Thursday, April 18, 2013

Death-defying Boldness

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard this saying: “The safest place to be is right in the middle of God’s will.”  But is it true?  It depends on what you mean by "safe."  If you mean that when you're in the center of God's will, you will have (to put it crudely) better luck than others; if it means that your plans will succeed, your health will be good, your happiness will be constant, and doggone it, people will like you...then no, that's not true.  In fact, it's demonstrably false when you look at the lives of virtually every man or woman in Scripture who ever obeyed God's will.  But if you mean that we’ll always be right where God wants us, in the right place at the right time to accomplish the great things He has planned for us in the world, then yes, being in the center of God’s will is the only safe place to be.  There, and only there, do we find our defining moments, our divine appointments, the opportunities that God had planned for us from the beginning. 

For the past two weeks, we’ve been praying together that God would teach us boldness and would give us opportunities to use it.  If you’re praying that way, God is going to put you in positions where you have an opportunity to speak the hard truth to someone.  It will not be easy.  If you tell a friend she needs to reconcile with a relative she resents, you may not have a friend anymore.  If you speak up about unethical practices at work, you may lose your job.  If you share your faith with a co-worker, you may become known at the office as an intolerant religious fanatic.  Years ago, my wife felt strongly led to confront a couple we knew.  They had a little girl who they constantly belittled in public.  She knew this couple loved their daughter, but she also knew this child needed to feel her parents were proud of her.  She spoke to the mother, even though as a pastor’s wife, there was a real risk that they might respond by leaving our church.  The question I want us to consider this morning is, “How can I get ready for these moments of truth, so that I respond in the way I should?”

This Sunday, we'll take a look at the story of Esther.  Here's a young woman, probably a teenager, who had to decide whether to speak up on behalf of her people--which could lead to her execution--or watch passively as the Jews were eliminated.  Along the way, we'll talk about two daily habits that will get you ready for your moments of truth.  And just to be clear: This is such an awesome story, it will be worth your time just to hear it...or hear it again. 

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