Fear, what does that word mean to you? We all have things of which we are afraid. When you were young it might have been bullies. When grown your fear might be losing a job, a home or a relationship. And the universal fear of all ages is rejection. The Bible talks about fear in 252 verses. I found a passage from Psalm 24 that speaks to fear:
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. 13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
I have been thinking about how fear can grip us in the church. I used to believe that the church was most fearful of changing beliefs in the culture. The biggest fear facing the church today is not actually changing beliefs. The biggest fear is not that the culture is different; the biggest fear is that it CAUSES US TO CHANGE!! We aren’t worried about “them,” we are worried about “us.” But change can be hard because we want things to stay the same. We can even be fearful about some subjects in the Bible because they make us uncomfortable, like sexual themes or parables on money.
In this church we worship God in different ways using different styles which reflect the diversity of our church. To say that I am proud of this church is an understatement; too many churches will let themselves die before they will embrace the unknown. Worship of God has always been the ultimate call in our lives and this church doesn’t shy away from embracing that. Friends, God is not done with us yet!! The Lord will call us to bigger and better and we will have to ask the question, “Are we ready to follow?” The Psalmist knew this feeling of fear, but also knows that God blesses those of the covenant. Who are of the covenant? The church! Change can be scary and make us fearful, but also exciting. I found a story that deals with the issues of change.
A man’s car was held up by a broken down car in front of him. He just sat there and sounded the horn while the woman driver in front was desperately trying to start her car. He sounded the horn even more impatiently and the lady walked round to his car and said sweetly, "Why don’t we change places? I’ll sound the horn and you can start the car!" It’s easy to grumble - finding solutions is more difficult!
As we continue to see visions and dream dreams, where will you be? Honking or trying to help? Something for all of us to ponder! God bless you and yours in this spring time.
See you in worship,
Rev. Dr. Benjamin D. Seller
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