A “Fearless” Conclusion

Today, I finished reading Max Lucado’s book, “Fearless”. First of all, I highly recommend his book to absolutely anyone. It has surely opened my eyes to the incredible amount of fear in our world and renewed my mind according to God’s will, regarding what it is that I should fear, and what it is that I should not. If you are interested at all in what I pondered this afternoon, as I began to draw a few conclusions from what I had read and what I felt God was attempting to teach me, then I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the following journal entry that I ended up writing as a result…

Fear has a way of setting the world on fire; men and women hungrily eat up tidbits of dreadful news through every avenue of media they can. I’ve witnessed this with motherly figures in my life. Women that have positions in which they have nurtured and matured me throughout the years and whom I certainly love. They watch hours of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dateline, 20/20, and other shows that will remind them of the dangers of the world. It’s like a sick addiction where scary news must be read, shared with others, and fret over, while good news is quickly forgotten.

Forgetting seems to be a common issue that Christians deal with. God constantly reminds us to remember throughout the course of Scripture. Ministry leaders must remind us frequently that God is still there and He still cares. Christians, we have to remember. If we forget who our God is, then who will tell this broken and depraved world that there is indeed someone who can save them!?!?! God is here! Our Savior has come and will surely be coming back.

The old idiom, “you are what you eat,” can be taken quite literally. We will become whatever it is that we fill ourselves up with. If you feed on the fear that media wants to feed you, then you will be fearful. If you read magazines that tell you to worry about the shape and size of your body, then you will care far too much about your looks and potentially become critical of others. If you sip from the sex-crazed goblet of romance novels, pornography, and sensuality in general, then you will indeed become a sexually immoral being.

What if we began to fill ourselves up with the words of God? He says to us, “Be strong and courageous”, “do not fear”, and reminds us that we have “not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding blood”. If you want the world to change, then change it; one broken heart at a time…starting with yours. Yes, even your heart needs healing and indeed our minds need to be renewed. If you fill yourselves up with God’s Word and His Spirit, then you will surely become more and more Christ-like each day and the people in your life NEED Jesus’ love. Let’s face it, you and I are not capable of loving others to the degree that they need to be loved, especially if we are not filling our cups to overflowing with His gracious, perfect, and merciful love on a daily basis.

Ready for the bottom line? God is God. If one truly reveres (respectfully fears) God, then all other fears cease and courage is born. Max Lucado stated, “Courage is fear that has said its’ prayers.” How incredibly true! “When God is fully revealed to us and we ‘get it’, then we experience the conversion of our fear…’Fear of the Lord’ is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God.” At the bottom of the same page, Lucado writes, “A big God translates into big courage. A small view of God generates no courage.”

Imagine a country filled with men that actually feared God…Imagine what they would be capable of under the direction of the Holy Spirit…Imagine how much your life would differ if you concluded to live a life that is free from the fears of this world, but maintained a healthy dose of the sobering fear of the LORD. Imagine…how friendships would be deepened, marriages restored, families brought together, nations united. The imagination is a powerful tool and a beautiful gift that God has given us. Anyone tired of simply imagining? Who is ready to make their wildest, Christ-centered dreams a reality?

It would appear that Max Lucado shares my love for coffee, as at the end of his chapter, “Caffeinated Life”, he writes, “Eternal glory. I’d like a large cup, please. ‘One venti-sized serving of endless joy in the presence of God. Go heavy on the wonder, and cut all the heartache.’ Go ahead and request it. The Barista is still brewing. For all you know, it could be the next cup you drink.” Christians, it is time to walk away from the paralysis of fear. It is time to truly live. “Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph. Yes, life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of my friends likes to say, “Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” (Max Lucado) Lay down your pride, O Christian, fall on your face before the LORD, admit that you are not adequate for the task as your forefathers have (even Jesus relied on prayer, do you think yourselves to be more capable than He?), ask Him for His blessing, and when He touches you, lifts you up, and instructs you to live according to His purpose, free from fear…then do just that. Live obediently.

Continuing the Fight,

Justin

First Love

I can still remember the day I laid eyes on You

My heart skipped a beat as I knew you were True.

With a spirit of tender love, and selflessness

Opposing Your captivating beauty, I was helpless.

Whenever in Your arms I found rest.

Through borrowed strength; I could withstand any test.

With eyes on You, I could climb any mountain

Our relationship grew deeper than any well or fountain…

I can still remember the day I left You

Wouldn’t admit it, but on came ‘the blues’

Depression lingered despite numerous views

Thought pleasures of this world could amuse…

I drank and drank the world’s Kool-Aid 

Made me happy for a minute but was only a band-aid

That delayed the reality of deep, hurting pain

Dry and desolate in need of cleansing rain.

I can still remember the day I returned

Ashamed and eyes filled with tears; they burned

Thought certainly I had lost You for good

Instead you proposed to me with arms wide-open; hands nailed on wood.

“Welcome to my family, child, you’re the Church, my Bride

It’s time to lift your veil; you no longer need to hide…”

You see, I’m loved; bruises and all

And I’m lifted up, every time I fall

Not a single need that can’t be met

As a fisher of men; He fills my net.

The purpose of my life has been revealed

And my scars are continually healed

It’s so great to be refocused on things above;

Christ, the King of Kings, is and forever will be, my first love.


