Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

The Mountain of Faith

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 by Wolfgang Vondey

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus promises that “if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Who doesn’t wish to have that kind of faith? The problem is, nowhere in Scripture do we find anyone moving a mountain. There is no record in history, that anybody ever moved a mountain. Jesus is not speaking about moving literal mountains–Jesus is speaking about spiritual mountains.

We all have mountains in our lives that need to be moved. Watch the video below and follow Moses as a guide up the mountain to learn how to move the mountains in your life and what it takes to have faith as a mustard seed. Your mountain will probably still be there, after these 30 minutes, but I pray that the word of God will give you hope, courage, and determination to change your circumstances and to learn that the only way to move a mountain is up!

 

Globalophobia: We are afraid of the world

Monday, September 13th, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

Let’s admit it, we really just want to be by ourselves. We are comfortable with ourselves, our houses, spouses, and children, our jobs, and the demands we can comfortably meet by next Thursday. We have enough on our plate thinking from here to the front yard. Our job demands enough from us without having to think globally, the world, the planet, the earth, or whatever they call it. There is no need to engage the whole globe! Who can handle the whole world?

Underlying this resentment is really a fear of getting lost; an uncertainty of what the world has to offer, why we should engage the world and on what terms. We disagree with the statement that the world is getting smaller. All this information overflow is not getting the world closer together; it adds more and more on top of everything until there is no knowledge of who wants what and why. This symptom is called globalophobia.

Okay, I made this up. The term globalophibia does not really exist. But it should. Because most of us are afraid of the world.

We are not afraid of any specific place, or country, or culture, or ritual. We do not mind going to Haiti, or Nairobi, or Shanghai. We can handle concise places. We can survive for a week in a country whose language we do not speak or understand. We can eat food we have never tasted, and worship with people we never met. At least once.

What we cannot handle is globalization. To be honest, we do not really know what that means. Who are we? Who can tell us who we are? Who can we trust?

Globalization is the monster that triggers our fear of the world. We do not want to be globalized. We don’t even want to be “global”. Even “international” is not an adjective with which we are truly comfortable. We don’t really even know who we are. We know what we are called. But we don’t know how to think of ourselves in terms of the world. We have learned to think of ourselves in terms of this building, that sanctuary, those people, last Sunday, or tomorrow’s baptism. But beyond those isolated coordinates we dare not see ourselves. We have lost our sense of history and what was once called the communion of saints. We are in the world but not of the world. We are afraid of the world. We are — the church.

So You Think You Can Dance?

Sunday, April 11th, 2010 by Marc Santom

Given the renewal nature of our upstart blog (and the evangelical propensity to try and contain, confine and control how God works), I wanted to share one of my favorite non-biblical expressions about the nature of the Holy Spirit. It’s from a chapter entitled “Fear of Dancing” from John Fischer’s book, Real Christians Don’t Dance.

The Spirit of God dances. He can’t be tamed. He won’t be contained. He refuses to be confined to a weekend retreat, an evening meeting, or even a moment of devotion. He doesn’t follow schedules, programs, or agendas, and He doesn’t wait for His name to be called.

The Spirit of God dances…on out into the streets. He dances by the harlots in the red-light districts, by the victims of AIDS in lonely homes, by bag ladies in the inner cities, and by struggling farm families across the plains. He finds the orphans and widows and dances through the lonely pain of their lives.

He dances through the camps of hungry children, through the crowded streets of the oppressed, and past the wire where the South African woman is hanging out ragged laundry as well as by the scrubbed white faces sitting in church in the nearby city.

His favorite dancing places are those where [we] don’t want Him to go: on MTV, on drive-in movie screens, or on smoky stages with microphones that smell of whiskey. The Spirit of God loves sinners and dances best where life spills out on the floor.

The Spirit of God refuses to be choreographed. His dance is raw, new, and jerky. It’s not always pleasing to the eye, but His dance is fresh in the lives of human beings whose floors have not been cleaned up. It isn’t well-rehearsed, polished, or perfect; it slips and slides, sometimes innovative and shocking and at other times just exhilarant, but it’s always real.

Most people, even those who pride themselves in their dancing, are afraid of this spontaneous dance. They’re afraid of anything they can’t control…so they must create their own dance of predictable steps and prescribed routines and send all their people through dance school — or outlaw dance altogether.

But this should come as no surprise. It has always been this way. The Lord of the Dance himself was here once, and it was the same way then. He danced on the keepers’ holy days and broke their holy laws. His timing — if not His whole dance — always seemed offbeat…

He wanted to turn their empty religious movements into heartfelt, joyous dancing. He wanted them to exchange the grip of the Law for the freedom of the dance. But they thought He was a clumsy dancer, always bumping into their traditions and stepping on their pious toes. He even danced with the wrong crowd, in smoke-filled rooms and on messy floors.

Once He described His generation and declared, “We played the flute for you, but you would not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ “

No, nothing’s really changed… but the Spirit of God dances on.

While most of Fischer’s words aren’t Scripture, they are bursting with compelling reminders as to the uncontainable, un-confinable and uncontrollable nature of the Holy Spirit. And, like a snowball in the face, his words remind us of our innate fear of following God’s Spirit into places that are seemingly dark, uncharted, off-limits, secular and, heaven forbid, offensive to our Christian sensibilities.

You see, I grew up in a church culture where the Spirit of God was free to dance in the midst of our Sunday morning party, but I suppose we figured it best if we locked him up in the sanctuary all week so He could rest up and prepare his new song and dance for us the following Sunday. Many of us didn’t know that He, like Jesus, would not be restrained to dancing only with religious people in sacred settings. We didn’t know that, when church was over, He was rolling up His sleeves and going to dance in places we would never go–lest we get too offended or “infected” by the dirtiness of those places and the people who lived there.  Don’t get me wrong, we’d be willing to breeze in and out of there to hand out tracts to these “spiritual targets.” But to dance with them and do life with them? That just wasn’t for us.

May I continually be reminded that the Spirit of God first hovered over the dark, formless chaos (Gen. 1:2) and continues to, like the wind, blows where it wishes (John 3:8).  This same Spirit knows no boundaries and finds no dark, shadowy territory to be off-limits. After all, if it is true that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24:1),” then why shouldn’t we expect the Spirit to be imparting God’s life to every square inch of this fallen world?  And dare I follow His lead as He teaches me to dance out there where church steeples are no longer in sight?