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I Quit - Week 3

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If you are like most people chances are pretty good that you've battled one or many different fears throughout your life. So many of us, we are living in fear. What's interesting, when we are growing up studies show that as babies we are really only afraid of two things naturally. We just have two fears, we have the fear of falling and we have the fear of loud noises. Those are the only two fears that we are born with. But when we grow, we accumulate all sorts of different learned fears. In fact, I'm guessing most of you realize in the early years of life you probably started to become afraid of some new things. For example, at all of our churches, all of our Network Churches; how many of you would say that when you were a child, maybe you were afraid of the dark? How many of you say, Yea, boogie man in the dark, I didn't like that! Anybody afraid of spiders? Spiders as a kid? Still afraid of spiders? Yes! I see those hands, God bless you! How about thunderstorms? Anybody afraid of thunderstorms as a kid? Come and sleep with mommy and daddy whenever you hear the thunderstorm. As a child, it's interesting, my sister had the most irrational fear. In fact, in this service Jonathan, my brother-in-law is here, married to my little sister Lisa. Lisa, at bedtime, was always afraid whenever the closet door wasn't shut all of the way. Why? Because if the closet door wasn't shut all of the way, whatever is on the other side could get her, but if the door was shut she was totally safe. Completely irrational fear. Unlike my very rational fear as a child, when in bed, if you ever leave a hand or a foot over the edge, how many of you know you're in danger of the guy underneath the bed who could come out and get you? Very rational fear! And so, if you were like me as a child, when you go to get in the bed you'd run and jump over the guy under the bed so you could get in there! And if you had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you'd just stand up and again, jump over him as you would go by! How many of you know what I'm talking about? Yeah! Very rational fear! To this day there is one that haunted me as a child, and unfortunately it's followed me all of the way into adulthood. If I ever walk into the bathroom in the dark or even honestly in the light, and the shower curtain is closed, how many of you know that it's really, really scary because there could be a guy on the other side! To this day, I walk in there and I just take it and pull it aside, and there never has been, but if you ever get in my shower on the other side, I will whoop you something fierce! All of us, we take on these different kind of fears as we go through life. What I want to do today, is I want to show you four of life's most common fears and you can listen to God's Word in light of some of the things that we often fear. If you are looking at your notes, what I'd like for you to do is just maybe check any one of these that would apply to you and then listen to God's Word in light of those fears. One of the first of life's most common fears is the fear of loss, fear of losing something that's important to you. For many of you, if your married, you may be afraid of losing your spouse. It is something that weighs on you. Or certainly those who are parents have probably felt at some point the fear of losing a child or something happening to a child. Or maybe for you it's the fear of financial loss. I'd hate to lose my job or lose this investment, or be at a place where financially I just can't quite hold it together. For some, it's simply the fear of losing control. I want to keep everything the way I want it and if I'm not in control oh, it really makes me afraid. How many of you would say that maybe at one point or another in your life, that you've feared losing something important to you? How many of you would say, That's me? If that's you, just go ahead and check that box. Another common fear that many of us battle; I know I do, it's the fear of failure. We feel like we are going to be inadequate. We'd like to do something, but we are afraid we won't win at the game. Maybe some of you, you've wanted to start a small group, a LifeGroup, but you've felt like, Oh, I don't know if anybody would show up, or I might not be good at it. Or, you've felt a burden to start a ministry, but there's this fear that, Maybe I'm not good enough to do it, or start a business, or go back to school, or reach out to someone, but I'm not sure I've got what it takes, and so you've been paralyzed at one point or another, by the fear of failure. How many of you would say that you've battled that at one time or another? Just check that and acknowledge that this is a real fear. Many of us, we often battle what's called the fear of rejection. Some of you, the guys; you'd like to ask a girl out but you're afraid that she's going to look at you and say, Why would I go out with you? Your afraid of