September 22, 2009
Fearless, Part 2 w/Max Lucado
Imagine your life untouched by fear. What if faith, not fear was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread insecurity or doubt, what would remain?
Envision the day when you can trust more and fear less. They’re talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market and upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word “terror”. Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors. Wouldn’t it be great to just be able to walk out? I’m Charles Morris and welcome to Haven Today, telling the great story that’s all about Jesus and this is a program called “Fearless” with Max Lucado. It’s based on a new book that Max has just released. Imagine your life without fear. Jesus didn’t want us to live fearfully. He often reminded us to fear not. Looking at Jesus’ statements about fear points us to steadiness in the face of fearful circumstances. You know, I don’t know why but as Max puts it fear seems to be “in the driver’s seat these days.” We’re troubled and we’re also anxious. Finances are tumbling, rockets are launching and seemingly solid institutions are teetering. It’s tough to know where to turn, isn’t it? And that’s why we need to have this message in the next few minutes. There is an antidote to our fears: trust. If we trust God more we can fear less. What a comforting promise and it comes to us through none other than Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. If you missed our program yesterday, part one with Max Lucado called “Fearless”, we still have it up on our website at haventoday.org. May I also suggest that you share yesterday’s program or today’s program with a friend? Haventoday.org and there near the “Listen” button you’ll see a place where you can type in a friend’s email address. A little note from yourself of encouragement and then your note of encouragement and this time with Max Lucado will be on it’s way. We also have Max Lucado’s new book “Fearless: Imagine your life without fear” and we’d like to send it to you today as a thank you for your gift to Haven Ministries. Call us at 1-800-654-2836 or again, go online at haventoday.org. We’ll be joined by Max in just a moment but in his new book he quotes Jesus as saying in Matthew 14:27,
Take courage, I am here.
That’s Jesus speaking, not just to disciples then but speaking to you and me today. I don’t have Max talk about something that was very personal in his life recently but he mentions it in the book. He talks about his brother and he says that everyone did like his brother. His brother was named “Dee” and he made friends the way bakers make bread, daily, easily, warmly, handshake, big and eager, laughter contagious and volcanic. He permitted no stranger to remain one for long. And Max says he was the shy younger brother and had to rely on his older brother to make introductions for both of them. And when a family moved into the street or a new comer walked onto the playground it was the older brother Dee who was the ambassador. But something happened in his mid-teen years. He made one acquaintance that he should have avoided, a bootlegger who would sell beer to under aged drinkers. Alcohol made a play for both Dee and Max but although it entwined Max it enchained his brother Dee and over the next 4 decades his brother drank away health, relationships, jobs, money and all but the last 2 years of his life. It was on a January night when Max had just started writing his newest book that his brother Dee told Donna his wife that he couldn’t breathe well. He already had a doctor’s appointment for a related concern so he decided to try to sleep, little success, he woke up at 4 in the morning, chest pains, they called 911. The rescue team loaded Dee on the gurney and Donna met them at the hospital but his brother never recovered. Fear. It’s still there, isn’t it? Now, before we talk and before we listen, let’s worship with a reminder that God is still in control.
Song: God is In Control
Performed by: Twila Parris
Welcome back again to Haven Today. I’m Charles Morris from Southern California and on the line with us from Nashville is Max Lucado who is out with a brand new book called “Fearless: Imagine your life without fear”. Max thanks for coming back and joining us on the program today.
ML: Well Charles, thank you. It was really fun being with you yesterday and what a treat to talk to you today.
CM: Well, it is and in your new book, which I think is of powerful importance to us today, you deal with something that all of us are being affected by today: fear. In fact, we were being affected by fear before the economy took that nose dive. But one of the things that I appreciate you do so much is you look back at the life of Jesus, you look through the Gospels and you explore his encounters with fear and how he approached it and of course, our last time together we talked about the Garden of Gethsemane but he was always telling his followers then and he’s of course still speaking to us today, don’t be afraid. Do not fear. And I guess I’m getting that out of your new book and I think you intended that, didn’t you?
