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SIMPLE TRUTH: Initiating a faith venture

Published 10:00am Thursday, August 8, 2013

By Charles Christmas

The meaning of the word “initiate,” for this article, is “to begin, to cause the beginning or to set going.” This is the third article in a mini-series on faith ventures. I have previously explained that in a faith venture we believe that God is God of today, that he is well able for us today, that he invites us to join him and he offers to join us to make it our venture of faith.

Sometimes a faith journey is initiated or made possible by a crisis: a death, a divorce, the loss of employment, severe health issues, unexpected family/parent/child responsibilities, moral, character, reputation failures, to list only a few possibilities.

In such a crisis: God is God of today, he is able for you today, and he desires to join you and for you to join him to make your crisis the beginning of a joint venture of faith—God and you!

Ample scripture supports turning our crises into faith ventures.

I have experienced several crises in the last four years. Out of these, God and I have either had faith ventures or we are presently on the faith journey.

There are long-term and short-term faith journeys. Marriage is a long-term faith venture. Hopefully, your life’s vocational direction can be the same. Whether long or short term, the most important thing is that a faith venture can be initiated by our Lord. Let’s examine Bible examples.

Noah built the ark, but that was not Noah’s idea. It was all initiated and enabled by the Lord.

Abraham became the father of the nation of Israel, but that was not Abraham’s idea. It was all initiated and enabled by the Lord.

Moses led a million or more enslaved Israelis out of Egypt and to the border of their future land, but that was not Moses’ idea. It was all initiated and enabled by the Lord.

Joshua led the believing Israelis to occupy the Promised Land, but that was not Joshua’s idea. It was all initiated and enabled by the Lord. And such is the explanation of David becoming the great King of Israel, and with John the Baptizer being the forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And it continued with the 12 apostles, the beginning church and with Paul and Barnabas being sent out as the first overseas missionaries from the Antioch Church. None of these ventures were personally masterminded but were initiated by God with obedient persons who would offer themselves and trust the ability of God.

“It is God who works in us both to be willing and to do of His good pleasure.”

How does God initiate faith ventures in a person or a couple or a group of persons?

I only submit a few ways which I know for certain from scripture and from experience, but God is unlimited. In times alone with God, he may choose to initiate something for us beyond human ability. We may be so busy and over-scheduled until we don’t want or have time for what only God can do. He may initiate when we are alone in prayer: listening, confessing, praising, searching, committing. He may initiate when we are alone in the Bible: reading, meditating, listening and applying. God may initiate when we hear the word of God taught or proclaimed or hear Godly counsel.

He may initiate when we become aware of the needs of others and aware of our own abilities, gifts of the Spirit or personal and God’s potential. The Lord may give you a word, a vision, a call, a direction, a promise, a desire, a command and a willingness to commit to a faith venture.

Five statements about a faith venture follows. Seek to make sure your venture is initiated by the Lord and that it is not something you just “thought up.” God calls on us to join Him in faith ventures. Only God will get the glory in the outcome. You will feel like you only happened to be around when God was at work.

The Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8).

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.

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