that. Or perhaps in your marriage, I'm afraid my husband is going to leave me, or I'm afraid my wife is going to leave me. Some people are just very paralyzed with kind of this people-pleasing mindset; a fear of rejection, I want everybody to like me, so therefore I wonder, will they like this hairstyle? The way I walk? The way I talk? The clothes that I buy? The car that I drive? The kind of job that I have? Am I important enough for others? And so, we go through life worried that people are going to reject us, because we really fear rejection. How many of you would say that at one point or another that's been true for you? There's one more common fear and that is the fear of the unknown. Many of us are wondering, 'You know, what would happen if one day I got cancer or some illness, or maybe somebody that I love?' What if I lost my job?' Or, 'I'd like to try for this new job, but I'm really afraid to do so.' 'What's going to happen in the future?' Some people, they are stuck in a very bad situation; maybe an abusive relationship or some bad situation, and they'd like to step out of it, but they are so afraid of the unknown, they will stay in a bad spot, rather than to venture out. I know a lot of people that would say, 'You know, life is going great right now, so I'm really afraid something bad is bound to happen. I'm afraid of the unknown. I mean, with all of the good things, surely something bad is going to happen before long.' How many of you would say, I am afraid of the unknown, at one time or the other? How many of you raised your hands for all four? God ahead and lift them up right now. I'm afraid for you, I just want to say, I really am! I'm just joking! Because a lot of us battle these different kinds of fear and we go through life living afraid. We are paralyzed by fear, when Scripture says in 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 Say it again, God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is not from God, fear is from our spiritual enemy. God our Father, the source of all, the All-knowing, Ever-present, All-powerful God has not given us fear! And yet, so many of us are consumed with it. We are always worried, always anxious, always overwhelmed, living paralyzed by something that God did not give us. For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Because fear is not from God, that's why I quit living in fear. And by the power of God, through His Spirit, in His Word, I pray that you will quit living in fear. In fact, some people say, Well, fear is the opposite of faith. Kind of, technically, I disagree. I believe that fear is faith. It's just faith in the wrong things. Fear is faith, it's just faith in the wrong things. In fact, if you're taking notes, here's a key thought. What is fear? Fear is placing faith in the What ifs; What if this bad thing happens? Have you noticed most people rarely say, What if something great happens? With the exception of idiots who buy lottery tickets and say, What if I win, I'd surely tithe to God! With the exception of lottery tickets, most people rarely think, What if something good happens? They are often afraid of What if something bad happens? Fear, placing faith in the bad What if's. In fact, Moses was very guilty of this in the Old Testament. We've talked about him the last few weeks when God called Moses to deliver the people of Israel. What's interesting is; you know, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush that was not consumed, which admittedly, that's pretty cocky, okay! You see a burning bush that's not consumed and God speaks to you through the bush, that would probably have your attention. God says, 'I'm going to use you to deliver my people' and in Exodus 4:1, we see Moses playing the What if game. Moses answered, 'What if,' he said, 'What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say that the Lord did not appear to you?' God's going to be with him and yet, he's playing the game that most of us play, 'What if, I'm afraid.' We do it all of the time. What if the economy drops? What if I lose my job? What if I lose my health? What if my spouse cheats on me? What if my kids get hurt? What if we get in a wreck? What if I never get married? What if I marry a jerk? What if we can't have kids? What if we have six kids? What if our cat gets pregnant again? There's some bad things that could happen in your life! And on and on and on and on again, we play the What if game. I think I just scared myself with all of those What ifs! Fear is placing faith in the What ifs. Now, let me pause for a moment and ask a really important question. Why do your What ifs matter? Why do your What ifs matter? I want to show you two thoughts that can be very, very life-changing. The first one, if you're taking notes is this: YOUR WHAT IFS MATTER BECAUSE WHAT YOU FEAR REVEALS WHAT YOU VALUE THE MOST. What you fear reveals what you value the most. For example, if you fear losing your marriage that shows you really value your marriage, which is not a bad thing. If you fear