Pastor Ben Squires, Bethel Lutheran Church, Gurnee, IL Deuteronomy 30:15-20 “Hold Fast” 15th Sunday After Pentecost Sunday

, September 5, 2010

I love to ride my bike, and only timing conspired to keep me from joining one of the Bethel Bike Hikes this summer. I’m looking forward to next summer when I can make a point of joining them for exercise and fellowship. I love to ride my bike, but nothing like the guy on the front cover—riding a full-sized bike sideways off a jump. I prefer to keep both wheels on the ground, but I sure appreciate someone who can take a bike, launch it off a jump, land again, and

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And helping that guy on the front cover do those tricks are some foot straps specially designed by a company in Brooklyn. full-size trick bikes. After breaking countless clips and straps. we decided to design and make some ourselves. your bike. from losing grip.” Hold fast to the Lord. so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God. from losing your ride. I’m not daring enough.” These foot straps are handmade in Brooklyn. 2 . They’re called Hold Fast. As Moses says in today’s reading from Deuteronomy. from crash landing. Like a Velcro foot strap that keeps your foot in place when you’re flying through the air on your bike. Only after many months of street testing by some of the best and burliest trick riders on the scene. these foot straps make an excellent picture of what faith is. and aside from their uses in all kinds of extreme biking. We believe these to be the finest foot straps made. On their Website they explain the birth of their company this way: “We founded Hold Fast because we couldn't find any toe clips that could stand up to the rigors of fixed gear freestyle riding. “Now choose life. It’s that Velcro strap that keeps you from flying off in all directions. did we feel that we had a product worthy of the name Hold Fast. Hold Fast makes foot straps for these kinds of bikes—fixed gear. faith holds us fast to the Lord no matter what kinds of jumps launch us into the air.keep riding. but it’s pretty cool watching people who are that daring. and hold fast to him. listen to his voice.

even when the landing looks like it’s going to be rough. keeps you from crash landing because you lost your grip on God. between the true God and false gods. and faith is those Hold Fast foot straps keeping you on that bike.It’s that Velcro strap of faith that keeps you attached to the Lord. And life. Staying on the bicycle—that’s being a disciple of Jesus. What’s been trying to throw you off the bike lately? What’s been trying to get you to let go of God. You are the rider. “Choose life. someone who doesn’t let go of Jesus even when you’re flying through the air. being a disciple of Jesus means staying on that bicycle. and God is the bicycle. even when life is throwing you in all sorts of directions. throws you plenty of jumps and pitfalls and barriers and other things in your way. Like Moses said. You’re holding fast to God through faith. and hold fast to the Lord. the Velcro strap— the Hold Fast foot strap—that’s faith. unfortunately. someone who hangs onto Him. What’s tempting you to let go of God and choose something else to believe in? What might make you jump off that bike and choose something different? 3 . In other words.” So you’re the rider. He’s talking about the choice between life and death. someone who holds fast to His teachings. between truth and lie. because that’s really what Moses is talking about here. God is the bicycle. and sometimes it seems like everything in your path is trying to throw you off. that’s being a follower of Jesus.

why it’s important.” You find yourself reaching down towards those foot straps. you know. “Maybe I ought to try something like that. You notice your friends and coworkers and other people around you don’t seem to have those straps. and you’re just not sure that God’s going to get you through. what makes it hard to stay with Him? What tempts you to choose something else? What’s got you reaching down to undo those foot straps and get off that bike? Perhaps you’re not sure if God’s really going to be able to get you through this time. then you’ll have life. He’ll get you through the pitfalls. He’ll be your source for life and salvation. selfhelp people and their books.I mean. don’t have that faith in Jesus. you hear all of this stuff. thinking about getting rid of faith in Jesus and moving onto something else. God has promised that if you ride with Him. if you hold fast to Him. spiritual people and their crystals. you’ve been going through something pretty difficult. celebrities and their psychics. Perhaps you find yourself in that moment when you’ve just forgotten what it means to be strapped to your bike. You hear all of this talk about people trusting in other things to get them through life. but really. Maybe there’s another answer out there. something you can hardly start talking about without crying or yelling or both. and you think to yourself. You kind of go through each day without much thought about God. why you need to have faith in God. You kind of forget how much you need those straps to keep from crash landing. and you figure you’re doing alright by yourself. 4 .

