Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Be Afraid

This is a blog post that I copied. The author is Russel D. Moore. I thought it was worth sharing!

Don’t Be Afraid

— MONDAY, MARCH 22ND, 2010 —

“Now these three abide: anger, outrage, and fear—and the greatest of these is fear.”

That’s not in the Bible.

But sometimes I wonder if I think it is.

The United States House of Representatives just passed a health care reform bill that I and lots of other Christians opposed. Such legislation should concern us. There are some bad consequences for the weakest and most vulnerable among us, principally unborn children. But should it also concern us that so many of us are talking today about how afraid we are?

Is it a problem that some of us who are tranquil as still water about biblical doctrine and ecclesial mission are red-faced about Nancy Pelosi and the talking heads on MSNBC? Is it a problem that some who haven’t shared the gospel with their neighbors in months or years are motivated to vent to strangers on the street about how scary national health care will be?

It’s not that I think Christians should be disengaged from issues of justice (God forbid!). It’s just that I wonder if we wouldn’t represent Christ and his kingdom better if we did it with a certain tranquility of Spirit, a tranquility that signals we’re not afraid of the rise and fall of temporal kingdoms and their policies.

The words “do not fear” and “don’t be afraid” are among the most common phrases on the lips of our Lord—in both Old and New Testaments—and on the lips of his angelic messengers. I wonder why?

Isn’t it because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn. 4:18)? Isn’t it because we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” (Rom. 8:15)? Isn’t it because the Spirit prompts us not to “fear anything that is frightening” (1 Pet. 3:6)?

In fact, the Holy Spirit through King David, in a context far more frightening than that of our own, calls us to “fret not yourself because of evildoers” who will soon pass but “trust in the Lord and do good” (Ps. 37:1-3).

Here’s why this matters.

Most of us don’t preach “hellfire and brimstone” sermons anymore, on hell and God’s judgment. But hellfire is exactly what Jesus said we should fear. “And do not fear the ones who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” our Lord tells his disciples. “Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).

Jesus not only teaches this; he lives it. Jesus doesn’t fear the crowds attempting to stone him. He doesn’t cower before Pilate. He isn’t afraid of the Sanhedrin. He’s confident and tranquil, even when he’s being arrested. But when he faces drinking from the cup of judgment of his Father, he sweats drops of blood.

If we were half as outraged by our own sin and self-deception as we are by the follies of our political opponents, what would be the result? If we rejoiced as much that our names are written in heaven as we do about such trivialities as basketball brackets, what would be the result?

So if what you’re afraid of is a politician or a policy or a culture or the future of Western civilization, don’t give up the conviction but give up the fear. Work for justice. Oppose evil. But do it so that your opponents will see not fear but trust, optimism, and affection.

“So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

Fear God and, beyond that, don’t be afraid.

Monday, March 22, 2010

James 1:27 TMB

Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Code Red!!

We're in a season of life where the threat of attacks by the enemy is severe. It's been a very rough two weeks around here. There has been lots of change, lots of tears, lots of hurt, lots of angriness, but we're still straining ahead to defeat the enemy, and keeping our eyes on the Prize. "In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" ~ Jesus.

We have some wonderful friends who are encouraging us through these tumultuous times. Thank you God for all of them. I don't know where we would be without those who have lifted our arms when we've felt like dropping them or giving up. God made us to be in relationships. Relationships with others and relationships with Him, the Giver of Life. Thank you God for making us this way; for giving us people to love and to be loved by, and for loving us despite our screwed-up-ness.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers over these next few weeks, as we know the "terror level" will probably remain high. We will be looking for a new church, which is always hard, especially on the children. We will be in God's word and praying that we can be the "hands and feet of Jesus" wherever He leads us. Meanwhile, I continue to prepare for my trip to Uganda in May. I know the enemy would love nothing better to discourage our family, make us angry and bitter, and distract us from the work the Lord has called us to do. Please pray against disunity within our family and pray that the enemy would be rebuked. For we know that "in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have ben called according to His purpose".

Thanks friends!


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Is the Church part of the American Dream?

The Church and Debt: Okay, so the poll is closed and the results are in: Only 25 people voted, but 77% thought churches should NOT go into debt, 9 % said yes, it was okay for the church to go into debt, and 13% were not sure. I know this is not a 'scientific' study, per se, but it affirms that this is something that churches in America need to be talking about and praying about and being open with their congregations about so they're not wooed by the enemy into becoming part of the American Dream. My favorite (biased) comment on the subject is here, in case you missed it.

I read a quote by Ed Stetzer yesterday that really spoke to my heart: "The American dream is one of the biggest distractions Satan uses us to distract us from God's global mission."

I've thought about this quote since I read it and throughout the night. I also finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan yesterday. Man, God is really messing with my brain and my heart. I know that He is calling me out, calling me to be different, and calling me to be "radical". I'm trying to seek God to find out what this will look like in my life. I've always been a little "radical" or "different" or "someone who marches to the beat of her own drum", but I know that God is asking me to "kick it up a notch".

I've lived the past thirty something years yearning for the American Dream: A nice big house (decorated like a Pottery Barn catalog), nice cars, healthy children, no wrinkles, a fashionable wardrobe, 401K, college funds, etc. You get the picture.

Now all of a sudden God has nailed home the reality that I am NOT promised tomorrow! What am I doing TODAY that will make a difference in light of eternity? James 4:13-14 says: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that just appears for a little while and vanishes away.

I'm writing all this because really I just need a good therapist but can't afford one...haha. Lucky for you all right? I'm struggling here with this and I hope some of you are too...... Why am I saving money to redo my bedroom with new duvet covers, paint, curtains, etc. when people are hungry and lonely and hurting? Yeah so my duvet cover is a little ripped and I don't like the paint color, but will I live without a new one? Of course. (But God... I REALLY want to paint my bedroom!! *stomping my foot*).

Surely we all know people who died suddenly or tragically.... they never saw it coming. If I died next week, would I want people to say "Kirsten has a really nicely decorated bedroom" or "Kirsten thought of the needs of others before her own"?

But this is HARD! My friend Anne Marie said this yesterday: HA! The American Dream - how long will we believe that lie. I still fall back into that lie so easily. As if we have been promised anything for this life except persecution and trouble because of our love for Christ. Salvation is all about when we are united with Him for eternity - not heaven, not what we think heaven has for us but HIM! Just Jesus! Oh if I could only remember this ever time I waver.

I feel the same way!! And this is the radical life that God wants us to live: to forsake the American Dream for Jesus... not conform to it!

Again, I don't know exactly what this looks like for me, but I'm excited, scared, anxious, etc. to find out!