Tag Archives: Faith

Being Made Perfect Through Suffering (sermon that was preached)

This is a sermon I preached a bit ago.  I wanted to share it please ignore the improper grammar I did not correct it.  I believe the message speaks to trouble we as a world, but even more pointed as THE CHURCH, are going through today.

“Today I want to speak about suffering I want to speak about grace and our need for both.  The question is how do we act in suffering?  Do we accept grace?  Are we willing to follow Christ no matter what?  If the unreasonable is asked of us are we willing to do this?

Suffering is something everyone goes through.  Some go through more than others but it seems that when we are going through suffering no one else can ever understand.  Lets be honest there is nothing new under the sun.  Sorry teenagers we are not able to understand your angst. We were never teens, we never went through hormonal changes and we were never tempted with things that are sinful.  We never had parents who could not understand. And worst of all Our parents had the gall to tell us that we would have to suffer from our own kids in the same way we made them suffer.  Now that is scary.  Teens think about that before you put your parents through anymore suffering.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

Often times we get so lost in our suffering that we are not able to see others and the suffering they are going through.   We often lose perspective.  We get lost in ourselves to the degree we actually get mad at God or even question God’s existence because we do not believe that the suffering is fair or that if God was good we would not go through this.

Lets be honest sometimes the suffering is not fair.  Bad things happen to us to no fault of our own.  It is true sometimes we do not deserve our suffering.  I know an eight year old who suffered through years of molestation by her father she did not deserve that.  BUT sometimes our suffering is fair.  Sometimes we do deserve our suffering.  Have you ever known that person who makes very unwise choices and gets themselves in all kinds of trouble?  I am sure we all have.  Once they get into trouble they go looking for someone to help them.  Someone usually steps up and helps.  Then they are okay for a bit and get right back into trouble again because they just keep making the same unwise choices.  They are suffering a lot due to their own choices.  On top of that those who are helping them are suffering a lot because of the choices they are making.

If you claim to believe that God is who He said He is then does it matter?  I say this because if He is who He says He is then He knows and has allowed the suffering to take place.  He has a purpose for that suffering.  He is trying to accomplish something and this is the only way it can be accomplished.  He needs something from you or out of you or in you and this is the only way to have it done.

Are you willing to accept unfair suffering?  Are you willing to accept a suffering that is on you because of someone else?  Are you?  Are you willing to accept suffering that you have caused yourself?  Are you willing to accept the suffering you deserve? Are you?  

Often people complain that they are suffering but they caused it themselves and they say it is not fair.  Christ suffered.  He did not deserve it.  He did not earn it.  He did  nothing in any way that would justify His suffering.

Are we not supposed to follow the example of Christ?  Are we not to desire to be like Christ?  Are we not to follow the example that Christ shared with us?  

I Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps

Christ who was without sin still had to suffer to be made perfect.  So why do we think we do not need to be made perfect?

Hebrews 2:10 For it is fitting for Him, for whom all things, and through whom are all things, in

bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

I want to bring this to our minds so we can think through this.  If Jesus , who did not sin, had to suffer to be perfected how much more suffering do we need to go through to be like Christ.  Even though He was without sin He still had to be perfected for the purpose of satisfying the offering.  So think of it this way not all imperfection is sin.  I know we often think that all the imperfections in us are sin but that is not true.  Christ’s example is proof of that.  

To understand the concept of Jesus needing to be made perfect and how not all imperfection has to do with sin lets take a look at the military.  When someone joins the military they are sent to boot camp.  The purpose of boot camp is to re-educate someone on how to think how to obey.  If they goof up is that a sin. NO.  If they do not know how they are supposed to act is that a sin. NO.  They are trained this is the purpose of boot camp.  In this way Jesus had to go through training to be prepared for the cross.  Remember He was human he had to learn proper grammar, math, reading and so on.  He was not born with this information.  Was He sinning when he misspelled a word? Or got a math problem wrong?  NO of course not.  In the same way He was not sinning just because He was born not able to die on the cross it was a process.  This process He went through was tough.  It brought a lot of suffering to Him and He learned endurance.  He learned how to endure suffering by keeping in good relation with the Father.  He learned that the more suffering He had the closer to the Father He had to be.  Was it sin that He did not know this?  NO.  How would a 8 year old know this?  It took Him 33 years to be ready to die on the cross.  That was 33 years of preparation for His main purpose death on the Cross.   He suffered through out.  He was our example.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer while delivering a sermon in 1934 entitled “Our God is a suffering God” says this:

