Fridays are when I put my finishing touches on the Sunday service and make all the preparations with the sermon, the songs, the PowerPoint, and any other details that are a part of the agenda for the worship service.
On this particular Friday, my office was warm and toasty as I had an electric fireplace glowing directly beside my desk, since I am a wimp and hate being cold. So I was not prepared for the temperature change that would hit me as I opened and entered the doors of the sanctuary to finish my sermon preparations. I mean, it was not freezing, but it was too chilly for my liking. I try to keep the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature so that it will only take a few minutes on Sunday morning to satisfy the comfort zone.
I called one of the other leaders of the church and he told me to give the HVAC technician a call to see if he could service our furnace to restore the heat we would need, not only for the services, but just to keep the facilities warm as we would be facing wind chills below zero degrees!
I called and left a voicemail, doubting that anyone would be available, let alone, call me back. Sure enough, when the gentleman called, he was sorry to say that he was not available until after the weekend. I was not sure what to do next.
In the meantime, I took to Twitter and made the appeal to my praying friends for this situation. Lo and behold, as I checked back in the sanctuary, the temperature began to rise and the heat registers were putting out hot air! I was praying even harder that the Lord would continue to keep the heat working, and before too long, it hit the temperature to which I set it. You had better believe I was doing some serious praising! I began thanking the Lord for his provision and the quick answer to prayer and then I got back on Twitter and thanked the prayer warriors who took a few minutes out of their busy day to pray along with me.
Here is the ironic thing: the message I was preparing was titled “What Does Faith Look Like?” and the message was based on the faith of a mustard seed from Matthew, chapter 17. As he usually does, the Lord used this as a teachable moment for me and as an opportunity to increase my faith and dependence upon him. More often than not, God places events in my life that coincide with what I am preaching about during the week, or even during an entire series of messages. (Maybe I should preach on winning the lottery and see what doors he opens there! I am only joking, of course).
A lot of times we do not see our faith grow because we do not let the sovereign God have his way in our lives. We think we know better and so we continue on without accepting his offer to amaze us and make our load lighter. It is not always easy to learn a faith-lesson, but we always come out on the other side looking more like Jesus and less like ourselves. Our faith points to him and causes not only us, but others to glorify and worship him.
Matthew 17:20 records the words of rebuke and instruction to Jesus’ disciples after they asked him why they were unable to perform an exorcism on a boy: “He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Jesus did not tell them they had to have tons of faith; he simply told them to have some faith. Anything was more than what they were exhibiting on this particular occasion—even faith the size of a one-millimeter-sized seed!
How is your level of faith?
I will admit that I struggle with faith from time to time. I know how powerful God is, but I often let my own weakness and limitations blur the picture and I take my eyes off of his endless power. 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” I know it is easier said than done, but God is greater than we are, therefore, walking by faith is possible. If you are struggling with weak faith, please do not beat yourself up; simply talk to God about it, and share with him your desire to see your faith grow. After all, he already knows what you are thinking before you ask, so boldly make that request. Take a leap of faith and see which mountains come crumbling to the ground in order for your faith to become stronger.
John Mallonee is the Senior Pastor of Blessed Hope Bible Church in Liverpool, PA. Called to this ministry in 2012, he also networks with the American Pastors Network, and serves in a leadership role as a millennial pastor. John has worked on the board of the millennial pastor initiative alongside Statistician George Barna, Tim Barton, President of WallBuiders, Honorable Sam Rohrer (President of APN), and others. He has a Bachelor of Ministry (B. Min.), a Master of Theology (Th. M.), and a Doctor of Theology (Th. D.) from the College of the Open Bible and Theological Seminary, Greenville, SC. John is a published author and currently writes a daily online and print devotional. In addition to writing, he also produces a weekly radio spot, Weekend Devotion. John and his wife Rebekah have four children: Rachel, Hannah, Isaiah, and Sarah Beth. The family currently resides in Newport, PA and is actively involved in their community. You can follow John on Twitter at @soul_dr1982 or visit his website: https://www.johnmallonee.org/.