Fear

What comes to mind when we think of fear?

Is it a reaction? Is it a way for our body to respond to something that startles us or maybe to protect us from imminent danger? If this is the first thing that comes to mind, then, no, that is not the sort of fear that I am thinking about. That sort of fear is healthy, and if you push it a little bit it might even get fun. It is definitely something that God gave us for our benefit.

This was the only definition of fear that I knew about growing up, though, the world of reality around me seemed to share that there was something more out there. This sort of feeling is often brushed off.

In the first couple chapters of Genesis we see the creation of the world and the creation of mankind in God’s image. We are created, breathed into, spoken to, given instruction, given responsibility, wondrously made not alone – this was what God desired for us. There was something special about these people He created. He had already gone above and beyond for is by creating us in His image, but to be a part of our lives – this is what he wanted.

Inside of that creation fear hadn’t been felt by the first of mankind and it was beautiful.

But, that was about to change. One of the instructions given by God included one simple request, “you may enjoy every tree in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The first of us heard this, they understood it, but when another came and questioned the words of God they disobeyed the one request.

Up until this point they had only each other and God, everyone had been good to them. Perhaps this really was a hard test. How many of us have heard some one say something negative about someone else? It is certainly within us at this point for our heart to give pause and question someone, even a friend, just by hearing the words of another.  The first of us followed this other’s voice and disobeyed God.

The response was immediate and terrible – the words of God were true! At that point fear, shame, and guilt flooded into the lives of those who had sinned. Their relationship with God was separated, driven apart by disobedience, and the fear, shame, and guilt bore fruit in their lives. They hid from God, they were ashamed of being naked, they accused one another to shift the blame away from themselves.

These three things that had no authority in their lives were now present and wreaking havoc.

When we step away from God’s instruction and desire for our lives death follows in the wake of our decisions. We may think we can master it after it has come, but that isn’t the case. The only thing on our part we can do is say no while we still can, but we were past this point in the story.

When God reveals Himself He shares what will now happen and the world begins to change. It isn’t what He had hoped for, but the changes in the world are for our own good. He addresses the other in the conversation as well, the serpent in the story that had accused God, to the serpent He promises defeat – that someone from the woman would come and defeat the serpent. It is a loaded statement, a prophecy that takes the rest of the Bible and mankind’s history to reveal in its fullness.

Today, we are still having a hard time because of this moment – fear, shame, and guilt are still present in this world, but that victory that God spoke of has come and is still coming in its fullness.

There is certainly that sort of fear that God has given us, the startled jump or the burst of adrenaline that can keep us safe from danger, but there is another fear that we experience in our lives – it isn’t a fear that God desired, but it is present. In Christ, we can master it, but it does take mastering. It is difficult to explain, but one of my teachers shared it this way, “When you are afraid it’s not that you are feeling fear, but it is fear feeling you.” In our own disobedience we can give such a vile sort of fear authority in our lives.

As a child this was the sort of fear that bit at the edges of reality, as I grew this was the sort of fear that could incapacitate incredible young men and women from making right decisions, on outreach this was the sort of fear that showed up when you went to speak and couldn’t find your ability to speak. It is strange, but this is the reality I’ve seen over and over again.

However, there is hope!

One of these hopes is that God is fulfilling His promise through Jesus Christ – as we stand near to Him, as we cling to His Spirit in intimacy, we find ourselves surrounded by His authority. This returns us to a second hope – we are still created in the image of God! One of the instructions God gave us in the beginning was to aggressively defend the creation He was giving us. We still have that command and it can be found again in our relationship with Jesus.

In this world we will need to stand against all sorts of fear – the fear of sharing our faith among them, fear of rejection included, the fear of what others think but don’t say. This isn’t our fear to deal with – we can stand with Jesus to reject that fear’s authority and bring something better in its place.

Let’s not wait around for fear to show itself – we can take the fight to fear on the ground that God desired for us, in relationship with Him and in good relationship with each other!

Communication in Genesis

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – earth had no form, it was empty; the Spirit paused in ready anticipation for what was to come next. Then, God spoke light into existence.

And so the story goes.

