Tag Archives: gospel

Do not be afraid.

This piece first appeared on Everyday Exiles.

Fear. It’s that voice in our heads, that feeling inside of us, the one that stops us from doing things. Or maybe it keeps us doing things so we don’t see the consequence of stopping. Maybe it keeps us in our routines, or prevents us from branching out and trying something new. It sometimes manifests in worry, anxiety, or anger. But what if we stopped our fears in their tracks? You might be thinking, “What if there was a way to banish our fears, and find comfort in those places instead?” That’s what the Lord has for us.

The Bible tells us that fear is not of God. Romans 8:15 AND John 14:27 both confirm this! We were not given a spirit of fear; God doesn’t give us what the world would give us. Fears, worries, anxiety, and what ifs… all those things are wrought from a broken world and an Enemy who seeks to drive us away from a loving Father. You can be sure not only that God would never cause you to have fears, but that casting your fears and cares on Him won’t scare him away. There’s no fear you could confess to Him that would cause Him to stop caring for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says this: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Is there any better news than that?! He cares for you. The God of the universe cares for you, and is ready for you to just humble yourself and give Him all the fear. And He will even exalt you (hold you in high regard and speak highly of you), because He considers you as His son or daughter!

Voicing our fears removes their power. There are two reasons for this. The first is that speaking a fear out loud typically means you’re speaking it TO someone. You might be speaking it to a friend, your spouse, a mentor… all of whom are hopefully willing and able to help you dispel that fear; rebuke that fear in Jesus’ name! Or, you might be speaking it straight to the Lord, praying for Him to take the fear and replace it with promise He’s made.

The second reason speaking the fear out loud diminishes its hold on us is this: a big part of the fear is admitting you’ve got a fear at all. We’re ashamed that we’re afraid, or we’re fearful of burdening someone with our fears. So we bottle them up, pretend they don’t exist, and wait until we’re likely to explode with that fear, crippling as it has become. Stuffing the fear down might give us the illusion that it’s gone away, but fear can be toxic when left to fester. But admitting the fear, saying it out loud, “God, I’m really scared to take this next step.” or “I’m afraid of what might happen if I can’t keep this up.” can put that fear out in the open, and allow us to work through it. When we identify and call out the fear, we can cling to God’s promises for us: He brings peace, courage, and joy. He has called us worthy. He loves us, and that won’t change. His Holy Spirit is always with us. Those promises won’t change, no matter the size or shape of our fears.

So when you feel the fear of next career steps, unsteady relationships, unknown paths, or painful choices, don’t push the feelings aside. Call them out. Call a friend. Say a prayer. Cling to God’s promises to you. You’re no longer a slave to fear. You’re a child of God.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

Some Thoughts on Evangelism.

Evangelism is something that used to scare me. In my youth, to me it meant that we would go around handing out gospel tracks, or randomly starting conversations with people, so that we could pray with them, hoping to lead them to Jesus. It had less to do with fostering a love of Jesus or a desire to worship him, and more of a way to get another tick on our evangelist’s counter.

As you might imagine, this didn’t work very well for me.

As an adult, the word still scares me a little bit, because I don’t quite know how to put my feelings into words. The scars are still there from my misinterpretations as a youth. But there is so much hope, for me and for you, to be able to overcome the scars of myself and others, and continue on into the love of Jesus in a true sense, and then share it with the world.


Recently, during my quiet time (I’ve been studying through the Psalms, in case you didn’t know) I was convicted as I read Psalm 71. I’ll put the part I’ll focus on here so you don’t have to look it up…

Psalm 71:14-18
But I will hope continually,
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.

Well, I have to begin by saying that the psalmist surely stirred up some excitement and laid a healthy burden on me to share more of the Gospel. Our mouths should tell of His righteous acts and deeds of salvation! We should proclaim His wondrous deeds and His might! It not only encourages our brothers and sisters in Christ, and not only spreads the truth of the Gospel to all ears, but it fosters our believing but sometimes wayward hearts by proclaiming and declaring what we know to be true.

Let’s talk for a moment about “proclaim” and “declare”. As a worship leader, sometimes I am moved during a song to encourage the congregation to proclaim or declare some of the lyrics we’re singing. There’s a slight difference between those words, and so it’s important to do both, sometimes. To proclaim is to announce something openly, publicly, and officially. To declare is to solemnly and emphatically say something. Another definition even says to reveal one’s intentions or identity. To proclaim the righteousness of fearsome and loving God, and the salvation attainable through Christ Jesus are things that should be proclaimed, shouted from the pulpits, platforms, and rooftops. To declare that death has been defeated, and that we are made new in Christ is a truth that can reveal our identity, and alter our intentions.

