Monday, July 5, 2010

Lesson 1: Why Are We Afraid?

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Read Chapter 1 from Fearless and we'll discuss the questions below.

Fear has touched every one of us in some way – whether it has entangled us or completely enchained us. But how we respond to fear, and whom we turn to for a way out, is what matters more than anything. Will your fear leave you embittered or awestruck? This week’s discussion will inspire us to live in awe of Christ, who refused to let fear have any hold on His life – and who wants the same thing for you.

You may be down to your final heartbeat, but you may be down to your last paycheck, solution, or thimble of faith. Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear. Each of us can find reasons to be afraid, no matter how “good” our life is – no one is immune to fear.

Question #1 - What causes your heartbeat to race, your palms to sweat? What makes you afraid?

Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to consult with or cower to their timidities did that.

Question #2 - When, in your experience, has courage overcome fear to accomplish something good?

We hope for an easy ride through life once we meet Christ, smooth sailing on a crystal clear sea. But storms rise up. None of us can escape this inevitable fact – whether we are Christ-followers or not. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ. He handles our great quaking with a great calming.

Question #3 - Describe a time when your life was in chaos, but you could clearly see that Jesus was unstirred by the storm.

The disciples on the storm-tossed boat on the Sea of Galilee marveled at Jesus’ power. What kind of man is this? they thought. And likewise, I wondered at my dad’s calm when the Wolf Man lurked behind the couch in my living room when I was six years old. A loving Father, God handles our great storms with great calm.

Question #4 - In what ways have your encounters with fear increased your awe of God?

Question #5 - Describe a time when Jesus spoke to the storm in your life, and the winds calmed and the waves stilled


  1. 1) Spiders scare me! It's funny - I can handle daddy long-legs. But a spider with thicker legs - look out! Seriously, a fear that I have had to conquer is speaking in front a large group. I have turned this fear over to God since you can't very well preach without being in front of people.

    2) I think back to the first months of Celebrate Recovery. My fears of speaking, giving the message, and leading the worship service were huge. Knowing that this ministry was something that was going to help those struggling with hurts, I was able to step out in faith and with God-given courage.

    3) When my mother was dying. Everything at that time seemed so chaotic and out-of-control. There was nothing that I could do but just keep showing up at the hospital and praying for strength. I knew Jesus was with my family and unstirred by what was going on. Not that He didn't care, but that He was there every step of the way.

    4) Every time I have been fearful of something, I have prayed for God's hand upon me. I think of the many times I have stepped out in faith, and how God equipped me, sustained me, and provided what was needed (not necessarily what I wanted). When I let go of my fears and let God guide me, I am always amazed at how truly awesome God is.

    5) Ken's last surgery where they accidentally punctured his heart while putting a filter in his vena cava. This was merely a preventative procedure to ensure that blood clots would not travel to his heart. They had to do emergency open-heart surgery. Jesus spoke to that storm as the day progressed and the days that followed. I felt a peace that surpasses all understanding during that time.

  2. I think that our physical and emotional energy play a part in all of this. Back in 1992 I was at a camp where we had a "Ropes Challenge Course." Unfortunately, I spent 10+ minutes wrestling around trying to get up to the first level... it took so much energy that when I finally got there and had to traverse a rope... I was wiped out and just got stuck in the middle. A group of friends had to rescue me and get me down off that 20 feet above the ground. Now, if I had started there, would I have breezed across. Don't know, but I sure would have had a better chance of doing so. What would be a similar concept in our spiritual lives?

  3. For me I am afraid of heights and small crowded places like elevators. But an empty elevator whizzing along in a 30 story building is not problem!
    Along with Karen I fear speaking in public, especially in church. But yet 1/2 of my career was been in teaching, training or running meetings-does that make sense?
    Even this year when Bob was diagnosed with cancer I wasn't really afraid since I knew the risks and we discussed the possibility of dying. But when he contracted the MRSA then I was afraid that he would not make it.
    So as Lucado says that fear is when we can't control something I think for me at least there is the element of irrationality.
    Pastor Jeff's story illustrates to me how much energy we put into accomplishing a single event or step in the journey that when we reach the next level we are unprepared. I have felt this way spiritually many times-looking back and wishing that I had turned things over to God much sooner.