something happening to your children, it shows you that you really value your children. Again, not a bad thing. If you fear losing your job or losing your money, what you value is financial security and stability. Not a bad thing, but what you fear reveals what you value the most. Think about it, what you fear reveals what you value the most. Second thought if your taking notes is: WHAT YOU FEAR REVEALS WHERE YOU TRUST GOD THE LEAST. That's good! What you fear reveals where you trust God the least. What you fear reveals what you value the most and it reveals where you trust God the least. For example, if you're really worried for your marriage, check it out; you're not trusting God with your marriage, you're not. You say you will, but you're not. If you're really worried about your children; think about it, you are not trusting the protection of your children with God. You are saying, God, I really don't believe that you're good enough and your plan and your purposes will come through for my children; therefore, I will contribute by worrying, as if that ever does any good. If you don't trust God with your financial well-being, you're basically saying, I really don't trust you to provide for me God, because what you fear reveals where you trust God the least. Here's what I want you to do, is be really honest for a moment before God and answer this question, fill in the blank. I'm not trusting God with what? Be really, really honest. I'm not trusting God with what? Your children, your future, your health, someone you love, your aging parents; whatever it is, I'm not trusting God with what? Be honest, put it on paper, own your fear. I will just be real honest with you. For me, what I have to put down is not trusting God with my future and I will unpack it for you a little bit. It's not that I'm afraid of something bad happening, what I'm afraid of, is that I won't be good enough to keep up with what God is doing through our church. It's really a fear of inadequacy. What if I don't have the gifts? What if I run out of energy? What if I'm not a good enough leader? And so honestly, when I look out ahead, months ahead, and see all that I have to do; when I look months ahead, it overwhelms me, it paralyzes me. There have been times, I'm just saying, and if you're looking at me like, Boy, you're whacked out! So are you baby, so are you! I look ahead sometimes and I just think, with all that I've got to do, I hope one day I don't wake up, stay in bed, curl up in a little ball, start sucking my thumb and calling for my mama, Mama, come help me! Because when I look out ahead, sometimes I think it's just too much. This reveals what I value, security and the future. It also reveals where I'm trusting God the least, because I'm saying, You won't be with me in the future. Let's own it! In what area of your life are you not trusting God? So, here's what I want to do in the remainder of our time in this message. I want to talk about Biblically, how do we face the What ifs of fear? How do we face the What ifs of fear? Let me give you two thoughts. The first one is; I want to encourage you to acknowledge your fear. Whatever it is, acknowledge it honestly and choose to trust God. Acknowledge your fear, whatever it is and no matter what it is, make a conscious choice to trust the God of the universe. So what I'm not saying is, you know, you are just kind of brush your fear off and put your fingers in your ears and close your eyes and go, La, la, la, la, la, this isn't happening to me! No, I'm not talking about that at all. I mean honestly, whatever your fear is and whatever you can do within your power that is effective to minimize the risk, you do that. Beyond that, you make a choice with every bit of faith you have, God, I trust you to be faithful. I will give you an example in Scripture. The context; David, in the Old Testament, he was anointed to be the future king over Israel. The present king was King Saul, who was very threatened by this up and comer, David. He was very threatened by him, so much so that he started to despise David. So, the King Saul said, 'I want you to go hunt him down and kill him, take his life.' And so, a lot of times we read in Scripture and think, 'Oh yea, David was on the run.' No, think about it being you. Let's say, if you live in the United States, the President of the United States says, 'I want you dead or alive, and every force in the country is coming after you. If you live in another country, it's the king or the queen or the emperor, or whatever. Every bit of strength we have is coming after you, that was his reality. So, what did he do? Psalm 56:2-4, we get a glimpse into where he was living, he said: My slanderers pursue me all day long..... That's the reality of the situation. Everyday, night and day they are coming after me. He says: ...many are attacking me in their pride. Then, I like this, I love his honesty. He says: When I am afraid... In other words, sometimes it is too much and you can say this as well; when I am afraid about losing