Ever Increasing Faith

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. (Romans 1:8)

14-year old Precious before being baptized!

The Roman Christians were living in what was the center of power in the world at that time. They were a highly visible group as they preached the Gospel in a manner that was quite contradictory to the beliefs of those around them. Yet they were well respected by the community. I can only believe this was because they were respectful in their actions and speaking. They relied on their faith to know what to say and when to say it. Obviously, this approach worked as their faith was “reported around the world.”
In Syracuse, we are not necessarily living in the center of power, and I don’t think our faith is recognized around the world – yet! We are known around the world because we have always been, and prayerfully will continue to be, known for our sacrificial giving. We have given much! Since 2006, we have sent out two Mission Teams (Chicago in 2006 and Washington DC in 2008), have sent support to other Mission Teams (London and New York City) and have consistent in our Missions Contribution year in and year out. I am confident that this year will be no different. But we must lay this goal before God and ask Him to bless our efforts!
This is one act of faith on our part. We are all familiar with the classic definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In this sense, faith is a confident hope. We are certain there is a Christ and are sure that we will get to heaven through Him, if we obey his commands. But let’s look at the rest of that scripture “This is what the ancients were commended for.” Is this what you are known (commended) for? On a day-to-day basis, are we living a life of faith? Do your coworkers recognize you as a person of faith or merely a “good” person? Do you strive to let God be seen in you or just talk a god line?
At the start of each New Year, we make goals or resolve to improve our lives or have success throughout the year. As a church, we laid a goal out before God to have 100 faithful disciples by the end of the year. How is your faith on this goal? We have had some success. We have added five to our number since January 1, which brings us to a total of 72 disciples. We have eight months left to “Stand is awe of God” (Ecc 5:7). Is our faith like the mustard seed? (Mark 4:30-32). Are we willing to get out of the way and let God’s Kingdom grow? This is an act of faith! Plant and water, but only God can make it grow! (1 Corin. 3:6-8).
In his Book “My Utmost for His Highest” Oswald Chambers writes: “Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. (Emphasis added) Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him – a faith that says ‘I will remain true to God’s character whatever he may do.’ The highest and greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15)”
To my brothers and sisters in the Syracuse International Christian Church, I lay this challenge before you – to have an ever growing faith and an ever increasing love for each other! (2 Thess. 1:3)
And to God be the Glory!

By Michael O’Donnell