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Does Your Faith Look Like a Model Home?

Have you ever taken a Sunday afternoon and gone “Model Home Crashing”? This is where you make a list of all the new neighborhoods around you and you visit the model homes, acting like you could actually afford to live there. You enjoy the hors-d'oeuvres and maybe a glass of champagne as you admire the décor and make mental notes for how you can redecorate your . . . old-er . . . home. And then when the real estate agent asks if you have any questions, you nonchalantly say, “No, I’m just looking.”

Model homes are designed to give the appearance that someone lives there, but they’re simply an empty shell. A house full of furniture but empty of people living there. It looks nice, but there is no life.

Sometimes I wonder if my faith is like a model home. It looks nice, but does it have life and substance? How about your faith?

Following Jesus is about living, not just believing (James 2:19, 26). If a model home doesn’t eventually have a family move into it, the house is in danger of rotting from the inside out. People are needed to maintain the home which deteriorates when left unattended.

Sounds a lot like faith.

Faith ignored is faith in decline. Like an empty house, it becomes moldy and musty. Vacant homes need the windows opened for fresh air to force out the stuffy smell of dormancy. They need deep cleaning, touch-up painting, and possible repairing. A house is meant to be lived in, not just visited.

Of course, a lived-in home can become a messy home. Spills on the carpet, scuffs on the linoleum, scratches on the walls. But those are indications that life is being lived. It’s messy and mucky, and it always needs to be cleaned, but at least there is life. Your home is not a museum with artifacts on display. Your home is a refuge, communication center, and barracks for a family on mission.

Likewise, your faith—if truly lived—will be messy and mucky at times. You will have spills, scuffs and scratches, and you will need constant cleaning and upkeep. But you also have Jesus, the Master Cleaner, who dwells with you, and with His help, your faith is maintained, and your messes are overcome.

Don’t try to keep your faith looking like a model home where you masquerade as though everything is perfect. It’s not. And that’s okay. Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). A house is meant to be lived in, and so is your faith. Your faith requires upkeep, but not for the purpose of keeping up appearances. Maintain your faith for the purpose of it becoming mission central for God’s Spirit to flow through your life. Your home should be a blessing to others, and your faith should, too.

“I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2b).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

God Is Not A Vending Machine

I’ve heard many people say that living the Christian life is a great blessing. “Just trust God, and He will bless you. Follow Him, and you will live a blessed life.”

Tell that to my friends who are committed Christ followers and their son is fighting for his life in a battle with cancer. If this is a blessing, you can have it back.

In the Old Testament, God spoke to Abram and said, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you” (Genesis 12:1-2a).

God’s blessing came with a prerequisite: trust. As the old hymn says, Abram had to “trust and obey, for there’s no other way….” And Abram did. He trusted and obeyed. He went to a country far away where he encountered many trials, challenges, and difficulties.

In my mind, I would expect the story to turn at that point and reveal the many blessings poured out by God. Abram trusted and obeyed; God bestowed His blessings. But at Abram’s point of trust, the outcome was this: “Now there was a famine in the land” (Genesis 12:10). I’m guessing that’s not the blessing Abram had in mind.

Is this God’s cosmic joke of offering a blessing only for it to turn out to be a curse? Sometimes life’s circumstances seem to be that way. You trust and obey, expecting a blessing in return, but you are met with sickness, pain, or loss instead.

For too long I pictured God like a vending machine. I put in the correct change (trust and obedience), pushed the “button of blessing,” and God would respond by releasing my packaged blessing ready for my consumption.

God is not a vending machine.

So, what do we do with this? Maybe we adopt the perspective of Job’s friends from the Old Testament and believe we’ve done something wrong (the sin of commission) or we haven’t done something right (the sin of omission). We’ve put the wrong amount of change in the vending machine, or we pushed the wrong button, and the “blessing” got stuck on its way down. It doesn’t matter how hard we pound on the machine, the “blessing” isn’t coming out.

From my perspective, the only way through this is to understand God’s blessings on God’s terms. He blessed Abram to be a blessing, and through Abram’s trust and obedience, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3b). Abram, although he suffered innumerable hardships, received the ultimate blessing of eternal life. Did those who were tortured, who suffered mocking and flogging and chains and imprisonment not receive God’s blessing (Hebrews 11:35-36)? Did those who were stoned, sawn in two, killed with the sword, destitute, afflicted and mistreated somehow miss the blessing of God (Hebrews 11:37-38)?

No. Though they “did not receive what was promised” in this lifetime, “God had provided something better” in the life to come (Hebrew 11:39-40). This blessing will never fade away. It will never tarnish. It will never get old. It is an “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When we step into the peace and presence of Jesus Christ, which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7), then we are truly living . . . the blessed life.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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