“I realize that the concept of our God being a suffering God is to many abhorrent but to me it is beautiful.  It is through suffering that we are able to be made ready for God for heaven for life and for Kingdom building.  How else do we expect to be free from sin free from bondage free from this world and wholly Christ, wholly heaven bound, wholly whole.  Suffering is the vehicle our God has chosen and He is participated in this in that He sent His only begotten Son to  suffer and die for us because of us because of our sin.  Without the suffering there would be no forgiveness no grace no mercy no joy.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who understood suffering.  He understood what it meant to suffer unjustly.  When he stood up to the Nazis and publicly stated they were evil.  He suffered for that.  He was given the opportunity to leave Germany and escape persecution but chose to stay.  He chose the path of greatest suffering for the purpose of Christ.  In the end he died for his stances but also in the end he gave one of the strongest public examples in the 20th century of suffering for the cross.

There are two types of suffering general suffering and Christian suffering.  General suffering covers all the misery, sickness, pain and death which is part of the human condition.  To some degree we all go through this as did Jesus.   I am sure Jesus had a cold or suffered from allergies or some sort of bodily suffering. General suffering we all partake in is something addressed in:

Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

General suffering gives Christians a great opportunity to help others…. to show the love of Christ without reservation.

It is Christian suffering we must participate in if we are going to follow Christ.  I understand that to some, what I just said is diametrically opposed to what they believe.  They believe that Christians should not suffer and that if we are truly following God all suffering would go away and the only reason we suffer is because of our own sin.  I hope the fact that Jesus had to suffer did not pass you by.  If Jesus had to suffer what sin caused His suffering.  Let me restate this one more time.  We must participate in Christian suffering if we are going to truly follow Christ.  Remember we just read Hebrews and 1 Peter where it clearly states that to follow Christ we will suffer.

Now I know there are folks who hate what I just said but I also know there are folks who know and appreciate what I just said.  Folks who have suffered both of their own accord and from no fault of their own.  They understand suffering.

What is Christian suffering.  This is simple.  Christian suffering is our participation of God’s suffering at the hands of an ungodly world.  The degree we suffer because we identify with God is the degree we participate with Christ in the suffering He had to endure.

Often we ask why is there so much suffering in this world? Fair question.  Oft though we get the pat answer that it is because of sin.  This may be true but it is easy and does not struggle with the very real problem with pain.  This does not struggle with the purpose of suffering.  The answer of “it is because of sin” does not have any struggle in it at all.

We must struggle we must suffer and we must have an answer when someone ask the legitimate question of why is there so much suffering in the world.  I realize that most people will not be satisfied with the answer.  They may not understand your answer.  BUT if your answer comes from the point of being as a result of suffering then it will RING true and they will know that.  Their spirit will testify as to the validity of what you are saying and then a real conversation will be made possible.   Even though often that question is a smoke screen to the real question they have.  The real problem they struggle with and the real reason they do not want to serve God or admit God.  The real question is simple.  Why has there been so much suffering in my life?  They personalize it.   Once someone gets to the point of personalizing their problems then you have made it.  You  now have the opportunity to use that suffering that you have been through to serve someone else.  To help someone else.  To fulfill your Kingdom responsibilities.

People do not want to get to personal.  If they do they will have to address things that they have buried deep.  They will have to face sins they have done and sins that others have done to them.  They will have to come out of the darkness into the full light of day.  Where nothing can hide.  

