All posts in “FAITH”




James 2:17 “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Many of us know people who call themselves Christians because they feel that they are generally good people and/or doing good works. Paul Staats was one of those people. You see, Paul thought he’d bring glory to God by doing good works; but instead, when he was ridiculed for his faith he retaliated by getting into a fist fight and literally beating someone up. This act, in reality, showed that the reason he was doing good works wasn’t to glorify God; but rather, it was only to bring glory to himself.

Have you ever stopped to think about why you do a specific good deed or kind act toward others? How will you react when you go out of your way to do something nice for someone else and they turn around and ridicule and pick on you for it? Do you respond in a defensive or aggressive manor towards them, or do you respond in love towards them?

As Christians we are called to have faith in Jesus Christ and our faith should be seen through our actions. However, one will do well to remember that our actions or works should never be done for the purpose of giving ourselves a pat on the back or recognition for that act, but rather to give all the glory to the one and true God.

QUESTION 1. How do you see your faith and works working together for God’s glory?
QUESTION 2. Have there ever been times in your life that you were doing the right thing or right action towards someone, but you were doing it for the wrong reason? (Explain)
CHALLENGE: Look into your own life and pray for God to show you the ways you are seeking to bring glory to yourself rather than giving the glory to God. Don’t hesitate and allow God to strengthen your faith today!




James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

As Christians, if we say that we have faith in Christ and that we love him, our actions should show it. Yet as we all know too well, our actions don’t always follow our words. God is sold out in his love for you. He’s proved it when He sent His son to die in our stead (John 3:16). He wants to be in a relationship with you!

Believing in God should change everything about our lives. Putting our belief to action is life-altering, and not only in the hope that it gives us for the future, but also in the way God’s presence can change our lives now.

If you believe in Jesus, if you love him, go and do things for his kingdom. Reach out to your friends at school, pray for them, volunteer at a soup kitchen, and help the poor and the needy. Let’s show Jesus how much we love him and want to follow him!

QUESTION 1. Are there any ways that your actions aren’t living up to your words when it comes to your faith in Christ?
QUESTION 2. How can your faith play an active role in your school, family and friendships?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to take a stand with Jesus today and make your belief in Christ an active part of everything you do!




James 2:14-17 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Brennan Manning once said that “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Faith and works go hand in hand! If we see someone who is in need, but we do nothing about it, how is that faith? God calls us to act out our faith by loving him and loving those around us (Mark 12:30-31). God doesn’t call us to just believe in the work of the cross but also to do the work of the cross. Let humanity know you are Christ followers not only by your words but also by how you love.

QUESTION 1. Do you agree with what Brennan Manning had to say? (Why or Why Not)
QUESTION 2. Would people you associate with outside of the church know that you are a Christian not only based upon your words but also upon your actions?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to proclaim faith in Christ tactfully and boldly, and just as importantly, to act that faith out towards others in love.




II Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 There is a story in I Kings 17 about a widow and her dying son meeting Elijah. He asks the widow for something to eat but she replies she has only enough food left to cook a last meal for herself and her son. But Elijah tells her not to fear and that she will have enough for many years. She has faith and does what Elijah tells her, knowing full well it may kill her and her son. But God is faithful and overflows her with blessings.

Have you ever experienced a time when God called you to give beyond your means? It is so hard to follow through and do it. We live in a world where we’re taught to penny pinch because we never know what the future will bring. We have become so stingy it’s hard to find people who even give 10% to Jesus anymore. But here’s the thing: God calls us to give out of our need not out of our excess and to do it cheerfully. He doesn’t want us to give as if we were getting our teeth pulled.

God is a God of abundance. And when we are faithful He will never let us run dry. But giving doesn’t necessarily have to mean giving money. Perhaps you really do have nothing to give, so why not try giving your time by helping others instead. Though, I will also challenge you, even if your money is tight, to continue to be a cheerful giver and you will find God blessing you in miraculous ways. Sometimes God calls us to do things deemed crazy by the world so our faith can grow. Allow your faith to grow by trusting in Him.

