Our theme this week is ‘Faith’.

Having faith can be tough. It means believing in something that you can not know for certain. In a world where there is almost an answer for everything this can be difficult. Have a think about your faith and what you believe in. What makes it hard to believe in God? Asking questions is a really important part of growing in faith so this week make some time to ask questions of the people around you – ask them why they believe what they do and through this try and understand your own faith a little bit more.

 

Notices

 

We start with the Sign of the Cross.

Faith is often like a journey, sometimes its strong and other times it’s weak.  We use the poem ‘ Footprints in the Sand’ a lot and that’s because its such a great example of our faith journey and how we need to have faith that God will always be stood with us, guiding us, directing us and even sometimes carrying us. Here at All Saints’, we have decided to use this poem as our inspiration for this week’s WotW. How will you be like Christ and carry others when the are in need?

 

 

We end by making the Sign of the Cross.

We start with the Sign of the Cross.

To have faith is to believe in something; to trust that it is so. Some people believe everything they are told. Others require proof for everything. Most people cannot have faith in something unless they know something about it. That is why God has always provided man with lots of proof of his existence and his love – so we can easily believe it and have faith in him.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)

We believe in God for many reasons: because we can see the incredible creation all around us, because he has provided witnesses to testify of him, because we see him working in the lives of those around us, and in our lives. God has never asked us to have a “blind faith” or a faith with no basis. It would be silly to believe in something you have absolutely NO evidence of. God has given his people many reasons to believe in him and his promises.

John 20:31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (NRSV)

Do you believe that Australia exists? Have you ever been there? I have not seen Australia with my own eyes, but I have seen pictures of it. I have spoken to people from Australia. Many reputable people agree that it is there. Based on these evidences, I have no reason to doubt that there is a continent named Australia on the other side of the world. We may not see God himself in this life, but there is evidence all around that he exists, and that he keeps his promises .This is not to say that we will always understand everything about God. We can’t.

“I have been protected, I have been directed, I have been corrected.”

There are many reasons why we have faith in God. Faith that he exists, faith that he loves us, faith that he protects and provides for us, faith that we will join Him in ever lasting life.

What is it that makes you believe in God?

We end with the Sign of the Cross.

We start with the Sign of the Cross.

Take a minute to look at this picture.  What do you see? Don’t shout out your answers!

 

Hands up if you see an old woman.

Hands up if you see a young woman.

Hands up if you can see both.

Sometimes things aren’t obvious, even when they are right in front of us.  Faith can be like that.  There is so much evidence for the existence of God but sometimes we just can’t see it!

 

As Christians we trust that God will provide, that will will guide, that God will show us the way. He does, we just need to look and listen a little harder sometimes to see and hear Him.

What can we do to strengthen our faith?

What is the hardest part about having faith? When do you struggle the most?

We end with the Sign of the Cross.

We start with the Sign of the Cross.

Can we please have a volunteer to read the following passage to the class.

2 Peter 1:5-8 New International Version (NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Christian life begins with faith and then has love poured all over it!

To have faith isn’t easy but it opens the door to so much more..

An athlete prepares for a race by hours of training and hard work. S/He has to eat the right kinds of foods to at least keep his/her weight to a specified class – long-distanced runners are usually leaner with longer muscles whereas sprinters are usually bigger with large hamstrings. The athlete must monitor him/herself carefully. Some even shave excess body hair to make themselves more streamlined. He/she has a system. Not only does he/she spend time monitoring his/her diet, but he/she adds to that – training. He/she trains everyday for a certain number of hours, not only doing his/her stretches, but lifting weights; and adding to that a system of exercises to increase his/her distance or his/her speed. All these work in conjunction to help him/her win. If he/she fails to add one of those elements in, he/she may not be as prepared to run the race. In fact, he/she would be at a severe disadvantage.

These things take time to build up. Stamina takes time to build up. But once an athlete has these things under his/her belt, running races will be increasingly easier – the 2.4 km run he/she did last year would be of no difficulty to him/her if he/she has been training for a 5 km run. Once he/she is able to conquer the marathon, the half-marathon would be of little difficulty for him/her. And so he/she progresses, applying as they goes along. Each step of the way with challenges no doubt, but he/she has his training to back him/her up. It is tough to become a good athlete.

Which is why, certain athletes feel that they are at a disadvantage, often times resorting to other means of achieving success. Anaerobic steroids, methamphetamines, and other performance enhancing drugs become secrets, or rather, not-so-secrets of success. Time-honored effort and the work ethic are put away. But their triumphs are empty for they haven’t been true to themselves.

So it is no surprise that with performance enhancing drugs, Christians often look for the easy way out to grow spiritually. With such secrets to winning races, what then is the secret to spiritual growth? Well, there really isn’t a secret. The recipe for spiritual maturity and the regime for spiritual growth are listed quite clearly in our passage this morning. It is a tough regime – there are no short cuts. We see here that to grow spiritually, not only do you need faith, but you need virtue. And on top of that, knowledge, followed by temperance, patience, and so on. No secret, just hard work.

To grow spiritually is to open your eyes to everything God has provided for you. Yes, EVERYTHING.

At some point we all grumble and complain; this weather stinks, I’m tired, my friend hurt my feelings, I find school too hard. All of these things are valid issues we may deal with from day to day, but a heart of gratitude sees these issues more like opportunities. Opportunities to boast in what He has done for us, what He has blessed us with, and how He can use us in every situation. Gratitude takes our eyes off of ourselves and puts them back on Him.

In your house, I’d like you to create a  Blessings Board. You can use a white board or a chalkboard or anything really, but it’s nice to have something you can easily erase.

Every day, write down your blessings. What opportunities has God given you today? What negative was actually a positive?

It rained today = God gave me the opportunity to jump in puddles and laugh with friends.

Take pictures of your blessing boards and send them to Vicki: mullen.v@allsaints.notts.sch.uk

 

What blessing have you received today? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

We end with the Sign of the Cross.

We start with the Sign of the Cross.

We end with the Sign of the Cross.

Be Inspirational