“Daaaadddaaaaa!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Come here Daddy! I need you!”
It was 4 AM this morning. My precious 2 1/2-year-old daughter Amira was crying in desperation. So, what’s a good dad to do? Down to her room I went.
At first sight of me she seemed relieved, and immediately she exclaimed, “I need some milk.” We talked some, quenched her thirst, and the conversation quickly went from her dry throat to more pressing issues.
“I need to sleep with you in Mommy’s bed” (funny how that works, isn’t it?). “No dear,” I replied, “you can stay in your bed. Just a couple more hours until the sun comes up. Your bed is nice and comfortable!”
“But there are monsters on my wall.”
She said it in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had to try to keep from chuckling.
Turns out, the monsters were not just on her wall, but also in the closet, under the bed, and on the ceiling, she told me. Honestly, I don’t know where she got that idea, but she was fully convinced of the infestation.
I showed her how safe her room was, that monsters weren’t real, then I assured her that God is in our house and he keeps the monsters and other scary things away. She got tucked in and slept for a few more hours, and woke up nice and cheerful as if nothing had ever happened. Thank goodness.
How many times do we act the same way? All around us there are “monsters” out to gobble us up. Maybe not the big, hairy, green ones, but our fear manifests itself in other ways.
- I can’t try anything new because I might fail
- I can’t witness because people might reject me
- I can’t give to the church or missions because I might not have enough for other bills
- I can’t speak to anybody about God because I might make them angry, and I might even be persecuted
It shows up in missions all around the world. May I be bold to say, Fear-based Christianity and fear-based missions is sin.
Why is it that the most frequent command in Scripture is to fear not? I believe that there are 2 prominent reasons:
1. Fear causes us to magnify a lie instead of Jesus
What is fear? It is worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet! Satan whispers a doubt, a lie, an unfounded anxiety, and we swallow it. That’s why we find the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
Anything that makes itself greater than my God is an idol and must be torn down. Tear down your fear. Bring your thoughts into captivity. Trust Christ.
2. Fear causes us to miss God’s will
When fear controls your life, the Devil gets the victory because you’ve already given up. “There’s no use in trying.” many might say. When we think of reaching the world with the Gospel, what is the greatest hinderance? We have missed it because we’re dominated by fear. Paul told one of the young men he mentored in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:
“6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
He had to remind Timothy of something that was forgotten. Fear doesn’t have to own you. God has something greater for you. The power to defeat that fear is already in you. If you don’t squash that fear, you will miss God’s plan for your life!
Christian, What’s your fear? What’s the “Monster on the wall?” What’s lifting itself up above Jesus in your life? What’s holding you back from doing God’s will? It’s time to lay it aside and trust Christ. It’s time to live boldly for the ONE who gave all for us.
• Wednesday – Sunday of this past week was spent in Zachary, LA at Grace Baptist Church. I don’t know of many other churches that are so given to missions! What a blessing it was.
• On the way to Louisiana last week I was able to stop by Pensacola Christian College in FL to see my brother Zach. He’s a music major in his 3rd year there… love that guy!
• We’ve picked up two new supporters (and a couple other “hopefuls” as well!) over the last two weeks. I believe this puts us right at 50% — Praise the Lord!
• Iglesia Bautista El Faro, the Spanish church we started in GA celebrated their 6th anniversary last Sunday. It really killed me not to be there, but I was told that the Lord really blessed in a great way! The Lord is doing such a great job through Pastor Alfonso.
• Hell’s Gates, an outreach event at our home church, has also gone very well. My pastor told me today that 84 people have made salvation decisions so far this month! If you haven’t been yet and live anywhere near Georgia, you should definitely make plans to go. There are only two weekends left. Let me know if you have any questions.
• IN THE NEWS: Please be praying for Colombia as they begin peace talks with the FARC rebel group today in Norway. This has been a highly anticipated event that has brought many mixed feelings amongst Colombians. May God’s will be done.
• PAST POST TO CONSIDER: Colombian Fruit
• FROM THE WORD: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
• Some pictures from the week:
Thanks for keeping up with us. We’d love to hear from you… just comment, message or email us to let us know how we can pray for you. May God bless!
- It has been North Carolina week for us!
- Started out this week’s meetings at Community Baptist Church in Siler City, NC for their Missions Sunday.
- I was blown away by the generosity and heart of this dear church. It’s exciting to see people who love Jesus and His mission
- I preached and presented our ministry in Sunday School, then a director from BIMI (another mission board) preached the main service.
- This man is a member of the church near Chattanooga that I went to as a child! It’s crazy how time flies… I remember him well.
