Week 1

Shannon Lovelady
June 3, 2018

My position, my finances, my everything outside of God is no longer my own. I must lay all that down and say, “Lord, I make a terrible God.”
— Shannon Lovelady

Good morning. How's everybody doing this morning? We are back from vacation. We had a great week with my family down in Disney World. That was an awesome place where dreams come true and you exhaust yourself, but we had a blast. Thank you guys for holding down the fort. Thank you. Bill did an awesome job of tearing it up last week. I do need to apologize for the gross snake pictures he put on the screen. I apologize for anybody that threw up. He didn't get that approved. No, I'm just kidding. It was a good week. 

Can you believe it's only three weeks away? City Station! It’s crazy man. I've gone over there two or three times this week looking at the inside. I cannot wait for you guys to see how God is going to use this tool. But again, I want to remind us that it's just a tool. It doesn't change who we are. It just looks different in how we do things, so I'm excited. Thank you guys for being a part of that. 

I'm excited about this morning on my part about this new series that we're in about “What Keeps You Up at Night?” What keeps you up at night? Do you guys ever have recurring nightmares? Yeah. Any, any? I do. That’s where we're going to be spending the next three weeks. Keith is going to be talking to us next week about your passions. The third week we're going to be talking about our legacy. Tucker just alluded to our legacy. We’ll talk about what God wants to do in us and the legacy he wants to leave us as individuals and as a church. But this week I'm talking about the nightmare side of what keeps you up at night. We‘ll be talking about fears. 

I have a record of recurring nightmares that happen pretty consistently on Saturday nights. The first one is pretty obvious. It's a nightmare where I generally wake up and laugh about it, but I walk out on stage naked to preach, and thankfully that one has never come true. Can I get an amen? That one, I normally wake up and realize there's no way that was real and I'm over it very quickly. You’re already half asleep and half awake dreaming and you know this isn't real. I can't actually be naked. Anyway, you're welcome that I have never done that. 

Then the second one is honestly kind of terrifying for me. This one happens periodically and it feels real. I walk out on stage and as I'm coming out, I’m wondering what I'm going to talk about. That is terrifying. To think that I'm walking out on stage totally unprepared, not knowing what I'm going to talk about. I know you guys are going, that's not a dream, because it seems like that's what you do. But I promise there really is stuff written on these notes up here. But that dream is terrifying. The reality is a lot of us have some really pretty genuine nightmares. 

Some of us fear losing our kids As I talk about these, I'm very aware that a lot of us are living in these realities right now. Fear that your spouse will  come home and say, “I'm done.” You find out that the thing you dreaded, that affair is actually real, and it's happening. What you thought was real one moment is over the next. Maybe a loss of a job. I don't know that we've got folks in here going through that right now. Times when everything seemed so certain. A future was so planned out. Knowing when you were going to retire, or where you were going to raise my family. Then all of a sudden it's all up in the air. For some of you teenagers, that rejection of a school acceptance that some of you guys are living. The fear of day in and day out, just feeling like I don’t belong. The reality is this. Those of us who have been alive for any amount of time know that we live in a broken world, in a world that is so uncertain that we don't know what's going to hit us as we walk out these doors. 

You guys are hopefully assured that I'm not going to drop dead right here on this stage, but I was talking with somebody earlier who had  a friend whose mom passed away in her sleep suddenly, and that was it. We don't know. We just don't know. If you've been alive for any amount of time, you know the uncertainty of life. We live in an uncertain world. We all know this. We know in our heart of hearts that, going back to Disney World, dreams really do come true sometimes and it can hurt. 

So we choose not to dream. Why? Simply because we're afraid! So this morning I want to talk about fear, the idea of fear, and what fear does to us. I want to clarify before we get into this, that not all fear is sinful. God has put this thing of survival in our lives. It’s when you swing at me, I duck. That's fear. That's fear of wanting to not get hit. Not all fear is sinful. 

