Thursday, May 04, 2006

Week 3: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Fear can paralyze individuals. Fear can paralyze an individual church or even a denomination.

What am I afraid of? Failure. Rejection. The vote on the Peace, Unity and Purity task force report. Not being there for my diabetic brother. Heights. What will happen to Evergreen Presbyterian Church in the next five years as so many of our church family are over the age of 75. Being irrelevant. The list could go on…

Do these fears paralyze me? NO WAY! With Christ I can face anything. It may not be fun. It may not be easy. It may not be my choice. I fill follow Christ…

I firmly believe that churches and denominations live in fear. Fear that things are changing. Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing people. Fear of taking tough stands. Many churches are paralyzed by the fear they experience. They are trying so hard to “just keep the doors open” that they worry that rocking-the-boat may be more than the people can handle.

The scripture passages for the message are:

Genesis 18:15

Genesis 15:1

Luke 8:50

We must remember that in our fear we do things that are not pleasing to God. Fear can cause us to make poor decisions. Those decisions can lead to inaction or wrong actions.

We must remember that God is our shield and great reward. God is our shield of protection when we put aside our fears and follow him. Will this keep difficult things from happening to us? No. Will he walk with us through those difficult times. You bet! But, God is not just our shield—life with him is worth more than life. There is a great reward for those who put their trust in Christ.

God can do miraculous things when we put our fears aside and put our trust in him. Peter was able to walk on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus. People have been healed when they put aside their fear and believe. God can do miraculous things through our churches when we put aside fear in go where Christ leads.

Personal note not to be in the sermon: I believe that God has been withholding his blessing from the PCUSA because of our fear. There is a fear that the church will split if the Church takes a firm stand either for or against the ordination of GLBT persons, if we have firm “essentials” on which we will not waver, if we publicly admit that there is more than one “Presbyterian” style of worship. Fear. Fear! Fear!!


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