Shelene Bryan is one of the most energetic and infectious people that we have met and it translates well into her new book, Ridiculous Faith. In the book, Shelene shares personal experiences and examples from the Bible challenging us to take a leap of faith and experience the life God created us for. Her faith was stretched when her family went on a trip to Africa to see if the children her family sponsored through a food program were real. God used the experience to challenge Shelene to leap from her life of comfort into the unknown. She left her career as a Hollywood producer and founded Skip1.org, which is a charity dedicated to providing food and clean water to children not only in America but around the world.
According to World Hunger, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 7.3 billion people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. There are 780 million hungry people in developing countries and 11 million people undernourished in developed countries. The premise behind Skip 1 challenges everyone to instead of spending money on a coffee, lunch or manicure, to instead “skip it” and donate the money to Skip1.org. All of the public money donated goes to the acquisition and distribution of food and water projects worldwide.
While God might not be calling you to start a non-profit, Shelene shared about how she got her start in Ridiculous Faith. When I got out of my comfortable church seat to see Jesus where He said He would be, my faith began to change, radically change.”
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:19-20
From Moses to the disciples, the Bible is filled with examples of God challenging people to step out in faith to deepen their relationship with him. While we know that in our heart and heads it is often hard to apply that to our personal lives. We enjoyed Ridiculous Faith because Shelene shares practical ways to allow God to develop our faith including ways to invite God’s power into your challenges and dreams, how to deepen your faith like Noah, and important characteristics of acts of faith.
This book is an invitation to join me on a journey to discover an ark-building, sea-parting, lion-taming faith that leaves us all in awe of the Creator of it all,” writes Bryan. “God has called us to faith that does the impossible – like move mountains and transform the human heart.”
“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[a] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified…I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:16-20
Having faith is a moment-by-moment decision. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. Having faith often does not make sense. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith in God, but it meant going into a fiery furnace not sure if they would come out alive. Having faith can sometimes mean living on the edge of danger. Rahab had faith and put her life on the line to hide spies. Having faith can come at the cost of our reputation. Noah faced ridicule while he built the ark. It is easy for us to forget what God has done in our own lives and the lives of others. There are so many distractions around us and our schedules are chaotic. But God wants to meet us on the mountain top to deepen our faith so that we can move mountains for Him!
Check out Hebrews 11! It is filled with examples of people that lived by faith. From Abraham to Noah and Moses, it is often called the “Heroes of the Faith.” Many did not get to see the fruit of their labor. Instead, they had to be obedient, trust God and have faith that He would do what He had promised them.
Reflect on the ways God has been faithful to you. Whenever we have a hard time making a decision or trusting God, it helps to remember the ways He has been faithful to us in the past. When you experience an event or circumstance that increases your faith, take time and journal about it. That way when your faith is tested again, you will be able to remember how God worked!
Remember that having faith is like building a muscle. Just like an athlete that trains daily to get stronger, our faith gets stronger as we daily spend time in the Bible, praying and worshiping God. It might mean eliminating the doubters or haters too. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your faith.
What can you skip? Whether it is lunch or a latte, consider taking the money that you would spend and donating it to an organization that helps feed the undernourished like Skip1.org. You can also check the needs of your local church food pantry or food bank and the next time you are at the grocery story buy an extra bag of groceries to donate. Grab your small group of some friends and serve at the local food bank.
Stay tuned for our full interview with Shelene Bryan!