There are things in life we want to hide from.  We place it up in the proverbial attic way in the back in a box but it is really never gone.  We always know it is there we always are aware that it has some sort of power over us.   That deep in the recesses of who we are there is some evil that has root and is trying to take over.

What do we do?  We hide.  We deny.  We run.  We pretend.  We ??

We need grace.  What is the purpose of grace? unmerited favor to put it simply.    Grace is not easy it is not  a quick prayer one says that will inturn free them from all things that are bothering them.  With grace comes suffering. With grace comes hardship.  This is why so many run from grace.  They run they hide they try their darndest to keep the status quo.   sooner or later it catches up. Grace brings to the forefront all the darkness (thankfully not all at once) and releases you from it.  This is why it is unmerited favor.  You have not earned this but God gives it to you anyways.  The problem comes when you run from it.  When the suffering comes you turn and hide.  You deny.  You pretend.  You do what you have to do so that you can protect yourself how you think you need to be protected. Eventually though it catches up.

Has it ever caught up to you?  Have you been in the deepest darkest night and there it is?  I am sure you understand what I am saying.  That thing that has power over you.  Could it be a lie you spoke?  How about a lie you live?  How about something sexual you have done or something sexual someone else has done to you?  Could it be pride?   Sin brings suffering true even if it is someones elses sin.  You can suffer for someone else’s sin.  

We come back to grace.  Grace is costly and hard.  Easy grace is cheap and has no value.

Dietrich Bonhoefffer states in his book The Cost of Discipleship:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

From <http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/29333.Dietrich_Bonhoeffer>

When we understand that last sentence “Costly grace is the Incarnation of God” then WOW our lives are about to change.  We are not able to learn that and stay the same.  We are not able to understand that statement and stay the same we must make a decision and that will either draw us nearer God or we will have to turn our back on Him.  There is no in between with God.

When we understand that God considers grace to be costly so much so that He gave us His only begotten Son to die upon a cross.  The death of a criminal.  The death that you and I deserve not the death He deserved.  He did not deserve any death.  Death came as a result of sin the Garden.  The reason Jesus could not be held the in the grave is because He had no sin to hold Him in the grave.   Christ suffered for us so that we can have grace to be forgiven to be freed to be whole.

Grace is not cheap because God is not cheap.  The work that Jesus did is not cheap.  The cross is not cheap.  The  nails in His hands are not cheap.  The nails in His feet are not cheap.  The thorns in His brow are not cheap.  The stripes on His back are not cheap.  The blood He shed is not cheap.  The hatred that was heaped upon Him is not cheap.  The anger that was heaped upon Him is not cheap.   No friends grace is not cheap and it is not easy.  It is hard.  Hard as nails.  Hard as thorns.   Hard as whips.  Hard as flesh being torn from His back.  Grace is hard it brings suffering.  We must participate in His sufferings to find perfection.  To be made perfect we must live in grace.  The beauty is when we find grace…… we find Jesus is there with us.  He shows us the way the path the center. We were lost and He opens the way.  We were blind and He gives us site.   Suddenly the storm the hardness the suffering is not so bad.  His burden is light His yoke is easy.

Okay friends suffering is a must otherwise we would not grow.   We would not change.   We would not be able to be more like Christ.  In the end our Goal is to be more like Christ.  

Lets switch modes for a moment.  When someone has surgery there is pain and suffering involved.  We find this normally acceptable, because the point of the surgery is to fix us.  We are to be made well through this surgery even though it is painful and will often cause a lot of suffering afterwards.

My point here is that suffering is not always bad.  God uses suffering to refine us and do surgery to our lives both physically and spiritually.  God sees us for who we are and He understands the mess we really are.  In fact He understands our mess more than we do.

C.S. Lewis put it true when he said , in his book The problem with Pain, this:

“I have been trying to make the reader believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God, as it is, when we really see it, a horror to ourselves. This I believe to be a fact: and I notice that the holier a man is, the more fully he is aware of that fact.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

From <https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2976220-the-problem-of-pain>

Yes our character is a horror to God.  Sin is a horror to God. Our character is racked in sin and needs to be cleansed thoroughly.  Needs to be completely transformed.  We need to be a new creation. The closer one gets to God the more real this is.  The more we understand the necessity to die.  That there is nothing of myself that is good.   Ouch that is hard. Nothing at all.  Nothing.

Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells with in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

Romans 3:10 As it is written “There is none righteous, not even one;

Isaiah 64: 4-9  ….. for all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away……..

Is there any doubt.  We can’t be good enough.  We can’t please God by being good or by doing good or by any means that is within us.

The degree we suffer is directly proportional to the degree we fight God in this process.  There will always be suffering in our lives there will always be pain in our lives.  The more we fight God as He uses this pain and suffering to change us the more pain and suffering we feel.

I say to you today.  One simple thing.  Let go of it.  Let go of having to be right.  Let go of the pain someone else put on you.  Let go of your hidden sin.  Your shame.  Your lies.  So what if others know.  So what if you are embarrassed.  So what.  Truly they have their own shame and guilt to deal with.  They have their own embarrassments to deal with.  You have to stand before God and be judged.  You have to answer for yourself they are not going to pay your penalty for you.  They are not going to hell for you.  Be Honest, Be faithful, Be Honorable.  Let go of it.  Let it all out.  Do not hold back be FREE,

I say to you today what Joshua said to the children of Israel thousands of years ago.

Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God gives this to you today.  Choose make that choice.  No longer sit on the fence but choose you today whom you shall serve.  Do not allow suffering to sway you but grab on with both hands and be excited about what God is doing.

there is an Old Negro spiritual and it makes a simple and pure statement :

Free at Last

Free at Last

Thank my God I am Free at last.

 

Who wants this freedom?”

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Faith of a Child or Apostasy

This is one of those contrast that I tend to find so interesting.  I am not sure if you will but here we go.

I want to start by defining apostasy.  The dictionary defines it as such:

a·pos·ta·sy

 [uhpos-tuh-see]  Show IPA

noun, plural a·pos·ta·sies.

a total desertion of or departure from one’s religionprinciples, party, cause, etc.
In our nation we have many apostates.  Apostates is someone who is in the state of apostasy.  Okay Okay I crossed a line I labeled someone.  The truth is still the truth.  There are many in our nation who have deserted their religion or faith.  They always seem to have a reason.  They can come up with many reasons such as Christianity is a myth just like other myths.  They say if their is a God then why is this world so hurting.  They say that they just can’t live by the standards that Jesus proclaims (what those standards are of mostly misunderstood but that is another post)  so they chose not to.  They say many many things but in the end they have deserted their religion or faith.  That makes them apostates.
This brings many questions the foremost to many is “Can an apostate ever return?”  This is a much debated question.  There are two main arguments that have dealt with this for a long long time.  The first one is Calvinism which simply states that once you make a decision for Christ there is no turning back and you can not become an apostate.  While the other extreme is Arminian where once you have become apostate there is no coming back.  Wesley had a different view that is you chose to become apostate then you can chose to come back under the grace and mercy of Christ.
Here is where I stand on this topic first I think that to be saved we need to make a choice to serve Jesus.
Romans 10:9
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

This is clear that you must confess and believe then Jesus forgives you and saves you.  I think often we are to quick to use sales techniques on getting folks to pray the sinners prayer.  I find that Jesus never did that.  He was hard and not easy.  What he said was so hard that at one point almost all those large crowds that seem to follow Him everywhere left Him and He turned to His disciples and said to them are you also going to leave Me.

