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Miracles In The Mud

Faith always requires action. While never certain, the path faith will lead us on ends in breakthrough. Pastor Evan Earwicker teaches.


my name is evan by the way hi and as of about 10 minutes ago i'm the new creative arts pastor at Westside church how about that yeah you think it's a joke it's not a joke Here I am it's great and it's time to clean house just kidding want to say hi to anybody watching online as well it's great to have you guys tuning in and I read this quote a while ago and it came to mind today as I've been listening as they've been sharing out the transition and the quote is this when we're through changing were through when we're through changing we're through and you know in any organization in any family or Church especially transitions come change happens and I am just so grateful as I'm sitting in the service today I'm so grateful that of all the ways to see pastors step out of ministry and so many scandals and all this stuff that today we can proudly say that we are sending two of our best from this place in faith in favor and in a season of life where we are we are fully supporting and we have nothing to hide and come on we can celebrate that today and that cool and you know this is this is what faith does for all of us and and I love I love the effect when people's begin to step out into the unknown of faith it's contagious you know that that our faith is contagious that as we are faithful to follow God and step into the unknown that that begins to carry over and spill over into other people's lives and they say man if you can step out maybe I can too and I think that many times we see shake up and challenge and change as the moment that then we need faith to kind of mop up this mess we find ourselves in and what I've found in my own life is that faith actually comes before the mess faith is actually the thing that got us into this mess in the first place where life was just fine thank you very much and then God spoke his word and we began to walk into some things where there was no guarantee and we didn't know what the next step looked like and we got to what pastor beau would call the edge of the wild where the cliff is tall and we're standing the top and God says just take one more step and see what happens and we said I don't know what's gonna happen next that's where faith becomes alive and Hebrews 11:1 we can put up on the screen it says now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see that when you are in a place where the next provision the next paycheck the next what's next is not in your field of vision and yet you're still moving that's faith do this when they do the little like the airline exercise where you just move your feet up and down just you can do it right where you're seated that's the beautiful thing right this is what faith does it moves us if faith in your life is just some spiritual concept that exists somewhere in your mind or you you pull it out on on Sunday morning during worship and that that's my expression of faith come on that's not that's not what faith is faith is that assurance that God is who he said he is he's gonna do what he said he's gonna do and based on that assurance my feet move based on that assurance I am willing to change and to step out of what is comfortable and and for sure and guaranteed into the great wild unknown of the adventure of faith and I will follow God as he speaks his word and this is what sets us apart we're not just some giant self-help group this morning if we were we would be a really successful self-help group this is awesome but we're not what are we we are the church we are we are that great institution set up by Jesus motivated and empowered by the faith that courses through us that motivates us to move when all the signs say you're crazy we step out and we say God whatever you say whatever you say and I'm I remembering my my journey with my wife over the last decade plus we were living in Portland newlyweds in 2006 and both had full-time jobs in a house and we had friends and a church and family was nearby and in 2006 shortly after we got married just felt like the law was was changing our season and moving us into a season of transition and change and so with confidence that God was in the mix and yet no discernible skills we quit our jobs we sold the house and we said God what's next and and in 2007 we moved back here my hometown I had friends from high school and before and so I kind of you know had a community here but for my wife it was starting over from scratch and we I watched as as we moved away from our friends and my in-laws in the Portland area and that was difficult for her to leave my in-laws but but we moved we took the leap of faith and we were self-employed and then the recession hit that was fine you know anybody remember the recession yikes and we lost a house and ended up staying at my folks place for a while and there's there's these moments in that season were like man did we did we get this wrong what do we hear we've been better to stay put and then life kept moving on and got a diagnosis my wife walked through a year and a half fighting cancer that delayed our ability to conceive and so we walked through a season we didn't know if baby was in the cards and and so through it all we we have these moments where we can look and in those dark hours you look and you said did we hear wrong was it a mistake and yet look can I just tell you I'm here right now confident and not just because you know we're in a good spot but I am confident as I have been throughout that what God spoke to us in 2006 was for our good and not for evil it didn't always feel good there was some evil that came along with