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The first church I went to as a child had a bully in it. It was the preacher’s son. His name was Johnny and I remember he wore a leather jacket just like every bully wears. He had greasy black hair too. Johnny was an intimidator and generally tried to terrify the kids who were younger and smaller than him. I remember meeting him in the halls of the church a few times and being scared.
There’s another bully that prowls around our life constantly – the bully we call fear. And like every bully fear exaggerates its power, it shouts threats and warnings, and keeps us on edge, making us watch our every move.
The other day I was talking to someone who felt that they could have a ministry and an impact on children but what holds them back? Fear. Fear of what? Fear of being accused by a child of doing something inappropriate and that accusation turning their life upside down. That is the kind of culture we live in today.
- We fear the swine flu
- We fear terrorism
- We fear going broke
- We fear that our investments won’t allow us to retire
- We fear cancer
- We fear that DuPont will move out of the valley
- We fear staying where we are and we fear going somewhere else
- We fear not living up to expectations
- We fear not being in the popular group
And when the bully fear moves in everything else moves out. Fear and happiness cannot live in the same heart. Fear and clear thinking cannot live in the same body. Fear and confidence cannot coexist.
Fear never cured a disease.
Fear never brought a family out of poverty.
Fear never fought a war.
Fear never saved a marriage.
Fear leaves us curled up in a fetal position. Fear always takes the easy way out. Fear always plays it safe. And fear lets everyone else do the living while we do the existing
Fear is a bully lurking in the hallways of life telling us to retreat and go another way.
I am, for one, sick and tired of bullies. I, for one, have given way too much ground to the bully of fear. That bully has shouted at me, “go back, you will fail, they will leave, no one wants you, don’t rock the boat…”
What if we could live FEARLESS? What if we could face the Johnny’s of our life and confront them instead of running from them? What if we used the sword of Spirit (the Word) and the shield of faith to cause the bully to run? That is what these next six weeks will be about. We will confront our fears and the bullies that lie behind them.
Let’s begin today in Matthew 8:23-27 also recorded in Mark 4:36-41.
Matthew 8:23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!"
26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
Let’s look at this part by part….
Matthew 8:23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.
Matthew remembers this day; it started like many other days. But this day included quite a bit of activity Matthew
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