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            Do you believe in giants?  I’m not talking about the New York Giants but real giants.  Our mythology is full of stories of giants.  Our fairy tales are full of giants.  We see them throughout Greek, Roman, Chinese and Norse mythology.  Giants have been portrayed in movies and television show and are part of bedtime stories for our children. What is a giant?  Webster’s Dictionary gives several descriptions but the two that I like best are, ‘any imaginary being of human form but of superhuman size and strength.’ and the other is, ‘ a person or thing of great size, strength and intellect’.  These are two fairly good descriptions of a giant.  But my question still remains - do you believe in giants?  Ok let’s say it this way - do you think that giants really once existed?  Or are they the stuff of myths and legends?  Most myths and legends have some historical fact or kernel of truth that has been embellished throughout the ages and has been metamorphosed into something completely different than the original beginning.


            According to the second definition they have the possibility of really existing.  It says ‘a person or thing of great size, strength, and intellect.’  I would say that some of our professional football players could fit that description.  Another group is ‘professional’ wrestlers.  The average height of a wrestler is between 6’6” and 7’ and they weight between 240 pounds upwards to 500 pounds.  When you watch them on television they don’t seem all that big but that’s because they are around other people that big.  But when you stand next to one of these guys you see how big they really are.  I guess you could say that they are a type of modern day giants.


            But other than these guys did giants really exist?  Yes they did.  Now how can I say that?  Because the Bible is full of accounts of real-life giants.  In Genesis 6:4 it says, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days...”  The Nephilim were a race of people who stood between nine and ten foot tall.  They flourished as a people before the great flood.  Then in Deuteronomy 9:2-3 it is recorded about a race of people called Anakites.  The Anakites were a tall, strong race of men who stood who stood between seven to nine foot tall.  It has been suggested that Goliath, we all know about Goliath, was probably descended from the Anakites.


            So if we believe what the Bible says then we know that giants really existed both before and after the great flood.  Now I don’t know if what you would call giants like that still exist today - apart from professional wrestling - but I do want to talk to you about giants that really did and do exist.  These giants are recorded throughout the Bible and they are still living today.


            Now you might think that I gone a bit loopy for suggesting such a thing but let’s step out of the box.  The giants that I am speaking of would best be called ‘Giants of Faith’.  All through the Old Testament and the New Testament there are recorded stories of theses ‘Giants of Faith’. 


            Let’s take a look first at some of the Old Testament giants of faith.  In Genesis 1:9 we read about a man called Noah.  “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of the time, and he walked with God.”  Noah believed Him when God told him about the impending flood and God’s command and built the ark.  Nothing of that size had ever been built.  It was one and a half times the length of a football field and four stories tall.  It was exactly six times longer than it was wide.  That’s the same ratio that modern shipbuilders use today.  Kinda makes you wonder doesn’t it.  Genesis 1:23 says, Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Noah listened to God and followed His instructions.  Noah believed God’s word and did what God wanted.  Because of Noah’s faith in God we are here today and not swimming with the fish.  Noah was a giant of faith.


            Turn with me to Genesis 12:1 and here we encounter Abram, later to be known as Abraham.  “The Lord has said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your family, your people, and your father’s household and go into the land that I will show you.”  Abram listened to God and he uprooted his family and livelihood and moved to a new county a land that he knew nothing about.  And he did this without question.  Now you might want to know that in that society a son just didn’t uproot from his family and strike out on his own.  Family groups stayed together.  A son followed his father and his son followed him.  So for Abram to just up and leave his family and familiar surroundings was amazing in and of itself.  You also need to remember that Abram was not a young man when this happened.  He was seventy-five years old.  To start completely over at that age.  How many of us would do something like that when we are that age?  Abraham did.  Why?  Because Abraham believed God’s word.  Genesis 12:4 “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.  Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out for Haran.”  Abram was a giant of faith.


            There is also Moses, who by faith, even though he was a prince of Egypt, cast his lot with the people of God, the enslaved Hebrews.  And upon hearing God’s word from a burning bush, returned to Egypt to fulfill God’s word.  Exodus 4:19-20, Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.’ So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt.  And he took the staff of God in his hand.”  Because he believed God at His word Moses was a giant of faith.


