Extra Strength: Love Does: Be Not Afraid {Hyacynth}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Love Does: Be Not Afraid {Sunday, October 26, 2014}

By Hyacynth Worth

We are standing on the edge of yikes.

Truth be told we’ve been standing here for the past year as we’ve sought what God has in mind for our family and what He wants our family to look like.

Our first step out onto the ledge began when we committed to hosting a 12-year-old orphaned Eastern Europe girl into our home for a month last Christmas. Though my husband and I were both certain that hosting was, indeed, what God was inviting us to do, I found myself scared.

I was scared to open my heart. I was scared to open my home. I was scared to open my family, especially our young boys, up to a unknown child who carried hurts. I was scared to let someone into the very intimate places of our family. And I was scared that we would never be able to gather all of the money necessary for hosting.

Even though I knew God was inviting us onto this journey of orphan care and advocacy, fear inched its way from my stomach to my throat and it tempted me to question everything I felt the Spirit prompting inside my heart and everything the Spirit had been saying to us through the Word.

10577032_954544034559772_838081196621665371_nFear has a way of standing up real tall in front of us, like shadows climbing tall walls, threatening to wash over us with darkness.

Fear says, “What if we get in over our heads?” or “What if we fail?” or, worst of all, “What if we hurt someone we love in the process?”

Fear is a large, lurking giant, whispering lies and doubts and uncertainty — it is a darkness that threatens to paralyze us, freeze us dead in our tracks. Fear is a liar that says that God isn’t just and sovereign and fully over all the things that keep us trembling in the shadows.

But God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. Rather, He’s given us a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) God’s graciously given us the ability to choose faith, to choose to allow the Spirit to well inside of us; He’s given us the ability to choose faith in face of all the giants of life, faith in midst of all the shadows in life.

And do you know what faith does when we choose it? Faith tells fear to sit down and take its place where it belongs — on the floor alongside the lies and uncertainties that tempt us.

Faith says that we claim confidence in what we hope for and rest in assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

And faith — faith says we are free to live and move because there is a God who is bigger and covers all of our fears, all of our doubts, all of our uncertainties, all of our failures and all of the darkness.

Faith says we are free to love and love well.

Our edge of yikes right now again looks like hosting another preteen girl from Eastern Europe this Christmas.  And it may look like adopting her into our family along with her toddler sister, a child we’ve yet to meet. All of this, too, in the aftermath of our first host daughter denying our adoption requests, leaving us puzzled yet trusting in God’s handiwork.  While some of my fears were realized in this journey, I found God towering over them, still triumphant. And I don’t regret walking the path we’ve been invited to walk.

We still can’t see what’s over our edge of yikes; we still can’t see where the path will lead.

The old, familiar fears are still lurking, yes, climbing like shadows when we allow our minds to wander, but we’re asking God daily, sometimes moment by moment, to help us choose faith in the face of fear, in the face of darkness.

We’re asking God daily to help us turn our eyes toward the Light and let the Light within us shine so that the darkness becomes less and less and less. We’re asking God daily to paralyze the fears that paralyze us and move us with His great love so that we can dare to love greatly.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.

Be Challenged: 

  • Identify a fear that’s been holding you back from what God’s been inviting you into and give it to God in prayer.
  • Ask God if He wants you to move in spite of your fears. And then? Take the next step!

Go Deeper:

  • Answer the questions in our the Love Does Study Guide by yourself, with your small group or with a trusted friend.

ICYouth: Fear Not, Little Flock (Makenna)

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Makenna Nahorniak

I’ve come to the conclusion that each human being has dreams, hopes and most of all- fears. We house these anxieties in our hearts, and as they build up, we forget the truth that is consistently woven throughout the Word of God:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18).

I have the heart of a dreamer, this is certain. When I was little, I filled notebooks to the brim with plans of becoming an entrepreneur, a best-selling author and a world-class ballerina all at once. I would read and write all day long, and celebrate the end of the day by dancing to the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack on my walkman while wearing my favorite sequined jumpsuit. Somewhere along the way, as I conjured up my childlike plans, I realized that the world we currently live in teaches that fear wins. This is exceedingly wrong.

