Stepping Through Fear

“If you are willing to trust God and step through fear, He will show up in power; your faith will grow, and you will be able to take on greater challenges in the future.” (David Pierce of Steiger)


Is fear a debilitating force in your spiritual life? Do you freeze up and remain silent in situations where you feel led to be open about your faith? I know I do! As I reflect on my past there are far more instances where I lacked the courage to present the Good News of Jesus, than examples of how I stepped through fear to boldly shared my faith.

While that reality is clearly evident in my past, I am resolute in my desire to continue growing in that area of my spiritual life. I may never embody the level of reckless abandon and boldness that I see in Todd White, or in my friend Chad Johnson, but I know that part of my calling is to step through fear for the sake of the Gospel. It’s the best news available to mankind, and sadly it’s often most Christian’s best kept secret, myself included.

So how am I venturing to overcome fear in my spiritual life?

Starting spiritual conversations:  Over the past year I’ve attended several training events on catalyzing Gospel Movements. One of my key takeaways from these events was related to the necessity and art form of initiating spiritual conversations. Doing so can be as simple as a leading question like, “So where are you at in your faith journey?” or as natural as offering up a personal truth (i.e. a miracle story, testimony, or a scripture reference that’s impacted you). The bottomline as I see it is that without taking the step of faith to introduce matters of spirituality into your interactions you’re unlikely to find many opportunities to share your beliefs.

Teaming up with others: Over the past five months I’ve been leading a team of missional-minded musicians who live as I do, straddling the cultural divide between the Church and the musician community. Together we’ve formed a strong bond around our shared desire to be bold in sharing our faith, and seeking to see a spiritual awakening in the Phoenix music scene. The accountability and camaraderie that’s developed serves as a natural motivator to step through the fear that would otherwise prevent me, and the rest of my team, from living in accordance with our calling.

One of the resources we worked through together, a book called Revolutionary, has had a profound impact in all of our lives. The book outlines a number of principles which were derived from the firsthand experiences of a musician who has traveled the globe the past 30 years to use his platform of cultural influence to share the Gospel in some of the most hostile environments imaginable. The stories alone are inspiring, but the principles they’re tied to offered great practical guidance.

Getting serious about prayer: Since the start of this year my wife and I have consistently taken turns prayer walking our neighborhood on a daily basis. Additionally, we committed to each other that once a month we’ll each have a personal retreat day where we can enjoy an extended period of time in solitude to care for our souls by connecting with Jesus. The inclusion of these activities into our family’s schedule has sharpened my sensitivity to the spiritual environment around me, and increased my ability to hear from God. As a result my faith has grown, as well as my confidence in taking risks for Jesus.

 

Will you join me in venturing to step through your fear?

If so, I encourage you to consider what lifestyles changes you need to make in order to do so. Together we can turn our “best kept secret” into the greatest blessing we have to offer.

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Nothing More Radical

The only perfect man. God in human form. Jesus was radical.

His message, His lifestyle and certainly His purpose on earth, all serve as evidence of His radical nature. In human history He has no equal, and in the ages to come there will never be another person who walks this planet sinless, and full of love and compassion the way He did.

And then the plot thickens…

When Jesus ascended to Heaven He left His disciples with a standard to live by, a specific commission, and the promise of His Spirit. As His followers we’ve been called to live as He did – Radically! Why? Because we carry the greatest news out there, and eternity is standing in the balance for all of humanity.

But what if our background and faith experience have left us with an incomplete Gospel?

That question has served as a recent focal point within the weekly staff meetings I lead for RYFO.  As a staff we’ve shared about our individual faith journeys in order to learn from, and challenge each other to venture into the dimensions of the Gospel we’re less familiar with.

As we’ve been learning together there are 3 dimensions of the Gospel – Word, Deed and Power. We can see each of these dimensions clearly evidenced by the radical life of Jesus. As believers, the Gospel we carry is truncated and distorted if we’re not operating with the Spirit’s leading in all three. The ideal is to move towards the point of their intersection.

The inspiration behind this discussion comes from a position piece authored by Sam Metcalf, President of CRM (the parent organization for RYFO’s ministry to musicians). As Sam writes the Word dimension “means that whatever Jesus says is important. It is trustworthy and, along with the totality of scripture, infallible. The gospel in word embraces an appreciation of apologetics. The gospel is true, and it is rationally defensible.” The Deed dimension “means that as followers of Jesus, we are compelled to focus on the real issues of our time where the Kingdom of God invades and touches the realities of earth.”  The Power dimension refers to “the presence of the Holy Spirit demonstrated by supernatural manifestations.

On their own, without the balance of the others, each of these dimensions can lead into dangerous territories. On its own the Word emphasis can easily become legalistic and void of any compassion towards others, or expectation for the supernatural movement of God. The Deed emphasis alone can quickly be distilled to nothing more than well-intentioned humanitarianism, a social Gospel lacking in biblical fidelity. Finally, the Power dimension on its one can turn into a kind of warped and bizarre spirituality where in exchange for sound theology, experience rules the day.

In light of these 3 equally important dimensions of the Gospel, I find myself challenged to pursue the radical commission of Christ, to spread the good news as He did, in Word, Deed & Power.