Last Sunday I began a new sermon series on Christian courage. I hope that you will take this article and use it as a prayer guide from week to week. My sense is that there are a lot of newer people at Bethlehem who have not tasted teaching on the radical, God-centered, wartime lifestyle that held our attention in a more sustained way in the early eighties, as we were forging some of our cherished values.
Another conviction leading to this series is from Philippians 1:27-30, namely, that unity and fearlessness are two central marks of walking worthy of the gospel of God, and being a sign to our culture of God’s great salvation, and their immanent peril. We have recently spent a good deal of time dealing with unity issues in talking about the Church Covenant, and still more will be made of it as we work on the pastoral care organization. So it seems like the time is ripe to focus for a while on fearlessness as dealt with in Philippians 1:27-30.
I have a growing sense within that we need to stir each other up to take some risks in more venturesome acts of love and truth-telling “for the sake of the Name.” This fits with the focus of the summer on fresh opportunities of outreach.
There is a growing sense in many of us that the winds are blowing ill for the comforts of Christians in America—especially those who take unpopular stands on controversial issues. This is not necessarily a bad thing for the purity and power of the church. But we need to be ready for the trouble and disapproval and danger when it comes.
All of these influences have conspired, in my times of prayer and meditation, to make me think that the time is right for a series on courage and risk-taking and boldness for Christ and his kingdom.
"Fearlessness as a Sign of Destruction and Salvation"
"The Righteous Are Bold as a Lion"
"You Joyfully Accepted the Plundering of Your Property"
"Loved Flock, Do Not Be Afraid to Give It Away"
A Service of Special Music and Meditation
"We Had Boldness in Our God"
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
"Do Not Fear What You Are About to Suffer"
"Anxieties: To Be Cast Not Carried"
1 Peter 5:1-11
"Fear Not, I Am with You, I Am Your God"
Longing to be bold in love and witness with you,