ML: Well, I did. You know I sometimes think what my children will someday say, “Daddy was always saying to us,” and probably “Go to bed,” or “Get your homework done.” What the disciples would say Jesus was always saying to us was, “Don’t’ be afraid.” He said that more than any other topic. “Don’t be afraid…Be of good courage…Be strong…Don’t be afraid, don’t worry.” These phrases were just, they sugared his teaching and his talking. He was always talking about fear. And I think it’s because he knows the damage that fear can do to us. It just really sucks the life out of us.
CM: It can literally kill us, can’t it?
ML: It does, it does. You know, I think it’s important first for us to remember that fear by itself is not a problem. It’s the pervasion of fear. It’s when fear becomes the air we breathe. The Bible says that God did not give us a spirit of fear and when fear becomes just a dominating emotion in our system that’s when things really get out of kilter. Fear really is just the thought that the world is out of control. That emotion that says, “Nobody is running this place. It’s out of control.” And consequently one of the ways we respond to fear is to try to control the world. We become control freaks. We try to control people or control our diet. I’m not talking about healthy discipline here but over management, obsessive compulsive behavior and that doesn’t solve the problem at all.
CM: Well and you know, there’s the faith component that contrasts with fear. Someone once said, you know, true courage is not being unafraid, it’s just stepping out in faith in the face of fear and I think what we’re seeing today, at least in North America with this great recession that we’re in right now is, our fear is pronounced, our fear has always been there but it’s more pronounced now, but we’re seeing our lack of faith, our lack of faith in Christ today.
ML: I like this definition: courage is fear that says its prayers. Courage is not the absence of fear but courage is knowing what to do with your fear. And you’re right, there is fear on every corner and the financial crisis only accentuated that and I believe that God lets us go through these times to show us we’re trusting too much in a particular person or stuff. In this case he’s reminding us of what his scripture teaches and that is “Don’t put your trust in riches which are so uncertain. They can be here today and gone tomorrow.” Even though this is a difficult time, it is a great opportunity for us to learn not to trust in resources or money but to learn to trust in the Living God who richly provides for all our needs.
CM: And fear can be real. I know you reflect back on your childhood growing up in West Texas and you’d go to those Saturday afternoon movies and see those “B” movies that I must admit I saw in Oklahoma too, those “Wolf Man” movies. Little children can have fear and we don’t know how to deal with fear but tragically Christian adults don’t always know how to deal with fear either do we?
ML: Well, we don’t and I think there’s a couple of reasons we see Christians struggling with fear. Number 1, many Christians have not resolved in their heart that God accepts them. They’re thinking they still have to impress God and win God’s favor. A big name for this is “legalism”. “If I keep the right legal system then I’m going to win God’s favor.” And I don’t know anybody who is more fearful than the person who respects God but doesn’t think they can impress God. That’s just a treadmill toward disaster. And many churches are petri dishes for this, they cultivate this type of fear. That can lead to a cult actually Charles. It can lead to a cult. The healthy church built on grace, built on acceptance, built on the great news, the good news that God has accepted us, he’s forgiven us and he’s defeated our grave, that he’s taken care of the big issues in life. And so we’ve got to be careful. Sometimes we find ourselves in a church that becomes a purveyor of fear and nothing can be more fearful than to hear somebody who’s supposed to be sharing grace sharing guilt and sharing fear. So just watch out for that CM: Yes
ML: and look for healthy churches, healthy churches that distribute courage, that distribute hope, that distribute life. That’s the place where God is working and that’s a call that a church has.
CM: It’s really tragic isn’t it that even sometimes in various churches of Jesus you find regret is being pounded on and we’re told to keep looking back in regret instead of just confessing our sins and depending on Christ and moving on. In your new book you tell that interesting story about a University of Texas football player. Of course it is football season so, you know we’re all following that whether the NFL or college football. Do you remember that story it was 1941 I think?