The first section of Genesis has always been one of my favorite portions of scripture. It is simple and it speaks poetically of things that will have ripples throughout our human history. The incredibly powerful God speaking things into existence until He comes to mankind. He takes dirt into his hands, forms us, breathes life into us, and creates us in His image. His masterpiece that He gives such strength to is small, weak, and frail compared to the creatures, trees, oceans, planets, and stars that He has just spoken out of Himself, but this one is special in a different way.

In our frailty we show of His nature, being just an image of it. In our freedom we have the we have the opportunity to share His character with each other, the families that we create, and the world that we form.

Our history is enough to show that our story could have been better than it now is, but it also shows a God who is willing to keep speaking life into His creation to bring us back to Him. When we hear His words and live by them we get to walk in that original hope and bring His life and beauty to a world that is broken. When we reject Him and His words we add to the destruction of everything we love until there is nothing left to save. We are able to justify ourselves in this until we look just like the very enemy of God.

This battle of communication starts in Genesis and continues throughout scripture. God speaks life – it is accepted with blessing or it is rejected with destruction. This happens with the first of mankind, the nations that spring up following the great flood, and over and over again through to present day. This is still the world that we raise our children in – the world where they will grow up in, find husbands and wives, create families, and form their part of world in the love of God or in the rejection of Him.

This communication is what Genesis is all about. We get to see God’s heart in intimate detail as He addresses sin with Adam and Eve, when He pleads with Cain to choose the good and reject temptation, when He shares His broken heart with Noah, when He consults with Himself at Babel to preserve mankind, and when He speaks a blessing and a promise over Abram that will put the words of God into the family of Abraham.

We enter into this battle when we speak.

Do we speak words that are true to God’s heart? Do we speak with His heart and with His passion? Do we seek His values in the world around us?

Whether we speak plainly or poetically, with common sense or intellectualism, our words will leave ripples in the lives of those around us, in the families that we raise, and in the world that we are forming. The best place to start learning the difference is in the Bible and in His presence.

I’ll share more about that later.

Communication

Hello Friends,

We’ve been pretty quiet over here and we are hoping to change that soon!

The ACTS school was a success – a success largely credited to the students, staff, speakers, and friends of YWAM who pulled the school off! My thanks go out to you!

We’ve spent the last couple months resting, visiting our families, and continuing to learn about what God wants to do out here in Utah, as well as, in our own lives, families, team, communities, and world. I’m really excited for what the future holds. God is doing a lot in the world and now isn’t the time to spectate, but rather to engage. Each of us have been created for this time – not to watch it drift by, either bewailing it or passively agreeing that “yes, those were the good old days” to our children. Rather, this is the time that God has invited us into to create the world that our children and grandchildren inherit.

It is August, right?

Let’s see, September, October – yes, ten years ago next October several friends and I were standing around a map up in Warm Lake, ID. In case you’ve never heard of it before, there is a YWAM campus out there. It’s a beautiful place in the Boise National Forest. As we stared at that map God did something in our hearts – we felt a tug to go. Incredible places with foreign names, culture, and food – and the promise of great risk.

I had figured that we were alone in that tug, but I would keep finding it in other places and with other people too – the most surprising place for myself was in eastern Germany. We were visiting a family that my Father-in-Law had known for a long time. I had heard stories about their family, but this was the first time meeting them.

As they spoke the I found myself somewhat shocked – they swapped stories of trips that they took beyond the Iron Curtain. They’re eyes grew youthful as they joked about the risks they took and remembered how far they had gone and what they had done thanks to God. Incredible places with foreign names, culture, and food – and the promise of great risk, a very real, great risk for all of them. They’re risk helped create the world that I now know and the world that my children will know.

We live in a world with the promise of great risk – if we are willing to take it.

We live in a world of incredible beauty, culture, and food – if we are willing to go.

If you feel that tug on your heart to go and change the world, to create a change in the world with a God who loves to communicate and change the world through what He says, then we want to help. Keep yourself posted about what is going on out here in Utah and ask questions, pray, ask God where your place is in this world.

He has created you for this time!

Many blessings on you all!

In Christ,
Troy – Campus Leader