QUESTION 1. In what ways are you a cheerful giver? Can you even call yourself a cheerful giver?
QUESTION 2. Have you ever experienced God’s blessings after giving beyond your means?
CHALLENGE: Give your time and money to God, in faith, and he will bless you in abundance.




Hebrews 11:1-3

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

After I graduated college God started to break my heart for the atrocities going on around the world. My heart broke so much that I became paralyzed by it. I had no idea what to do, so I did nothing at all. I wondered why God would place this burden on my heart but then not give me a plan of action to do something about it. For a couple of weeks I thought and thought about what it was I could do, totally forgetting to ask God to guide me and use me.

After I gave myself and my life over to God, he immediately led me to a missions organization and then on a yearlong mission trip around the world. God was waiting for me to give him my life, and I’m so glad I did.

In Hebrews, Paul gives us a long list of men and women who, by the power of God, did amazing things for his kingdom. Yeah, but that was Abraham and David and guys like that. They are giants of the Christian world; I’m just me. But here’s the thing, we have that power too. They too at one point probably thought, I’m just me. We must put ourselves aside and stop relying on our own strength and instead give all of ourselves to God. Otherwise we can very easily become paralyzed by the sheer amount of pain and hurt in the world. What can one person do? With God’s guidance and power, more than you can ever imagine.

QUESTION 1. Is the pain and hurt of the world weighing you down? Do you want to make a difference but have no idea what to do or where to start?
QUESTION 2. Have you spent time in prayer asking God exactly what he wants for your life? Or have you glossed over that part?
CHALLENGE: Stop looking at what you can do on your own power. Give yourself to God and watch what he will do through you.




Exodus 3:11-12

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” And He said, “Certainly I will be with you…”

Have you ever been asked to do a job or task that you felt completely unqualified for? Maybe your youth pastor asked you to talk in front of your peers, or maybe it was just to pray out loud, and you wondered, “Why me? I’m not the right person for the job.” It could be any number of things that we feel like we’re not equipped or able to do. But anytime you believe those thoughts you are believing lies from the enemy who is seeking to make you stagnant through fear.

The thing is that we actually aren’t qualified on our own, but it is Jesus who qualifies us. He loves to find the most flawed people by the world’s standards and use them to accomplish wonders for His kingdom. God even used Saul—who was also known as Paul, one of the foremost authors of the New Testament—who had been killing Christians. God used a murderer and turned him into one of the most well-known and influential apostles, simply because he was willing. We too must be willing for God to use us. We must step out in faith and believe that God will take us from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

QUESTION 1. When have you felt unqualified for a task or job?
QUESTION 2. Do you believe that God can use you to do miraculous things, despite how flawed you may think you are?
CHALLENGE: Stop focusing on your inadequacies and instead take a leap of faith, because then God will use you to do amazingly beautiful things.




Matthew 17:20 “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’”

If someone were to ask you about your faith in Christ, how would you respond? Have you ever seen miraculous things happen because you were faithful to God’s call? God wants to do great things through your life. The Bible says that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). No matter where you are in your faith right now, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, God can move mountains through you! The fact is, the more you act in faith the more your faith will grow. And the more your faith grows, the more you will see the impossible become possible.

QUESTION 1. How big or small is your faith right now (scale of 1-10, 1 being tiny, 10 having a great faith)?
QUESTION 2. How is God calling you to act out in your faith today, this week, this month, etc.?
CHALLENGE: When you sense God is calling you to act in faith, we challenge you to take the risk and trust God and his calling for your life , and watch God make the impossible possible!




Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Nick Cocalis has always heard this verse and thought “sure, that’s easy to say” but he didn’t think he ever really understood what it meant to actually BELIEVE in something that you could not see. That is until he was on a plane ride and due to bad weather his plane had to make a landing with next to no visibility at all. Nick could feel the plane getting lower and lower to the landing strip…still nothing but clouds out the window. By this time the passenger sitting next to him was noticing the density of clouds and was looking across my lap out the window as well. Just as Nick felt that the plane couldn’t get any lower, an instant before we landed, he made eye contact with the passenger next to him. He was calm as he smirked and said “it’ll be there, always is.” And he was right! Nick didn’t have a doubt in his mind that they weren’t going to land on solid ground. It didn’t surprise him one bit a second later when their wheels touched down on the runway and the plane started braking to a halt. Even though Nick couldn’t see the runway, even though it seemed like it was never going to show up, even though it seemed like there wasn’t enough time for it to show up, he knew it was there.

