How did God speak to you about the importance of overcoming fear?
My book Fearless was born out of a morning devotional time as I was reading in Matthew 8 about Jesus in the storm. He was asleep, and when the disciples woke him he asked, "Why are you afraid?" That's a great question. So I led off the book with it: "Now, tell me, why are you afraid?" because if we can figure out why we're afraid, then we have some practical ways to deal with it.
What we fear says a lot about us.
Like maybe some priorities that might be misplaced. If I fear rejection, maybe I value the approval of people too much. If I fear disease, maybe I love being healthy and comfortable too much.
I began a series of sermons in church about fear. About that time I was diagnosed with a heart problem, and I felt my own struggle with fear.
After the conversations with the cardiologist, he determined it was genetic issue, and after 18 months I ended up having a heart procedure. (My heart is now healthy.)
In the middle of all that, I decided it was time for me to step out of the role of senior pastor and bring in somebody to help lead the church and share the preaching responsibilities, so I had the anxiety of a major transition in life.
Meanwhile another Scripture caught my attention. I thought about the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus himself was afraid. It struck me that Jesus faced his own fear by going to pray and by taking people to pray with him.
That's a picture of a healthy church. The church is the modern-day version of the Garden of Gethsemane.
A healthy church is a place where I can go with my fear. It's a place where I can find a community of people—my own Peter, James and John—to whom I can be honest and say,
"Please pray with me about this fear."
The church becomes the place where fears go to die.
Copyright© 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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