Tag Archives: Christ

Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 29 – Fear Failures

dtl_17_4_2014_9_41_56When I was little I was afraid of the dark.  This isn’t a huge revelation as most kids and even some adults are afraid of what happens when the lights go out.  Shadows get cast on the wall, GI-Joe action figures seems to look at you, the wind is just a little louder than you remember it, even your dog with sleep apnea can become a little creepy in the still of night you.  Sometimes all you can do is just tuck the covers over your head until the fear subsides or you pass out from lack of oxygen.

Fear is not just relegated to the time when your eyes switch from using cones to rods.  It is much less about physiology as it is with psychology.  Our eyes know that the FatHead sticker on the wall is just Andy Daulton from the Bengals.  But something inside us makes us question that fact and we start to think he may be a red haired, ginger, alien trying to attack us while we sleep.  It’s as if our mind is playing tricks on us and then convinces our heart it’s true so that we freak out…and possibly wet the bed.

Life can seem fearful too.

Difficult things happen to us on a daily basis.  From stressful bosses at work to bullies in the halls to difficult spouses in our homes our lives are in a constant state of adjustment based on what is happening.  Life will often throw you more curveballs than fastballs which always keeps you off balance.  I know so many people that live just waiting for the next bad thing to happen as if it was as inevitable as junk mail.  President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The only thing to fear, is fear itself.”   Well if that’s true then it is a miracle we see anyone on the streets at all!  Let’s face it, there are things to be fearful everywhere we turn.  We could easily succumb to these fears, stay in our house, watch The Bachelor, and wait for the police to come and reposes our house, but God didn’t design us that way.

Proverbs 29, although not completely about fear, does have underpinnings of the effects of it.  There are several examples such as dealing with spoiled people (v. 21), an angry person (v 22), fools with rage (v. 11), unfair government officials (v. 4-5), and even concerns about raising chidden (v. 15,17, 21).  Yet as Solomon nears the end of this piece we read these words:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

Proverbs 29:25

This is the release our souls need.

You see fear is easily one of the “go to” techniques of Satan that keeps us from truly living.  Have you ever noticed that our fear is typically at it’s worst when we are considering doing something for God?  All of a sudden you become acutely aware of your past mistakes, weaknesses, empty bank account, meager abilities, lack of time, and all kinds of things that you normally don’t even think about.  He wants to bring those things up so that you become more focused on them and less about the promises of God.  Promises that tell you that you can do “all things through He who strengthens you”. (Phil. 4:13)  On top of all your shortcomings Satan will bring about fear of man issues too.  He will start to seed your spirit with ideas like, “No one will listen to you”, “They will turn on you if you do that”, or “I’m sure the boss will fire you if he finds out.”  Even though God is the creator of all things including man, we still place what other people say above what God says and we start to let fear choke us.  We start to let it squeeze the life out of us like a Boa Constrictor.  I call this Fear Failure.  This is losing before the game even begins.  We let fear get the best of us and slowly steal our life.

As Believers, we need to shake ourselves loose from this man made fear.  Solomon tells us that man’s fear will be a snare to us, but trusting in God will keep us safe.  That doesn’t mean that life will be easy or that we will never have fear sneak around the corner again.  It means that even if we do start to feel the butterflies rise up we have the reassurance that God is with us. His love for us will quickly smothers any fear flame from growing.  Since Jesus died for our sins and took the sting of eternal death we truly have nothing left to fear.  The rest of life becomes a roller coaster adventure complete with our hands up in the air and smile on our face trusting that God is in control.

There are too many people reading this that fear has taken over your life.  You are keeping yourself from following God’s lead and you are stifling the plan God has for you.  I want to encourage you to take your foot off the brake and let God put the pedal to the metal in your life.  Don’t let the voice of your past keep you from the future God has in store for you.  Dream big!  If God has placed it on your heart he wants you to transfer it to your hands.  Come to love the feeling of being almost out of control for the things of God and see where He takes you.

God has great things stored up in you so throw open the gates and let them rush out for His glory!  Don’t let Fear Failures keep you inside any longer.  Get out there and start living for Him!

