4 Parts | By: Ed Young
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This message opener was created to promote Ed Young’s series “No Fear November.”
No Fear November
Fear of the Future
By Ed Young
November 2, 2014
The list of fears that people have is nearly unending. There’s a fear for everything – from death to dogs, public speaking to peanut butter sandwiches. But one fear underscores all of the other fears, and it is one we all face. It’s the fear of the unknown.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young equips us with what we need to overcome the foundation of all fear. He reminds us that God is truly in control. And he shows us what it takes to keep our fear in check and to trust God with it all.
You know, fear doesn’t work the way you think it works. I’ve discovered that. Fear doesn’t really play out the way we think it does.
Today I want to talk to you about the fear of the future. Because when you think about all the fear that’s in our world today, all the fear that you deal with and I deal with, the baseline of fear is the fear of the future. It’s the fear of the unknown.
What are you fearful about? Maybe you fear rejection. Maybe you fear loneliness. Maybe you fear snakes. Maybe you fear slime. Maybe you fear the opposite sex. I think some single guys here probably, maybe, fear the opposite sex. There’s a fear of marriage. Definitely, guys, I think some of us fear marriage.
Fear is real. We fear death. Life is fatal but we fear it. Fear is real. I think we have our ears to the ground as we listen to different fears. As you look at the media, the 24/7 news cycle is all about fear, isn’t it? The terrorist and germs and earthquakes and things like that. And what’s interesting about the media is that the media so often incites fear and then they report on the fear they incite. That’s kinda funny, I thought. Maybe you didn’t. But fear is something that is real.
When you think about fear of the future, though, it’s not really the future that you fear or that I fear. Let me say that again. When we think about the fear of the future, we’re not really fearing the future because the future is not here yet. In reality we’re fearing the past. We’re fearing feelings we’ve experienced, emotions we’ve experienced in the past so as we face the future we don’t want to deal with those.
We tend to build walls around our lives to keep us from fear, and I would say the walls we build around our lives cause us to have a greater fear as opposed to just living life and facing fear. So again, the fear you face is not the fear of the future, it’s the fear of the past. The baseline of all fear is the fear of the future.
We have a couple of ways to face fear. We can either face it with a foundation or we can face it with feelings. Foundation, that’s solid. That’s significant. Feelings would be capricious. You can’t really nail them down. It’s like trying to nail Jell-o to a wall, so to speak. God has feelings, too, when it comes to fear. We either face fear with a foundation or with feelings.
Here’s the question. Are you fearless? Because God wants us to be fearless. It doesn’t mean God wants us to be absent of fear, because some fear is good.
Fear of Rejection
November 9, 2014
Everyone wants to be wanted. We’re made to desire acceptance. That desire leads to one of our greatest fears. But what really causes the fear of rejection to run rampant in our lives?
In this message, Pastor Ed Young uncovers the root of our fear of rejection. And as we study a popular biblical character, we learn how to harness our fear and move forward in life with true acceptance from the One who truly matters – God.
I think it’s safe to say that all of us deal with fear, especially we deal with the fear of rejection, which I’m gonna talk about over the next several minutes. Last weekend I opened up a series called No Fear November. We said that the baseline of all fear is the fear of the future. Because if you think about it, if you think for example the fear of loneliness, the fear of commitment, or today’s topic, the fear of rejection, they all have to do with the fear of the future. But in reality we’re not fearing the future, because the future isn’t here yet. We’re fearing the past. We don’t want to feel (in the future) like we felt in the past so in essence we have a difficult time facing tomorrow because we’re like, wow, I don’t want to feel the way I felt last week or in junior high school or when I was a kid.
Just for a second, think back to the first time in your life you ever remembered being rejected. Think about that for a second. The first time in your life you ever remembered feeling rejected. Maybe you didn’t make the team or maybe you really wanted to be a part of a choir and it didn’t happen for you. Or maybe it could be some fraternity or some sorority, you were rejected. Or maybe, I mean a long, long time ago, maybe you wrote this love letter. “Will you go with me? Circle yes or no.” And you got back, no! Rejection. Maybe you are a frustrated all-American and you were trying to play basketball and you shot the ball and someone rejected your shot. All of us, I think it’s safe to say, every person here, we all deal with rejection.
The word rejection simply means to throw back. So we’re going one way and we’re thrown back. I’m rejected. Maybe you’re just coming off a tough week. Maybe you had this difficult conversation with a superior at your company and maybe the superior said, “Your services are no longer needed.” Or maybe, just maybe you’re on the heels of the most difficult aspect of rejection, humanly speaking, maybe, just maybe you’re going through a divorce. You were intimate with someone and they have rejected you. Rejection is real. I deal with it. You deal with it. And as I look back in my past, quite frankly I don’t want to deal with the feelings I’ve felt regarding rejection as I face the future. So I try to build my life around not being too close to a situation to where I’m rejected. And I struggle with that. There’s this tension, this angst in my life. And I think everyone here would say, “Yeah, Ed. I feel the same way.” The fear of rejection.
I thought today I would do something kind of weird. Normally I say, OK, here’s how to have victory over fear. Here is how to tackle fear and face fear. Here’s how to do it. Well, today I want to change that. I want to look at fear in a different way, the fear of rejection. I want to talk about how to have the fear of rejection. I want to talk to you about how to increase your fear and mine of rejection. And then, of course, we’re gonna talk about the positive aspects of how to have victory over it. But I just want to get into how you can have this fear of rejection. Basically I thought about my own life and I thought about some things in my life that I do when I fear rejection, which is an unhealthy fear. And then I began to study the Scripture and God began to lift out some cool things from the Bible about the fear of rejection. So having said that, if you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to an Old Testament book, specifically 1 Samuel.
