Playing it Safe… Or Living by Faith (Sermon Recap)

Jesus rocks. How do I know? Because He showed up (again) when I preached at Pioneer Methodist in Rock Valley, IA and Seeds of Faith in Lester, IA on October 28th… 

Wanna see what He had to say about playing it safe or living by faith? Check out my scribbly notes below… And stay tuned for the video/audio version coming soon!! 

Much love, 

PS: Thanks so much for the prayers… they worked 🙂 


When I was in the 2nd Grade, my mom and I decided I needed to “Get involved.” So I joined the coed baseball team. Note: I was not athletic. In the first game—got thumb hit- I wanted to quit—play it safe and sit it out on the bench. Later that season, got hit again by same pitcher! (This time: Right on the kiester.) For the rest of youth, avoided sports because I was afraid and never knew how it was going to turn out—I was determined to play it safe

While this technique might work for some areas of life, it doesn’t work when we are following Christ. With Jesus we can’t just sit back, hiding on the bench and play it safe. When we do, we risk missing out on the fun and challenge of the journey, as well as an opportunity to grow. Instead of playing it safe, we are all called to live by faith.

Think to yourself…

  • Where do you find yourself today—playing it safe or living by faith?
  • Is God calling you to radically live by faith but you are hesitating? What is stopping you? How can you use TODAY as fresh starting point?

Living by faith can be a little intimidating if we don’t have our hearts right with God—fortunately, there are three steps that we can do in order to live by faith: Depend on Him, Discover His Power and Display His Glory.

1.    Depend on Him

  • Hebrews 11:1
    • “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV)
    • “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” (MSG)
    • Bottom line/Starting point: We must know with full confidence that God knows what He is doing. TRUST HIM!
  • Hebrews 11 is “Faith Hall of Fame.”
    • Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham
    • Abraham—left everything and went out, not knowing where he was going
      • What happened? God was faithful! Because Abraham trusted God, the Father made his descendants a “numerous as stars in the sky.”
    • Where would we be if Abraham didn’t depend on God and decided to play it safe?
  • Share: No More Cornflakes
    • Scott Hafemann described faith as the “Dependence of trust in God in the present, because of his acts in the past, that leads inevitably to banking our hope on his promises for the future.” 
    • Do we depend on God enough to ask for faith like Abraham?

2.    Discover His Power

  • Living by faith is not a call to be reckless
  • As we depend on Him, He works through us and we discover His power—
    • We have to listen to see in what ways He is calling us to live by faith
      • We can’t come up with our own plans and ask Him to bless it—that is when we find ourselves in a mess—off the path, discouraged, flat on our face
  • What keeps us from discovering His power? (Fear, inadequacy) “God doesn’t need our ability—just our availability
    • Emmanuel, God with us!
    • Electricity analogy—appliances are no good without electricity and power
  • Think about the times in your life that God has SHOWED up… Those moments when you were almost shocked about His glory and power
    • Healing miracle; Witnessing to someone; Marriage; Taking a God risk and it paid off
  • Look what Paul said to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 in the MSG about living by faith and how we can discover His power…
    • “I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.”

Once we have plugged our dependence into Him, we discover His power—then the light begins to shine and we display His glory.

 3.    Display His Glory

  • We don’t need a complete game plan if we have Him by our side—we can step out and live by faith
    • 2 Corinthians 5:7—“We live by faith, not by sight.”
      • Henry Blackaby said in His book “Experiencing God” that “Faith is confidence that what God promised us will come to pass. Sight is the opposite of faith.”
      • When we insist on living by sight, saying we have to see it to believe it, we are essentially playing it safe and stifling God’s light and glory with our control
  • He isn’t asking for us to create massive faith within us. All we have to have is faith the size of a mustard seed—and as He works through us, it grows bigger and bigger!
  • Ultimate result: when we live by faith, things happen that can only happen because of God. His glory is displayed through us and people come to know Him because of it!

 The fact is simple: When we get off the bench, it is the first step to living by faith. We depend on Him, discover His power and display His glory. When we live by faith, God only knows what can happen!!

Don’t mistake what I’m saying—we don’t HAVE to do anything. If you have already taken that first step of living by faith by accepting Christ into your heart, you already have a ticket to heaven. If you haven’t Pastor Todd or myself would love to talk with you about it—and perhaps God is calling you to that today. When we take our love of Christ deeper and live by faith, we can experience the abundant life He has planned for us.  He believes in us, chooses us for His purposes. Living by faith is not a burden, it is an experience!!  The question is: will you let Him accomplish what He has planned for you?

How are you living today? Are you trying to play it safe or are you living by faith? In what ways can you take those extra steps of faith so that you can live out the full and abundant life that God has called you to? What is God asking you to do with your life?

What will it take for God to say well done my good and faithful servant and induct you in the Faith Hall of Fame?  (GIVE EXAMPLES: Witness to someone, give generously, get involved in a ministry, act out of obedience, or take that step and accept Christ) 

Remember: A faithful servant is one who does what the Master says, no matter what the outcome. Isaiah 7:9 says If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

We have a choice—we can be like that second grader who wanted to sit on the bench and sit it out… or we can be like Christ, who lived by faith in the Father and risked it all for you… me… us.

Can you imagine where we would be if Christ has made the choice to play it safe? If He hadn’t lived by faith and embraced the will of God to die on that cross?  We would always be on the losing team. Instead, we have the opportunity to get out there, play the game, live by faith—and experience victory like never before!

There’s even more awesome news…  When we live by faith, we are walking with Him, by His side, in His arms. In that moment, of depending on Him, discovering His power and displaying His glory, we are protected. Secure. When we live by faith in Jesus Christ, there is no safer place we could be!

Categories: preaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Playing it Safe… Or Living by Faith (Sermon Recap)

  1. Kim

    Thank you, thank you for sharing! I had to be gone when you spoke at Seeds and was so disappointed. And playing it safe for me…well, I have been given a path where God is working mightily. Not in huge trumpet blowing moments, but in small whispers that encourage me to keep moving on this journey He has me on. Living by faith and allowing Him to lead…praying for those who God has planted in my path…asking Him to use me…oh, the adventures when you have God as your traveling companion!! Thanking Him for you today!!!

    • What a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness, Kim! Thank you so much for sharing that here. (And no worries about missing this sermon– it will be online here at 7 Days Time… Eventually 🙂 )

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