Can you think of a time this week when you have found yourself fearful or anxious?
It shouldn’t be a surprise. There are a lot of people in our day who are earning a good living by stirring up anxiety. People have figured out how to monetize fear. Making us anxious has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
We are naturally fearful people. Whether it’s a fear of heights, of public speaking, of spiders and snakes, claustrophobia, aerophobia (fear of flying) mysophobia (a fear of germs) or agoraphobia (a fear of being alone), every one of us has certain things that make us afraid.
Fear can be a good thing. We live in a dangerous world. We should have a healthy fear of electricity, for example. We should be careful around spiders and snakes, since some varieties of venom can be deadly.
But problems happen when we move from being appropriately aware of and concerned about legitimate dangers we face to becoming overly concerned about things that are unlikely to bring us any real harm. In other words, we go from what can be a healthy fear to what the Bible calls “a spirit of fear.”
That phrase shows up in 2 Timothy 1, where the Apostle Paul is challenging his young protégé to embrace his assignment as a minister of the gospel. With his mentor sitting in a Roman prison facing execution for proclaiming Christ, it’s understandable that Timothy might be feeling reticent to speak up. “God has not given you a spirit of fear,” he says. Be bold, Timothy!
In our day, each of us is prone to timidity when it comes to our witness for Jesus. We know that many of our friends and co-workers have pre-conceived ideas about “crazy Christians,” and we don’t want them to think those things about us. So we lay low.
We’ve also probably experienced people who become argumentative, belligerent or even hostile around Christians. We don’t want to provoke anyone or stir up division. So we stay quiet.
When it comes to standing for our faith, we should we wise – wise as serpents, Jesus said. We should be careful. Humble. Meek.
And bold. Courageous. Not fearful.
I think there is a secondary application of this text for us. At times, a spirit of fear is fueled by a lack of confidence in God’s providence. We fear what the future may bring. We fear the unknown. We expect the worst to happen. We become paralyzed or depressed or both.
That spirit is not from God. If that’s how you’re looking at life, it’s not God’s doing.
In the Old Testament, Joshua famously faced the daunting assignment of entering into and possessing the land of promise. He was assuming leadership from Moses, a man who had clearly been sent from God. He did not know what the children of Israel would be facing as they moved forward. As it turned out, he would face reports of giants in the land. There was a fortress city in their way. The battles would not be easy.
Joshua’s fears were not unwarranted. But God had called him to go forward with courage. “Have I not commanded you?” God asked. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Do you find yourself controlled by a spirit of fear? Maybe it’s time to turn down the noise in your life that is stirring up the anxiety – the headlines, the drama, the vain imaginations about what the future may hold. Reset your thinking. Be transformed by renewing your mind with God’s word.
And remember you have a God who is with you and who loves you. His perfect love casts out our fears.
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).
PARKING LOT PICNIC #2 OF 4
Here’s what’s in the forecast for Wednesday in central Arkansas.
And hot dogs.
Our second of four parking lot picnics happens this Wednesday night, come rain or shine. Last week, the rain held off and we had a great time getting together.
|We made sure there was shade available.|
|The parachute was a hit with the kids!|
|We fire up the grill at 5:30. Bring the kids, bring some friends and come join us.|
If you missed the inaugural Gun Lap get together for guys last Friday, it’s not too late to jump in. You can order a book here (or wherever you order books from!).
NURSERY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
| Can you hold a baby or two for us once or twice this summer?|
Currently, we have volunteers who have agreed to teach our 4–6-year-olds on Sunday. But we need some help with our nursery this summer. If you could find one or two Sundays where you could help out in the nursery, we can take care of both groups of kids.
If we have a Sunday where we don’t have nursery workers, we’ll have our teachers take care of the nursery kids, and the 4-6 year-olds will join their parents in big church.
Let’s love our kids this summer and beyond.
Reach out to Jen Gurney right now and say “I’ll help” email@example.com or text/call her at 859-771-6580.
Or, you can use this link to quickly and easily sign up for serving in the nursery.
SERVE THE CITY – Grades 6-12
I wanted to make sure you knew about what our students have coming up this month.
On Friday and Saturday, June 18-19, they will be taking part in a “Serve The City” 24 hour event. The weekend will include service projects for our church community, our city and our world. Please remember to pray for the students and for the weekend!
Playground Plus Update . . .
|We’re still hoping to take full advantage of a $15,000 matching gift that’s been offered to us. So far, we’ve received $3,530 in matching gifts. Remember to note on your check that your gift is for the playground. With an online gift, please let us know the amount and the date given so we can apply your donation to the matching gift fund. The deadline for matching gifts to qualify has been extended until the end of June. So there’s still time! |
Playground prices (like everything made with wood, plastic and steel these days) are going up. We want to move quickly on our project to take advantage of current pricing. So the sooner, the cheaper!
When Jesus heard that His friend Lazarus was sick and near death, the Bible says that because Jesus loved Lazarus, He stayed where He was.
We’ll study the prologue to a resurrection in John 11 on Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!