my kids, when I'm afraid about my future. When I am afraid, he says: ...I will trust in you... By faith, I choose to put my trust in you. Whenever I am afraid, I make a choice. My choice is, I will trust you. ...In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust... And then he says this, say it aloud. He speaks it, he writes it down, he says: ...I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:2-4 I choose to trust God. I put my faith in Him. What can mortal man do to me? I will not be afraid of him. Now, quite honestly, if you look at it you'd say, What can mortal man do to him? Well, let's just answer it. Mortal man could kill him! Right? Mortal man could capture him, torture him, imprison him, make his life miserable forever. But, David went from thinking about the temporary, life on earth, and he shifted gears into the eternal perspective. And what he is saying is, 'You know what? Even if my worst What if comes to be, ultimately, if I choose to trust God, what can man do to hurt me eternally? There's nothing. If I ultimately choose to trust God, if I put all of my faith in Him, holding nothing back, there is nothing that man can do to hurt me, if I choose to trust God with my whole life.' Suddenly my worst What if pales in comparison to the goodness of God. I want to challenge you, just be real honest. Acknowledge what it is, be transparent; here is my great fear, and I choose to trust God no matter what. Because for me, the farther I get away from God, the more I am afraid of the What ifs in this world; but the closer I am to God, the more I trust in Him and the less I fear the things of this world. Just acknowledge it and say, God, I choose to trust you no matter what. The second thing I want to encourage you to do, is to seek God. Seek Him, seek Him, seek Him; seek God until He takes away your fears. Seek Him until He takes away your fears. Seek Him in His Word, seek Him through prayer, seek Him your LifeGroup, have people pray for you; seek after God day and night until He takes away your fears. This is such a powerful verse in Psalm 34:4, what David says is life-changing. He says: I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 Take a moment and pause and think about that verse. I sought God and He delivered me. He removed, He took away, there is no fear that holds me hostage anymore. He removed every fear that I have. I sought God and He delivered me from my fears. There was a time in my life quite honestly, where I would have told you that I'm not sure that's possible. How can God deliver us from all of our fears? And then, I'm telling you, I watched God deliver the person I love more than anyone else on earth from a very significant fear. My wife Amy, a little over ten years ago, she was popping out kids like some people make pancakes in the morning! Boom, boom, boom! She's always pregnant! I mean, we'd look at each other and get pregnant! It's a great thing you know! So, I think what happened is, it started to be really difficult on her body and she got some significant health issues going. We went to doctor after doctor, after doctor, after doctor, after doctor, after doctor. They couldn't figure out what was wrong. But what happened is, she would go totally numb on one side of her body and she was battling all sorts of fear and significant health issues. So, we would pray when she'd go to bed at night and she was convinced that she was dying, it was so painful for her. So, she would just say, I love you and if I don't wake up, here's what I want you to do for the kids. It was that real. Then, when she would wake up in the morning she was like, Okay, I'm here another day. It was that real to her. She was just very, very afraid and convinced she was dying. The doctors couldn't figure out what it was, it was a serious deal. So, what she started doing was she started seeking God through His Word. I'm telling you, the chick sought God! She had the Bible open all of the time, she was praying, everybody she knew was praying for her and she sought God, and she sought God, and she sought God. What's interesting is, about the time God helped her overcome her fear of dying, was about the time that her body started to improve. And to this day, all we can say is that God delivered her from her sickness. And all we can say is God delivered her from her fear. Here's what's crazy, her faith is disgusting! Honestly, I mean it really is! Because, I'm telling you, she faced her greatest fear and her greatest fear revealed what she valued the most, which is being here with her family. I mean, that's what she values the most. When she faced her greatest fear and she sought God, she discovered that what she feared, revealed where she trusted God the least. And where she trusted God the least, was when it came to her health and being here to raise our six children, and minister to me with making out late at nights! Sorry, just saying! And she was, she was delivered when she sought God. I'm telling you, that girl does not fear death at all. When