So as I read those verses of Psalm 71, and then read them again, and then prayed them then and there over my life and my vocation, I was convicted. I was reminded that we, as followers of Jesus, are called to live by his example, which was indeed proclaiming God’s righteousness and mighty acts, proclaiming His wondrous deeds to every generation and all those to come. In one of the books I’m reading (Lioness Arising. Lisa Bevere. Find it. Buy it. Devour it as I have done.) she encourages us to use our circles of influence to share God’s truths and Jesus’s words. While I’m on the platform, every Sunday, worshiping the Lord, and hopefully bringing everyone in that journey alongside me, I have even more opportunity than I allow myself (or at least remember that I have) to actually speak Scripture and truth into the congregation. I have this very site where I share funny quips from my kids and what we ate for dinner last week, but I shouldn’t neglect the possibilities this site provides for the sharing of God’s Word. I have family members, friends, acquaintances, and sometimes strangers that I can come alongside and encourage, pray for/with, and speak truth into. Why should I be scared of being an evangelist? Why should I be nervous to do what Jesus did?

Being Uncomfortable 


Today, I had a meeting about a ministry I’m a part of. It was a room full of Christians, some my friends and some strangers. Some of us were writers, some artists, some more practically-minded. We were meeting to discuss the future of the ministry, to brainstorm, to dream a little. 

One thing that came up and stuck with me was discussing things that were current. Less about church history (not to be discounted, by the way!) and more being a Christian in today’s world. Less about the easy stuff and more about being uncomfortable

The world we live in isn’t comfortable. It shouldn’t take you much effort to see that. Even if you are in a comfortable home situation, a comfortable job, or a comfortable relationship, you don’t have to look very far (or scroll very far back through your Facebook feed) to see, read, or hear things that are uncomfortable. As a Christian, what can you do about it? You can’t give to every single charity, and you can’t  volunteer for every single event or drive or whatever. There are thousands of ways to “help” and frankly I get quite overwhelmed by it. 

What does it look like to be a good Christian? What does it look like to reflect Jesus in my culture? Or at the very least in my circle of influence? I don’t know all the right answers. I don’t have a solution to the question of “when and where and how much do I do”. But I do know that most change (and yes, change is what we need) begins with doing something uncomfortable

What this looks like for you, I cannot say. But what I’m afraid (Yep, I went there. Afraid is what I meant.) it means for me is that I’m about to get uncomfortable in my writing. And that makes me really nervous. 

Before I scare you off, let me explain. 

Uncomfortable for me might be writing about things I don’t know as much about. It might mean doing a little more research, or changing my style for a piece. It might mean writing about a topic I don’t usually like, or something I’ve never written about before. It might mean baring my soul to you about an uncomfortable topic, and opening myself up to criticism (please be kind). It might mean writing something that challenges you and me to think out of the box, or to try something new. Those things are uncomfortable for most of us. It may just get crazy in my little corner of the Internet. 

But you know what? Jesus was radical. He did things that weren’t allowed. He said things that were unconventional and rocked the boats of the Pharisees and the priests. He also spread the love of God and paved the way for salvation for all who would listen and believe. It might’ve been uncomfortable, but that’s where I want to be. I want to be there with him, spreading the Gospel in radical and unconventional ways, rocking boats and making a change. Now, the work I have to do is get used to being uncomfortable. 

Our aim is love.

photo (33)

This morning, my band and I were fortunate enough to not need all our allotted practice time, so we made it to the worship team’s small group. The people are mostly different every Sunday, but by now I know most of them as friends, or at least admired acquaintances. They are all musicians, and we are largely similar in that respect (and several others as well; we tend to be a “type”).

Our worship pastor came to us this morning with a Scripture that blew my mind. He said he had been led to it this week, and was really shifting his focus to walk in it. It also happens to pair nicely with the sermon series our church is in the middle of right now… Isn’t God cool like that?!

Anyway, the single verse is from Paul’s first letter to Timothy (I Tim. 1:5). When we are asking ourselves, after striving and trying and loving and helping, sometimes seemingly in vain, this is Paul’s answer to us:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (ESV)

The aim – the NIV says “goal” – our aim, our goal, our purpose… is love. That’s the main point. Love.

What could we learn, if we just remember that? Love is the goal. It looks different on everyone, and each person needs a different kind, but it’s all about love.

Moving on through the verse, he specifies love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Those are good places for your love to come from. When we let ourselves be cleansed by the blood, we love from a pure heart. When we allow our minds to become one with the Father’s, we love with a good conscience. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we love from a place of sincere faith.

Folks, this should change your outlook, change your life! Or, if you were already there, good for you! This filled me with a desire to let the Father change my heart, mend my mind, and fill my soul. I want to love! I want that to be my aim and my goal. I need it. We all need it. I’m going to let love be my aim and my goal. And then I’m excited to see what happens. Aren’t you?