This morning we're going to talk about sinful fear. When I talk about not all fear is sinful, I'll give you an example. Here's a picture of fear that is not sinful. In this picture, that’s my daughter Kay-Kay on the Abominable Snowman Roller Coaster thing at the Animal Kingdom last week. That's not sinful fear. That's understanding that your body's not supposed to be doing what's your body is doing right now and it causes this look. 

Here's another one that's not sinful fear. That would be the Tower of Terror ride. I didn't tell the kids exactly what it was going to do and then the door, well, I don't want to give it away in case you've never been. But that's when Kay-Kay realized exactly what it was going to do. You can see I'm a good father. Sitting beside her I said, “Here's my arm.” That's a look of compassion that I'm giving her right now. Then you can see her little brother Micah. That’s what brothers do, “Get off me, don't touch me. You're my sister. You're on your own!” I thought it'd be funny to talk about fear and add some comedic relief to it a little bit because this is a serious topic, this idea of fear. But this was not sinful fear. 

So what do we do with real fear? We're afraid of hurt. That's real fear, right? We're afraid of disappointment. Some of us are afraid of failure,; we’re afraid of pain; we're afraid of heartache, or disapproval. The list just goes on and on, doesn't it? So we choose as human beings at times to not dream dreams tonight, or to think about what could be, because the reality is that what could be, might not be, and it's easier just to not dream. 

It makes sense if you think about it. If I don't dream, if I don't long for anything, then I'm not disappointed when I don't get it. If I don't long for love than when that love isn't reciprocated, I'm not disappointed when I don't get it. If I don't long to be at peace then when life throws me curve balls and I'm not at peace, then I'm not disappointed. I'm not hurt. When my dreams don't come true, it makes sense, but the fact of the matter is there's a problem. It's impossible not to dream. Impossible not to dream. See, the reality is this. We're dreamers. As a matter of fact, Ecclesiastes says it this way. Solomon probably wrote this and he says it this way. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, he says, “God has made everything beautiful for his own time.” 

Listen to what he says here. “He has planted eternity in the human heart.” In other words, God has wired us to be dreamers. God has wired us to think about what could be, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. God's made us this way. He's created us to be dreamers. It's impossible not to dream. How do we live out knowing that we are created in God’s image, as dreamers, and that we will not be satisfied with the here and now? How do we live out knowing that “what is” doesn't have to be “what will be? That’s the question? How do I live out this life of a dreamer, this life of God's DNA being implanted in me? That's what we're going to be looking at today. In Genesis 28, we are going to talk about this incredible dream of a man named Jacob, who later became Israel.  We’ll talk about his life for a minute and just look at one specific dream and hopefully be able to take some stuff from that. So turn to Genesis 28, I'm going to pray and then we're are going to ask God to speak to us today. 

God, we come before you just humbly admitting that we don't have this thing figured out. God sometimes life seems to make sense and then all of a sudden, the curve ball comes and what seems to be real isn't anymore, and it just hurts God. We acknowledge God, that we have fear at times and that we're scared. So God, we're asking you, how do we walk this out? God, we look at the life of Jacob and your Word, which I do believe with all my heart is alive and active. It's not just some old book of good advice. It's a very supernatural living, breathing Word. So God, as we open up your Word, I pray that you would just speak to us this morning. Comfort us, teach us where we need teaching, encourage where we need encouragement, God, we pray that you would convict us of any conviction. God, work as only your Spirit ultimately can. God, you know my heart and you know my struggles. You know my shortcomings and that my advice is meaningless. My advice is useless, so get me out of the way and allow your Spirit to speak. God, ultimately do your work as only you can today. God, I know there are people in this room who don't know you as their Lord and Savior, who haven't surrendered their lives to you. So my prayer is that first and foremost that those people who are here today and will be called by your Spirit. I pray that they would lay down their lives and that their dreams will become your dreams as they surrender their lives to you. For the rest of us, just work in us now. In Jesus name. Amen.

