How to Faith-Week 4 // Jesus’ One Promise // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Hebrews 11:32-40,  2 Peter 1:2-8

Dear Church,

This Sunday we conclude our worship series ‘How to Faith’ by turning to the final portion of the roll call of faith found in Hebrews 11.  The preacher brings his sermon to a crescendo by calling out all the stories of faith he doesn’t have time to tell

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again.

Who wouldn’t want faith like that? A life full of conquering, vanquishing evil, flame-quenching, lion-taming, narrow escape, powerful victory, and resurrection?  Who doesn’t want to sign on for that kind of life, no matter what the cost?

But the preacher goes on…

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

Now these are not such attractive stories.  What’s the point of a life of faith if it leads to torture, powerlessness, shame, persecution, homelessness, and violent death?  What could possibly be worth risking outcomes like that?

The preacher tells us ‘these were all commended for their faith.’ 

People who faith have lives full of victory, and people who faith have lives full of pain and defeat.  From the preacher’s view, all of the lives on his list are faith-filled lives.

And the preacher goes on to say that all of these faithful ones, named and unnamed, the ones who achieved victories and the ones who suffered defeats, all of them were merely waiting for the promise that we have received: Jesus. 

And Jesus offers us one thing, and one thing only.

I hope you’ll join me for worship.  I’ll tell you the one thing Jesus promises us.  Then you can decide if it’s worth risking everything to receive it.


Pastor Kate

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How to Faith-Week 3 // Unmarketable Truth // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Hebrews 11:17-31

Dear Church,

This Sunday we turn again to the famous ‘roll call’ of faith in Hebrews chapter 11 as we continue to explore ‘How to Faith.’  According to Jesus, faith in him as Lord and Savior leads us to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow him–we’re calling this the L9:23 principle (because you can find this teaching in Luke chapter 9, verse 23, get it?)

But what does that look like?  Well, the preacher in Hebrews helps us imagine our future by looking back to the lives of our spiritual ancestors.  This week, he asks us to consider the time Abraham agreed to sacrifice his only son Issac, Moses’ parents put him in a basket and launched him out onto the Nile River in a desperate attempt to save his life and Rahab preserved the lives of enemy spies by sheltering them in her home.

Here’s the truth the preacher refuses to hide from us:

     Faith in Jesus requires real risk taking.

     At times, trusting God is terrifying.

     The gospel is clear about this,

     We must know, expect and embrace this risk if we truly desire to follow Jesus.

This is a sober and unsettling truth–come and see why it is, indeed, the narrow path that leads to wholeness and salvation.


Pastor Kate

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How to Faith-Week 2 // Faith in Action // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Hebrews 11:1-16  (Faith in Action)

Dear Church,

Faith is a verb. 

Faith is not what we believe or know, it’s not how much we love or are loved by God, though it grows out of those things.  Faith is the choices we make, the actions we take on the basis of how we know and love God.  As Biblical scholar T.C. Smith puts it, “Faith is the way by which invisible realities become real for people…faith is the complete reliance on God by trusting in his purpose, power, wisdom and mercy.  It is the movement of finite life toward the infinite promise of God.  There is a depth to faith which we in our conventional piety have failed to comprehend.”

In other words, as the preacher says in Hebrews, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It’s not simply how we feel or what we know. It’s believing Jesus when he says the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you and then beginning to act accordingly.

We’ve been told that the evidence of faith is well-behaved, widely admired people living exceptionally desirable lives.

That’s a lie.

(Sells a lot of books and conference tickets though…)

In Hebrews famous roll-call of faith, we find a list of folks with outrageous faith expressed in strange choices that led to shortened lives, persecution, wild adventures, suffering, frustration and… the approval of God.  If we believe God is the source of all goodness and true wisdom, if we love God more than all else, shouldn’t that last one be more than enough?

God is calling us out of one life and into another–a new life that is holy and wholly new.  Faith is answering that call, one foolish step at a time.  I hope you’ll join me for worship this week. A life of faith is a wild, beautiful, weird ride and, like any good road trip, it’s a journey best made with your friends.


Pastor Kate

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How to Faith-Week 1 // Faith is a Verb // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture: Luke 9:18-27

Dear Church,

Perhaps you are also going through a season where the world seems extra heavy.  Perhaps, like me, someone has tried to lift you up by encouraging you to ‘have faith.’

But what if we’ve been thinking about faith all wrong?  What if faith isn’t a noun? What if faith isn’t something we have, isn’t a thing we carry around in our hearts, or think in our brains, or feel in our feelings?

What if faith is a verb? What if faith is the choices we make, the course of actions we commit to, a way of life we repeat over and over again?  What if faith is not what we have, but what we do?

That’s how Jesus seemed to think about it.  When Peter boldly declared that Jesus was the Messiah, the son of God, Jesus’ response wasn’t, ‘Welp, my work here is finished.  Good job, everybody! Time to wrap it up!’  

He said (and this is, admittedly, a loose translation), ‘Great, now you need to know that I’m going to head to Jerusalem and defeat evil, sin and death on the cross.  If you want to follow me, you’ll need to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me.’

In Jesus’ opinion, a declaration of faith isn’t the culmination of our life with him, but the very beginning of it.  Once we know who Jesus is, then we get to decide if we’re going to follow him.  The call isn’t to have faith, it’s to do faith, to walk it out, to live it out, to follow the one we believe is our Lord and savior.

That’s why the new worship series we’re launching this week isn’t called ‘how to have faith’ but ‘how to faith.’  The Spirit is inviting us into a freer, fuller life with Jesus, one that isn’t limited by our feelings or our thinking.  It’s a life of grace–a way of living Jesus both calls us to and completes in us.  

I hope you’ll join us as we learn together how to faith Jesus.

Pastor Kate

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