Summary: We are all afraid of something. However, as Christians we shouldn't be afraid of anything. God has promised to protect us from all harm.

-What are some of the things that y’all are afraid of?

-Do you know what Americans top fears are?

-According to a Boston Globe survey, Americans top fears are:

1. Public speaking

2. Snakes

3. Confined spaces

4. Heights

5. Spiders

6. Tunnels and bridges

7. Crowds

8. Public transportation (especially airplanes)

9. Storms

10. Water (as in swimming and drowning)

-We are all afraid of something

-I’ve become much more fearful of heights as I’ve gotten older

-It’s funny since I’m airborne qualified

-We’re all afraid of something in this life {PAUSE}

-In our Old Testament lesson for today, we see that calling of the prophet Jeremiah

-Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet

-He was younger when he was called

-Some scholars believe he was only a boy

-Others conclude a young man

-Whatever the case, he did not feel prepared for the task of being a prophet of God

-He appears throughout his prophetic ministry to be a very gentle young man who is called by God to unleash some of the most critical and harsh statements from God

-For instance, in Jeremiah chapter 19, God tells Jeremiah to take some clay pottery and go to the Valley of Hinnom, near one of the gates to the city, and smash it against a wall.

-This was going to be a picture of what God was going to do to the Israelites

-You can imagine that if your job was to give bad news to people all the time that it would start to wear on you

-I think that is why so many doctors are probably so bad at giving bad news to patients

-They have to do it so often that they have become numb to it

-Doctors, especially those that work in trauma centers, and dentists have extraordinarily high suicide rates

-One of the reasons, researchers have surmised is that they must cause their patients pain in order to help them, that is not something that most people are equipped to handle

-Fear, for most people, is a part of life

-It is very much considered normal {PAUSE}

-However, fear is really irrational for us as Christians

-You might be thinking that I’m talking about neurotic or psychotic people

-I’m not

-It is not just fear that keeps us from doing normal, everyday tasks that is bad and unhelpful

-Any fear is irrational for the Christian

-I’ll admit that I might be overstating the case a bit

-You might be thinking that being afraid of wild animals or dangerous criminals keeps us safe

-However, I am making the distinction between fear and caution

-Let’s use a little analogy here

-Let’s think of fear as the red light and caution as the yellow

-Think about that!

-That is what fear does to us doesn’t it

-It prevents us from taking action

-If you are around a ferocious animal, you probably need to take action but doing so cautiously

-Inaction will probably get you killed {PAUSE}

-As Christians, we should not be afraid of anything

-We know that God will protect us from the harm that He does not want to befall us

-We know that God will use the “harm” that He does want to come upon us to strengthen our faith

-He will use it to make us stronger or to benefit someone else

-Maybe we’ll be able to help someone or God will get someone to come along and help us

-There have been times in my life where I have been fearful and it has presented problems for moving forward along God’s plan for me

-There have been times when God has helped me to do the right thing the first time and it was a much less painful process

-Let me share a few example {PAUSE}

-In the fall of 1996, I proposed to Linda

-We set a date of 26 July 1997 to get married

-People had been encouraging me for over a year to look into the ministry

-A pastor friend called me up and let me know that there was going to be a recruiters for our two seminaries within driving distance

-I went to talk to the recruiters and began the process

-Linda and I interviewed to be accepted at our seminary in St. Louis

-Unbelievably they let me in

-Linda started a job search in and around the St. Louis metro area

-She sent out 50-60 resumes and didn’t receive one phone call or letter asking for an interview

-The time came that the school that she was teaching at in Wisconsin offered her a contract

-The day that she needed to return it accepted or rejected came

-Linda called me at work and asked what we should do

-I told her that we believed that God wanted us to go to St. Louis and that she should reject the contract

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