So Genesis 28 is where we're going to be this morning, and again, this is a pretty interesting story about a guy named Jacob, To give you a little bit of a background, Jacob is the grandson or one of the grandsons of Abraham. Abraham was the guy that God showed up and said, “Listen Abraham, I'm going to make a great nation out of you.” He says, “The number of people, the number of this nation of Israelites is going to be greater than the stars in the sky or the sands of the sea.” Then we know the struggle of Abraham waiting to have a son, until he finally had Isaac. 

Then Isaac had a similar struggle of knowing that God had promised to make him a great nation, but then he had no kids. He must have thought, “How are you going to do this, God?” Then later in life, they have children and the children are twins, Jacob and Esau. From the time Jacob was born, he was a wrestler. He was not satisfied from the time he was born. To be honest, Jacob was a very self centered person. He was a guy that wanted what he wanted, and he wanted his dreams to come true. Period, end of discussion. That's who he was. 

We learn that when Jacob and Esau were born, Esau was actually the first born, and in that time it was super important to be the first born. That's where all of the inheritance went, that's where all the rights passed down, that's who became the patriarch of the family, and the lineage was passed on through you. So, Esau was the first born, but we learned that Jacob came out of the womb first. You guys know the story. Jacob came out of the womb actually holding onto Esau’s foot. It was as if from the time he was born he was saying, “This isn't good enough. I want more. I have dreams of being first place. I'm not satisfied with this.” Of course, you can imagine the tension that developed as they grew up. Esau was this manly guy. He was a hunter. He was burly. He was a a lot like me. Really. (Laughter) He was just this man’s type guy, and he was his daddy's favorite. He was Isaac's favorite. That's just who he was. And then Jacob was not. Jacob was kind of the opposite. Jacob was a mama's boy. That's who he was. He was a mama's boy. They lived in tension, 

Jacob wanted more. Jacob decided one day to get the help of his mom in tricking his father. Since Esau was a hairy armed man, they decided to put animal skins on his arms which also made him smell like a goat. Jacob and his mother made stew for his dad. Since his dad was getting old and going blind, he couldn’t see anything. Jacob goes to his dad and tricks him saying, “I want to receive my birthright. I want what is to be given to me. I want you to bless me and say that your lineage is going to continue through me and all the rights that come with that.” His father, Isaac, bestows the birthright on Jacob, not realizing that it wasn’t Esau. 

When Esau finds out about it, he isn't happy! You think your families are messed up? I'm telling you, these families were messed up. Esau was livid saying,” I can't stand you. I'm going to kill you. As soon as dad dies, I'm going to kill you. That's it!” So again, be grateful for the issues you have. 

When Jacob’s mother heard what Esaus said, she told Jacob, “Honey, I don't want you to die. Your brother's going to kill you as soon as your dad dies. So we're going to wait for him to die. But as he's dying, I need you to go and live with Uncle Laban. That's going to be my solution, live with Uncle Lavan and in time, hopefully, Esau’s anger will chill and you can come back and live with him.” 

So this is where we pick up. Jacob is on his way to his uncle’s house and has this dream. This is what we read in Genesis 28:10. “Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and he traveled toward until it was sundown. He arrived at a good place to set up camp and he stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep.” Now again, this is no place special. At this point, Jacob was just on his way to his uncle’s house. He's wandering through the wilderness. He's tired and thinks “I’ve got to find a place to rest.”  He finds a stone to lay his head. On a side note, can we just thank God for pillows for a minute? Have you guys thought about that? Over and over in the Bible, a stone is used for a pillow. I'm really grateful for whoever invented pillows, Mr. Pillow or whoever that was. 

Jacob’s was thinking,”Even though my brother is chasing after me and trying to kill me, I'm going to lay my head down on this rock and sleep good tonight.” As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that led from the earth to heaven and saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. We talked about how because we know we live in a broken world and it hurts to dream, we try to avoid dreaming, but the reality is that avoiding dreams is impossible. 