Fear of God
November 16, 2014
When it comes to fear, many people believe that it is all bad. But the reality is that fear can actually be beneficial - if we understand it and fear the right things.
In this message, Ed Young takes a look at one of the biggest fears many people deal with - a fear that can challenge our concept of its role in our lives. And as we learn what it means to truly fear God, we discover something that can actually lead us into a life of confidence and purpose.
Every week I deal with the fear of public speaking. It’s one of the greatest fears that anyone can deal with. Yet I deal with even a deeper fear than public speaking, and that’s the fear that I’m going to talk about today. Because I have to pretty much memorize and write a term paper every weekend. Hopefully it’s compelling, Biblical, engaging, and it meets a kaleidoscopic range of people’s needs who attend one of 10 different environments at Fellowship. It’s a God thing. God uses my vocal cords to communicate, yet I would say the fear that drives me to do what I do is the fear that should be constant in my life and also in your life. But I’ve gotta say it would be the overriding fear that drives me to do what I do. Also, it’s the overriding fear that drives our incredible team here to do what they do, whether they’re up front on stage, behind the scenes, or at one of our various campuses or churches, doing what they do.
The fear I’m talking about is a fear that I have when I think about people’s marriages hanging from a thread. Because I know in a crowd this size there are a lot of marriages that are just barely there. I also think about people who just lost a loved one. I think about others who are going through depression, others who are trying to deal with this toxic habit. I think about others who might be giving God one last chance. They’re like, OK, I’m going to roll the dice, God, and give you one more shot to see if you’re the real deal or not. So that causes a lot of fear in my life. The fear I’m talking about is a foundational one that all of us should have. I should have it in a greater degree, so should you. It’s the fear of God. The fear of the Lord.
It seems as though in our culture we fear everything but God, yet we shouldn’t fear anything but God. I’ve been talking about toxic fear. I’ve been talking about the fear of the future, the fear of rejection. And those are fears that we really should keep at arm’s length. Today, though, I’m talking to you about a fear that we need to have. It’s a fear that we choose to have. It’s really the only fear, generally speaking, that should be operative in our lives. I’m talking about the fear of God. You’re not going to see these verses mentioned on coffee mugs. You’re not going to see them on t-shirts. You’re not going to hear worship songs about the fear of God, the fear of God. No, no, no. You’re not going to hear that. Yet I believe the lack of the teaching of the fear of God has caused a lot of issues in the church worldwide.
It’s like people say, “Yeah, I grew up in a church that preached hellfire and brimstone and it kind of damaged me.” So the pendulum has swung so far the other way that all we talk about is grace, grace, grace, mercy, mercy, mercy, love, love, love. You can live like Hell. You can jump from bed to bed and do this and do that, but God is a forgiving God. God is a loving God. God wants to bless my life. He’s just a Santa God, a UPS God, who is there to bring all of his blessings to you and me no matter how we live. That is out there these days.
Fear of Commitment
November 23, 2014
Fear is a powerful force in our lives. It can keep us cornered and cause us to cower. Too often, it drives us away from experiencing the path God has for us. And one of the most devastating fears we have is our fear of commitment.
Let’s face it. Our culture is characterized by a lack of commitment—from month-to-month apartment leases to pre-nuptial agreements. This message by Pastor Ed Young outlines the dangers of shying away from commitment, and gives us an in-depth look at the areas of our life that need commitment. Because when we commit the way God wants us to, we experience the blessings God has in store for us.
Well today we wrap up our series on fear. Fear is something that we all deal with. There is some toxic fear, then also last time we discovered why there’s one fear we should have constant in our lives. Today I’m talking about the fear of something that is unusual. Because when I talk about this fear we tend to run from this fear, and when we run from this fear we think that by running from it, it’ll gain intimacy and trust and joy and happiness in our lives when we flee from it. In reality, though, when we face this fear, that’s when we discover what trust and intimacy and love and purpose and power is all about. What am I talking about?
Well, this morning I decided to go out to my swimming pool, which I do regularly about, I don't know, four or five times a week, and practice casting. Here’s what happened.
That’s our dog, Level. We adopted him, well we really rescued him, from the streets. He’s been attacked by a coyote, he has half an ear, he’s been bitten by a copperhead, he survived it. He’s tough, he’s tenacious. Level is all in. The other dogs were just content to hang around the edge and bark and circle. Level, though, is all in. That’s what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about the fear of going all in. The fear of that 10-letter word that we struggle with, that our society applauds when we do the opposite, commitment. I’m talking about the fear of commitment. Earlier I said, in my opening remarks, that we think if we don’t commit, if we keep our options open, we’ll find what we’re looking for. I would say, though, when we commit the results of commitment is the trust and intimacy and love and joy and happiness.
Our culture, though, applauds our lack of commitment. From month-to-month apartment leases, to free agency in athletics, to escape clauses in contracts, to prenuptial agreements. Most of us have that excuse-making, work-faking, vow-forgetting, job-quitting mentality, that bolts from commitment. Commitment? Whoa! I want to keep my options open! Commitment? I don’t want to be hemmed in. Commitment? What if something or someone better comes along. I’m not going to really commit.
Fear saturates our society. Everywhere we turn we’re faced with a new security threat, informed about a new health risk, or warned about some kind of impending doom. But does this overwhelming presence of fear help us pursue the right path in life? Or does it pull us away from God’s purpose for us?
In this new series, Pastor Ed Young unpacks the presence of fear in our lives. He looks at the difference between a healthy fear and a paralyzing paranoia. And through a unique perspective, he shows us how we don’t have to be constantly afraid; we just need to learn to focus our fear so we can discover the kind of peace God wants for us.