Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Courage! To Face Your Fears

So I take notes every Sunday in church. I would always leave church, set them on my nightstand and then never do anything with them. Then finally clean off the nightstand and put them in the recycling bin. That doesn't seem to do any good. So lately I've been taking the notes electronically and uploading them you YouVersion. The sermon yesterday was really good. I thought it was worth posting here, too.

COURAGE! To Face Your Fears
Message #5 of COURAGE! by Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; February 20, 2011 (I pray my notes are accurate and useful. Those in {braces} indicate my own thoughts.)

-----What's so bad about Fears?-----

When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god. -- Max Lucado
If safety becomes our god, we worship a risk-free life.
"Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors." - M.L.

------ People of Fear and Courage -----

The list
Adam, Abram, Sarai, Lot, Abimelech, Hagar, Issac, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph's brothers, Etc. (The PowerPoint moves way too fast to capture them all. 61 people or groups.). So if you live with fear, you're not alone.

Joshua 1:1-18
Took over after Moses' death. Moses had been the leader for 40 years and Joshua was now the leader of millions. God says to get up, pack up the people and cross over into the land. God says he'll always be with him, never leave him, never forsake him. All Joshua need do is be strong and courageous. Repeated 5 times. Even the people speak it back to him in :18.

It was a warning that the only thing that could stop him was fear.

You (Joshua) and you (reader) will face fears. Move forward anyway.

Matthew 14:24-33
Jesus meets the boat on the lake. They see him walking towards them on the water. They were afraid, thinking it was a ghost. He tells them to not be afraid.

125 commands in the gospel. 21 are commands to be courageous, take heart, don't be afraid, be of good cheer. The next most commanded? Love the Lord your God. How many times? Just 8 times.

Jesus has Peter get out of the boat. He's still afraid, but he still does it. But he becomes more fearful and begins to sink. Jesus accuses him of having little faith and asks him why he doubts.

Fear is a lack of faith. {Fear as a response to doubt?}

----- What We Learn -----

== 1. Everyone FEARS ==
No one escapes it. For some, it's only at a point of urgency. Others live in constant fear, finding reasons to constantly be fearful, constantly worried they're about to fail.

== 2. Feed your FEARS and your FAITH WILL STARVE ==
(drawn from Max Lucado)
When fear goes up, faith goes down.

* CONSTANTLY ASK "WHAT IF..." (Looking to worst-case scenarios, not imagining success. There are some good 'what ifs' but you know what we're talking about here... What if she says no? What if the car breaks down? What if I lose my job? What if I fail?). If you live on the what ifs, you never take the risk to do anything great for God. Satan injects those what ifs into our head.

* LEAVE GOD OUT. The stories of the Bible are great, but that's history, not the present. Don't pray. Keep listening to the fears instead of what God may tell you.

* SURROUND YOURSELF WITH FEARFUL PEOPLE. Hang around people who don't believe you can do anything and you won't do anything.

* LET YOUR EMOTIONS DRIVE YOU. Forget truth. If it's scary, God must not want me to do that. "What is the opposite of fear? For Christians, there can only be one thing - trust." -- Billy Graham

== 3. Feed your FAITH and your FEARS WILL STARVE ==
When faith goes up, fear goes down.

Faith doesn't say fear doesn't exist, it allows us to look past it.

* DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE FROM FEAR. "Hey fear - I'm not going to obey you anymore.". Thomas Jefferson and the colonists - "King George, we are not afraid anymore. We are not afraid of your army or navy, we are willing to take a stand for independence, we will no longer be under your tyranny." When you make that declaration, understand there will be a fight. We will not allow Satan to bully us.

* BRING GOD INTO IT. Give them over to God (prayer). He hears us the first time. Repeating it is for our benefit. God already knows the end. Our job is to focus on God and say "That's your job.". (Man hired another guy to do all his worrying for him. The hired man was to be paid $200k to do it. He wondered how he would be paid. That, he was told, was his first worry.)

* READ GOD'S HISTORY. Many great examples in the Bible (Abraham, Esthet, Ruth, Jonathan, Paul, etc.) and after the Bible (for instance, our missionaries we we support today) people who reached past their fears.

* REHEARSE GOD'S PROMISES. "I will be with you always." That way you can listen to your head instead of your heart. Example: If I listen to my head, the roller coaster will not go off the tracks and kill me. If I listen to my heart I will never get on a roller coaster.

* REMEMBER GOD'S LOVE. He's already made a big investment in you.
See Psalm 62:11-12

* SURRENDER THE RESULTS TO JESUS. You can trust him. Thinking about Abraham... They waited so long for a child and then God turned around and asked him to sacrifice his son. At that moment, knife raised, he was trusting God. We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain when we put all our trust in God.

== 4. Do it AFRAID ==

Don't try to wait until you've overcome your fear.
"Courage is the mastery over fear, not the absence of fear." -- Mark Twain
God may give us peace, calm, assurance, a reminder of His presence or even a creative approach we hadn't considered before.
Do not invite fear in and let it feel at home.
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