        Once that choice is made I believe we are able to un make that choice and turn our backs on Christ.  We can choose to leave Him.  I do not believe that God wants to force folks to serve Him who do not want to serve Him.   Thus the whole reason for Faith and it is not just about believing that God exist (as the Bible says the demons believe and tremble) but it is more about submitting ourselves to His absolute authority.  This is hard pill to swallow.  I have noticed that when someone is first saved it is easy for a bit to follow Jesus and all He wants.  It quickly gets harder though.  Everything starts to go south and life sucks.  So we turn to Jesus and find that we do not get our expectations met.  This is where many people leave and go their own way then becoming apostate.
        If someone makes it through these initial troubles and learn something about living for Jesus and what that actually means and how He has decided to work in someone then the next challenge is often when someone has worked hard doing the correct thing and they expect a reward or recognition from God and they either do not get it or even if they do they find that it falls short.  The reason for this is because in their heart that is what they wanted.  They wanted the recognition or the reward.  God says that is all they will get then.  At this point many people get discouraged and become depressed.  This is hard battle for Christians.   The basic reason is because they believe that Christians should not have these struggles.  This of course is not true.  Read the Bible many great men and women of God struggled with emotions the ups and downs and everything in between.  If they allow this disappointment to continue in time they get discouraged and quit being part of a body of believers and grow cold.  There is often a point after this that they reject Christianity because it did not meet their expectations.  In doing this they also become apostate.
        There are many such instances where someone can do this the questions is there redemption is there a chance to return or a chance to repent or a chance to come back.  YES.
        Now that being said I also think that there comes a point where there is no return.  On both sides.  I mean I think there is a point where someone has made such choices where they will never want to come to Christ and a point where one has such a true relationship with Christ where they will never even think of going back (not perfect but true).   This is a topic for a different discussion. I just wanted to set the stage now I am going to discuss the next part the part about child like faith.  Then I will tie it all together.
        Mark 10:13-16

13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. 