I want you to write this stuff down this morning because I hope this will be helpful for you to come back to his life, when life hits us upside the face. You need to understand that God has a dream and a purpose for your life, just like Jacob. I know some of you are sitting here this morning saying, “Shannon, you don't understand what my life looks like. It is a train wreck. There is no way God can use me.”  You need to hear this from the bottom of my heart. You were created in the image of God. Scripture teaches, you were fearfully and wonderfully made. As a matter of fact, scripture teaches before you were even knit together in your mother's womb, God knew your name and He knew the plans for you. He knew the number of hairs on your head. He knew the sickness that you're going through right now. He knew the suffering that you're going through right now and God has a dream for you. 

He created you in His image. When God created us, He looked at us and He said, “Let us make man in our image.” Then He looked at us and said, “It's good. It's very good.” It's very good in that dreaming is in our DNA, seeing things as they are, suffering and pain, and desiring to see it change. It's who we are. It's how we're wired. It's who our God is, seeing things that are broken in our dreams and if they can be whole. Our God is seeing things that are useless and worthless with no value and things that are perfect and have great value. It's how we're wired. It's who we are. It's who our God is and you need to understand that you were created in the image of God. As a matter of fact, I know some of you guys don't believe that this morning. I want you to turn to your neighbor and say, “Listen, I'm created in the image of God.” Go ahead and do that now. Say it like you mean it. Come on now. “I'm created in the image of God.” Some of you aren't doing it. Don't make me call you out. I don't care if you know your neighbor and not. If you’ve got to speak across the aisle, do it. Do it again. “I'm created in the image of God.”  I'm telling you, that's who you are. That's who you are. God's DNA courses through your veins. We're image bearers of our Father. We're image bearers of God Almighty. 

How do we embrace this? I know this isn't the first time you guys have heard this. I know that most of us in this room have heard, “Yeah, I'm created in the image of God.” But how do we learn to embrace that? How do we learn to understand that God has given us a purpose? How do we learn to wrap our arms around that? How do I walk this out? Because the reality is if you guys are like me, there's a whole lot of days where I don't feel like an image bearer of God. There's a whole lot of days where I’m going, “God, I know this is what your Word says and I know your Word is true. I know that it is without fault, but God, I don't feel like it, God, I feel dirty. I feel broken. I feel messed up. I feel useless, defeated.” So how do we walk in that? Write this down and understand that God given dreams will bring opposition. God given dreams are going to bring opposition. 

Look what happens in verse 13. Jacob  has this dream and at the top of the stairway is the Lord, and He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather, Abraham, and the God of your Father, Isaac, and the ground you’re lying on belongs to you.  I am giving it to your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth.” This sounds familiar. This is exactly what God told Abraham. He said, “They'll spread out in all directions to the west and to the east, to the north, into the south, and all of the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. And what's more, I am with you and I will protect you wherever you go. And one day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I've finished giving you everything I have promised.”

You see, God's dreams are going to bring opposition. Why do I say that?  Why do you think God said I will protect you wherever you will go. Anybody have any idea? Why would He feel the need to tell him that in a dream? I'll tell you why. Because he woke up sleeping on a rock in the woods. Seriously! Jacob had this incredible encounter with God and this incredible dream where God reminds him what He told his grandfather and what God told his father. He has this dream and wakes up on a rock in the middle of nowhere alone. Guys, you need to understand, if you dream God's dreams, you will experience opposition. Period. 