We so often allow our phobias of failure, mediocrity and collapse to dictate the way we live our lives. While we may understand that the Lord is leading us to move outside of our comfort zones, we are held back by the voice that whispers, “You won’t make it…You’re not capable… You’re wasting your time.” As I sit quietly in a room filled with people and write about the way we allow fear to control the way that we live, I find myself in awe of the way that God’s people might tremble before anything aside from Him. He builds dreams deep within our souls that we might honor Him and carry His name wherever He leads, yet it can be so effortless to ignore the passions that the Lord has written on our hearts because we’re stunted by the thought of moving beyond the walls of our everyday contexts.

Fear Not Little Flock 10.17.14I can’t help but think of the crisis’ that this world is dealing with- this Earth that the Lord brought about by the work of His hands and breath of life. The brokenness of this world seems to offer us so many reasons to fear, but God changes things. He makes the unapproachable situations worth it; He casts out all fear.

Jesus replaces our immeasurable inadequacies with His unbelievable sufficiency. We must return to the truth that we have in Him. We must not be so afraid to make movements toward the wildly unusual, powerful plans that He has for us.

Love doesn’t play it safe. Love is less about comfort than it is about adventure. When we stand before giant barriers and seemingly untamable obstacles, the Lord walks before us and says, “Fear not.”

When we are able to come to the realization that life everlasting spent in the presence of His splendor is the greatest treasure, this life all of a sudden becomes an extravagant phenomenon – a prelude to eternity – a story of redemption and the impossible – the triumphant song of a God who has been and always will be. He will forever sit on the throne, therefore, we are free to move and live boldly. He has paid far too great a price for His people to be held back by fear. He has come to set us free; so let’s decide to thrive on His freedom.

Jesus says in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” We must display His love continually, lay our fears behind us regularly and chase His dreams for us with everything we have. It’s time to tap into the journey that the Lord has set before each of us and simply say ‘yes.’

Makenna Nahorniak is a senior at Christian Life School. She enjoys leading worship, singing, reading, writing and using her words to encourage others’ hearts. 

The Monday After: Everyday Heroes: Gideon {Andrew}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, August 18, 2013:Everyday Heroes: Gideon {LISTEN HERE!}

by Andrew Kelley

This was one of those messages I knew was for me before pastor Joe even started speaking, though its full effect hasn’t sunken in yet.

The reason I knew it was for me is because I am a person that deals with fear a lot. I fear the feeling of falling so I don’t do roller coasters or bungee jumping. I also fear being rejected.

Mark Twain’s quote is almost as inspiring as the story of Gideon: “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is sure.” I thought of a couple things that I have feared in the past and never did or faced.

Maybe that’s why I still fear so much.

The story of Gideon is so cool because it gives us a narrative of a man that seemed like a nobody who in the end could take on the world. God showed Gideon who he really was even in his fear. I especially love how even God says to Gideon in Judges 7:10, “but if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant.”

This shows us even more how God doesn’t expect perfection.

And He doesn’t want us to walk in fear. Earlier in Judges 6:23-24 the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”

So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord , and called it The- Lord -Is -Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. The personal story that came to my mind first was when a friend and I were watching the demolition derby awaiting our turn. A car with two guys got hit on both sides almost at the same time. They stopped the derby and paramedics rushed out to the car. One guy got out right away seemingly unscathed while the other guy didn’t move much.

Eventually the second guy got out and walked slowly away; my friend and I looked at each other as we walked towards our car. As we sat in fear in the car we prayed. And the cool part — l felt the peace of God rush over me. We went into the arena boldly.

This was 14 years ago, and I still remember it because of the peace that I felt.

God knows our fears, and He knows who we are in His Spirit. We know who we are in our fears and failures and most of the time we can’t see past all that junk but God sees so much more in us.

He sees the finished product.

Andrew and Dawn

Andrew Kelley is husband to Dawn and father to four wonderful children; he and his family currently call Immanuel and Zion home.