There are many other passages that go along the same lines as this passage.  The basic concept here is believing as children believe.
Let me state an example so that it will be clearer.  When you were a child and your mom said “Do not touch the stove it is hot and you will burn your hand” as a child you believed her.  Even if you still had a desire to do it you still believed.  You did not question is it hot or is she lying to me you simply believed.  Lets take it even deeper now.  When you were a young child and you mother said “I love you.” you believed her.  This was not a philosophical debate in you whether your mom loved you or not.  (I realize that as folks get older they may go through this debate).  The simplicity and innocent core of a child means they trust and they believe with out having to understand without having to have everything explained to them or without having a flow chart on the wall explaining the properties of physics as to why the stove is gets hot and how the heat burns your hand as well as what the next step should be or will be depending on how long you left it on.  All the child needs to know and expects to know is do not touch the stove or my mom loves me.
As we get older we start to add all sort of things and barriers to believing anything told us.  We start to question everything and even, in many cases, throw out all traditional ways for completely new ways.  We oft think that new ways are better simply because they are new.  We have lost the simplicity of children.
Ask any 6 year old and they will tell that most things in life really are black or white, right or wrong, good or bad.  They are blunt about it and they understand.  Far to many adults have lost the ability to take things at face value and believe.
We call this maturing and adult.  We call this good.  God does not in fact He so does not that He says if you can not come to Him as a child does (just believing) then you have no part in Him.  This is tough to swallow for most.  They believe their reasoning abilities should be taken into consideration.  As if they have something to add to the situation.  As humans we want to be more important then we are.  Maybe a better way to say this is we want to do things that are above us like a child does.  Children always want to do things they are not old enough to do and by the time they get old enough to do them they no longer want to they want something else they are not old enough to do.
God says our value comes not from what we do but from Him and Him alone.  That is also a hard pill to swallow.  How are we to set aside our own ideas and our own way of being?  Job answers this well.  After Job’s friends come around and condemn him over and over again based on their knowledge or their wisdom God steps in.  He shows them that they are only mere children to Him.  He challenged them in their understand and no one could stand before Him even Job could not who God found blameless.  The reason is this earth is only a stage to prepare us for the real life that comes once we leave this earth.  The problem is many do not understand this and their life is one that they want and not God.  I think of our time here on earth like a child in the womb of his/her mother.  The child may very well think they are masters of their realm.  They have no idea in anyway what is about to happen.  They could not know.  They have no way of seeing the outside until the outside sees them.  The only clues they could have would be the sounds they hear but they have  no reference so they are not able to tie the sound to anything.  In the same way the earth is our womb and Heaven is real life.  If God had not revealed Himself to us then we would have no way of knowing who He was.  We could not have known that the earth is created or that people have some place to go after our time of growth in the womb.  Even though there are things in creation that scream out Creator with out having the knowledge revealed to us that there was a Creator they would only be like white noise to us.  They would have no meaning.  We are only able to understand them because of revealed knowledge that God gave humanity.   Here comes the problem with this.  Many folks once they are out of the womb they are born into either heaven or hell.  So many like heave but many of those same folks dismiss hell as figurative.  The Bible is clear that both are real.  Our time in this womb of earth prepares us for one or the other.  If we want heaven then we need to believe Jesus like a child does.  Then we can truly start to mature and learn what is real.  Remember the Bible states that this earth is only a shadow of what is to come.  What we see here reflects similarities to what we will see in heaven but is in no real way the same out side of the reflection as in a mirror.
Our own intellect will never prevail our own wisdom will never prevail our pragmatism will never prevail we will never prevail.  The essence of coming to Jesus as a child is just that.  We are still in the womb and anything that is truly enduring and real can only be done when Jesus does it with us.  That is like a child being helped by his Parent to fix a car that the child could not even attempt if he was to do it by himself.
Now I want to tie this all together.  A bit weird putting these two subjects together but I strongly believe they are antithesis to each other.
Most apostates would consider themselves mature and adult while most Christians would consider themselves like little children.  I think the reason apostates become apostate is because they look to God using their own expectations their own reasonings or their own wisdom.  They think they know enough and can reason well enough to figure out God and when they can’t they figure there could be no God and this must be emotional, myth or some sort.  They can not imagine they may be actually wrong.  Think of Job’s friends they could not be wrong, as they sat their accusing Job over and over again.  The sad thing is even Job figured they had to be correct but he knew they were not so he was faced with a dichotomy and was not sure how to solve this problem.  Most apostates are stuck in this same dichotomy but they have decided and they decided that God is not their or if He is He can’t be how the Bible states it He must be aloof and uncaring.  I will not start this argument in this post. I want to stay on how these tie together but I will most definitely do this discussion some time.
I want folks to really think (especially  if you are apostate) why we have such a hard to believing like children do.  This will go a long ways to coming back to God from where ever you are.
I am dangerously close to the magic 2500 words our post should not pass.  I will stop then because I do hope to have someone read all this LOL.
God Bless.

Grace (The WOW Factor)

The Pilgrimage of Grace 1536

The Pilgrimage of Grace 1536 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know the question which came first the chicken or the egg well when speaking of Grace and Faith we must ask which came first?  The truth is I am not so sure you can have one without the other.   The fact is we are saved by Grace but with out Faith there can be no Grace.  This provides for great discussion please lets focus on what is Grace (provide Scripture) and how it relates to Faith.

This concept of Grace is so powerful that as I think on it I go into a deep contemplative state.  I can not help to be amazed by the Grace that God has shown me so please meditate on the concept and the state of Grace.  Then write about it thanks.

Faith…. What is Faith?

Trial of Abraham's Faith (engraving by Gustave...

Trial of Abraham’s Faith (engraving by Gustave Doré from the 1865 La Sainte Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want our first discussion to be about Faith.  I find Faith to be a key agent in the beginning of ones walk with Christ.  Remember we are saved by grace through faith.   So here are the questions to be asked and discussed:

Define Faith. (obviously use Hebrews 11:1)  I really want people to expand on their definition.  Try to define it with out using words that are Christianeze.  From the perspective of someone who knows nothing about Christianity and is wanting to learn.

Why is Faith a key base concept in Christianity?

In what way does Faith affect our daily choices?

Please as you talk use Scripture from both the New and Old Testaments and expand on your ideas so that those of us reading them will understand and feel free to get deep into the concept.  The more material there is to work with the better the finished product will be.