- Sunday evening I preached and presented our ministry at Pleasant Plains Baptist in Apex, NC.
- What a fine group of faithful people. It was a joy to be there and meet these folks.
- Wednesday I was privileged to be with the people of Temple Baptist in Mount Airy, NC
- (This is the “Mayberry” of the Andy Griffith Show) — It was cool to stroll around town while in the area.
- After the service here, they, along with 2 others this week, expressed their interest and plan to take us on for support. Praise God!
- Also, God met a huge need through an unlikely source. I’ve been without a computer for a little while, and a young man said God laid it on his heart to buy me one with some extra money he had. What a huge blessing! Thank you Joseph.
- I think it’s easy to feel spoiled as a missionary. We’re way blessed beyond what we deserve, that’s for sure.
- Video to consider: Do You Suffer From D.I.M.S.?
A few pictures from the week…
This week, I read another familiar story in Colombian news. Two rival soccer teams faced off, each determined to win. The game was close, the tension lasted until the last minute, and finally, one group emerged victorious…
…And then comes the rest of the story. Fans, filled with passion for their team’s cause, break out in violence. The loosing side is angry, the winning side is prideful and arrogant. Both are zealous.
As people leave the stadium, if one is seen wearing anything resembling the other team’s colors, their life is in danger. Rocks are cast, punches thrown, weapons are drawn and harsh words echo the streets surrounding the area. Riot police are called in and chaos breaks out. People die. People are hurt. Why? Because of passion.
This is exactly what happened on Sunday in Medellín Colombia. They ended up arresting over 350 people and confiscating 450 weapons. They really were prepared to break out in violence and passionate enough to kill! You can read the story here.
You know, we might read something like that and think, “My oh my, why are people so dumb about a silly game?!” But, if we would be honest with ourselves, we’d find that we are just as passionate sometimes. Our passion simply takes a different form–hunting, fishing, golf, football, shopping, video games, movies, technology, friends, etc… The list could go on and on.
In the Bible, Paul often spoke of passion, sometimes referred to as zeal. You know, he was a pretty passionate guy himself. Check out what he said in Philippians 3:
“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
He was the pick of the litter when it came to religion. He had all the right training, the right family, the right positions, the right everything… He was the at the top and he knew it. He was so passionate about his religion that he was willing to kill people for it! That’s why he persecuted the church! Zeal. A passion for the cause.
But then looks at what he says in the very next verses:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Did you catch that? He said it was a loss to him! Paul came to the place where he realized that the things he was so passionate about were not drawing him close to God. In fact, they were unprofitable to him and Christ’s cause! He laid it aside in order to win Christ.
You know, we need some Christians that would be willing to do that. We get so tied up in this world and all of its many pleasures and pastimes that we are loosing Christ. It should be the other way around! Let us, the Children of God, determine to be passionate about HIM! More than anything else, HE will be my zeal. HE will be the driving force of energy that keeps me going each day. HE will be my goal, my prize, my life! HE will be my everything!
We might think the Colombian soccer fans may seem a little overzealous in their cause. When is the last time somebody accused you of being overzealous for Christ? They had a passion willing to kill another person. Let us get a passion for the Lord that would be willing to kill our own will and die to self. That’s the right passion. That’s the right zeal.
Die to self. Live unto Him.
Lets get ahold of a passion that kills.
I was 15 years old, nervous, excited, and desperately wanting God to work through me. It was a Saturday night Youth Revival at a small church in Flowery Branch, Georgia, and it would be my first time preaching.
After weeks of reading, studying, praying, fasting and begging God to do something great, the night came. I preached for 23 minutes about Daring to be a Daniel. I think I preached through about the entire book of Daniel before we finished. 🙂 One young man came forward and dedicated his life to Christ. It was worth it!
That was 10 years ago. God has opened so many doors since then and it has been such a joy preaching His Word. There’s nothing greater than knowing Christ and making Him known!
By God’s grace, He has allowed me to preach around 750 or 800 times in nursing homes, rescue missions, chapel services, mission churches around the world, our Spanish church, and now on deputation at churches across the country. I’m not worthy, but praise the Lamb, HE is!!
Over the past 10 years I’ve learned a few things, and I’m still trying to learn each day. Here are a few things God has taught me:
1. It’s not me, but it is Christ that can change lives!
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-7
2. The Bible text should be the central focus of the message, not my fancy outline!
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:26-28
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
3. God’s word will not return void!
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
4. The message must first be preached to me!
“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:1-4
So, 10 years have passed and unless Christ returns soon, I look forward to many, many more years of preaching and enjoying every opportunity He gives me to bring forth the Word of Life! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He is worthy!