it come on we walked through cancer as an evil thing come on I'm not saying it's all butterflies and roses but God was with us he moved through those situations faith drove us to this place and I'm confident he was setting us up for the adventure of faith that we're on and I'm so glad that today we have graduated from trouble and we're not gonna face any hardship ever again isn't it great yeah join me we're just gonna have a great life no issues no trouble of course not I know you know we're in a good good spot right now got a beautiful baby boy daughter six families I mean we're in a good spot I know that the good times don't last uninterrupted forever but I also have this confidence that the bad times don't last uninterrupted forever and that if we are faithful to God's Word and faithful to walk out in this adventure of faith it's the best it's the only place I want to be it's the only place I want to be I want to look at the life of Abraham briefly in Genesis chapter 12 there's this guy his name is Abram actually given by his father Abram is his name and the name means exalted father the thing is by age 75 he doesn't have kids his wife is barren and so it's a little bit insulting to be named Abram exalted father and you can't have any kids 75 he's living on his father's compound basically in the city and doing his thing working the family job he's wealthy his family's wealthy things are good things are comfortable no need to change no need to shake it up and then overweight God shows up and he begins to speak to Abram it says this in Genesis chapter 12 the Lord has said to Abram go from your country your people and your father's household to the land I will show you and I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you I will make your name great and you will be a blessing I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you so Abram when is the Lord told him and lot went with him Abram was 75 years old when he set out 75 not the ideal time maybe to start your career I mean you think mid-30s is a little late for these guys to be starting their music career but this is 75 it's a little late 35 it's just kind of late you'll be fine it's cut just kind of late I'm sorry I shouldn't we believe in you guys here's the thing if we're not laughing about it we're crying so we'll just 75 guy comes to a room and says you're gonna be a great nation he's like well I don't have any kids I'm 75 but he sets out he goes he responds to the call of God to go and by the way there's no there's no church there's no scripture there's no community for him to run this by it's just him in God like scripture has not been written there's no such thing as Church this is pre everything and yet he hears the voice of God speak to him and so he goes from one day just mean a 75 year old wealthy landowner hanging out on the family property doing his thing to the next day he decides I'm gonna become a homeless wandering person that hears voices and obeys them how about that thanks God I mean this this is this is what God asks him to become can you imagine the response of his father and the rest of of the company like what you're doing what you you hurt somebody spoke to you in a dream and said you're gonna become a great nation even though you can't have kids like this does not line up Avram it'd be another 25 years before a baby would be born 25 years don't you think that probably in those 25 years there would have been moments when Abram would look at his wife and say I think we might have heard wrong when the desert winds are blowing through that tent and there's no baby come on I think we might have heard wrong and 25 years confession how depressing you're 23 probably felt getting ready for your 98th birthday the promise still isn't here but here we are in this adventure of faith we don't move quite as fast as we used to but we're still moving it says in the New Testament in Romans that abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness his rightness with God came from this dogged confidence that God was gonna do what he said he was gonna do how dogged is your confidence in what God says how tough is your grit when it comes to following after the the directives that God gives how assured are you of what you can't see faith moves us and and we say this all the time and I totally agree with it that Jesus comes to meet us where we're at in church you know if you if you came out of out of you know a background of no church and and and you're dealing with stuff or you're addicted or you you have some issues that you're working through your marriage is on the rocks listen it is the coolest thing that today we can say there are no prerequisites to an encounter with God like the doors are open come in right where you're at you're if you're not sober in the room today meant Jesus has the ability to come and engage with you right where you're at there are no prerequisites to an encounter with Jesus today isn't that cool but don't make any mistakes Jesus intention is not to leave you in the spot that you came through those doors in listen I'm not the same guy that I was when I started attending this church as a high schooler in 2002 and for your sake you should be really glad about that my parents are like yeah you laugh a little bit you you weren't there it's a good thing that Jesus doesn't leave us where he found us so we are welcome to engage with him at any level but as soon as we engage we get this word hey go to some Jesus would say go and sin no more to Abram he said go leave your father's house and all you've ever known and step out into the edge of the while to the wild adventure of faith but there always comes a go word after an encounter I don't wanna look at one more out of the book of John John