Posted by: pastortomvabeach | October 7, 2019

Thought For The Week October 13, 2019

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Potomac Ministry Network Minister’s Retreat.  In addition to some fantastic worship and anointed teaching, Lilia and I got to spend some quality time with some of our best friends on the planet, the Altonas.  We have known Randy and Patty since 1977 and Randy is a significant part of the reason that we are Christians today.

Randy and I met in the workplace doing shore to ship communication (on the shore end) with U.S. Navy ships at sea.  Right away I knew there was something different about this guy.  My first clue was his language.  I never heard him use a word of profanity, which was very uncommon among sailors!  As I got to know him, I discovered that he had a relationship with God that I did not have and he was not afraid to tell me about it.  The result of interactions with him was that both Lilia and I gave our lives to Jesus Christ and that’s why we’re here today.

One of the speakers at the retreat was Pastor Herbert Cooper who founded and leads  People’s Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-site church based in Oklahoma City.  Pastor Cooper shared a messaged called I Was Afraid But God Gave Me Confidence, which covered three areas where pastors and church leaders need not to fear.  I believe this actually applies to every Christian so I want to share those three areas very briefly with you.

There are always hurdles between us and the vision or direction God gives us.  The main hurdle is fear.  Fear is what keeps us from doing what God wants us to do.  Even when we have desire, we face fear.

Every time God got ready to use someone powerfully in His Word, he told them,  “Do not be afraid.”  In Genesis 15. after Abraham had rescued Lot and his family from captivity, God made a covenant with him, saying, “Do not be afraid of the what you don’t know.  You will have a child.”  In Exodus 14, when Israel had their backs against the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army was closing in, Moses said, “Do not be afraid,” of any enemy.  Watch what God will do.  In Joshua 1:9, when the great leader, Moses, had died, God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid to lead my people.  The Lord is with you wherever you go.”  And in Acts 18:9, after Paul had been opposed by many in Corinth, the Lord said, “Do not be afraid to preach the gospel here.  I am with you.  No one will attack or hurt you.”

With that as a foundation, Pastor Cooper shared three areas we should not be afraid.

First: Do not  be afraid to stand up for God.  In Genesis 6, when everyone, literally everyone else, was going away from God, Noah found favor with God because he “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).  It doesn’t matter where the world is going we should not be afraid to stand up for our faith (I Cor. 16:13), stand up for the Word of God, stand up for holiness, stand up for being filled with the Holy Spirit, stand up for unity (Eph. 4:3), and stand up against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:13).  Because Noah stood up for God, he found favor with God.  If we stand, He will place His favor on us, on our families, on our ministries, on our churches, etc.

Second: Do not be afraid to make a difference.  We are making a bigger difference than we realize.  Noah spent 120 years building the ark but during that 120 years Peter tells us that he was also a preacher of righteousness (II Pet 2:5).  Imagine preaching to people for 120 years and then only having your own family choose to enter the ark.  Noah must have thought he wasn’t making a difference.  No one was listening to him.

Very often when you are making a difference, it looks like you are not.  Sometimes, it looks like you are making a mess.  Noah made a tremendous difference for his family.  They were all were saved.  Our greatest ministry is to our families.  More than anything else our families need to be saved.  If our spouses and children are saved we made a difference.  But Noah also made a difference for the animals and for the entire human race.  We would not be here today if not for Noah being faithful for 120 years.  Build the boat God called you to build, not the one He called someone else to build.  If you do that, you will make a difference.

Third: Do not be afraid to step out in faith.  Sometimes we miss out on what God wants to do because we don’t step out in faith.  Think about this, Noah built a huge boat when there had never been any rain.  Hebrews 11:7 tells us that he did it by faith.  The Word tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  Noah pleased the Lord because he stepped out in faith.

What is God asking of you that will require faith?  Is it to leave behind a lifestyle that is comfortable so you can live a more Christ-like life?  Is it to be bold in telling people that you trust Jesus and live for Him?  Is it to trust your finances to the Lord and begin to really tithe and be generous?  Is it to pursue a ministry area where you feel inadequate?

Fear can keep us from witnessing, from living holy lives, from learning to represent God in the world by our demeanor and generosity.  Randy Altona was not afraid to tell me that Jesus made a difference for him and because of that Jesus saved me.  Let’s decide that we will listen to the Lord when He says, “Do not be afraid.”  Just a thought.

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