Afraid of Tomorrow?

This is the last message from my January Series “REGRET-Less”
(excerpts from “In a Pit, with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson)

Last week we talked about the stories of risk in the Bible. God used real people and messed up people to do BIG things for God, mankind, and eternity.  Each of them took those small risks, the steps of faith, the leaps forward that were needed to move closer towards their destiny.

I’m so thankful that they were real people with imperfect lives and screwed up pasts and LIKE ME, many took their steps of faith and took their risks while still afraid.

Abraham in Hebrews 11:8  “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

I love what Jonathan said to his armor-bearer when persueing the Philistines.  He knew what had to be done and went forward but not in confidence.  He looked at his armor-bearer and said, “”Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”

Regardless your calling or relational status in life, I do know that you must take risks if you want to reach your God given potential and fulfill your God-given destiny. Sometimes we must run away from security and chase uncertainty, but that’s scary isn’t it?  I took a walk through that valley again this weekend. So, today’s sermon is more like a note . . . a letter to my congregation and the best way for me to bring our REGRET Less sermon series to a close.

“Hey, its your pastor. It’s Saturday morning and, well, I’m afraid.  I believe it s a good thing for a pastor to be transparent with his congregation, so here it is . . .

in all honesty, the last two years have been real tough. I’ve doubted more than ever before, I think I’ve cried more, I have lost more sleep, and I have had big fears about the future.

Right now I am experiencing some anxiety because its tax time. Ya, got my final W2s yesterday.  Was already fearful because my teaching job, well they don’t take out any taxes.  Then yesterday, I got my W2s from my other part time job . . . I knew for sure they were taking out Federal taxes, but I was wrong it was Social Security.  We needed every cent just to pay the bills, to put food on the table and now this?

Now, I’m not expecting a pitty party, although I do enjoy a good party BUT I just wanted to be straight with you . . . I told you the last few weeks that in order to REGRET Less, we ought to all take risks. We need to step out in faith and make those hard and risky choices. So, am I now saying OOPS! I take it all back because reality hit me again?

I’m thinking . . . God has been so good. I have been blessed in so many ways and He will take care of us! Would I rather go back to living the way I did before? With a little more certainty BUT a whole lot less faith, risk, dreaming, or God. No way!

So, once again. I find myself swallowing the lump in my throat and taking another step forward. I took the obsessive compulsive quiz offered on facebook. Not sure why I take those quizzes. I guess sometimes I just enjoy the silly results.  The other day, I took a quiz that was supposed to tell me what kind of gun best resembled me and my personality.  My result: it said I would prefer knives and daggers and if I ever murdered another person I’d want to do it up close and personal.  Wow! (By the way, I’m really a loving and caring person if you don’t know me well yet . . . so no need to fear.)

However, I did take one fb quiz last year. It was called, How obsessive compulsive are you?”  I knew it would be high for me but 100% – common!

I got to admit though, I do like my to-do list and accomplishing each step, I do strive for perfection on almost everything and sometimes to my demise, and (maybe like you), I like control.  I like knowing what lies ahead. I’m not much of an adventurer (unless the journey is completely mapped out).

We like to know where we’re headed and how we’re gonna get there, don’t we? I know it drives my kids crazy AND maybe that’s the reason I do it . . . but, have your children ever asked you “why do we have to get dressed?  Where are we going?” and we answer, “Just wait and see.” It’s miserable waiting and not knowing what lies ahead.

Faith involves a loss of control and a loss of control equals a loss of certainty. Faith is the willingness and readiness to embrace our uncertainties.

Our greatest moments in life are unscripted.  We would prefer life to have a clearly defined plot . . . a mapped out beginning, middle, and end.  Why? Because, it’s hard to take those forward steps of faith and let God have control.

When taking the giant leap forward in moving to Joliet, God gave me a verse. A verse that I can’t fully comprehend , but a verse that has allowed me to keep taking more steps forward.

Proverbs 20:24 tells us “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

Do we really believe God is ordering every step of the way?

The Bible encourages us to move forward not in certainty but in confidence . . . a confidence that is not contiNgent upon circumstances and certainty but move on with a confidence that relies on the character of God.

My dear friends of Istoria Church, we all have our regrets, but let me remind us once more . . . let’s regret less in 2010.  Let’s never give up dreaming or risking.  Each new day that God gives us, lets just take another step forward.

Keep dreaming. I love you, Pastor Steve


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