August: Launch Out… By Stretching Your Faith!

Our memory verse comes from the book of Romans this month. As you probably know the book of Romans is the Apostle Paul’s treatise on New Testament salvation.


July: Launch Out… Through Your Local Church!

As we seek to understand the life of faith that God calls us to live, we must consider God’s plan for His church in this age. Our memory verse shows the importance of the church in the life and ministry of individual Christians. Luke writing under inspiration says, “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). To truly understand what Paul and Barnabas are doing when they reported back to the church about their first missionary journey, you must go back to Acts 13:1 and see how that missionary journey began (I would encourage you to read Acts 13 & 14 in their entirety).

Paul and Barnabas did not ignore their church, rather they commenced their first missionary journey at the direction of the church of Antioch. Likewise, that church was sending out missionaries whom the Holy Spirit had already chosen. It was only as they prayed and fasted (Acts 13:2), that they discerned that God had chosen Paul and Barnabas to go on this missionary endeavor. We live in a day and age when people despise or ignore the local church. Many parachurch organizations seem to be larger and more influential than small local churches, yet in God’s eyes the church is His organism to do His work in this age. Men ignore God’s church at their own risk. God has set up the church in such a way that there are checks and balances to prevent us from doing His work in the strength of our own flesh.

Paul and Barnabas had proved themselves in the work of the Antioch church (Acts 12:25-13:1). They did the work of the ministry there before the Lord ever sent them out to do that work in parts unknown. It is God’s intention that the local church will reach out with the Gospel to their individual community (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). The local church is to teach the individual Christian how to witness of their faith (Acts 8:1, 4). It is within the local church that new Christians are to learn the Word of God, how to pray, and to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13).

The local church may seem to many Christians as just another item on an already too busy schedule but in reality it is God’s plan for you to grow to maturity in Christ (Romans 8:28-29). If you would “Launch Out” in faith you need to do so by growing in the things of God within your church. Your church has the ordinances, the organism (i.e. the body life – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27), the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), the ministry of “…evangelists; and some pastors and teachers…” (Ephesians 4:11). Will you by faith become an active, growing member of the your church and let God develop you and use you as He sees fit? Paul and Barnabas did!

June: Launch Out… in Faith!

Our memory verse for June (Mark 11:22) is one that comes in the midst of our Lord’s busy life and ministry. In Mark eleven we see our Lord sending His disciples to prepare for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the next day, He curses the fig tree and cleanses the temple for a second time. It is only after these things that He teaches them about the importance about faith and prayer in the Christian life. So the Scriptures say, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God (Mark 11:22).

The context of His teaching is most interesting and enlightening. The fig tree is a picture of unbelieving Israel (cp. Matthew 24:32, 33, Jeremiah 24:5, 7-8). While the fig tree had leaves of profession, it was bare of the fruit of possession. Israel had been brought face to face with her Messiah but rejected Him. Israel was cursed by her Creator just as the fig tree was. The withered fig tree seems to prompt Peter to ask the Lord about His power to do such things. Our Lord’s answer not only answers Peter’s specific question, but also teaches us of the necessity of faith.

The Lord Jesus was facing the difficult obstacle of an unbelieving Israel and uses this situation to teach His disciples how they too could overcome obstacles. The most needful ingredients for doing so are faith and prayer. No matter how difficult or mountain-like (v.23) our problems are, faith and prayer can overcome them. It is with the hand of faith that you and I reach out to our Lord and His hand is all-powerful. He is able to move the mountains (v.23) that we face and enable us to overcome too.

Often we as Christians think that we must have great faith to overcome, but our text tells us that faith the size of a grain of mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), is sufficient to overcome. It is not a great faith in God that is necessary but rather faith in our great God. Our faith must be real and not leavened with doubt (v.24), but most importantly it must be faith in God (v.22)! I am convinced that the Lord often allows obstacles to arise in our paths so that we can grow in our faith. If we could handle everything that life throws at us without the Lord, why them would we need to trust Him? The truth is we do need Him and as the song says, truly we “… need Thee every hour.”

It is against the backdrop of difficulty and trial that both our faith and God’s power are displayed the clearest. I don’t know the difficulties which you are facing today but the Lord’s words are just as powerful, prominent, and persuasive today as when He uttered them almost two thousand years ago. So I repeat them to you today, “Have faith in God!”

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