Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Faith comes from hearing"

Last week at church I found myself in a very privileged but awe-ful situation, "standing on holy ground," as it were: I was asked to read the Scripture portions for the day, Matthew 20:1-16 and Ephesians 2:1-10. Then Pastor Benjamin preached about God's gracious nature that gives life and blessing to us even though we don't deserve it. The sermon was rightly followed by sharing in Communion, where we as beggars hold out empty hands to receive God's greatest gift, the life-giving, faith-strengthening body and blood of Jesus Christ. But I'm sure you wonder why I said it was holy and awe-ful.

Well, in Romans 10 St. Paul asks, "How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? . . . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (vv. 14, 17; cf. James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). As we read aloud God's Word and preach the message of salvation in Christ, the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts. Verse 14 says, "How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?" That is, when the gospel is spoken, it is as if the Lord himself were speaking, his voice coming through the pastor or parent or teacher or friend. As such, I read through the passages to myself several times the night before church. To be the voice of Christ through which faith is born and renewed! How crazy!


halfmom said...

I do always look forward to your posts Andrew (this still sounds strange). I found this to be particularly enouraging as it is indeed a holy calling to present the Word. Sometimes I fear that it falls off my lips as an indictment rather than a blessing.

I received the latestest update and was glad to know how you are and how the Christmas-time ministry faired. Have you made decisions on your future for the summer and fall? Shall I pray for a school placement for you even as I pray for my daughter's "new classroom" for the fall?

halfmom said...

OK - so a prayer request for a teaching position for you back in the states.

For O - also a teaching position - she's a little younger than you are (23 in July) and changed her major (math to education with math focus) the end of her junior year, so between that and a couple of years of soccer, she's just finishing this spring.

She's in the professional ed program at Loyola (faculty tuition benefit) which is a little different that a standard student teaching curriculum. She's been in her school all year long - a Chicago inner city school - but God provided her a master/award winning teacher to work with. Cool, huh?

She's middle school math focused and will start looking for a position soon too - hopefully one that have incentive pay for paying off school loans quickly because she's always been pretty mission minded and even more so after attending Urbana recently (in St. Louis this year due to the 25,000 people).