Let's fast forward a little bit. Jacob gets up from here and we'll talk about his attitude once he gets up. But you want to know what Jacob’s experience was when he went to his Uncle Laban. He saw this girl that he thought was really cute who was Laban’s daughter and said, “I want to marry her.” You know what his uncle Laban did? He said, “Look, work for me for seven years and after the seven years, you can ask her to be your wife.” Jacob is okay with that and thought, “I would do anything for love.” Was that the singer Meatloaf who said that?  “I'll work seven years or however long I've got to work to have that girl.” So he works, and then his Uncle Laban tricks him, puts a veil over her head and Jacob marries the wrong daughter. Jacob’s thinking, "Oops.” Laban says work another seven years, and you can have the one you want. I told you, you thought your families were messed up. I promise you, when you shift from dreaming your dreams, your desires, your wants and start chasing God's dreams, then your life is no longer your own. It is God’s. You will experience opposition. 

It didn't stop there. Ultimately, Jacob came the father of these 12 guys. You know who they were. They became the 12 tribes of Israel. One of his sons was this kid named Joseph. You remember him? Joseph’s brothers hated him so much because he was daddy's favorite again. They wanted to kill him but they spared his life and instead of killing him, sold him into slavery. See there's hope. I'm telling you, there’s hope. They sold him into slavery where he worked his way up through the prison system and eventually became vice pharaoh. He had more dreams. That's how he worked himself up through the prison system. Joseph had dreams that came true and he was asked by the Pharaoh to interpret one of his dreams. Joseph told the Pharaoh, “This dream, means there's going to be seven good years of plentiful food, followed by seven years of bad. You need to store up because it's going to be really bad. This famine is going to be bad!” 

Sure enough it happened and all the surrounding nations came to the “Mac Daddy” of all the countries, Egypt, to seek food. They showed up and sure enough, guess else who showed up to ask for food from Joseph, who was now in charge of it. Joseph's brothers, Jacob’s sons. They were asking please, please give us some food. Then eventually they become aware that Joseph is the brother that they were going to kill but had sold him into slavery. You know what Joseph says? He says, don't worry about it. All is forgiven, because all of this was intended for good. You want to talk about God's dreams? What you intended for evil, God intended for what? For good. Again, God's dreams, I promise you, will bring opposition. Period. End of discussion. 

It didn't stop there. Eventually a Pharaoh came along that forgot who Joseph was and how he had saved Egypt. The Israelites had started to grow becoming these people that were as numerous as the sands on the shore and the stars in the sky. This Pharaoh says, you know what? We got to turn these people into slaves. For 400 years. Slaves. It's all about God's dreams versus our dreams, God's desires versus our desires. I'm telling you, his dreams will bring opposition. 

Fast forward through the judges and the kings, all the way up to our Savior Jesus. You want to talk about dreams, bringing oppositions? Jesus invited these other guy to follow him, to fall in line with Him and they had dreams and God had dreams for their lives. God had a plan for their lives and His plan was that of martyrdom. All of them except for one, John, who wrote some books of the Bible, including Revelation. The Hope and Savior of the world who was despised and rejected by His own people was ultimately killed by His creation. John’s life wound up on some deserted island because he happened to survive being boiled alive. 

Fast forward to Paul who was shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, bitten by snakes. I'm telling you, when you surrender your dreams to God's dreams, it will bring opposition. It'll bring critics. God's dreams for your life will bring pain. God's dreams for your life all the time bring suffering. I'm not just making this stuff up, man. I mean Jesus, our Savior Himself said, “Listen, you can count on one thing. You are going to have trouble. You are going to suffer, but take heart, I've overcome this world.” It brought hurt when God placed on our hearts to adopt our kids. We had people that we love dearly, that were telling us, that they thought it was a bad idea. People that had what they thought were good intentions for our life, tried to speak life into us, but it was opposition. Even out of love. 

