I just completed a 2-week blog series on fear, faith and courage. The fact that the Bible repeats the command to “fear not” 365 times only begins to foreshadow the vast importance of this topic. Whatever we fear is what we are ultimately subject to, so there are few things more important than learning to identify and master our fears.
Courage is what pulls us through the fear, and I am convinced that courage can only be developed alongside of faith. Positive thinking, mind games, and pop psychology can only take us so far. Ultimately, we need the power of God to help us overcome our fears.
That is why the Bible so regularly commands us to “fear not.” There is no expectation that we won’t fear – we cannot be finite human beings without feeling afraid at time. Instead, the expectation is that we would learn to hear and see God in the midst of our fear, and courageously move towards him in faith during those vulnerable moments.
Here is a recap of the 7 posts I wrote, each with a different perspective on the relationship between fear, faith, and courage. I hope and pray that courageous faith is something every one of us can take positive steps towards this year!
Part 1: What is your New Year’s Resolution: How about mastering COURAGE? (Link here)
Part 2: Why Fear is so Dangerous, and why Courage is such a game changer (Link here)
Part 3: What I learned about Faith and Courage from Nelson Mandela (Link here)
Part 4: What I learned about Courage from Maya Angelou (Link here)
Part 5: What I learned about Faith and Courage from Dr. John Perkins (Link here)
Part 6: What I learned about Faith and Courage from Gary Haugen (Link here)
Part 7: The Defining Question: Safe or Brave? (Link here)
PS – If there was anything in one of these posts that resonated with you, or if you have a thought of your own to add on courage, I’d love to hear it in the comments section!
I am a lifelong Chicagoan, a pastor at River City Community Church, and an author who writes a lot about resisting and confronting white supremacy from a faith lens.
Our church was founded in January of 2003 in the west Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, and is centered on the core values of worship, reconciliation, and neighborhood development. We long to see increased spiritual renewal as well as social and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and entire city, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. It is also through the gift of this faith community that I have learned to see the profound historical and spiritual impact of the stronghold of white supremacy, and where I have been challenged to broaden and deepen my understanding of discipleship in the hopes of becoming a serious enough Christ follower who is able to meaningfully participate with those who have risen up in defiance of this evil principality.
The lessons learned in this journey have been captured in a pair of books on race. The first, White Awake, explores the barriers that white people tend to face – white Christians specifically – when we attempt to awaken to and understand white supremacy through a faith lens. I spend a lot of time here addressing the internal defenses that are bound to go off when this journey is taken seriously, and I chart out a path for developing a resilient spirit that steadfastly moves towards truth, justice, and equity. The second, White Lies, further builds out the path for the white Christian who longs to actively participate in the resistance and confrontation of white supremacy. I spend a lot of time here exploring why it is so hard to tell the truth about race, as well as expose the lies that sustain it, within white, Christian, Bible-believing environments. I then propose nine practices that position us for engaging in this task.
On the personal front, my career started in the marketplace, as I was part of three dot.com startups in the 90’s. My vocational path shifted when I joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in 1998, and I spent five years working there. I started River City Community Church in January 2003 and have been happily serving here ever since. On the education front, my undergrad was in Business (Purdue University), my graduate degree in theology (Moody Bible Institute), and my doctoral degree in community development (Northern Seminary). On the family front, my wife is a Professor of Psychology, and we have two amazing children (Xander and Gabriella).
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