What if…?

For centuries human-beings have never stopped asking questions. Since the beginning of our existence on this planet we have wondered about the existence of the heavens and the stars. We have sought to the find cures for sickness and we have asked philosophical questions about the meaning of our very existence on planet Earth. One of the driving questions of society today is “What if…?” For example, “What if the sun were to stop shining?” “What if our planet ran out of it’s resources?” And for centuries scientists have evaluated hypotheses to see if they could scientifically reach the correct conclusion. “If the sun were removed from the equation, then life could not sustain itself.”

Being a human-being and a curious one at that, I feel myself inclined to ask a “What if…?” question that I believe could change our entire perception of our lives. Are you read for it?…Perhaps you’re not ready just yet, so allow me to provide you with some background and reasoning behind why I feel it is necessary to write this…

A few years ago at Olathe Bible Church (my home church), one of the pastors took us through a series entitled “What if the Church?” To this day, those teachings have stuck with me and I believe have impacted me to the core. It was the kickoff series to a region-wide serve day in the suburb of Kansas City. But you would not believe the absolute incredible impact that it had upon the community. Several neighboring churches jumped on board with the idea and THOUSANDS of people served on the set day. It was incredible to see how the LORD used the obedience of a few pastors to lead their flock towards serving the local community; effectively reflecting the unconditional love of Christ and heart of service that all of God’s children should have.

Provided this background, I believe you are ready for my question…What if those who proclaim to be Christians ACTUALLY lived their lives in a Christ-like way?

I believe it is absolutely fundamental for a believer to desire to be Christ-like. As Christians, you are therefore claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There are many “Christians” that do not understand this concept. To them Christianity is simply attending a church service on Christmas and Easter and updating their facebook profile so that it reads “Christian.” I firmly believe that in order to be a legitimate child of the LORD you have to experience a much more significant change. I believe Paul Washer stated it best when he said to someone who claimed to be a new believer, “You think you’re a follower of Christ?…Well do you have a new relationship with sin?”  In another sermon Washer is quoted saying, “The sign of a genuine work of God in the heart is that you begin to hate the sin you once loved and to love the righteousness you once ignored.

Take a minute to take these quotes to heart…and then open up your Bible to 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” We must absolutely HATE sin and love Jesus Christ more than anything else in order to follow Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul as we are called to do.

So then, what if…believers were actually Christ-like?

What if…you served? All throughout the Gospels there is example after example of the LORD’s absolutely unconditional love for His children. My favorite is found in John 13. Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the Messiah, the Savior, The God-man, WASHES his disciples feet! This was a task for the lowest servant in the household. And yet…Jesus got down on his knees and proceeded to wash away the dirt and filth from the feet of his disciples and then says,

“Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)

Jesus has instructed us to serve others, so let’s do it! Not with a heart of resentment but with a heart that loves Jesus Christ so much that we desire to display our love for Him via our obedience to His Word. Brothers and sisters, SERVE OTHERS!

What if…the media you watched brought glory to God? There is not a single person that cannot tell me they do not expose themselves to media throughout the day. We live in a culture that is absolutely saturated with media. We love music, films, news, etc. It’s easy to pop in the new action-comedy. It’s easy to spend my day surfing through ESPN and various CNN articles. But what if, instead of watching that action-comedy I soaked in a sermon? What if, instead of listening to the culture-filled hip hop, I listen to Lecrae or the Pearlescent Shepherd’s gospel-filled lyrics? Regardless of what we tell ourselves. Media DOES influence our perception of the world. So let’s be mindful of what we allow into our minds and hearts…

What if…you cared about others? Jesus CARED about others. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, brought light to the dark places, and just overall CARED. Shouldn’t we care?…When was the last time that you said, “How are you doing?” to someone? Next question…when was the last time you actually listened to that person’s response? The greatest gift we can give to others at times is simply listening. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve just needed nothing more than for someone to listen to me. If you see someone is having a rough day, then go out of your way to encourage them! It’ll make a huge difference, I promise.

What if…the church was more than a building? Most churches back in biblical times were simply tabernacles (tents) where people met to celebrate the Sabbath. But they were FAR MORE than that. Churches were COMMUNITIES. They were places where brothers and sisters in Christ came together and encouraged one another. Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron; so one man sharpens another.” In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about the tremendous need for unity within the church-body! So make church more than a building. Make church a community of believers passionately striving to follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly.

My concluding thoughts lead me to my final question, which is, what would happen if followers of Christ lived out their lives for the glory of God; reflecting His unconditional love to others in every aspect of their lives?

If history teaches us anything, then I believe the answer is revival would be found within the church. When a community of believers actually live their lives out in faith, when Christians are on their knees crying out to the Most High God, and when we live our lives in a continuous state of joy, THINGS HAPPEN. Incredible things happen. The joy within the body of Christ is contagious. The church growth is exponential and unstoppable. And suddenly even the largest obstacles that Satan could possibly muster up could not defuse the on-fire spirits of these Christ-followers!

Ok, I lied, one last question…

With these things in mind…what are you waiting for?…Let’s take the teachings of Jesus to heart! Let’s live our lives for Him and NEVER look back!

Blessings and Happy Easter to all,

Justin Meyer