Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Pastor Dan Jarvis.

Pastor Dan Jarvis: When you live by faith, you’re not actually saying, “How much faith do I have with my time, my talent, and my treasure?” You’re saying, “What does God have available to Him, not on the basis of what I can muster up as a human being?”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Surrender: The Heart God Controlsfor Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Has the Lord been calling you to do something for His kingdom that seems a little risky? Yesterday, Dan Jarvis challenged us to follow the Lord’s lead, no matter what risk might be involved.

I heard Dan preach a sermon not long ago called "Faith Frontiers." I thought you’d get a lot out of this message, too, and yesterday we started to listen to it. Dan and his wife Melissa will be with us in just a bit to share how they’ve learned to move into faith frontiers as a family.

But first, let’s listen to the next part of this message. Dan’s talking about some of the challenges that keep us from moving forward in faith.

Dan: The second challenge that I’ve experienced—and I know we all have—is that, when we want to do something great for Christ, we immediately start taking stock of what we have to offer, and we say, “Lord, I don’t think I have enough!”

  • I don’t have enough time to do something more than what I’m doing.
  • I don’t have money. I don’t even know where the money will come from!
  • I don’t even have the talent.
  • I’m not sure if I know what to do. 

And so we start looking at all the resources around us and we say, “I don’t think I can move into a new frontier.”

Think of a different use of the word “frontier” that we’re all familiar with—The Wild West. Imagine 150 years ago you lived on the East Coast, and you were just loving the idea of gold in California!

So you pack up your family and you make the easy trip across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains to California—no! That’s a life-changing, put-it-all on the line decision. A lot of you, if you’re playing Oregon Trail, you’re going to get dysentery. I mean, it’s bad news the whole way, right? To go that road, you would have to have a lot of faith and a lot of desire that what’s at the end of that road is worth putting everything out there for.

By the way, recently I flew into the city of Denver; I’ve been there a few times. I have a theory about Denver that isn’t part of the official history of the city—it’s just my theory—that it was actually a city that was founded by pioneer wives.

Here’s why I think that: After the struggle across all the plains and all the fording rivers and fighting off enemies and all these things . . . They’re trekking out West, and the husband’s all excited, “We’re going to go see gold in California! It’s going to be great!”

Well, if you ever are in Denver, it’s like a big open plain in one direction, and then there’s just this wall of Rocky Mountains. It’s an amazing thing to look at, but Denver is not in the mountains, it’s right next to the mountains. I always think, Those are the people who gave up.

They got there; the wife looked at the huge wall of mountains, looked at her husband and said, “No. I’ve come with you this far. I’m staying here!”

I want to be the type of person that goes across the mountain! I don’t want to stay in Denver. I don’t want our church to stay in Denver. We’re going all the way! Okay? But it starts with having this mentality where we say, “Lord, all the resources I have—my whole self—is on the line for You.”

Now, here’s the fun thing about living by faith. If God is directing you to do something, He’s not worried about your lack of resources, because He has resources that you don’t have.

When you live by faith, you’re not actually saying, “How much faith do I have with my time, my talent, and my treasure?” You’re saying, “What does God have available to Him? On that basis I’m moving forward . . . not on the basis of what I can muster up as a human being.”

So living by faith requires that we look beyond our resources to what God has out of it He can use. Forging into faith frontiers is never easy, it’s never quick, it’s never cheap. I haven’t done the math on this, but I’m sure if we added up the amount of money that America spent to go to the moon, it was probably quite a large sum, right?

Or the amount of money that those pioneers . . . They sold everything to buy a covered wagon, and they headed out. Yes, it’s not easy; it’s not cheap. It’s going to cost you a lot—on a human level—to live by faith. But at the end of the day, that’s what your life is for.