chapter 9 verse 1 it's from the story of Jesus threat in the middle of his ministry is he's walking around Galilee and he's ministering and healing and and stirring up anger by the religious leaders and actually at this point in the story he's been in the temple and he's as he gets closer and closer to the end of his ministry he starts saying more and more provocative things some of the things that we talked about in our subversive Saviour series where he he starts comparing himself to God the Father and putting himself on equal footing not not smart things if you want to stand the good side of the people in power and so this is one of those moments where he's just says something that makes everybody really mad and it actually says invert in chapter 8 that they picked up stones to stone him and so he actually disappears into the crowd and basically grabs his disciples and they get out of there because the people want to kill him and it's in this moment in Chapter 9 we think up the story and it says as he passed by I don't know if he was looking over his shoulder while he passed by or what but he saw a blind man from birth and in the disciples asked him rabbi who sinned this man or his parents that he was born blind that would be my question like what's what's the who screwed up to make this guy have such a bad situation jesus answered it was not that this man sinned or his parents but that the works of God might be displayed in him we must work the works of him who sent me wallet his day night is coming when no one can work as long as I am in the world I am the light of the world having said these things he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him go wash in the pool of Siloam which means sent and so he went and he washed and he came back seeing so Jesus is really has no business stopping on his way out if people are out to kill you and they're right behind you you keep moving right and yet we find Jesus stopping noticing someone in need notice somebody hurting and allowing himself to be interrupted by this man and his need we were on vacation in California this summer took the family down and and don't mistake what I'm about to say because in the previous services I feel like I'm painting myself as someone who hates conversation and people and that is not the case but there are moments on vacation when I enjoy kind of the the bubble of me time just me and my family incognito no one I don't see anyone you know it's kind of a small town here right you see people you know and so on vacation is kind of nice just to live in that bubble so I'm enjoying this in 100 teen Beach California a couple months ago sitting outside of Starbucks with my family eating vanilla scones and I hear hey is your name Evan I was like no no sir that's not me yeah my name is Evan and and he's like oh man I tend West Side Church and sisters and I've seen you there and anyway this is my wife and and and what are you guys doing here and my initial response and you guys had to forgive me this is just me being honest my first response was well until you showed up I was on vacation you know like I didn't say that I didn't say that I was very kind and they turned out to be super nice and we talked for like 15 minutes and and I was just last week we chatted we're all good we're friends is awesome and please after service you guys come to me like oh sorry am i interrupting you am I in your personal space don't do that I love you we can talk my goodness but there is this there is this habit of Jesus of being willing to be interrupted right and and for me I like I like the the clean lines and the compartmentalization of my life that when I'm on and I need to be kind and with people I can be but then I need to to kind of not be that if I'm not supposed to be on and we see Jesus he's on mission he's busy everybody wants a piece of him everybody wants attention from him and yet he is consistently available to be interrupted by need and my people who he loves and so we see this and the man doesn't even initiate the miracle he doesn't ask for anything there's no indication that the even is aware that Jesus is in the vicinity and Jesus does what Jesus does he walks over and he initiates and he reaches out to this man much in the way that God initiated the conversation with Abraham Jesus in this moment initiates this miracle and it's interesting because throughout the gospels jesus heals several different blind people and he never does it the same way this is unique this the the only time that we see jesus spinning in the dirt and making mud and put it on this man's eyes and I think what Jesus was showing the disciples and what he shows us today is that we can't fall in love with the formula we can't assume that the way that God worked in my brother's life or or your boss's life or whoever we can't assume that just because he worked a certain way in them that he's gonna do the exact same way in us we can't assume that everything is a formula and a process and if we just don't ABCD we're gonna we're gonna produce the exact life that God has for us he actually requires not us to recite an incantation or go through the steps of a formula what does he ask for he asks for interaction for relationship for moments of encounter with a living God where we can hear from him and and he brings maybe a directive to you in your life some instructions for you that he's asking you to say I will go and I will do it and it might look so different from everything else you've seen every other formula every other process you've seen that everyone around you is like you are crazy yeah but I believe in the things I can't see I have an assurance and a confidence and what has yet to be revealed and so Jesus makes this mud it's a strange way for