            The Old Testament is filled with stories of these Giant’s of Faith.  There are stories of Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, Daniel, Rahab, Ruth, and on and on. 


            But Giant’s of Faith are not limited to the Old Testament.  The New Testament is choked full of accounts of Giants of Faith.  Let’s take a look at a few.  In Matthew 14: 28-29 we read of Peter taking a literal step of faith.  “Lord if it is you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water.  Come, He said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus.”  Now we know that when Peter took his focus off of Jesus he began to sink - he began to get an early bath.  But because he believe Jesus and His word to come, Peter got out of the boat and walked on water.  Peter was a giant of faith.


            In Acts 1:4 Jesus is talking to the Apostles after his resurrection but just before His ascension.  “On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command.  ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father has promised, which you have heard me speak about”.  And in verse 12, “Then they returned to Jerusalem...”  They believed Jesus at His word and they followed it.  These were men of faith.  We know what happened to them don’t we.  They received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and became mighty men of God. 


            Then there is a story of a man who while facing the end of his life did not waiver in his faith.  In Acts 7:59-60 we read, “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’.  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord do not hold this sin against them.’  When he had said this, he fell asleep.”  Talk about a faithful witness.  Asking Jesus to forgive the people who were in the midst of hurling rocks at him to kill him is ultimately an act of faith.  Stephen was a giant of faith.


            In Matthew 8:5-10 we read of another true giant of faith.  “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."  The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.   For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes.  I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."  When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.   Here is a Roman, not a follower of Jesus or who was even Jewish, who Scripture says astonished even Jesus by his faith.  This Roman Centurion was a giant of faith.


            Ok, we know that the Bible is full of stories of Giants of Faith but what about today in our contemporary, modern world?  Do Giant’s of Faith still exist today and has that faith really made any impact on the world or our society.  Were they just a ‘flash in pan’, insignificant of newsworthy note?  Let’s take a look at some of these.  I will just elaborate on a few current one because there are so many we could look at.


            First let’s look at someone called ‘Mother Theresa’.  Mother Theresa was born August 26, 1910 in Albania.  She was small of stature, rocklike in faith, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was entrusted with the mission of proclaiming God’s thirsting love for humanity, especially for the poorest of the poor.  Of herself she says, “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.  God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be His love and His compassion to the poor.”  She was a soul filled with the light of Christ, on fire with love for Him and burning with one desire: “to quench His thirst for love and for souls.” Her rocklike faith in Jesus enabled her to minister to hundreds of thousands of people of all faiths.  She was a Giant of Faith.

            I am sure that everyone is familiar with the person named Billy Graham.  He was born November 7, 1918 in Charlotte NC.  Billy Graham made his "commitment to Christ" at age 16.  He was ordained as a Southern Baptist and pastored only one congregation (First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Ill.), but the rest of his ministry was deliberately nondenominational.  He is probably the best-known of all Christian evangelists of the 20th century.  He gained world attention in 1949 with a tent revival in downtown Los Angeles that was scheduled for three weeks and lasted six. The Billy Graham Crusades are world famous and has help bring thousands of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Billy Graham has consulted and prayed with U.S. presidents from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.  At the same time, his ministry remained free of the financial and sexual scandals that marred the careers of so many contemporaries.  Billy Graham is a giant of faith.


            Do you remember the names, Rachel Joy Scott, Cassie Bernall, Valeen Schnurr, or Kacey Ruegsegger?  All were students at Columbine.  Rachel was killed because of her faith in Jesus.  Cassis was asked, with a gun pointed at her head if she believed in Jesus and when she answered yes, she was shot and killed.  Valeen was shot nine times when she told the gunmen that they could stop the killing if they too believed in Jesus.  She lived but with permanent nerve damage.  Kacey was shot in the face and shoulder for believing in Jesus.  To be faced by certain death and stand firm in your faith is a mark of being a giant of faith.  These young girl, who were just beginning their lives, were and are true Giants of Faith.