You don’t want to have a safe and wasted life; you want to have a faith-filled, meaningful life, and the only way to get there is to put it all on the line for Christ. Paul wrote that to the Corinthians church in chapter 8 of 2 Corinthians. He was actually holding up another church to them, as an example of their generosity. Here’s what he said to them:

They gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us, for whatever directions God might give them (2 Cor. 8:3, 5 paraphrased)

It’s kind of like the passage we studied just a couple weeks ago in Romans 12:1, where in view of all the mercy God has had on our lives, what response do we have? We say, “Lord, I’m all Yours! I’m putting my whole life on the altar here so You can direct me, You can transform me. You can take me the direction You want me to go.”

When we say, “Lord, if I have any resources, they’re Yours, and I’m going to rely on Your resources, now, to walk forward,” then we get to be a part of some exciting things. We get to step into those faith frontiers.

Something I’m learning along the way is never to wait for all the resources to line up before you start moving forward in faith. God usually makes you wait until the last minute and then everything comes together.

And you say, “Wow, Lord, I see why You did that. It’s so that You get all the glory for this and not me.” It wasn’t some plan I had or some plan you had that made something happen. No, this is God providing in amazing ways so that we can keep living this life of faith.

The third challenge that I think we come across, when we decide we want to live by faith, is the challenge of relocation. There’s no way for you to cross a new frontier and stay where you are at the same time.

There’s no way for a church to cross a new frontier and stay the way it was. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to move forward if you’re going to proceed—just like the people in the Bible. 

Abraham—when he was called to put his faith in God, what did he have to do? God: “Abraham, get up and go to a land . . . and here’s Mapquest.” No! No Mapquest. “Go to a land I’ll show you. I’ll let you know when you get there.”

So Abraham has to uproot all of his wealth, everything he’s got, and just start to go. It’s in that process of going—that’s the walk of faith in God. We’re not just relying on our own wisdom—“This is a well-traveled trail here; I know how this is going to work out.” No.

We walk forward trusting in God, not in our own sense of direction. Jesus said it this way: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (Matt. 10:39).

Think of the person who finally gets their life together (none of us are probably there). Say you arrive one day and look around you—you look at your bank account, you look at your house, you look at the people around you. And you go, “Wow, everything is exactly what I ever wanted!” And you think, Let’s just push "pause" on that moment, and I just want to keep this going as long as I can!”

Well, first of all, that really would be a wasted life if you did that—to stop forward progress. But as soon as you start to hold onto something you have and you think, This is as far as I’m going. This is all I ever want.” Well, you lose the opportunity to walk by faith, don’t you? If you live that way, Jesus said those are the people who lose in life.

But if you give it up, if you say, “God, I’m all Yours”—you’ll find real life in doing that! That’s the walk of faith we’re called to.

Nancy: Once again, we’ve been listening to Dan Jarvis, who serves on the staff of the parent ministry of Revive Our Hearts, Life Action Ministries. He also is the teaching pastor in a local church in our community. When I heard this message a few months ago, I said, “I want our listeners to hear this!”

Dan and Melissa, I want our listeners to hear—out of your lives—how God has taught you these things and what it has looked like in your lives to walk by faith. So we’re interrupting this message again. We’ll be bringing the other two points over the next couple of days, and I know people are eager to hear those.

But, today, Dan you talked about first trusting God as it relates to resources. You reminded us that God has resources, when He calls you to do something, that are greater than yours, and that you don’t know about.

And Melissa, as I think about the journey you and Dan have been on—the six children that you have fostered and then ultimately adopted, children coming out of difficult backgrounds and special needs. 

You and Dan haven’t had any like great mega-inheritance or big job promotion or huge salary. I think a lot of people would be saying, in your situation, “We just can’t bring one more into our family. We can’t love one more, put one more mouth around our table, because we don’t have the provision.” Yet you and Dan have watched God over and over again prove Himself faithful to provide.

Just give us an illustration that I think will encourage the faith of our listeners, about how you’ve seen God do that.

Melissa Jarvis: Sure. One particular instance that I can think about: We were actually running out of room in our vehicle that we had. We kept thinking, How were we going to afford to buy another car or vehicle at that point?

