions of the Bible out of context. Always seek the whole story!

Half the truth is that Israel was in trouble with God much of the time.

But why does God keep coming back? Because God has an unquenchable desire to bless! And that’s The Rest of the Story!


NOTE THE CYCLE IN JUDGES
3:7, 11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth … .(God sends Othniel to deliver them) … Then the land had rest forty years.

3:12, 30 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD … (God sends Ehud to deliver them) … and the land had peace for eighty years

4:1; 5:31 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD … (God sends Deborah & Barak)  … Then the land had peace forty years.

6:1; 8:28,33 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD… (God sends Gideon) … the land had peace forty years …. As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals…
Autopilot is a dangerous way to live your life. Culture infiltrates our thoughts and our morals. If you don’t pay attention, close attention, your morals will change, even as a Christian. Constantly choose to live your faith!

James 1:14-15

Joshua 24:15-23 selected

 

Make the hard choices.
Look around. What needs to go? Dump the distractions! Delete the doubt!
Consider your “Friends”
What do the people around you challenge you to do and be?
Do they have a high or low opinion of marriage?
Here is a rule of thumb: who is influencing whom?
Media, music, hobbies & activities, etc.
Do my choices positively or negatively influence me?
Do they feed my spirit and its desires or my flesh and its desires?

Joshua 24:25-27

The Rest of the Story – Law of Grace?

The story of Nadab & Abihu

  • Their father Aaron was Moses’ brother & the first priest of Israel!
  • Called by God to the top of Sinai, by name! Exodus 24:1, 11
  • Priest #2 and #3! Exodus 28:1
  • But the most notorious part of their story is their death! Leviticus 10:1

The story of Hophni & Phinehas

They received a lot of grace! God gives us direction, warnings, etc, but allows us to choose our path.
Deuteronomy 30:19

“The truth about grace might seem positive at first glance, but in order to embrace it, we have to come to terms with our need for it. And that means acknowledging our own depravity.”
-Brandon Cox

The truth: God is holy and without Him we are depraved, corrupt and immoral

Isaiah 64:6

Isaiah 6:5

Romans 5:20

Romans 6:23


Three hard, incontrovertible facts

Forgives
Ephesians 1:7

Renews
Titus 2:11-12

Helps
Matthew 6:11

Heals
Matthew 6:12

Empowers
1 Corinthians 10:13

Keeps
2 Timothy 1:12

 

So why does God seem so different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament?
Malachi 3:6