you rub a crystal. You know. I was a Christian. undoing that faith. and when that happens. It’s a crash landing that gets you questioning again just why you walked away from God in the first place.and at least from the outside.” And that’s a very big crash landing. they seem to be doing alright. and she had someone on the show talking about the power of crystals. getting off the bike and trying to go out on our own. but high school is a tough place sometimes. Well. we’ve been tempted. believed in Jesus. we’ve all had those moments when we thought about undoing those straps. I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient. Moses says. I mean. a crash landing that leaves you broken and laying on the ground and wondering just how you’ll ever recover. well. I remember once in high school watching Oprah. so I guess I thought I’d give it 5 . then we’re in that place that Moses describes. We’ve had those moments. and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them. Whatever the reasons. we’ve all been there—whether it was years ago or just this week. So you start to reach down and undo those straps. we’ve struck out on our own because we’re disappointed in God or because we think we can do it by ourselves. leave the bike behind and try doing it by yourself. when we’re done with faith. and supposedly it has power to heal and give you good energy and all of that. my friends. I was needed a little extra encouragement. we’ve been there. when we’re done with the Hold Fast foot straps. undo that faith.

picks me up. But I didn’t have a crystal. puts me on the bike. I figured it must have some power. leave the bike behind. He does it all. He was the only One who could support me in the scary days in those hallways. And you know what? Nothing happened. I had wandered away from Him. starting to go out on my own. and the next day at school when I was getting worried. As soon as I realized what I had done. Nothing good happened anyway.a shot. He brings me back to Him. that’s my fault. I was confused and wandering. and closes those foot straps around my feet. That rock wasn’t helping me face the troubles of life. but boy. He was the only One who offered life and salvation. holding onto that rock kept me from holding onto Jesus. I went back to God and realized He was the only One who could get me through the challenges of life. I was starting to undo the Hold Fast foot straps. In fact. Well. so I found a smooth rock that I had kept from a trip to Lake Superior. and God reaches out. 6 . I put that rock in my pocket. too. And then I was back with God. I’d reach into my pocket and hold onto that rock. He makes it so that I hold fast to Him. And here’s how I picture how God got me back to Him: I’m standing. and He gets all of the credit for that. it just made me all that more nervous and scared as I walked down the halls of school. My faith was shaky. I held fast to that rock.

to make the choice to follow God’s commands and hold fast to Him. places that teach us that being a disciple. it could sound that way if we don’t take everything Moses said into account. There Moses says. we’re saved by Christ alone not by what we do. when he is urging the people to choose life. it’s up to our actions to make sure we have life and faith in God. right? Well. it’s up to us. remember those Hold Fast straps are handmade in Brooklyn. So what is Moses saying? Doesn’t it sound like we are the ones who hold fast to God? Is the picture really of someone riding a bike and doing tricks without foot straps? Who needs Hold Fast? Who needs faith? We can do this by ourselves. it can sound a lot like it’s up to the people. And your faith was handmade. before we go thinking that we create the faith that keeps us connected to God. faith is created by the Spirit in our hearts. Faith is a gift. being a believer in Jesus comes to us as a gift from God. When Moses is talking about making that choice between death and life.So before we get too far in thinking that maybe we supply the faith. to choose God. “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the 7 . we can’t boast because it’s not our action. that maybe we are the ones who do such a good job keeping our feet on the pedals. But that would go against everything else we learn about God from other places in Scripture. Faith could sound like our action if we don’t go back to verse 6 of chapter 30. too—handmade by the Holy Spirit in the spiritual realm.

Ask God to pick you up. convert your hearts.hearts of your descendants. don’t set yourself up to think that it’s up to you to get back on the bike. and live. When you find that you’ve wandered away from the faith. The Lord will cause us to believe. The Lord gets all of the credit for our faith in Him. When you find that you’re standing by yourself. Hold Fast foot straps are handmade in Brooklyn. bring you back to Himself. or just when you’ve found yourself thinking about undoing those foot straps. and close those Hold Fast foot straps around your feet. Faith is God’s doing. the Lord will change. ask God to do it. instead of trying to bring yourself back. and give you faith in Him. God does what’s necessary in your heart so that you may love Him and obey Him and respond to Him with your life. so that you may love God with all your heart and with all your soul. and our faith is handmade in the spiritual realm. No—remember that faith is a gift from God. The Lord will create faith in your hearts. shape. it’s up to you to muster enough faith to get through another day. Faith is what God does in our hearts by His Spirit. God works on your heart. Ask God to draw you back.” In other words. when you’ve gotten off the bike. put you back on the bike. a faith that holds fast to Him and His Gospel and His teachings. handmade by the Lord Himself. it’s up to you to hold fast. 8 . so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

God forgives you. some other kind of faith. So maybe you’ve been toying with trusting in some other kind of ride. You are the rider. and sets you riding again. So maybe you feel guilty for wanting to walk away from God. and God is the bicycle. picks you up. God is the One who will hold you fast to Himself. and straps your feet on the pedals again. And God has given you a handmade pair of Hold Fast foot straps.So maybe you’ve crash landed because you thought you could do it by yourself. 9 . will work in your heart by His Holy Spirit. God forgives you. a handmade faith that keeps you with Him. draws you back to Himself. He forgives you through the cross of Jesus and gives you that faith that helps you trust and believe in that forgiveness. hold you fast through faith in Him. So maybe you feel like you’re flying through the air and there’s no way you can possibly land safely.

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