Tag Archives: mission

What Are You Afraid Of?

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What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of snakes or bugs or creepy crawlies? Are you afraid of the dark?

I know people who say they are afraid of heights, but that is merely an easy way to explain that they have a fear of falling from high places.

Some people are afraid of wicker furniture or clowns or the number 13. Some people even have pantophobia – fear of everything!

I have agliophobia. It’s a fear of pain. Apparently it’s not a very strong fear because I was able to do the Tough Mudder with all the shocking and bleeding involved. However, it is something I had to really psych myself into accomplishing.

I’m writing this article on Valentine’s Day. Why would I be writing about fears on Valentine’s Day? The answer is found in 1 John 4:18.

We all have things of which we are afraid. Certain things, when we even think about them, cripple us and freeze us in our tracks. I remember growing up with Mom being afraid of snakes. She couldn’t even see pictures of them in magazines. Movies that had snakes in them were out. Those scenes in Indiana Jones where he is in the pit with all the snakes made her leave the room. If I left my bullwhip (a boy’s gift from a loving grandmother) on the floor overnight, then I would get in trouble because it would freeze her in her tracks. She would automatically see that bullwhip coiled up and think “snake”.

When you think of fears, however, what is the root source of that fear? Are you afraid because of the actual object or event? More often than not we are afraid because during that moment all we can think of is ourselves. When I am paralyzed in fear my thoughts are consumed with myself and what might happen to me and how it might hurt me…me, me, me.

When we love we aren’t concerned with “me”. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says that “Love is not self-seeking.” If we are concerned about ourselves then we are not loving someone else. 1 John 4:18 sets fear and love as opposites. They are mutually exclusive of one another. It says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The man who fears is not made perfect in love.”.

This has many implications on our loves. It’s Valentine’s week. Have you shrunk back in your desire to show love to someone for fear of how they’ll treat you in return? In that case you aren’t truly thinking about them but yourself. Have you distanced yourself from someone because you just weren’t sure the outcome of your interaction? That’s fear, and that fear is all about you.

God’s promise to us is that He “did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). That fear that you feel did not come from God. What comes from God is a powerful ability to love others even against out knee-jerk reactions to shrink back. That’s love done out of self control in a powerful way.

When we get this idea deep into our psyche, then we will have much less difficulty telling others about the love of Jesus. Think about it. We have the greatest message in the world about the greatest event in the world offering the greatest gift to their the world, yet we don’t bother to tell even the people we claim to love about this. Is that love? Love would want them to have what we have. Yet we are paralyzed in our fears and don’t speak.

May you make a resolution today to live according to the Spirit of God. May the Spirit fill you with that power, love, and self discipline. And may the world be changed starting with the relationships we have at home because we are no longer afraid to love others. I know that’s my prayer for me; it’s my prayer for you too.

Thanks for reading this each week! Have a blessed day, and if you’d like to talk more about anything you read here or would like me to pray for you please let me know at jddobbs@verizon.net. Remember: power, love, and self discipline – they are yours in Christ!!


Like a Good Neighbor…

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How well do you know your neighbor?

I used to live in Arkansas on a dirt road several miles out of town. Our closest neighbor was across the street but you couldn’t see our next-door neighbors’ houses. It was nice living in the country. We would watch the sun set across the fields with the deer playing in the pastures. Our family would go for walks on the dirt road, and we knew the people that lived there. In fact, except for a couple of houses at the beginning of the road, the rest of the houses were owned by the same family.

It was a safe, wonderful place to live.

When we moved to Bay City the culture of where we lived changed dramatically. We went from living in the country to living in a subdivision. We went from having acres between us and our neighbors to having only a few feet between us.

All of a sudden we lived in a place where our we had to make a quick choice on how we would live. Would we retreat into our home and act like we still lived in the seclusion of the country, or would we get outside and meet those around us? Would we embrace the idea of living in community?

We chose the latter, and it has been a wonderful decision.

It is great to know my neighbors! I can honestly say I feel safer for our family because I know the people that live around us. In fact, they aren’t just acquaintances; they are our friends. Our children play with their children. One of our neighbors is an elderly lady who is as sweet as she can be and our children treat her like their own grandma. When we go out of town our neighbors are great about helping keep an eye on our house. Getting to know each of their personalities has been a treat!

Do you know your neighbors?

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”. But he didn’t stop there. Then he added, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Then, Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” To this, Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan. Many of you already know this story. In telling this, he opened up the scope of who is
our neighbor.

Our neighbors are not simply the other people in your particular congregation. Our neighbor isn’t just the person living next door. Our neighbor is anyone who is in need.

Often times I hear people who balk at the idea of doing evangelism because they just aren’t “gifted” to do that. What they don’t realize is that evangelism isn’t difficult at all. All we need to do is live for Jesus and keep the praise of God on our lips. But we cannot do this in a cave (we call it a house) or even inside a fort (often referred to as a church building). We must live this way in the context of neighbors. We cannot fulfill the second greatest commandment if we are never around the ones who are our neighbors. You have been placed where you live so that you can be a missionary fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:18-29).

So what should you do? My recommendation is to start by something simple. Maybe make some cookies and take them to the houses surrounding yours. When they answer the door, just let them know you’d like to introduce yourself. Then, every time you get the chance, talk to your neighbors. Don’t be in such a rush to drive in and shut the garage door. Do things in your front yard. Invite them over to dinner. Maybe you could even throw a Christmas party or some other gathering where your neighbors are invited to get to know one another.

In knowing and loving our neighbors we will be fulfilling the second greatest commandment, and we will be glorifying God in the process.

May you get to know your neighbors, and may your neighborhood be changed as Jesus infiltrates our community through your hospitality.

As always, if you need anything or would like to pray about something, feel free to contact me at 245-1611 or at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you, neighbor!


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