“Trust Me If You Can”

At Gateway Church in Austin, we started our series designed to help us overcome our trust issues.

In the wake of a divisive presidential election, a pandemic, cultural unrest, and cancel culture, it’s no wonder we are all suffering from TRUST fatigue. Trust does not come easily for most of us, but learning to trust again can give us the strength and confidence we need (and others need from us).

Discussion Questions:

Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
“Trust Me If You Can” – Next Steps

Message from Gateway South Austin:

Message Notes:

Today we’re going to talk about a 5 letter word that may bother some of us, and for various reasons. This word is hard to come by. This word is evoked to gain your heart, your money, or your vote. As simply as we give it, we can also instantaneously lose it. 

Our word for the next four weeks is the word T R U S T. 

So I’m going to ask you to trust us on this four week ride.  Kind of like when Aladdin wanted to take Jasmin on a magic carpet ride.

When thinking, planning and praying over this series of messages, we have felt that the issue of trust has been bubbling in our culture (especially American culture) for years now. 2020 only gaslit the issue, as we had multiple highways of distrust converging at one time (social unrest, economic issues, presidential election, COVID). We have trust issues, and they have been made worse!

Have you noticed that we can find two opposing views on just about every single topic?
There may be a brief moment of unity around an issue only for that exact same issue to become polarized. Not only are we polarized from the right and from the left, there are also generational differences that divide us. So many are so partisan they berate or ridicule others from the other party.

Each generation may have a different way they want our country and local communities to function, but our younger generations are not having it. They are truly tired of what they consider status quo. Before the pandemic Pew Research found that 71% of young adults felt that people will take advantage of them if they got the chance.  The notion of there being a socialized trust has evaporated from our culture. 

“We are living in the age of that disappointment. Millennials and members of Gen Z have grown up in the age of that disappointment, knowing nothing else. In the U.S. and elsewhere, this has produced a crisis of faith, across society but especially among the young. It has produced a crisis of trust.”

– David Brooks (journalist)

So as we dive into scripture, how are we informed about trust and what can we learn about ourselves in this process:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.  They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:5-8

The word “cursed” in the Scriptures is another way to say “the consequences of going against God’s ways.” In other words, God is warning us that going against what He describes as best will actually hurt us and hurt those we love. He is not blasting us with lightning bolts when we do something He doesn’t like. He is warning us that life without God leads to a life without God.

As our culture moves further and further away from God, we tend to rely more and more on people which leads to disappointment – especially if these people are not relying on God.

When I say turning further and further away from God, I’m not just referring to the new atheists – people who believe there is no God, but I am referring to those who create God in their own image. Rather than a personal God who loves us, guides us and calls us towards a new life and even disciplines us or corrects us, Americans tend to take what we like about Jesus and add it to the superstitions or the philosophies or the other beliefs we also like. 

Jeremiah 17 is written in a way where we get to decide where to put our trust in God or in others. We may blame others for our circumstances, but others do not choose for us. One of the great gifts God gives us is the freedom to choose.

So what can we learn from this?

1. Trust is about us

Now, we’re not taught this in our culture. We’re taught that others are at the source of our discontent:

  • Trust others but verify if they can be trusted
  • Trust is earned, not given.
  • “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

Ernest Hemingway

For me, part of the beauty of going through recovery is that I gained the tools to find healing from some of my trust issues. I learned how to take responsibility for my own life.

  • I no longer had to be the victim of things my parents may have done.
  • I no longer had to be the victim of the evil choices of others that affected my life.
  • I no longer had to be the victim of my circumstances.
  • I no longer had to be the victim of unjust systems or judgmental people.

I discovered I cannot control as much as I was trying to control. I could only control my response to my circumstances and to what others may or may not have done.

A quick summary of the first 3 steps in Recovery

  • I am powerless.
  • God is powerful.
  • I need to surrender to God.

Now, let’s consider another passage this time from an angle of trust and mistrust

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s 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 toward Jesus.But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” – Matthew 14:25-30

The disciples assumed the worst!
“It’s a ghost!!” There is no indication they had ever seen a ghost in their entire lives! Why did they go there?!

They had seen Jesus do the miraculous, but in that moment of fear, Jesus didn’t even cross their mind.

When you are afraid, where does your mind go?  All that could go wrong or to Jesus?
When you are stressed, where does your mind go?  All that is coming against you or to Jesus?

Jesus says: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Did you know that 365 times God says: “Do not fear” in the Bible? That is once for every day of the year!

Consider memorizing some of these as a way to take your thoughts captive and reorient away from worst case scenarios and orient around faith-based scenarios. As a young believer, I memorized several verses to help me with this reorientation from worst case scenario to a faith-based scenario.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phil. 4:6-7

So back to this story about Jesus walking on the water. Once they knew it was Jesus, something extraordinary happened! Peter walked on water with Jesus!

We will experience the miraculous when we switch from a worst case scenario mindset to a faith-based scenario mindset. It may not be walking on water, but it may be better.

  • Rebuilding intimacy in your marriage.
  • Seeing your son choose to follow Jesus and get help for his addiction.
  • Reconciling with a family member or friend that fell away during this last year.
  • Overcoming a struggle in your life that has plagued you for years.
  • Learning to sense God’s presence and hear God’s voice in your life.

Or maybe for some of you, the miracle God has for you is a renewed heart. You’ve been hurt by so many people, and you have blamed God for all that pain. The miracle you need will come when you surrender your pain, your anger, your frustration over to God. Asking God to forgive you. Asking Him to take what Jesus did by dying on the cross to count for you.

But if Trust is truly a precious commodity, what are we doing to grow it, share it, receive it?

2. Trust is what brings us strength

Where am I expecting strength from?

From God?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121

The more we grow to trust God, the more we will be able to trust in life because we know even if we deal with people who are not trustworthy – God can bring good out of all of our challenging circumstances.

From Healthy Relationships? 
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. – II Samuel 1:26

We can also become more trustworthy personally from developing healthy relationships with trustworthy people.
Having healthy godly relationships impacted me. Really prepared me to have a healthy marriage. It was rooted in our relationships with God.

How are you intending to grow this summer?

Are you spending time reading the Scriptures, praying, worshipping on your own, on a hike, on a drive?
Be intentional this summer! It’s a new season! Time to start afresh! Reading books on following Jesus. Listening to messages from Gateway or the Bible Project or others who are following the way of Jesus.

Are you in community?
If not, what are you going to do to do improve on that?
I once heard someone describe Sundays as a great advertisement for our community. If you are growing from your time with us on Sundays, that’s a great start! You will grow even more in community with others. Serve team on Sunday. Serve with a network during the week. Belong to a community group. Grow in a life group. Heal in a recovery group. Connect with a class.

Gatewaychurch.com/connect

Some of us struggle to trust people because we don’t know what trustworthy people are like. Becoming a trustworthy person and spending time with trustworthy people helps in that.
Doesn’t mean they are perfect. It means they are honest with their struggles.
They say and mean it when they say: “I’m sorry.” 
They say and mean it when they say: “I forgive you.”
They say and do something about it when they say: “I need help.”

3. Trust grows confidence

We grow in confidence in our decision making

We grow in confidence extended to us by others

We grow in confidence even when the circumstances seem bleak

Maya Angelou has a few great quotes on this:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

“I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me.”

So let’s do some work this month to become trustworthy people who know how and when to trust others.

This week: Take an inventory of who you don’t trust and who you struggle to trust.

  • Where have I been burned?
  • What grudges am I holding?
  • Why do I struggle with trust?

Come back next week. Trusting Leadership if You Can.

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