Am I the only person who was afraid of the dark as a child? I still get slight chills remembering when my grandmother would close our bedroom door, and the endless night’s abyss would take over my room. I was the older brother, and my young brother shared a room with me, so when he would say, “Del, are you scared,” I’d find myself faking confidence in between my Ninja Turtle bed sheets, peaking through my comforter with a trembling voice to respond, “Of course I’m not scared.” But little did he know, with every creaking floor noise, my heart would sink deeper into this overwhelming fear of the dark.
I was visiting some dear friends at Bethel Church in Redding, CA this past weekend and had the awesome opportunity to attend Bethel’s Sunday morning service. Kris V. was preaching, and he was talking about courage. It was a real enlightening message, but one of his opening phrases made my heart leap. He said, “FEAR has become the most acceptable sin in the Body of Christ!” You could feel everyone in the room inhale and gasp as we realized the amount of truth that was in this statement.
Warning, this is going to get real personal real fast. I hope you still love me after this. You might even be entertained or surprised that I struggle with the fear of rejection. But here’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I’ve always been loud, obnoxious, and humorous. I can remember, even in elementary school, that I just had to be the class clown. Growing up, I always had to be the life of the party and the center of attention. But for those of you who know my story, you know exactly why I needed the attention.
In a culture where consumerism causes the selling point to be about me, myself, and I, I’ve come to face the fact that as a believer, Jesus is not a capitalist. And before you get upset, this is not a position paper on capitalism. Hear me out. Even within our church culture around the world, we’ve begun to build ministries that entice this generation with what we can do for them. We pick churches because we like the community, or the children’s ministry, or the style of worship, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in and of itself.
I remember as a little girl being afraid of the dark. We lived in a small house that had a long dark hallway leading to the bedrooms. I don’t remember the colors of the walls or the furniture. However, I do remember feeling as if that hallway would lead to my demise. The big bad monster of the dark would capture me and I would never see my family again. To help ease my mind I would wait for my mom, sister or dad to go down the hall first. My thought was if they made it, then I could too. But there were nights that I had to venture down the hallway before everyone else. No one was there to assure me things would be ok and the monster of darkness wouldn’t capture me.
In a generation where commitment is undervalued, I’ve come to realize with myself in the last five years that I want to be a good friend who is surrounded with people who are good friends. I don’t think anyone wants to die alone. I think we all long for relationship, and desire to know and be known by the ones we love.
September 23 marked the start of a brand new season. This new season in which we call “Fall,” will show us that there is so much beauty in the death of a thing. Our culture teaches us to be afraid of death. Somewhere deep in the dark annals of our thinking, there is this belief that death is the “end all.” I want to present to you the thought that death is not really the end. Death is really the sign that a new beginning is on the horizon.
It had been an overwhelming week. I was facing stress at every level – personal, family, marriage, school, work, caregiving… I wasn’t sleeping well. I never do. So the fatigue was like a shroud covering my soul. I arrived at our small group meeting tense, and by prayer time was in tears. I wasn’t sure I could go on – or if I wanted to. I felt sorry for myself, for all the stuff coming at me, and for how it was affecting not only my life not, but also my future.
I’ve found myself frustrated in this last season of my life, because I’m realizing that many Christians who pray, fast, and believe for revival, don’t really even want it or even know what it is. Our typical idea of revival is a self-centered church where worship, preaching, and services are improved. Not to say that I’m old or anything, but as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I’m realizing that revival is way more than what I’ve been praying for.
I was asked a few days ago, “does God hate homosexuals?” My first response was simple, “is that a passive aggressive statement?” After determining that it was, my next reply came; “No, the Jesus of scripture doesn’t hate anyone.”
I want to speak to many of you who have felt like you don’t know where your next step is…
This past month has been exciting but definitely challenging as lots of travel and ministry filled most of my days. Though the days have been long and filled with excitement, I’ve still managed to steal away and spend quality time with the Lord and in this season God is speaking one word clearly for those who are leaders and forerunners in the Body of Christ…