I’m not exactly sure how all the details worked out, but basically, Dan’s grandma called and asked, “Do you want my van?” She had pretty much a brand-new Honda Odyssey, so we met her at the dealership. She was going to just give us her van!

She said, “Bring your old one in, and we’ll trade it in and I’ll buy something different.” So she gave us her van. It seated eight, and we filled it up! It was an amazing blessing that we still drive today.

Nancy: And unexpected.

Melissa: Very unexpected! The resources weren’t there for us to buy one, and she gave it to us. That was a huge blessing that allowed us—in turn—to bless somebody else.

Nancy: Bless more children, for starters. 

Melissa: Yes.

Dan: I think it has do a little bit with the promise Jesus made in Matthew 6:33, that if you seek His kingdom first, He’ll provide for your needs. So we’ve always (I say “we’ve always”—we’re still growing in it, too). But we seek to live that life where we would look at a need and say, “Okay, I don’t have the resources to meet it. We don’t have the space that we need to care for these kids”—or whatever the next faith frontier might be. “

We’re not sure how it’s all going to work out, but God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God will provide the resources that we need to meet those needs.” So we just go ahead and say “yes.” And, I mean without fail, every time we’ve taken a faith step like that, God has provided, and often in ways we never would have anticipated!

Nancy: I remember when God provided a home for you guys as your family was beginning to expand, and just through a whole series of circumstances that you could not have scripted—you couldn’t have made happen.

Dan: Yes, absolutely! It would take quite a while to share the story because there were so many ins and outs that—again—there would be no way to write the script.

We got to the end of the whole transaction, when here we’re looking at this house deed now and thinking, How did we end up here with a house this big—with everything we need for all of our kids?

Melissa: We actually still say that to ourselves sometimes, and it’s been four years. We sit out on our patio and say, “How did we end up there?” 

Dan: And, there again, it’s Matthew 6:33: Seek first the kingdom of God; He’ll provide those needs. We think of it as taking a great risk—to take a step of obedience.

But if you actually believe that God is going to meet your needs and you have faith in that, it’s actually not a risk—if you think about it. It’s just that you’re trusting God to absorb the risk for you.

Nancy: I can remember my dad. He’s been with the Lord for many years. He was a man who just really believed God, and so I grew up in this environment of faith. It enabled him to be generous beyond what his accountant thought he could—or should—do.

It enabled him to step out into types of ministry that a lot of people wouldn’t have considered—not because he thought he was great, but because he really believed that God had limitless resources.

I remember him talking about that passage in Luke chapter 5. Jesus told the disciples, after they had spent this futile night of fishing—they’d caught nothing—He says to them, “Launch out into the deep and cast out on the other side.”

My dad talked about how these disciples obeyed, without understanding what Jesus was saying or how this could work, and they wound up with this boat-sinking, net-breaking load of fish.

Then my dad said something like this, “For many of us, the thought of launching out into the deep sounds way too costly, way too risky. But contrary to normal expectations, it can be much riskier, much costlier, to stay in the shallows rather than launching out into the deep where God has an abundant provision that we cannot imagine at this point.”

I think sometimes we just do the math, and we live within the realm of the explainable—the realm of the natural.

That’s been true in my life, it’s been true of this ministry. There’s the temptation to hold back because you can’t see where the provision’s coming from. But when we step out in faith, we see God bring amazing, unexplainable, supernatural provision. I love how you guys have lived that.

Now, I want to take a few moments to talk about the second point you made today, Dan, about relocation. That doesn’t necessarily mean, literally, physical moves—though in your lives there have been a lot of moves involved. As you’ve gone from one faith frontier to another, the Lord has challenged you.

Dan, you said yesterday that you’re naturally a bit more of a risk taker, and Melissa, you said you were naturally a little more risk averse, which I think is true of a lot of us as women.

So, Melissa, as you and Dan have together taken some of these steps, talk to us about some of the fears you’ve had to face, some of the things you’ve had to deal with in these moves.

