Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘stories of faith’

Series on Faith in God

We are still looking at the topic of faith in God. With the youth sharing today I want to just remind us briefly of some of the themes we have been looking at by telling two stories of faith. I hope that these will be an encouragement to you to believe in and act on God’s promises to you.

Story #1 – A miracle in a village

[I am intentionally not saying where this happened or where I got this story].

In the region where this story takes place people began to become Christians and form churches. But most people were Buddhists. Now when the lives of these Christians began to improve with schooling and the donation of a boat to the local church to get across the river – there was jealousy and opposition in some of the Buddhists. And they tried to close church buildings and expel pastors from their homes.

Eventually such an order was given – to demolish the church building in a small village where our story takes place. It was given by  the chief Buddhist monk, a village leader and a township administrator.

The Christians gathered in prayer – and must have heard from God. Because when the officials came on the appointed day the Christians refused to tear down their building. The church leaders spoke out boldly and said they could not tear down a building that was dedicated to the true God. The officials insisted that they do it – but the church leaders told them they would have to do it themselves and be accountable for what might happen.

Two carpenters were sent to demolish the building. But as soon as they got on the roof a terrible storm came with thunder, lightening and strong wind. This scared the carpenters and they ran to their homes.

The officials came back another day and again ordered the carpenters to tear down the church. As they began, again, a fierce storm broke out with lightening. The lightening struck a nearby Buddhist image which was famous and revered. The result was 15 cracks.

Seeing what happened the chief Buddhist monk fled the village. The village leader who ordered the church be torn down was killed by someone. And  the administrator was found to be corrupt and thrown out of the village. And so the order to destroy the building was not carried out.

I share this story to highlight the faith of the church leaders. They has the three essential parts of true faith working in them. 1) They had something from God that allowed them to be bold. They must have heard something as they prayed knowing that persecution was coming. 2) They had an unfailing trust in God and his word to them. And 3) this was evidenced in that they spoke boldly to the officials who sought to tear down the building and warning them.

And we see that God honored their faith and did a miracle that glorified his name in their village.

Story #2 – A miracle in North Carolina

Now a story that has a miracle of a different kind. This comes from Clarence Jordan – a radical Christian in the South who set up an interracial farming community in Georgia in the early 1940’s – Koinonia Farms.

In one place he talks about a church where he was asked to preach in North Carolina. “The church would seat about 300 and I think they had about 600 in it. The thing that amazed me was that these people were white and [black] just sitting anywhere they wanted to sit. . ..”

“When I got through (preaching) the pastor got up and said, ‘Now, we’re going to have dinner on the grounds.’ I really trembled then, because it’s one thing for black and white folks to worship together; it’s another thing for them to eat together. Here the man was advocating social equality right there in the South.”

“I went over to the pastor and I said, ‘You know, this is a rather amazing thing to me. Were you integrated before the Supreme Court decision?’ [1954] He said, ‘What decision?’”

“He explained: ‘Well back during the depression, I was a worker here in this little mill. I didn’t have any education. I couldn’t even read and write. I got somebody to read the Bible to me, and I was moved and I gave my heart to the Lord, and later, I felt the call of the Lord to preach.’”

“’This little church here was too poor to have a preacher and I just volunteered. They accepted me and I started preaching.’”

“’Someone read to me in there where God is no respecter of persons and I preached that.’ I said, ‘Yeah how did you get along?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘the deacons came around to me after that sermon and said, ‘Now brother pastor, we not only don’t let a [black person] spend the night in this town, we don’t even let him pass through. Now we don’t want that kind of preaching you’re giving us.’”

“I said ‘What did you do?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I fired them deacons.’ ‘How come they didn’t fire you?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘they never had hired me, I just volunteered.’ ‘Did you have anymore trouble with them?’ ‘Yeah, they came back at me again.’ ‘What did you do with them that time?’ ’I turned them out. I told them anybody that didn’t know anymore about the Gospel of Jesus than that not only shouldn’t be an officer in the church, he shouldn’t be a member of it. I had to put them out.’”

“I said, ‘Did you have to put anybody else out?’ ‘Well, I preached awfully hard, and I finally preached them down to two. But,’ he said, ‘those two were committed. I made sure that any time after that, anybody who came into my church understood that they were giving their life to Jesus Christ and they were going to have to be serious about it. What you see here is a result of that.’”

“I thank God there was still one un-ruined preacher in the South who had no better sense than to preach the gospel. Maybe it was fortunate that some of our educators didn’t get hold of him. Now, I don’t mean to be putting emphasis upon the man’s ignorance. I don’t think that made any difference. I think it was the man’s faith that brought the power to his church. He was willing to couple a conviction with a way of action and take the consequences.” [Cotton Patch Sermons, The Substance of Faith, pp. 43-45].

This pastor also has the three essentials of true faith. 1) He has a word from God from Scripture – God is no respecter of persons. 2) He trusted God to take care of him as he made this word known. 3) He acted and acted boldly even when things were difficult.

And God blessed him with a new community that reflects the kingdom of God – people that cannot get along in the world – do get along in the kingdom, for we are all one in Christ.

 

I hope that you will be encouraged by these stories so that in your life circumstances you can be bold and have faith as well when God speaks to you.

William Higgins

Read Full Post »