            We have talked about giants of faith.  Giants of faith in the Old Testament and New Testament and also of modern, contemporary giants of faith right here from our own society.  But what is faith?  Basically the dictionary definition is ‘An unquestioning faith not requiring proof or evidence.”  And that’s a fairly OK definition but I like the one found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  That is fairly self explanatory.  We are sure of our salvation through our belief in Jesus as our Savior.  We can’t see Jesus,  we can’t touch Jesus, but we are certain that He was who He said He was.  We are certain that He did what He said He did.  And we are certain that He will do what He said He will do.  That’s call faith. 


            So how do we attain this level of faith.  Romans 10:16 tells us that, “ comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”.  Our faith is built by hearing the Gospel message that is proclaimed in God’s word.  We need to instill Hebrews 11:1 in our daily lives by following what Romans 10:16 says.  Because if we do not have faith we cannot please God.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God...”  So how do we grow our faith?  How do we become Giants of Faith? 


            First we need to be in constant contact with God in prayer.  Remember that prayer is just a conversation with Him.  We need to talk to him not just daily when we first wake up or go to bed, but constantly and consistently throughout our day.  The Apostle Paul tells us in all of his letters that he was always praying and always remembering his readers to God.  Paul had callused knees.  We need to have callused knees also.


            Another way we can be in constant contact is through daily Bible study.  When we study, not just read, the Bible we learn more about God, the history of what He has done, and through that understanding we will have a better understanding of what He is and will be doing.  We learn more about just how much God loves us and guides us.  And He will speak to us through His word.


            And we are told not to forsake the gathering together.  The early Church met daily, not just on Sundays.  Acts 2:46-47,  “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  If you look back at verse 42 it says that they devoted themselves to four thing - the teachings, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.  They studied Scripture, they fellowshipped, they broke bread and they prayed.  When they did these things, God honored them by growing their numbers.  God added daily to their numbers.  How would you like to have 3,000 people added in one day?  It happened to them.  You honor God and you never know what He will have in store for you.


            Now I have our Scripture verse listed at the beginning but I have not gone over yet so let’s look at it.  In Mark  12:41-44 we are told about a specific instance.  Here we read, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.   Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."  Now a lot of pastors use this verse to talk about tithing and giving and that’s well and good but this verse is really about faith.  Notice what Jesus said?  The widow put everything she had, her entire savings.  She had nothing left to live on because she gave all that she had.  She couldn’t buy food, clothes, any necessities, or anything else.  She fully trusted in God to care of her.  That’s true faith.  This poor widow who had no family or means to take care of her fully and completely trusted in God for her needs.  She was truly a Giant of Faith.


            We’ve talked about Old and New Testaments giants of faith and also we’ve talked about contemporary giants of faith.  We’ve talked about what faith is and how you help it grow.  Now here’s my question to you.  Are you a giant of faith?  Would you give all that you have to live on and care for your family with to God and trust Him to supply your needs?  In today’s economic turmoil that’s a tough question to answer.  I don’t think that God wants you to turn over your bank accounts to Him and not pay your rent or mortgage, buy food and necessities for you and your family.  God wants you to trust in Him with the same trust of that poor widow who gave her all to God.  Do you trust in God to direct your daily life?  Do you care for God to follow His what He says to do?  Can you follow Peter’s example when Jesus calls?  Can you step out of the comfortable, safe boats of your lives and follow Him and his direction?  If so, let Him take control and become a Giant of Faith.


            That’s what we are really talking about here.  We are talking about becoming a Giant of Faith.  Can you trust God totally and put control of your life in His hands.  I’m not asking you to make that decision for your wife, your child, or your family and friends.  I’m asking if you can let God take total, 100% control of your life?  Can you get out of the drivers seat and let God take over?


            Pray with me please.  Lord thank you for today and all that You have done.  You have watched over and protected us time and time again and in many of these instances we don’t even realize how often and how much you do for us.  We thank you for the wonder examples of Giants of Faith that you have provided throughout history right up to today.  We want to put total control of our lives in your hands but we have a difficult time in letting go of the controls.  Help us become Giants of Faith.  Guide us, teach us and show us how to walk the path that you set before us with the complete confidence that You and You alone are in control.  Thank you Father.  It’s in Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.