Melissa: Sure. A couple of times we’ve had to move. I’ve just kind of followed along with what we were going to do next. One was actually getting married and moving to Florida without knowing the people there or even what job I was going to have. I just interviewed over the phone.

But Dan knew all these people, so I learned to trust Dan, but I also learned to trust. In that situation, of course, Florida sounded great! Then, when we moved from Florida to Ohio. We were moving back to Ohio to be near Dan’s family, but Dan did not have a job, nor did I.

I was very scared, “How are we going to pay bills?” and “What are we going to do?” and “Should I get a job?” I was really worrying. “I could probably get a job faster than Dan.” You know, those kinds of thoughts.

And I just, thought, This is crazy! People are going to think we’re crazy to move all the way from Florida to Ohio without a job!”

Dan: Right. And what we had in mind to do in that time was to start a new church, and so we were going there with this sense of, “Okay, Lord we need You to provide, because we don’t really know how this is going to work out.”

And, of course, it did work out in ways that we wouldn’t have planned—we wouldn’t have known how to script. There was some pressure on our new marriage there, as well. As weeks would go by and I was trying to do odd jobs just to get a little bit of income in the meantime the church plant plan we had wasn’t materializing very quickly. I think for Melissa there was some time where she was starting to get a little frustrated, and like, “Hey, Buddy, it’s time to pick up the pace here!”

Melissa: Right. I was really struggling with, “Should I actually go out and get a ‘real’ job?” Like more than just the odd jobs I was doing: tutoring or piano lessons or whatever.

It was a real good step of faith for me, just to trust that Dan was going to do the right thing, and we were going to do the right thing together, and just trust God. It all worked out, and it was such a big blessing just to see how God orchestrated that. I didn’t even know where we would end up. Ultimately, it set the stage for another move in the future.

Nancy: Because you had been serving at Life Action Ministries and Revive Our Hearts, then you had this marriage and these moves, then God brought you back to Michigan, and that was another step of faith—another relocation.

Melissa: Yes. That was a fairly large step of faith for us, because we had been praying about where we were going next. We kind of felt like God was leading us to make a change, so we’d been praying about, “God, where are You leading us next?” We just needed some clarity.

Nancy: Let me just say, these moves weren’t all within a few weeks or months of each other (it sounds like you were constantly moving). This is over a period of years we’re condensing this story. But each of these moves required greater faith.

Dan: I would say that the move to come here, to Life Action and Revive Our Hearts and be part of this team again, when we were sensing some uneasiness . . .We knew it was time to change or go to the next level (whether that was at the church we were serving at or a different church). We had kind of a lot of choices in front of us.

The easiest thing to do was, very obviously, to stay where we were. We had a wonderful church family. We had a great set-up. It was my hometown where I had grown up. So there was a lot of familiarity. Things were actually going pretty well.

It was like God was coming in and disrupting our plan—just as it was finally settling out and everything seemed okay. It was the call to, “Okay, it’s time to relocate. It’s time to move forward to the next step.”

I came to a little bit of a crisis of faith, or a moment where I took a step that I’d never taken before. Usually when you’re praying about a new step, you might say to God, “Lord, if You’ll confirm this to me, I’ll do it.”

I felt challenged by God. I was actually praying in the church that I was a pastor of at that time, just saying, “Lord, what do you want me to do with the choices in front of me?” I felt like I was being called to say “yes,” unless God said “no.”

To kind of flip that paradigm over—which really forces a walk of faith—because at that point you’re saying, “Okay, Lord, I’m about to jump. And unless You stop me, I’m going over this cliff!”

By going I would say maybe the more aggressive way of praying about it there, that did lead us to a place, literally a time and a day, where we had to make a decision—and we had just such a clear call from God about what we were supposed to do.

Here I am, giving a sermon about risk-taking and faith and thing, but it’s still every day, there are choices to make. There’s an easy road that I think any of us would rather walk in our flesh, and then there’s a higher road that God might call us to that could involve disrupting things just when we thought they were all starting to work out.

