We tried a new church just after Thanksgiving last year. I’m finding it necessary to have one a little closer to home for several reasons. I was more than a little nervous. I’ve tried new churches before and always get nervous but that’s gotten worse since I have 2 little people who depend on me for everything. Who God gave me and who I feel this enormous responsibility to make sure they are taught about Jesus and who He is and everything He’s done for us. One of the biggest steps in doing this is finding the right church. One that will not only teach my kids in a way I agree with (by teaching them the Word) but in a way that shows them just how real God’s word is AND one that I can worship in and be 100% who I’m supposed to be in Christ.
That’s pretty demanding if you think about it. So often we hear, “you don’t have to make everyone happy as long as you’re happy” and there are times when that applies but this isn’t one of them. It is absolutely imperative that all three of us are getting what we need on the level we need it – especially from church. And no, I’m not talking about the actual physical building we call a church. I’m talking about the Church, as in the people who make up the church. When we go to a church expecting things to be what we need we’re setting some pretty high expectations for those who are leading worship, teaching the kids, running the book store and coffee shop, and preaching/teaching. That list goes on and on.
With that in mind, I walked into this new church with VERY high expectations. And I was completely blown away. My kids loved their classes (although E-Man does say he has to sit still too long sometimes but I think he’s enticed by the pool and foosball tables!). Worship was amazing. And then there was the sermon.
How often do you hear a grown man quoting Miley Cyrus? Honestly, that rarely happens and if it does it’s a single dad who’s trying to impress someone in regards to the time he spends with his daughter. Okay, that’s a bit cynical but you get my point. That’s something that just doesn’t happen. Well, the speaker that Sunday started his sermon, not with words, by playing a clip from Miley Cyrus’ song The Climb (see above link). And then he started talking about mountains.
Now, unfortunately, I don’t have my notes in front of me so I don’t have the scripture references he used but I will tell you what I got out of his sermon.
There’s a verse in the Bible (Matthew 17:20 Amplified Version – italics & bold mine – courtesy of YouVersion)
20 He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
So often the second portion of that verse is taken a bit too literal. Out of context even. We are taught that as Christians we have the ability to move mountains. True. Very true. We’ve also become complacent that just because the mountain hasn’t moved means that we’re meant to be here, going through this trial or tribulation for a time. Just like Jesus spent 40 days being tempted in the desert. And when that time is finished God will removed the mountain before us. But what we fail to see is that not every mountain is meant to be moved. Some are meant to be climbed.
Take a look at the following list (compiled in part using Max Lucado’s book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear — Chapter 14):
* Noah’s ark lands: Mountains of Ararat
* Isaac as a sacrifice: Mount Moriah
* Moses and the burning bush: Mount Sinai
* Elijah ascending into Heaven: Mount Horeb
* Christ Crucified: Calvary
* Christ’s Transfiguration: Mount Hermon
Some of the most important and life changing events in the Bible happened on the tops of mountains. Think about that. If the people we grew up knowing from the Bible had to face their mountains and climb them in order to see the goodness God had for them at critical times in their lives, why would we try to remove the mountains in our lives? Why wouldn’t we want to race up those mountains as fast as possible in order to see what God has in store for us?
I admit that I am one who has previously stated something akin to, “God will remove this mountain when it’s time”. Trust me when I tell you I’m not saying that anymore. Yes, I do believe that some mountains are to be removed and cast into the sea but the keyword there is some. Not all.
So many times I have said, “I can’t”. No more. I know that life as we know it is only going to get worse. Let me rephrase that. The world as we know it is only going to get worse – go read Revelation, Daniel, and Isaiah. Why on Earth should we, whose home is in Heaven, succumb to the things of this world? Why can’t I climb the mountains and receive all that God has for me and my family?!
Did you get that? Climb the mountains in your life. Rely on God to be with you and trust him to lead you through paths of righteousness. In the 23rd Psalm, the Bible says; (Amplified – italics mine)
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
We have to make it through the valleys in order to climb the mountains but when we do so with God there is no fear. God guides us. God protects us. God comforts us.
What are you waiting for?