Summary: Four suggestions to facing the year ahead with faith rather than fear
“The Adventure Ahead”
January 4, 2009
“The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.”
Genesis 12: 1-5
Have you ever been on an adventure? I’ve been on a few. I think my trip to Ecuador would count as an adventure. My trip to Brazil was another. I’ve climbed the highest mountain in the continental United States and been to the lowest spot in the hemisphere. I stood on the equator and hunted solo in the high Sierras. I been on a few adventures – but none were like Abram’s adventure. The closest I come to that is when God called me to preach and led me to Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs.
I was working in the iron mines of northern Minnesota. Life was beginning to get pretty good, after I accepted Christ – but God, in a dramatic way, reminded me that He had called me to preach and now was the time to go. I quit my job, packed what few belongings I had in my old black Mercury, left my mom and dad, and headed to Colorado Springs.
When I left three years later, I had a paper that said I was qualified to preach in a Nazarene Church, a beautiful young wife, the most beautiful red headed baby girl in the world, and a desire to serve God. I was ready and willing for whatever God had for me.
But think of Abram’s adventure. He was seventy five years old. Adventure is for the young – isn’t it? When we get old, we like life to be safe and secure, and most 75 year olds want to stay close to home. But God called Abram to leave his comfort zone; leave the familiar; leave the sheltered; and go to a new and strange place.
What thoughts ran through his mind? What emotions surged in his heart? What fear rose up to challenge him? You know there were many. But Abram was a man of faith; he was a man of God – and old man of God, and God was not done with him yet! God wasn’t going to let him sit out the last few years of his life and passively let death slowly creep toward him, like most do. He was going to face his fear with faith and because of it – change the world. He was going to become the father of nations.
As we enter into this new year; as we enter into 2009’s uncharted waters – we are facing an adventure ahead. I wonder where we are headed? I wonder what’s going to happen? Things in our world are shaping up for a great climatic end that the Bible talks about – and we are so privileged to be a part of it!
Let me share with you some thoughts about the adventure ahead. First of all, God will be with us. Keep in mind that “God will not take us where His grace can not keep us.”
John Ortberg in his book- “If You Want To Walk On Water You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat” says this about fear: “
The single command in Scripture that occurs more often then any other-God’s most frequently repeated instruction-is formulated in two words: Fear Not. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. You can trust me. Fear not.
Why does God command us not to fear? Fear does not seem like the most serious vice in the world. It never made the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. No one ever receives church discipline for being afraid. SO why does God tell human beings to stop being afraid more often than he tells them anything else? My hunch is that the reason God says “Fear Not” so much is not that he wants us to be spared emotional discomfort. In fact, usually he says it to people to do something that is going to lead them into greater fear anyway. I think God says, “fear not” so often because fear is the number one reason human beings are tempted to avoid doing what God asks them to do” (117,118).