QUESTION 1. Do you ever struggle with seeing how God is going to work through a particular situation in your life?
QUESTION 2. Are there any situations going on in your life right now that you need to place your faith in Jesus for?
CHALLENGE: Just as the ground was there when the plane landed…Jesus Christ will be there, guaranteed. We challenge you to create an “airplane faith” in your life. One where you may be certain of what you do not see.




Have you ever been rock climbing before? Bad idea if you don’t have the right equipment. I remember climbing with my girlfriend (now wife) back in college. It was beautiful and picturesque. I remember wanting to show off for her but it didn’t go quite how I expected it to go. As we were free climbing a 65 foot rock face my girlfriend got up to the top just fine, but I must have taken a different path up because I ran out of any area to plant my feet. I made it almost to the very top and got stuck with nowhere to go. That’s when I heard a voice say grab my hand. I didn’t want to grab her hand because I thought my weight would pull her down as well, but time was running out and I had to make a choice. Finally, at the last second, I through up my hand in desperation for my girlfriend to save me. And you know what, she did! It was amazing!

Just like I had to have faith in my girlfriend to save my life that day, so Christ is begging you to have faith and grab onto his hand. He wants to save your life and all you have to do is reach out your hand to him, and he will pull you up.

QUESTION 1. When was a time that you had to place your faith in something other than yourself to help you through a trial or scary situation?
QUESTION 2. Are you willing to place your faith in Christ regardless of the situation and let him pull you up to safety?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to have faith and know that God is big enough to get you through any situation, regardless of your circumstances.




Deuteronomy 31:8

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

I remember the nerves and fear that came over me as we drove up to my college campus on move in day. I was walking into an environment where I did not know anyone and I was soon going to be left alone to make lasting memories and build lifelong friendships. The pressure was on. My parents had always warned me not to talk to strangers, but now they were going to leave me to live with a building full of them?! Of course, I was excited, but there were moments when terror far outweighed excitement. I was crippled by fear.

Looking back on that experience, I have no idea why I was so afraid. Had I known all that was going to take place, all the experiences I would have, all the laughter and joy that would take place on that campus, I would not have been so afraid. However, our fear of the unknown shows us the limitations of our own human minds. There is only so much that we can know.

God’s power exists outside of our own limitations. We may only be able to see what is right in front of us, but God sees the bigger picture. We can find our courage in every situation when we place our trust in the truth of His presence. He does not ever want to leave us. He is wise enough to guide you into anything, greater than you could ever imagine, as you walk in His presence. As you conquer fear, you will begin to see the goodness of God unfold in his plans for you. Keep stepping forward; the view from where He is taking you is absolutely remarkable.

QUESTION 1. What are you afraid of in your life right now?
QUESTION 2. What is that fear holding you back from today?
CHALLENGE: Let God lead you down the unknown path of today and trust that he is with you just as he says he is.




John 20:27-29

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had lost a tooth the night before and I was anticipating the gift I would receive the next morning from a tiny little magical creature that was scheduled to arrive once I fell fast asleep. I went to bed with my suspicions, since I was getting older and the doubts I had about how legitimate this phenomenon could really be had been growing. When I woke up, I searched under every pillow on my bed in hopes that I would find a treat. To my disappointment, all I found was my missing tooth.

I went running to my mom, who was getting ready for the day, and told her that I had been forgotten by the tooth fairy. She rushed off to my room, with her purse in hand, to “help me look”. Before I could make it to my room behind her, she exclaimed that she had found what I was looking for…a five-dollar bill! I had never gotten so much for one tooth before, so I was thrilled that the tooth fairy stepped up her game this time around! Later, I realized that was all the “tooth fairy” had in her purse at the time she checked my pillows.

