Monthly Archives: July 2017

Don’t be scared of fear!

bigstock-Frightened-and-stressed-young-41736385Perhaps fear has gotten a bad rap. I know fear has had some bad days and there are some things that fear does that are not good. Fear can be crippling, it can cause people to react in ways that are bizarre or even dangerous. Fear has been known to keep a lot of people from reaching their full potential. A president once notably said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (FDR)

But perhaps there is something to fear that we are missing.   Amy Bucher said, “People’s natural instinct when confronted with a scary situation is to avoid it. On reflection, most of us realize the downside to running away from fear: Avoidance just intensifies the feelings of anxiety and makes it hard to focus on anything else.”

Researchers say that a certain amount of fear can prove helpful in exceptional performance. “Fear signals there’s something of consequence on the line, a reason to exert effort which often produces greater results.” (AB)

Whenever we are forced out of our comfort zone or challenged to a new level there will instinctively be fear that comes along. It is in this moment that our level of discipline, faith or determination will direct our response. Fear either paralyzes or motivates, it either creates a state of frozen intimidation or drives us to whole-hearted action. This is not a fear problem but rather a me problem.

I have recently been pondering this thought as I have been challenged at a whole new level or personal, spiritual and leadership growth.   After all what great things have ever been accomplished in this world that weren’t first an intimidating fearful idea to a person? Show me something great, and I’ll show you something scary. Show me a person of great influence or accomplishment and I’ll show you a person who knows what it is to be afraid.

When we consider that we are all called to be on mission for God and his Kingdom there are a few considerations that underlie our involvement.

God’s work is always God-sized. God is up to something exceptional in this world.   God’s work is always done in a unique and exceptional ways and God’s work is only accomplished through God’s supernatural power. What is remarkable about this is that God has chosen to accomplish his work with human hands. When we understand this the only appropriate response is to reverently fear and tremble before God.

As I thought more about this it dawned upon me that just about every great leader, whether in the Bible and down through history, somewhere early on in their endeavors stood with fear and trembling before the Lord.  David ran from Saul and the throne that God had anointed him for, in fear.  Paul, was humbled at the calling of God and considered himself the worst of sinners, least among Apostles. Mary had to be told by the Angel to “fear not” when God’s plan for her life was revealed. Even Jesus trembled in the garden before the greatest act ever performed in human history and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

It seems to me that before God does something great his first order of business is to scare someone really good.

Although fear is often the entrance into the calling of God on our lives and is often the first emotion when we are tackling something new, fear is never to be our final destination. Fear that comes from hearing God’s voice and being called of God ultimately leads to great strength and courage.   The same presence that caused Moses to fear at the burning bush was later his source of strength and courage as he stood face to face with Pharaoh. The song writer of the famous hymn put it this way….’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved.

So today perhaps you read this article and are surrounded by fear. Take heart choose to respond in faith and courage. Remember you are in good company and it may just mean something great is about to happen! Don’t let fear scare you!


The Responsibility of Freedom

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Happy Birthday America! Today we celebrate the freedom given to us by God, our founders and the brave men and women who fought and died to ensure freedom for all Americans.

It seems that nothing is more American or more attractive to people in general than the concept of freedom.   TV Commercial try to sell us their goods with the promise that it will make us free, Countries celebrate their independence with robust songs and ceremonies of freedom. Christian writer Roger Olsen states, “Politicians, businesspeople, advertisers, salesmen, military leaders and recruiters—all know how to use “freedom” to attract attention and draw interest. Few words are so common while carrying so much weight.”   Freedom is a universal desire placed in us by God Himself. And yet, there seems to be a disconnect from the concept of Biblical freedom and the freedom that is so often pursued in our culture.

As paradoxical as it may sound true freedom actually comes with restrictions. True freedom is the balance of my independence and the understanding of my responsibility to the purpose for which I was created. I am constrained to freely do what God intended me to do in this world. It is best illustrated by a train which is free only so long as it stays on its tracks; a train that jumps the tracks is “free” of the rails but no longer free in the most important sense of the word. It’s a freed wreck that leads to disaster. It is “Free,” but no longer free indeed. The rails simultaneously restrain and set the train free.

When we misunderstand freedom and abandon the “rails” upon we have been founded, We risk losing the very freedom we love so much. Ultimately unchained freedom leads to bondage.

In order to be free we need rails of restraint firmly laid in our lives. Individual responsibility is a rail upon which freedom rides. When we take responsibility for our families, our survival, or success and our failure we are closer to experiencing freedom. When we expect and demand others or a government to meet our needs or find reason to blame someone else for our problems, we relinquish the freedom we ultimately seek.

Self-Restraint is a rail upon which freedom rides. Freedom is not life without laws or limits. That is a train wreck. Until we find the grace demanded to restrain ourselves there will never be enough laws or law enforcement officers to keep us in line. The debates over gun control, drugs and sexual crimes would be solved in a moment if men and women were able by God’s grace to control their own appetites. Lives committed to “free indulgence” of everything they desire demand a society where freedom is limited by law and government. The Apostle Paul says in I Cor 10:23-24 23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. By grace he gladly enchained his own freedom for the glory of God and the benefit of others.

 Transcendent truth is a rail of freedom. In our modern attempts at liberation, we have systematically removed absolute morality and we wonder why we cannot control our society. In a world that says there is no absolute right and wrong we mustn’t wonder why freedom disappears. Where there is no God, No transcendent truth the heavy hand of government must rule. Communist regime’s both past and present have illustrated this well.

Christ and His Gospel are the answer to freedom crisis in our world. When he reigns in a life that life will find power to reign itself. A Christian embrace of freedom is the blessing of any society. By the grace of God in Christ a life is simultaneously set free and restrained by grace. This is the only hope for true freedom. Jesus said, “He who the son sets free is free indeed! John 8:36.

In his treatise On Christian Liberty the Reformer Martin Luther summed this up well: “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.”