Nancy: So at points, God puts us in a place where we either have to decide, “I’m going to stay here in my comfort zone with what’s familiar, what’s comfortable, what I think I can manage, what I can explain,” or “I’ve got to be willing to move forward, to cross a frontier!”

Dan has challenged us that we can’t just be content to stay where we are if we want to walk in this life of faith. That doesn’t mean God may not keep you in one place—or that you have to be forever moving geographically. But there’s this sense (and it’s been true in the ministry of Revive Our Hearts) that we need to be willing to keep moving into new frontiers as God prompts, as He directs, as He provides. We need to not say, “I’m just going to stay where I am, because that’s what I’ve always known,” but “Lord, we’re willing to step out with You into this new frontier.”

So again, what might God be calling you to? To trust Him for resources that you can’t explain (but you know He has resources you don’t), and perhaps God is asking you to make some kind of relocation.

Again, that might be geographical. It might mean a different job. It might mean a different stage of what you’ve been doing. As I say that, I’m thinking about a lot of my friends who are moving into the empty nest phase of life. For them, that’s a re-location. They’ve been focusing their energy, for years, on rearing these children—maybe schooling them. And now they’re saying, “What do I do? What does God have for me?” That can be something that provokes fear in a woman’s heart.

But it can also be something that promotes faith. To say, “Lord, what are You saying? What are You doing? Where are you sending me? What do You have for me that might be different than anything I’ve ever considered before?”

I’m thinking about a young-ish widow who came to serve at this ministry when her husband died unexpectedly. God had used this ministry in her life and she said, “I’m going move from Texas to Michigan to serve in this ministry.”

She did serve here at Revive Our Hearts for probably three years or so before the Lord took her back to be closer to family again. It was a huge step of faith, but God used Karen in a really great way—and she’s still promoting the mission of revival, praying, supporting, and being a part of what God is doing through this ministry.

She was willing to pick up stakes and say, “I’m going to take the risk of relocating, and I’m going to trust God for His resources.” And He always, always proves faithful!

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with Dan and Melissa Jarvis about faith frontiers—areas of effectiveness for God’s kingdom that require total reliance on Him.

I’m grateful for all the listeners who have taken generous actions in faith to give generously to help make today’s program possible. If you have a heart to support Revive Our Hearts, God can provide all that you need to be able to give. That’s what one listener discovered. She wrote to tell us how God provided.

Listener: I was listening to Revive Our Hearts and heard about a woman who said she tithes at church and finds it difficult to support other ministries, so she prayed that she would have extra funds to send to Revive Our Hearts.

I felt the same way, and one hour later, I stopped at an office supply chain store to buy computer paper. When I checked out, I received fifty dollars for being a rewards member! The cashier said the most she’d ever seen was five dollars. I’m donating the fifty dollars online today to Revive Our Hearts!

Nancy: I love seeing how God provides for Revive Our Hearts listeners so they can give to this ministry!

Now, perhaps you’ve heard me share over the past couple of weeks about the current needs at Revive Our Hearts. Because giving has been down over the past several months, we’ve been trimming budgets and borrowing from reserved funds to keep our core outreaches going.

Now that we’re in May—the end of our fiscal year—these needs have really come to a head. And at the same time, we’re preparing for the summer—when donations typically drop. So we need to close this budget gap in order to avoid making substantial cuts in the days ahead.

Would you ask the Lord if He would want you to be a part of helping meet these needs? And—be on the lookout for creative ways in which He may want to provide. For this listener it was a rewards program.

I don’t know what it might be for you, but as the Lord provides and He puts an amount on your heart, give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com. Thank so much for your important part in heading out on faith frontiers with Revive our Hearts.

Leslie: Melissa Jarvis has a houseful of kids with special needs. She says she not only leans on the Lord day by day, she has to lean on Him moment by moment. You will be encouraged to lean on the Lord for every difficult thing you need to do when Melissa and Dan Jarvis are back with us tomorrow. Please be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wogelmuth helps you step into faith frontiers. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

Scripture is taken from the NTL unless otherwise noted. 

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