we buried her brother just a few years later, we worshiped God at her brother's death bed and she says, I'll see you again soon David, to her brother; because she knows she will see him there, she is not afraid of death. So much so, on 911 when I was up in an airplane when other planes were falling out of the sky and I landed and I called her like, Were you afraid when I was up there and planes were falling, weren't you afraid? She was like, No! I was like, Seriously? Not even a little bit? Tell me you were afraid a little bit! She was like, No! I was like, What if I died? She was like, God would take care of us! I was like, Come on, give me a little sympathy fear, why don't you? And I'm telling you, twenty years, we've got a great marriage; but the girl is not afraid because she faced her greatest fear. She sought God and God delivered her from that fear, and God can do the same thing for you if you will seek after Him with all of your heart. This is what John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, great man of God from years past said; and I quote him, he said, I have never known more than 15 minutes of anxiety or fear. Think about that, never more than 15 minutes. He said, Whenever I feel fearful emotions overtaking me, I just close my eyes and thank God that He is still on the throne reigning over everything and I take comfort in His control over the affairs of my life. What a great quote! Whenever I feel fear, I just close my eyes and remind myself, God is on the throne. You can do the same exact thing. Whenever you start to feel fear, you just close your eyes,focus on God, and suddenly, God comes between you and your fear. When not, your fear comes between you and God, but you just seek Him and watch Him help you to overcome it. That's what I do when I fear the future, because when I look out at the months ahead and at my schedule, it is overwhelming. But, what I do is I close my eyes and I think, God, you are enough for today. You have given me everything I need to do, everything you want me to do today. And because of that, God has helped me to overcome my fear of the future. Seek after Him and He wants to do the same thing for you. God has not given you a spirit of fear, it's not from Him. Do not accept it, do not resign to it, for God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. But what if? But what if? One of my favorite stories on this subject, Beth Moore is a great teacher of the Bible, phenomenal teacher. She wrote in one of her books about her greatest What if fear. I may butcher her story, but basically she was so afraid of losing her husband, so afraid, always consumed with fear. What if I lose him, how could I go on. So, she was just talking to God and praying about it and seeking God about this fear that she was in bondage to. She felt like she entered into a conversation with God, where God just started walking her through a journey. She said, God, what if I lose my husband? And she felt like God just kind of said to her, Well, what if? And she's like, Well, if I lost him I'd go numb and the next few days my friends would probably help me get ready for the funeral and I would just kind of get through it. And God said, Yea, and then what? And she said, Well, then I probably wouldn't get dressed for a month and I would just sit at home and cry, and cry and cry and cry. And she felt like God said, Yea, and then what? And she said, Well, I'd probably not get dressed for another month and just sit at home and cry, and cry, and cry, and miss him and be devastated. And then she felt like God said, And then what? And then she said, At some point, I would probably start to seek you and you would be faithful and you would help me go on with life. And God said, Exactly, exactly. I'm telling you right now, go down the train of What if. What if this happens and what if I do lose a child, and what if we do go bankrupt, and what if I do lose my job, and what if the economy, what if it does happen? Yea, you might go through a difficult time, but what can mortal man do to you when you fully trust yourself into the hands of God, because what you fear the most reveals what you value the most, and what you fear reveals where you trust God the least. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. What if, what if, what if? Well, what if? What if? If you know God and if you continue to seek Him, He will help sustain you; because if you truly know Him, guess what? You have nothing to fear, but a reverential fear and love for the One who created you, and the more you know and fear God in a holy way, the less you have to fear on this earth. Satan wants you to be in bondage to fear, and God wants to set you free. For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind. Let's all pray together. God, we ask that in your presence you would set us free from the bondage of fear. At all of our churches, and all of our locations, as you are praying right now, many of you have some significant What ifs; let's be honest, face it, acknowledge