somebody who can heal with just a word or just a touch it's a strange thing for him to make mud and put it on the man's eyes a couple months ago I was working on my car and Steve and I were actually talking about this before service that when you work an office job and a lot of time is spent like just meeting and like coffee shops and over meals and behind computers it's nice to do something with your hands you know to feel like you're capable or something and so I was working at my car and I bit off more than I could chew with this project I was trying to replace my steering rack in my SUV and it was like it was a it was way too big of a job and so I'm days into this project I'm like four nights into this project the car is torn apart it's a mess I have a stuck bolt so I'm underneath the car and I have a propane torch and I'm torching the this bolt on the underside of my car I'm sweaty I'm frustrated I don't even know I I don't even know what to do and the door opens and at the time my five-year-old daughter stands in the doorway and she's like hey Dad can I help you sweats dripping into my eyes and I was like yeah here's the torch and I gave her the torch she put her into the car said watch out for the fuel lines bye no no of course not I didn't at that moment I didn't need her help and actually you know in in a way she was actually a liability because it's a really dangerous situation I don't know what I'm doing it was it was sketchy and what I could have said is I don't need you here get out I can do this myself or I can try to do this myself you know what I did I said okay you know what here we go and I got out from under the car and I I set up an area where she could participate organize some tools organize some bowls get things lined up but participate with me and what I was doing did I need that at that moment no I needed a professional mechanic at that moment but you know what I wanted at that moment I wanted a point of connection relationally with my daughter so that she could have a piece of what I was doing in that moment here's what God does is so beautiful he does the heavy lifting he holds the propane torch she he gets under the car he does all the things that we are incapable and unable to do like pastor Cory was saying today man we could have just probably stopped the service after that it was all we needed but but he does the things that we cannot do but he doesn't stop there he says now I want you to participate in this and so into the mud yeah he spits into the dirt he makes this mud and he puts it on the man's eyes not because it was necessary for the miracle because it was necessary for the man to be able to participate in a miracle because what happens if you get mud in your eyes you got to go get washed off one of our good friends Matt Somers I don't know if you're in the room Matt tell me okay good I can tell the story he's been a West Sider for thirty years good friends with his his son and their family and and he tells a great story how in college he was working with a few guys they took a day job bucking hay in a field and the heat of summer or whatever hay is bucked and so they're they're working in the heat of the day and and after several hours are just pouring sweat and they have hay stuff to him and it's just it's hot heavy work and they look over in the field next to them the irrigation sprinklers have just come on the big huge you know and Matt looks at his buddies like we got to get over there into that water and so they they jog over through the fields they get into the next field and there they're standing there just waiting you know for the irrigation sprinklers to come around and about twelve o'clock on the sprinkler Matt's like what's that smell it has the sprinkler is making us work towards them his buddies like Matt realizes this isn't a water sprinkler this is a manure spreader hey sweat and now they are soaked in liquid manure [Music] he thought you needed water before that how about now how do you like me now right when you got stuff in your eyes you'll do what it takes to get it washed off right so Jesus puts puts the Sun on the man's eyes and here's the thing he's already blind now he's got mud in his eyes it's almost like he's worse off than when Jesus first saw him and Jesus gives him the directive that Abraham heard so many years ago go go wash in the pool of Siloam so off the man walks and I'm trying to put myself in the position of this man who's blind and and for that whole walk to the pool and by the way we have a map of Jerusalem at the time and you'll see in this map this really nice-looking map it looks like it was made Microsoft Paint in 1997 but Casey's not even out the door and this is the kind of graphics I'm putting on the screen you just get ready it's gonna be fun all right so they're at the temple they're just outside the temple where beggars would would congregate to catch people going in and out of the temple and you see way down in the south side of the old city there's the pool of Siloam now if you notice up north of the temple much closer to it is the Pool of Bethesda and there's a story earlier on in the Gospels where Jesus goes to the Pool of Bethesda and he sees a crippled man there and he heals him the reason that the crippled man was at the pool Bethesda is because it was known as a healing pool the blind and the the sick and the lame they would congregate at the healing pool Bethesda in a hope that God would wouldn't work a miracle in that water and that when they would go in the water they would be healed everybody knew if you need healing your best shot is the Pool of Bethesda so here's Jesus they're just outside the temple and basically he's saying look you need to go wash you need to participate in this miracle