ML: Right. I came across this story in an editorial in the San Antonio paper some time ago and it’s an intriguing story about a man by the name of Nobel Doss who dropped a pass back in 1941 and it’s haunted him ever since. His team was ranked number 1 in the nation. They were hoping for an undefeated season and a berth in the Rose Bowl, out there where you are, and they played Baylor University which was a conference rival and they had the lead going into the 3rd quarter and the only thing between Doss and a touchdown was grass. The quarterback threw the ball and he just dropped it. The throw was right on target but he just dropped it. And he says that has haunted him ever since. He says, “I think about that play every day.” Now what’s interesting, he went on to become a father, a grandfather, served in the Navy during World War II, he had a NFL career, he made the hall of fame for the Texas Longhorns. He had a great career. It’s been 50 years since that game but he still weeps as he thinks about that story. Now, you know, I can understand that because memories of dropped passes really fade slowly and they stir this lonely fear, this fear that we’ve disappointed people, that we’ve let down the team and most of all that we’ve let down God. But God comes and he speaks against this fear because his great declaration is “Don’t be afraid. Your sins are forgiven.” And he leads us into an awareness, yes we’ve made mistakes but there comes a time in life when we can put those mistakes behind us and we can press forward. And maybe that’s the big message today for your audience Charles, you know all of us have these mistakes in our past but it’s because of Christ we can move forward from them and not let them define us any further.
CM: Amen and I’m saying that to, you’re speaking to me, you‘re not just speaking to everybody listening to Haven Today. And if you just joined us you’re listening to Max Lucado who’s a pastor from San Antonio and of course he’s written a lot of books including a brand new book called “Fearless” that I’ll tell you how to get in just a few minutes. Max, give me the story of the golfer Byron Nelson and then the Russian Jew.
ML: Well, it’s an interesting contrast when you look at the lives of these 2 men Byron Nelson and Boris Cornfeld. They’re, I mean completely different sides of the world
ML: They lived in 2 different countries in 2 different eras. But what fascinated me is that both of these men were godly men and yet they passed through such different circumstances. Byron Nelson led what could be called the idyllic life. He was the greatest golfer that ever lived. He lived to be 90+ years of age. His wife kissed him goodbye one morning to go off to a Bible Study and she came back and he was, you know, he was gone. He had fallen asleep and not woke up. I think I’d like to leave the world that way.
ML: You know, long life, 9 decades doing the things that I love to do with the people I love to do them. But you know what we just don’t have that promise. Now Boris Cornfeld on the other hand was placed in a Russian Gulag during the communist regime in the early part of the 1900’s he was punished for his faith. He was left in prison because of his faith and he died because he cared for people. He actually cared for a young cancer patient. And cared so much that he shared his faith with him and then because he shared his faith with him was beaten to death by Russian soldiers. What a tragic end! But he passed his faith on to Alexander Solzhenitsyn. That was the young man who lived. Now just compare those two stories Charles because the truth of the matter is we don’t know what awaits us. And I wish I could say, you know, that all of our listeners today will never have to pass through a violent time or a violent death. There’s violence all over this world. We cannot say that. But what we can say is this, that even if we have to pass through a time of violence, even a violent death, God will use that suffering for his glory. And the ultimate proof of this is the violent death of Jesus himself.
Cm: On the cross, that’s right.
ML: Yes sir.
CM: Well, thank you so much Max Lucado. We can’t go unless you pray for us.
ML: Oh, I’ll be happy to.
CM: Would you pray?
ML: Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for the promise of peace that comes into our lives. We thank you for our King, our Savior who sits on the throne. We pray that you would unify your churches all over the world so that we could be people of courage. We pray that you would help us step out of fear and into faith. Help us to walk more on your promises than we do with those warnings in life. Lord God, we pray that your voice would be the big voice in our lives and my prayer is that every single person that hears these words would sense your presence, sense your touch and know that you care deeply, deeply about them. We offer this prayer in the name of Christ, amen.
Max Lucado, thank you for leading us in prayer on part 2 of a program series called “Fearless” and that’s the title of his new book “Imagine your life without fear”. I’d like you to have a copy and along with getting a copy of the book by Max Lucado from us we’ll send you a CD with the 2 days that we have Max on the program with me. We have it in stock. I’d like to get it out to you right away. All you have to do is get on the phone and just call us at 1-800-654-2836, 1-800-654-2836. The book is called “Fearless” and it’s just out by Max Lucado. You can also go online and when you’re there watch the video clip we have of Max talking about his new book, h.a.v.e.n.t.o.d.a.y, haventoday.org.
I’m Charles Morris. Thanks for joining me. Would you come back again tomorrow when again we’ll be talking about Jesus, the great story. We’ll do it together here on Haven Today.
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