What Rory Gilmore Can Teach About Faith

Tonight’s scripture is from the book of Hebrews 11:1–3 (CEB):

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith. 
By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible.

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.

Hebrews 11:1–3 (CEB)

Tonight we’re talking about faith. The notion of faith is central to our relationship with Christ. We need to live in the realty of the hope in God’s promise despite seeing consistent proof. Yet, it seems in todays fact-driven, instant gratification society its becoming harder and harder to come live into a life of faith.

More often than not, we don’t believe in things unseen. We’ve been trained to want to see and know the answer to the unknown instantly. And our technology makes it super easy.

I was a big fan of the Gilmore Girls when it was on TV and about a year ago Carla and I re-watched the whole series thanks to Netflix. It was recently announced that they are bringing the show back for another season and they released the trailer a week or so ago. Watch this little clip:

The truth is, we all like knowing things. This happens more often than not in our everyday conversations. Someone says something and we instantly grab for our phone to fact check, to research, to discover. We need to see the answer. We need to uncover the information. We are unable to believe in the things unseen. We want proof and we want it right away.

Yet the author of Hebrews explains that this notion of faith is based in believing things unseen. The scripture continues by giving examples of people who had faith that God would keep his promises despite not seeing the results. The main example is Abraham — Father Abraham had many sons and many sons had Father Abraham… The author of Hebrews explains that, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going.”

Abraham couldn’t pull out an iPhone and look up the directions on the map. He didn’t have the little blue line to tell him when to turn. God said go and Abraham had faith that he would be led to the right place. Everyday Abraham woke up and continued on the path with full faith in God’s promise.

Likewise, picture the Disciples fishing and Jesus walks up to them saying, “follow me.” They didn’t pull out their phone and google the man standing in front of them. They didn’t check the weather conditions to see what to pack for the journey. They dropped their nets and followed Jesus. Would we be able to do the same today?

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.

Hebrews 11:1–3 (CEB)

This summer I was part of four youth mission trips. Mission trips are an amazing experience for all of those involved to learn what it means to live a life of faith connected to service — to really try and carry out Jesus’ words of caring for our neighbors. But they are also a great example of faith being the reality of what we hope for without being able to see the finished result. The project our sixth graders worked on is a great example of this.

For the last three years, our sixth grade mission team has worked on a project in Starke, FL. This is at a small church that has a vision for an alternative school. They have faith that God has been guiding this vision and they live into this unseen promise. Over the last three years we’ve helped to build out the campus of this school by refurbishing donated portables, building walkways, painting, etc. Each summer we are a small part of this big vision. The kids on the trip only see a glimmer of the whole picture. They are serving in faith.

The other 51 weeks of the year, the church keeps faith and following God’s promise. They have faith that someday the buildings will be complete. They have faith that God is walking along side their school, which opened three years ago and has grown despite not having any completed portables.

We’ve been working towards big things here at home too. Years of work has led us to a third floor that has a certificate of occupancy! We’re still working on building out the space, but we are close to being able to move ministry onto the third floor. This has allowed us to listen to the Spirit’s voice and discern that an after school program for kids left in the cracks would be an amazing fit up there. We listened and had faith that God wouldn’t steer us down the wrong path. Like Abraham, we picked up the staff and started walking without a blue line to guide us. We’ve hit some bumps and road blocks, but we’re still walking, still following, still have faith that God is guiding our path with every step that we take.

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.

Hebrews 11:1–3 (CEB)

The truth is that all ministry, but youth ministry in particular, has got to live by our scripture tonight. I see dozens and dozens of different kids throughout the course of a year. I try to plan programing and activities that help them to connect into a life with Christ, but the truth is I often don’t know what takes root and what doesn’t. Sometimes I’ll meet someone once and that’s the only interaction I’ll get. But I have faith in the reality of what I hope for: a life connected to Christ for every kid. I have faith that whether I see that person again or not — whether God gives me the right words to say or not — I have faith that God is at work in their lives everyday and at some point they’ll hear him say, “follow me.”

Last week Emily was talking about how everything in the world is not all about us — we want to be right, we want to see the results, we want an answer instantly. This is why we almost instinctively pull out our phones to look something up in a conversation. But our scripture tonight is telling us that if we focus on God — if we put him first in our lives — then we might not see the results, we might not get the answer. If we have faith in God’s promise, if we believe that what he says is truth, then not seeing the results is ok.

I might not work at the site in Starke again. But I have faith that the church believes in God’s promise and they will fulfill the vision of an alternative school for their community.

I might not see every kid that I interact with drop their nets and follow Jesus. But I have faith that God is at work in their lives and at some point they will respond and live into the promise of a relationship with Christ.

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.

Hebrews 11:1–3 (CEB)

If we truly claim this relationship with Christ then we are trusting in things unseen. And not just when we encounter big things like the school in Starke or our building upstairs, but in the small, everyday moments too. Claiming a relationship with Christ means having faith that he is truly walking along side us every moment of every day regardless of proof, or ability to look it up on our phones.

Like Rory Gilmore said in the clip, I like knowing stuff. And my faith in Christ allows me to know this truth: God does not leave us, he is with us always. He loves us unconditionally and he wants us to live joyful lives that reflect him. Sometimes that’s harder to see than others, but I have faith in that promise and try to live my life in a way to make that promise a reality.

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