January 29, 2007, Enterprise Dispatch
Pastor's Column

A faith that works in real life

Pastor Steve Olson, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Dassel

In his book, “Real Faith for Real Life,” Michael Foss sets out six practices for discovering a faith that works in real life. This book addresses an inner hunger we all have, a need for God.

To be human is to be spiritual. Yet many of us feel that we have few, if any, resources to meet the deep spiritual needs in our lives.

We may go to church and attend the programs, but our sense of a personal relationship with God is not what we would like it to be. We may want to live a faith that works in real life, but we don’t know where to begin.

Foss offers six strategies.

First, make time for prayer. If we don’t spend quality time talking to God, how can we expect a close relationship with Him?

Second, make time for weekly worship. Not only is this something we promised to do when we became members of our churches, but it was also our Lord’s custom and God’s command. Again, it is a matter of spending quality time.

Third, read God’s word. That is essential in a world where so many quote and misquote scriptures. We need to read it ourselves to know what is the truth and what God wants to say to us.

Fourth, serve in your congregation and beyond. St. James said faith without works is dead, and Jesus noted a person’s faith will manifest itself in our deeds. (“By their fruit, you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:16)

Fifth, nurture relationships. Faith is not a private affair. It touches every part of who we are including life with our family and friends. As Christians, our calling is to nurture relationships and the faith lives of those we love.

Sixth, be generous. We have a basic choice in life. We will either be the slaves of our wealth and possessions, or we will be their master.

One of the best ways to master that which we own is by being generous. This includes both gifts to others and support for ministries we deem important.

A basic guide for giving is moving toward giving a set portion of our income. Many set the tithe (10 percent) as a goal to work towards. Some are there, and go beyond, to even greater giving.

Taken together, these six practices will help you discover a faith that works in real life.

Does it take time? Yes. Does it take commitment? Obviously! Is it worth it? Without a doubt!

So, start today. If there is one of these practices you need to beef up, carve out the time and the means to do it now. Stop settling for going through the motions.

Discover a faith that works in real life.

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