by getting washed but I want you to go to the pool of Siloam it's a lot longer walk it's gonna be kind of difficult and along the way what you don't see on this wonderful amazing three-dimensional map that I created for you guys is that in between the temple in the pool aside there's actually a spring that runs there where people would wash there was other more convenient opportunities for him to get clean and during that walk it's a walk of faith guys where you're following a directive and you were not seeing the result yet and you got mud in your eyes and here you go you're walking to what to participate in the miracle but there's no certainty in your your mind nothing is saying that this is a sure deal and there are other opportunities for you to wash there are other easier cheaper more convenient options for you to take during your walk of faith and man when you got mud on your eyes that sure is tempting isn't it to opt out so wouldn't it be good enough to go here and but listen what is silo Amin in that scripture john spells it out what does it mean listen you don't go to where other people go you don't go to where it's most convenient you don't get just to your destination A to B as quickly as possible you go to where you're sent and it's gonna mean a longer time with mud on your eyes it's gonna be a longer season of walking in the dark right but at the end of it if we're faithful to the word that Jesus spoke his result can be our result that he came back seen and what a journey back to the temple rejoicing because why because God is faithful to his promise if we will be faithful to participate by faith and that which we can't see and so we're in this season and maybe you're in a season and it's like come out of my eyes it's been 23 years no baby in the cradle faith invites you to keep faith invites you not to opt for the easier option faith invites you when everyone says you're crazy this is impossible you say yeah and that's why I love being in this adventure of faith because we embrace impossible things and we see God come through because we believe what he said he would do he's gonna do and we participate tomorrow night we're gonna take the kids camping we're gonna be at South twin if any of you want to join us I welcome it because I love people I have no personal space if you need to bunk right next to us you're welcome to we're camping and I'm gonna I'm gonna do the the lion's share for my kids of getting the car ready and loaded up obviously my wife too we will do the lion's share of that we're not gonna ask my daughter to to lift things that she can't we're not gonna expect her to pack the bags and get all ready but we're gonna ask her to participate we're gonna say hey you know what the iPad will be here when you get back turn that off get your shoes on get your clothes ready get in the car buckle up here we go and I believe this that God in this season of Westside is so excited I'm excited I don't if you can tell I'm excited about what God is doing in this church and I think the word is so clear in my mind in my heart today that God is gonna do the heavy lifting he's going to provide miracles where we are at our the end of our abilities he's gonna do it but all through the process he's gonna say come on step up off the couch get your shoes on get in the car you do which you can do because I'm gonna do what only I can do and it's this wonderful beautiful participation of faith that God invites everyone of us into today maybe you're at the edge of a big decision in your career or your family or where you live or what you do maybe God's maybe you've got to check on your counter and you just know that there's a there's a gift to some organization or the Bethlehem in or there's something that that God you think maybe this is it but it's gonna take faith come on can I tell you today step into what you can do what will make the move of faith today you won't be disappointed there might be years with mud in your face but it's the right decision ever still and I'm confident of this I'm assured of this that the other end of it we will look back and say every step the way was worth it I wouldn't change a thing because all along the way he was with me he didn't forsake me he didn't abandon me and together and as a church come on we'll step into a new season of faith that sound good yeah let's pray Jesus we just we just would ask for a stirring of our faith today is not something we conjure up or just decide that we want more faith it is it is a gift from God and so I would just ask for faith to fill our hearts and fill our minds I would pray for just a confidence in who you are to sweep through this crowd god I just pray that we would be so assured of your presence and your power in our lives that we would be willing to participate we'd be willing to take steps we would be willing father even in moments where it would cost us what is comfortable that we would step out into the great wild unknown of faith God you're at MU you're moving in our hearts it is undeniable that you are at work here and so God we just pray pull us even deeper into what you're doing in the days ahead God would love you so much pray this in Jesus name Amen amen awesome as you guys go today I just want to make you aware one thing two things actually the prayer wall is available folks would love to pray with you especially if you're facing a big decision or a fork in the road in your life and also our new quarter three Bible reading journals are available in the atrium for $15 so on your way out you can grab one of those and continue to follow along with us in our Bible reading plan that we love you guys so much thank you for being here and we'll see you next week

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