Summary: Fear gets in the way of faithful moving forward.
The Spirit Within Us- Montreal
June 25, 2005
We are called on to live a life of serving that is rooted in the renewal of our whole selves, including our minds.
Ro.12.1-2- favourite verses in many of our lives.
Prayer is a key to this renewal of our minds.
Eph.4.17-23-24- new man/new mind
Phil.4.6-7- Paul makes requests, including the one to guard the mind.
Our church has grown in the ability to pray. We always taught the need to pray and even put a time frame on it, and we used to feel we were OK, as we prayed transactionally, in many cases. Since the conference, I’ve used that word a lot, as Randal Dick did, speaking of how we have been in relationships. Even in prayer, we did that- put in our 30 minutes, as we’ve used the expression- and thought that was enough. When we got together, for church or meetings, we’d have an opening prayer, that had to conform to various dimensions, and, above all, be short.
We’ve grown beyond that, now, to the place where we can imagine, and participate, in more significant transformational prayer- in church, at meetings, at retreats. One has understood the importance of prayer, possibly before many of the rest of us, and has faithfully led in prayer ministry for many years. This leadership role is important, and needs to be acknowledged through ordination.
Our new Ministerial Manual has an extensive section about Deacons- Steve Posiak will read this- the whole document- all 82 pages- will be on our national website before too long- it’s not a secret document by any means.
(Refer to Acts 6.1-6, 1 Ti.3, if deemed necessary.)
As we think about what we’ve participated in, and continue to, after church, something Paul declares warrants our attention- in 2 Ti.1.7. However, as you’re turning there, consider the following story:
“A salesman, driving on a lonely country road one dark and rainy night, had a flat tire. He opened the trunk- no tire wrench. The light form a farmhouse could be seen dimly up the road. He set out on foot through the driving rain. Surely the farmer would have a tire wrench he could borrow, he thought. Of course, it was late at night- the farmer would be asleep in his warm, dry bed. Maybe he wouldn’t answer the door. And even if he did, he’d be angry at being awakened in the middle of the night. The salesman, picking his way blindly in the dark, stumbled on . By now his shoes and clothing were soaked. Even if the farmer did answer his knock, he would probably shout something like, “What’s the big idea waking me up at this hour?” This thought made the salesman angry. What right did that farmer have to refuse him the loan of a tire wrench? After all, here he was stranded in the middle of nowhere, soaked to the skin. The farmer was a selfish clod- no doubt about that! The salesman finally reached the house and banged loudly on the door. A light went on inside, and a window opened above. A voice called out, “Who is it?” His face white with anger, the salesman called out, “You know darn well who it is. It’s me! And you can keep your blasted tire wrench. I wouldn’t borrow it now if you had the last one on earth!””
This story tells us what happens when you fear that the worst will happen- your thoughts may help to bring it about. Someone once wrote, “Fear is the wrong use of imagination. It is anticipating the worst, not the best that can happen.”
Today, I want to discuss an aspect of where we are, in our church, and where I see our needing to go.
2 Tim.1.7- Paul wrote to Timothy, a young minister- an evangelist, in our church. He wrote to him about the spirit that was within him, and which is within us, too. He wrote encouraging him, to consider his heritage, spiritually, where he’d come from and where he was and was going. In this brief verse, he speaks of what GOD gives- not the spirit of fear- some translate this as timidity and others as cowardice- craven and cringing and fawning fear. This is not what we’ve received- not what Timothy received- but a spirit of power and confidence and boldness, of love and concern, and of a sound mind, rooted, as scripture instructs, in the heavenly realm.
We all understand fear- it’s what we feel when we face a new or difficult situation. It’s what we feel for no reason, sometimes. We’ve all felt fear over the past decade or so, at various times in the journey of our church to orthodoxy. We all know what fear can do to us and in us, and scripture speaks of this, too.