At times, God's dreams will bring fear into our minds. When we forget where our source comes from, God's dreams will be hijacked by our own selfish dreams. A lot of times we don't even realize we're doing it. I guarantee you this. The bigger God's dream is, the bigger the fight, the bigger the trials, the bigger the opposition. The more you chase God's dreams, the more the fight, the more the trials, the more the opposition. I promise you that you better be ready. You know it's coming. That's it’s already coming and it's going to continue to come. The enemy's going to tell you that you're stupid. Your friends are going to tell you that you're stupid. They're going to tell you that it's just some other Jesus freak telling you something that isn't true and that it will fade and that it will pass. It's a lie. Be ready. You’re chasing God's dreams which aren't for the faint of heart, and it ticks me off when people faint. Some Christians are timid, get run all over, no backbone, “Kumbaya” type. Just “sit around the campfire” type people. To be a disciple of Christ is all in surrender and you better believe it's hard work. 

My life is no longer my own and my wife is no longer my own and my kids are no longer my own, church. My position, my finances, my everything outside of God is no longer my own. I must lay all that down and say, “Lord, I make a terrible God. I want you to be God of my kingdom, Lord. I'm tired of trying to do it on my own. So wherever you go, I'll go. God, you tell me to step. I'll step. Tell me to jump. I'll say, how high, Lord. Tell me what you don't want me to do. My life isn't mine. It's not my desires anymore. It's not my wants anymore. It's not my will anymore.” You better believe that's not for the faint of heart because I promise you the second you step, you're going to experience opposition, period. It's this world we live in. I don't know about you guys, but when I hear that, I, honestly,  feel so faint at heart sometimes. Anybody?  Please tell me I'm not alone. So how do we do that? I hear all that and I think that's great. You're telling me that God is in my DNA and that I'm a dreamer. God has created me in his image. God has a plan and a purpose for me, period. Shannon Kyle Lovelady. God wants something from me and and I can choose to embrace that. I don't understand it, but by faith, I embrace that and step out. Thank you God for your grace. I receive that and I'm going to walk in that. But how do we walk that out? 

In verse 16, Jacob wakes up from his sleep. I want you to see how things shift for him before it's all about grabbing his brother's heel and saying give me mine. He wakes up and he says, “Surely the Lord is in this place. And I wasn't even aware of it.” My question for you this morning is how many of you guys are walking your dreams, not understanding that God has a plan for you, that He is tugging on you. He is desiring to say, “Come, will you just surrender your life to me?” He's right there. He's begging you. 

You're not even aware of it because of your past, because of your present, because of your fear of the future. You don't even understand that God is right here all along going, “Will you just surrender. Give it to me. It was never meant to be yours in the first place.” and so Jacob wakes up and he says, “The Lord is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it.” But he was also afraid. He was afraid. We'll come back to that. He was afraid and says, “What an awesome place this is. It's none other than the house of God, the very gateway to Heaven.” 

The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone that he had rested his head against and he set it up as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. He named that place Bethel, which means “The House of God.” Then Jacob made this vow. He says, “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, if he'll provide with me food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father's home, then the Lord will certainly be my God. This memorial pillar I've set up will become a place for worshiping God and I'll present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.” 

Then Jacob’s mindset totally shifted.  Before, it was all about Jacob and his dreams, his wants and his desire to be first. Then everything shifted. Why? Because he was afraid. Verse seventeen says, he was also afraid when he woke up. Here's the reality. You worship what you fear and you fear what you worship. I told you a couple of weeks ago that Proverbs tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Here's my question. What do you fear? Do you really fear the Lord or do you fear the loss of your security of income? See, we worship what we fear. Do you really fear the Lord or what do you fear? Do you fear the approval of your spouse? What do you fear? Am I doing a good job raising my kids? Are they going to turn out who they were supposed to be? 

The issue is that our fear isn't a fear issue. It's just a shift of focus on where that fear is. That's it. Do you fear the creator? Do you fear the creation? There's two things that I'm certain of and it's simply this. If you and your fears, your dreams, your self and your desires are at the center of who you are, your life will come up empty over and over again, so you were never meant to be at the center of your life. You were never meant to be God. You were never meant to be the creator. You were meant to be the creation, the created to fear the creator. 

