I'm confident we all would agree that 2008 was a tough year: war, a tumbling stock market, natural disasters, the continued threat of terrorism, and an ever-widening political divide. You can't help but wonder if 2009 is going to be more of the same. Perhaps your listeners—perhaps you—need an encouraging (but challenging) word to get the year started. Hendricks offers a critical lesson we all need to take to heart once more: only faith in a worthy object can see us through hard times. Sounds like a message that is both timely and timeless.
Chad Walsh wrote an intriguing book entitled Early Christians of the Twenty-First Century. He provoked my thinking with words like these:
Millions of Christians live in a sentimental haze of vague piety, with soft organ music trembling in the lovely light from stained-glass windows. Their religion is a pleasant thing of emotional quiver, divorced from the intellect, divorced from the will, and demanding little except lip service to a few harmless platitudes.
I suspect that Satan has called off his attempt to convert people to agnosticism. After all, if a person travels far enough away from Christianity, he or she is always in danger of seeing it in perspective and deciding that it is true. It is much safer, from Satan's point of view, to vaccinate a person with a mild case of Christianity so as to protect him from the real disease.
Do you ever ask yourself, "Why is it that so many Christians have a mild case of Christianity?" I think the answer is this: an inadequate and imprecise view of faith. We tend to have a sloppy, spongy view of this critical subject.
As it says in Hebrews 11, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." In other words, it's ...
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