5 Things To Do After You Get Baptized

baptism-1So you did it!

You were baptized, you took the plunge, you got dunked!!

That is so awesome!  Just know that the party in heaven for you declaring Jesus your Lord and Savior is just getting started.  If you haven’t heard, “there ain’t no party like a Heaven party, cuz the Heaven party don’t stop!

So after you dry off, finish with all the hugs, and feel the adrenaline wear off…now what?  I mean, shouldn’t there be a meet and great with an angel or maybe a lighting bolt tattoo that mysteriously shows up on your left ankle?  There has to be some sort of next step or way to remember this amazing event that happened right?

Sure you will get a super duper awesome certificate in the mail commemorating your day, but I think your soul has bigger questions than what kind of frame should I hang this in?

Well to help you with your next steps of faith, I thought I would outline five tangible steps you can take after your baptism.

#5 – Tell Someone About It

I can’t overstate how important this step is in your journey.  Telling someone what you did and why you did it is vital to making this experience be more than a cheap bath.  It is establishing your testimony.  Calm down, I’m not asking you to stand on a street corner and let it rip at the people passing by.  I’m simply asking you to tell someone you love what God did in you in a very real and honest way.  This may be your mom, dad, brother, coworker, or even child, but telling someone helps to keep the meat on the bones of what you decided to do.  I guess I’m saying that the answer to the question, “How was your weekend?” may need a different answer this week.

#4 – Get A Bible

You may already have one of these at home, but if it’s used to level out your broken coffee table that might not be the way God intended you to use it.  In all seriousness, find a Bible you can understand so you can start your journey.  I recommend to both new and seasoned believers the Life Application Bible.  It is the NIV translation and gives you help reading through the Bible when you hit the stick points.  You can find it wherever you like, but it’s worth the investment to have a good Bible to use and let it speak to you.

#3 – Find A Reading Plan

After you get your Bible you may need help deciding where to start and a Bible reading plan can be very, very helpful.  I recommend a plan called the SOAP reading plan which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer.  This approach to reading your Bible provides you a structure to follow when reading.  Our church puts out a regular SOAP Reading Plan based on this model which may be helpful.  Download it, follow it, dive into it.

#2 – Join A Small Group

You may need to stretch yourself a little bit here.  I know that the thought of sitting around talking about the Bible, praying, and meeting a bunch of strangers may sound goofy, but stay with me.  Small groups is the way that you will see your faith grow astronomically because you get to see it in real lives.  I’d encourage you to join a group at your church and if you are a Parkview person you can go to our Group Finder and it will lead you through finding a group.  Getting in community with other believers is one the best ways to keep the fire of your baptism alive and running.

#1 – Keep Going To Church

Finally I would encourage you to stay connected to a church family.  There is a growing number of people in the world that feel church is an “option” in their faith.  They feel they can connect with God anywhere they want and don’t have to attend a church to do it.  I’d agree that God is everywhere, but the fact is that Jesus died FOR the church so I’d say it may be important.  Church is where you go to get fed, encouraged, challenged, grow in community, learn to serve, and so much more, but you need to be there to receive the fullness of that blessing.  I’m not saying you have to go to my church, but go to A Bible believing and Jesus loving church near you and get plugged in.

*For my Parkview readers you also could consider coming to one of our What We Believe Classes coming up.  At the Lockport Campus it is on May 7 and at our Orland Park Campus it is being offered May 18.  This is a great class to learn more about Parkview as a church and also find out what your next steps in your walk can be at Parkview.

I hope you still have a smile on your face remembering your moment under the waters of baptism.  I pray the joy that God gave you through the gift of the Holy Spirit has permanently changed you forever.  I know I’m smiling just thinking of it too.

However, I do know that this type of adrenaline high is impossible to maintain.  You need next steps to grow and to keep following God’s path.  Take a look at these things, ask questions, get plugged in with a good church, and keep following Christ.  Would I also love to see you connect with a seasoned Believer for mentoring, accountability, and to walk through life with?  Yes, but these 5 things are great next steps to start with today.

So, I pray that although the water may be dried on your body, that your soul remains drenched with the love God has for you.