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One Step of Faith

One Step of Faith

If you’re going to make a plan to go somewhere, it kind of helps to know where you’re going, I mean, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know the way there?

One of the reasons we make plans is to increase the amount of certainty in our lives. But how do you make a plan when there’s so much uncertainty? How do you plan for the kind of marriage you’ll have one day if you don’t even know who you’re going to marry? How do you plan for retirement if you don’t know how old you’ll be, how the stock market is going to do, or where you’ll live when you retire? How do you plan for your future jobs when you aren’t sure which job you’ll have this time next year?

You can position yourself for the future, even when everything about that future is so uncertain.

This is what I want to talk about today, in a message I’m calling, One Step of Faith.

Because we can see the end result of something with quite a bit of certainty, we forget that it didn’t begin that way. It began by one person or a group of people taking one step of faith, without knowing where that initial step would ultimately lead to.

I didn’t know that 13 people in a living room in 2010 would lead to all that Epic Church has become today.

I didn’t know that working at a camp for students in 1999 with a girl named Shauna would lead to nearly 22 years of marriage and the four children we now have.

And when we started the HOME initiative in 2019 – praying, giving, and searching for our church’s future home – none of us knew we would be receiving 414 Brannan in 2022.

How do you take that first step, when you aren’t sure of all that’s ahead?

Maybe you know some things about Abraham from the Bible, or maybe you don’t. God made a covenant with Abraham, which is like an agreement – but deeper. The commitment God made to Abraham was that God would make him into a great nation and that his offspring would inherit the land. The only problem is that Abraham was already 75 years old and had no children. When Abraham was 100 years old, he became the father of Isaac. If you know a lot about Abraham, it’s easy to forget where this all started for him. If you don’t know much about Abraham, it’s important to learn where his journey began.

Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Place matters.

Every place on earth matters. And the place God has called us to is San Francisco. And while every place matters, some places have more unique opportunities for influence. Tim Keller said it this way:

“Cities have more of the image of God per square inch than any other place on earth.” -Tim Keller

I don’t even know all of the reasons, but I do know this: God has not only called Epic Church to the Bay Area or just to San Francisco – but specifically to the SoMa neighborhood. From day one, this has been our target area. Here’s a map, that includes all of Epic’s past, present, and future locations.

Two times in these three verses we see the phrase “by faith”. And “by faith” is mentioned at least 20 times in this chapter. If we’re honest, it’s easier to talk about faith than to live by faith. If we aren’t careful, we’ll set our lives up so we don’t actually have to live by faith. 

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

What is God asking you to trust Him for that you can’t see yet?

We want to have all we need before we move forward. God usually asks us to take a step of faith before the provision comes.

We said “yes” to starting this church before we had raised the first dollar. 

Shauna and I said “yes” to San Francisco before we knew where the kids would go to school.

Our church said “yes” to a future home before we knew any specifics about that future home.

We read in verse 8 that Abraham had to take a step of faith for something he would later receive. I’m sure this will shock you, but I’m probably the most impatient person in the room. I know I’m not alone; we all need to become more patient. God doesn’t tend to be in the same-day delivery mindset that most of us live with. 

You have to step out now for what will be received later. The HOME Initiative was this for our church. We stepped out three years ago for something we’re just now about to receive. Now it’s our turn to step out again for something that will be received by countless people in the future.

It says that Abraham obeyed…not when he had certainty, but when he was called.

We must obey God when He calls us, not after we figure out all of the details.

He made his home in the promised land, like a stranger in a foreign country…because he was looking forward to the eternal city. It’s so important for us to have a permanent home for everyone who comes to Epic, even if they’re only here for 6 months or 2 years or 5 years. Owning our space is going to allow us to continue to be a stable presence in a very transient city.

Ultimately, our citizenship is in heaven. We will dwell with God forever. But for now, He has called us here. And we can live here in a way that can help others step into an eternal life with God.

Here’s the best news for what God calls us into:

God is the architect and the builder. 

I’m fascinated by all we’re learning from our architect team. They know what we don’t know yet. They can see what we can’t see yet. God is a Master Designer. He knows what we don’t know yet. He sees what we don’t see yet. And He’s the builder. 

Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

One of the most amazing things to me is that God invites us to join Him in what He is building. And we have a historic opportunity to do that. Watch this:

When we launched the HOME initiative, I wanted to know more than what I knew. I thought, if I could just know the details, then it would be easier to cast vision. If I could tell you what address, a specific timeline, the renderings of the building, and all the other details – then I could cast adequate vision for this step of faith.

But now, I’m so glad that we didn’t know all the details. It built our faith and our prayer life. We had to trust God rather than the specifics of the plan. And if we had known that a global pandemic was coming in March 2020, would we have launched the HOME initiative in November 2019? 

And if we hadn’t launched the HOME initiative in November 2019, guess what miraculous provision we wouldn’t be stepping into right now?

And here we are again – with a historic opportunity to take a huge step of faith. Imagine what we will receive on the other side of this step of faith. More than that, imagine what thousands of other people will receive on the other side of this step of faith. Will you join us and bring your gift and commitment by or on October 2?

And the faith steps we’ve talked about today? They apply to any and every area of your life where God is asking you to step out. What step of faith are you being called to take? You don’t know all of the details you wish you knew. You don’t have all of the provision you’re going to need. But God has said, “Go.”

Pray for this step for your life.

Pray for your step and all of our steps for HOME 2.0.

Let’s remember that we aren’t trying to center ourselves around a building. We’re seeking to orient our entire lives around Jesus. But don’t forget what He did. Jesus took a huge step of faith so that he could make a home for us.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

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