I am taking part in an online group reading the soon to be released book, "What Keeps You Up at Night" by Pete Wilson, the pastor of Crosspoint Church in Nashville, TN. On Sunday Bob and I decided to sleep in a bit and later in the morning we listened to Crosspoint live on my computer.
Pete is in a sermon series now based on his book. The sermon was awesome and I am going to attempt to share some of my notes in the hope it may help someone else. He first reminded us that, "Failure does not shape us." So often in my own life I have been afraid to try something new because I do not want to risk failure.
In the book of Exodus 16: 2-3 the Israelites could not stand the unknown. They grumbled a lot and seemed to always forget about God's faithfulness. They always went to the worst case scenario. How often in life do we do the same?
Pete believes most people would rather live lives of mediocrity or live stuck in the past then move forward. He gave the example of couples who come to him with marital problems...he suggests counseling and one of them will respond, "oh, we did that once 15 years ago and it did not help." Just because something "failed" once is that a reason not to try it again? What if...what if, it really could be the answer? Fear paralyzes us and stops us from living the better life, the better way.
It isn't failure that defines us...it is the way we choose to respond to the failure that will shape our lives. What if today you made the decision to trust God in one area, just one area of your life that scares you?
The Israelites did not trust God...they did not trust Moses as he was leading them, they lived instead complaining and fearing what would happen next. Their fear like ours is contagious, but we need to understand that courage is contagious as well. My Dad lost both of his legs due to complications from diabetes and I never saw fear in his eyes or heard him say, "I am afraid I will never walk again,"...no, instead he went to therapy and worked hard to not only walk, but to drive his own car. His courage set an example not only for me, but also for my children. He never gave up.
In Exodus 3:12 God reminds the Israelites, "Certainly I will be with you...God doesn't promise that we won't have fear in our lives, but He promises to be with us. So often,like the Israelites we automatically go to the worst case scenarios and convince ourselves that we cannot accomplish something. I remember when I first began painting a few years ago. I signed up for 6 weeks of oil painting classes with a friend...I was convinced I would not be able to produce anything half-way decent. After 6 weeks I had gained confidence and had two paintings that if I must say so were pretty good. What if I had just let the fear stop me? I think of all I would have missed out on.
Pete closed with this...the passage from Isaiah 28:16, "Therefore says the Lord God, Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed." The cornerstone of our lives needs to be Jesus. When and if He is the cornerstone there will not be a need to panic. He is responsible for holding it all together...I am not, you are not. We are responsible to trust...to trust He is who He says He is and we can trust Him with every aspect of our lives.
He came to set us free...are you living in His freedom? Is your life, are your plans built on the strong foundation of Jesus?