At that stage of my life, my mom tried to allay my suspicions in order to keep the magic alive. In reality, it just gave me more reason to doubt. The story of the tooth fairy could not stand up under my doubt, simply because it wasn’t true to begin with.

Truth doesn’t fear doubt. When Jesus was faced with Thomas’ doubt, he didn’t try to cover anything up or shut Thomas down for his questioning. Jesus simply invited Thomas to discover the truth by examining the facts. His doubt couldn’t stand up under the truth. When you find yourself doubting, press into your questions. God is not intimidated by doubts because His truth is strong enough to handle them. He invites us to examine the facts until we find the truth.

QUESTION 1. What big questions have you been wrestling with?
QUESTION 2. What have you been told about doubt? Does that line up with how Jesus responded to Thomas when he was doubting?
CHALLENGE: Give yourself grace to ask tough questions. Seek wise counsel and God’s Word to find the answers – then take God at his Word.




There’s a famous sermon that Jesus gives called the Sermon on the Mount. You can read it in the Book of Matthew. At the end He talks about worry. He says, look, I provide food for the birds. I clothe the fields with wildflowers. Don’t you think that I’ll provide for you, my most beloved creation? He tells us not to worry about anything. He promises that as long as we seek God and his kingdom, then he will take care of everything else.

That’s been the common theme in my life, to run fast forward after Christ. Not worrying about the details, but surrendering everything over to God. And I have not once regretted it. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be added to you.

QUESTION 1. Think of a time that you have taken a giant leap of faith, and just trusted God to provide for your needs. What was your experience like? How did God provide for you?
CHALLENGE: Jesus tells us to hand our worries over to him. He wants to take them from us. He wants us to trust him for our needs. As Jesus proclaims, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and everything else will be added to you.




After graduating college, Ross Kaellner made a huge decision to live in Australia for a year to help students – launching a Christian organization at an Australian University. What he didn’t realize was that he needed to raise $40,000 dollars for start up costs and living expenses over those 12 months.

Leaving his fears aside, Ross placed his faith in God to raise the necessary funds. And God honored that request. Generosity flowed. People rallied around him, with prayers, encouragement, and lots of dough.

Obviously, God isn’t going to swing open the doors of Xbox games into your lap if you ask. He’s not in the business of serving the self-centered. BUT, if we humble ourselves, and ask God for BIG things, that honor HIM – he often says yes.

QUESTION 1. What does God want to say yes to you for today?
QUESTION 2. If God called you right now to raise $40,000.00 to do missions for a year would you trust him to supply the money, or would you throw in the towel like Ross almost did?
CHALLENGE: What do you have a hard time placing your faith in God for? Keep your eyes and ears open to what God is calling you to do, and be amazed at how God will bless it.




Mark 8:29

And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”

 I grew up in the church and if someone would’ve asked me, “Who is Jesus to you,” I probably would’ve replied with the most Sunday School answer ever. I understood Jesus only by what the church or my parents told me he was. There was no real relationship and I was hard-pressed to even consider Him real. To me He was just a historical figure.

This continued until I actively started pursuing Jesus on my own away from what the church told me and what my parents told me. Don’t get me wrong, everything they taught me was good; it just wasn’t a relationship until I made my faith my own. It was only then that He became my Savior, my comfort, and my love.

Who do you say Jesus is? Is He what your parents say He is? Or your church? Or, if your parents aren’t believers, is your view of Him marred by what they think of Jesus. Answer this honestly, and don’t give a Sunday School answer. Do you have a real relationship with the One who loves you enough to die for you? Are you willing to follow Him, give everything up and trust Him? Grow your faith and relationship by pursuing Jesus. Talk with Him, worship Him, read books about Him, read His book. I promise that the more you pursue Jesus the more real he’ll become.

QUESTION 1. Who is Jesus to you?
QUESTION 2. Do you actively pursue a relationship or just coast on going to church and your parents’ relationship?
CHALLENGE: Give yourself completely to Jesus and pursue a relationship with him. Ask yourself if He has your entire life or you’re just doing the cool Christian thing and saying you follow Him.
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