it, admit it. What if this happens, what if this happens and you've got one or more fears that have been quietly or loudly consuming you for years. Those of you who would say, You know what? I want to take it before God. Just like Amy was delivered from her fear of dying, just like David said, I've been set free from all of my fears, you truly want by the power of God to overcome that which is not from God and held you hostage, you want to be free from fear. If that's you today, would you just lift up your hands high right now? All of our Network Churches, Church Online, all of our campuses, just lift your hands right now. God I pray, I thank you that what we fear is what we value the most, and God I thank you today, you are showing us that what we fear is where we trust you the least. And God we know that without faith it is impossible to please you, and God we want to please you. God we want to put our faith not in what we want God, but in who you are. God, help us to trust you with our greatest What if. God, even in our mind, if our worst What if comes to pass, God I pray that we would have faith in your goodness, in your grace, in your sovereignty, in your love, that you would carry us God through even our greatest What if. God, I pray that there would be no one that would be held hostage to all of the things that we fear that never, ever happen. God, that we would meditate on your Word, that fear is not from you. God, you have not given us a spirit of fear. So God, I pray that you would set people free. And God, where fear continues to linger, I just pray that this message from you God would arrest their hearts. God, in their LifeGroup, with their close friends, they would seek you, seek you, seek you, seek you; until God, you deliver them from their fear, and God when you do, they will tell everyone, God has truly set me free from this fear that held me hostage. We believe God that you will do it. Keep praying today at all of our locations, and let's go down to What if; what if this happens? What if this happens? What if something bad happens? Let's play another What if game for a minute and let me ask you this, what if you were set free from fear? What if you gave your whole life to Christ? What if God brought you here today to do a miracle so big that you would never, ever be the same again? You see, if you're consumed with fear, this could be evidence that you don't truly know the Creator of the universe. In fact, God is so good, in His love and His mercy, He sent His One and only Son, Jesus, who was without sin to die for us for the forgiveness of our sins. God raised Him from the dead and whoever puts their faith in Him would be totally forgiven and would be adopted into the family of God. When David said, What can mortal man do to me? Basically, what he is saying in a New Testament tone is, since I've given my life to Christ, there is nothing anyone can do to take me out of God's perfect eternal will. There is no weapon formed against me that will prosper. There is no fear greater than the goodness of God. There are some of you who are consumed with fear because you do not know the One who will set you free from all fear. What do you do today? Acknowledge the sin of your fear, acknowledge the sin of your lack of faith, acknowledge whatever sin is in your life because we are all sinners, and today call on the name of Jesus Christ. He will forgive you, He will hear your prayer. All of your sins will be cast into the sea of forgetfulness and you will become a brand new person. You can live free from fear, you can live a life of faith, your life can count for God. At all of our locations; there are those of you here, you know it, it's time to be free, it's time to be forgiven, it's time to be new, that's why you are here. Call on Him today, Jesus, I want to know you, I want to serve you. What if you give your whole life to Him? Let me tell you what, you will never be the same. That's why you're here. All of our locations, those of you who would say, That's me, lift your hands high now. Just lift them up and say, Yes, I surrender my life to you Jesus, be the LORD of my life. Those of you at Church Online, you click right below me. As hands are going up at all of our locations, let's join our voices together and pray that God would transform life. Just pray together pray, Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I need a Savior, Jesus save me, make me new. I won't fear anything, but a holy fear for you. Thank you for new life, my life is not my own, I give it to you. Thank you God, for forgiving me, making me new, adopting me in your family, I belong to you and trust you with my whole life. In Jesus' name I pray. All of our locations, would you take a moment and thank God, praise Him, welcome those today born into His family.

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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jan 31, 2011 Craig Groeschel I Quit Living in Fear Week 3

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