Misplaced Fear

And Herodias had a grudge against him (John the Baptist) and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
Mark 6:19‭-‬20 ESV

Herod feared John.
Herod knew John was a righteous and holy man.
Herod listened to John.
Herod was perplexed by John yet gladly heard him.

THUS…

Herod protected John — for awhile — until his fear of man trumped his fear of John.

Hmmm…interesting, isn’t it. Herod feared and respected John the Baptist and gladly heard him, but nothing about fearing God. Nothing about wanting to know more about this Messiah to which John was pointing. Herod was simply fascinated with the man (John), not God, thus his “fear” was not firmly grounded.

And herein lies the issue — the fear of man verses the fear of God. The fear of man will only take you so far and will eventually betray you and/or the one you claim to fear. The faith-filled fear of God will keep you in awe and never betray you, and will rightly direct your worship.

It’s sad, really, as this worldly fear leads people into false worship. This is evident in how people view /think of Christian worship. The delivery or form or the service itself becomes the object of one’s worship. One’s fear of how worship is done soon captures their heart and veils the one they claim to fear/worship.
They fear not being entertained.
They fear something going wrong.

When these becomes the main fears, then God is not glorified. How can God be glorified when people want…

…entertainment, not worship
…form, not substance
…creature, not Creator
…words, not the Word
…Easter, not Good Friday
…absolution, not confession
…comfort, not suffering

They fear man, not God.

May you not adopt the ways of Herod but walk in the Way of Jesus.
May your fear not be misplaced.
May your worship be directed towards “entertaining” God not in being entertained.

May you be greatly “perplexed” about God, so much so, that you are driven, more and more, to hear God, more and more gladly, so much so, that your holy fear of God is nurtured and cultivated in such a way that God is glorified in every way in your life.

Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Fear? Be Still!

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

[Psalm 46:10-11]

Texas church shooting: “So many babies” among those slain in Sutherland Springs

A Family Was Praying in a Texas Church. Then 8 Were Dead

At least 26 dead in South Texas church shooting, officials say

Those are just a few headlines that I found concerning the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Not knowing any more details, those headlines are enough to send chills up and down anyone’s spine. What a scary event; Christians gathering in a sanctuary to worship God almighty through Jesus Christ our Lord. Satan has definitely fired a shot across our bow and has gotten the attention of many. But God says…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

This is not a suggestion to try. This is not a request. This is a command. For Satan is not god. This world is not god. I AM God, He says. Period. So…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Many people were killed and injured, but God is still God. Satan would have you turn in upon yourself for safety and security. Satan would have you turn to the world for peace. Satan would have you put your hope in locked doors and armed guards. Satan would have you take your eyes off the prize. But God says…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Satan would have you live in fear. Fear?

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Pastor -|—

 

I Will Not Live in Fear but in the Fear of the Lord

Living in fear is never the answer unless, of course, we are talking about the “fear of the Lord”. In that case we aren’t really living in fear, per se, but rather in reverence and awe of our amazing God through Jesus Christ. It isn’t a fear that sends us running away. It isn’t a fear that causes us to cower and shake. It isn’t a fear to cause us to look over our shoulders. The fear of the Lord sends us running INTO the mighty arms of our Lord. We worship him. We revere Him. We stand in awe of Him.

Satan would have us do the opposite. So many people are fearful, today, as we process the horrific events in Sutherland Spring, Texas. People are wondering how to protect themselves, now, as we enter and worship in a sanctuary; a place that, by definition, is a place of refuge and safety. Do we need armed guards? Do we install metal detectors? Do we have bag searches at the visitor’s center? Do we lock the church doors after worship starts? Fear, fear, fear.

But I refuse to live in that kind of fear. I refuse to let Satan steer my eyes away from the One we ought to fear; God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. No, I am not going to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything will be alright; that this will never happen to us, but I am not going to be held captive by Satan; by evil. I am going to enter my sanctuary each and every week with reverence and awe, and worship our awesome God through Jesus Christ. I will be aware of my surroundings but not at the expense of my God. Besides, if I die while worshiping, well, so be it. There are definitely worse ways to go and worse places.

Through Jesus Christ we are THE Church. We are his bride. Jesus died for us. Jesus redeemed us with his very blood. My friends, what is there to fear, then, outside of God almighty? So I am NOT going to live in fear, only in the fear of the Lord.

So with that said, there is only one thing left to do: Tell Satan to take his fear and go to hell.

The (feisty) Pastor -|—

Facing Jesus

I was struck by a convicting thought during our congregational text study this morning. The Gospel text for Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus walking on the water. As we were discussing this I began to think about facing fears. Peter was afraid in that boat as the wind and waves were causing havoc out there on that sea. To top things off, a “ghost” was heading straight towards them. Upon seeing it was Jesus, Peter asks to be near Jesus and thus it happened. Instead of facing his fears, Peter was facing Jesus and eventually, face to face with him out there on that stormy sea. It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind; his fear, that he began to sink.

As we continued to discuss this text the issue of North Korea came up. All the talk about them attacking Guam and potentially the main land of the United States. It’s kind of scary when you dwell on that but why am I dwelling on it. I began to reflect on the fact that I normally close my day by watching the news and then going to bed. On many nights, the final images and words in my brain are the crap going on in the world. How dumb is that. It seems like a no-brainer. Face my fears or face Jesus. The answer is pretty simple.

[Click]

Off went the T.V.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m climbing out of the boat…

The Pastor -|—

 

Irrelevant Fear

Holy Father,
with You,
fear of this world is irrelevant
as You have given us a sure and certain hope
through Jesus.
As Jesus has won the victory through his resurrection,
so we, too,
have won the victory through faith in him.
May our only fear be a holy awe of You
as we worship You
through Christ Jesus our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Fear and Hope

Holy God,

there is much to fear in this world.
Satan is running around
trying to lead us astray through false worship.
He is trying to drag us down into hopelessness.
At times Satan succeeds
and thus paralyzes us with fear,
so much so,
that the Gospel is not proclaimed.

But we ask that You may send Your Holy Spirit
to teach us
and remind us
of the victory we have through faith in Jesus Christ.

Show us the cross.
Show us the empty tomb.
Show us Jesus.

May we see the life we have in You
and know that death has been defeated.
May we rejoice in You
and thus share this Joy with others.
And in the end,
may You and You alone be glorified.

Now may the words of my mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable to You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Future

The future lurks.
It lurks like that boogie man from childhood stories.
The future stalks.
It stalks like those scary Stephen King creatures.
The future waits.
It waits like a predator eyeing it’s prey.

The future is coming,
and all we can do is
wait and
wait and
wait…

And it’s scary,
the not knowing,
being out of control,
not being able to plan and
anticipate and
prepare.

But that’s how the future likes it.
It wants you scared so it can control
you.

But God says, “Fear not
But I say, “The future is scary
But God says, “I am your past, present and future

I love you, my child
I love you, more than you can imagine
I created you
I shaped you
I gave my Son for you
I love you, so do not fear

[goose bumps, sigh, breath, smile]

Take that you lurking, stalking and waiting future.
My God is bigger.
My God is stronger.
My God is my refuge.

Oh God, I wait for YOU…

The Pastor -|—