But if God and His plans, His dreams, His will, His kingdom, His desires, His focus and His heart become the center of your story, become the center of your heart, then your story, your dreams, they will be complete. Why? Because it's His story. He's the author, not you, but we want to be, don't we? It'll fail. You guys know my story. I guess ten or twelve years ago, I wanted to be God in my kingdom, so much so that we walked away from the church and it all looked really noble on paper. But the reality was it was all about my kingdom, my comfort, my peace, and my desires. So God, in His grace and mercy, chopped my legs out from under me. God by His grace and mercy, made things as complicated and as difficult as He possibly could to drive me to my knees. He did all but kill me to wake me up and I thank God for it. I tell people all the time, I grew up fifteen years, spiritually, in about a year's time. Natasha would say the same thing. I mean, the Lord taught us so much. He humbled us. He grew us up and since then, my life has been chaos. 

You think I'm kidding, man. My family is nut.  We'd spent so much time doing things we never thought we'd be doing and handling things we never thought we'd be handling. We are thinking, “God, I thought we were just supposed to be ‘Leave it to Beaver.’ I thought that's the American dream.” And He said, “Yeah, you're right, but it's not my dream. That's not who I am. My dream, my desire is to draw you to me. To help you find your worth in me!” I wouldn't trade it for the world. You want to talk about exhausting. I wasn't gray twelve years ago, but, now I'm gray and dying. But it is the most incredible ride and I wouldn't change it for the world. It's kind of like my dad told me years ago, it's like a thrill ride at Six Flags or at Disney World, right? We're down there thinking, “Let's go ride it.” Then we say, “Are you sure? It looks terrifying!” So we get in line, we wait in line two hours and think, “I can’t believe I'm doing this. I can't believe this is the Christian life. I can't believe I'm doing this.” You feel like you’re researching it or scared of it or it doesn't seem right or natural. There's a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. “This doesn't seem right, this doesn't seem what I'm supposed to do,” and so we wait in line and  get closer and closer.  This is going to be so exciting, and then we hear people screaming. “What am I doing? This is stupid. Why are we doing this?” Then we convince ourselves to get on the ride and go. That's because they said we should have faith. Let's step on. and they're say, “Last call. This your last chance to get off.” Y'all know what I'm talking about, right? Then he pushes the bar down a step further. “Make sure you don't fly out, Micah!” And then you think Why'd I do that? You go up the hills, down the hills, around the corners, loops and everything else, and you're screaming, crying and laughing. You're passing out, you're doing everything right. Try not to throw up on everything. It’s’ just all the emotions and then the ride ends. You know what you do every single time when the ride ends? You believe it was awesome. “Did you pass out? I did too.” “Yeah. I almost threw up on that one.” That's crazy! Then you know what you say? “Let’s do it again. Let's do it again.” 

It's God's principles. David actually says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my path.” So how do we walk that out? We trust God's Word by His Spirit. 

We say, “This is terrifying. Everything in my body says I can't surrender. Live for myself. I've been told my entire life, chase this, chase this, but, but I live for myself.” 

God says, “No, surrender that. Take the next step.” 

“But God, how do I do that?” I didn't think this was ever going to happen and now I'm going through this. 

He says,” I'm a lamp unto your feet, a light into your path. I'll light the next step we've got.” 

“I want to see the end, God.” 

“You can't see the end. It's too glorious, man. You couldn't even handle that. You would be petrified. You would be terrified. You don't want to know how it ends. Just trust me. Just get on the ride. If I explain it, you'll never do it. Just take the next step and then the next step and next. Then do it again. It's surrender.” 

So here's my question that I just want to leave you with quickly. Is your life focused on yourself? Is your life focused on your own dreams, instead of God's dreams?  What are you most afraid of that you'll lose or what are you most afraid of that you won't get? Is it your children? Are you focusing on God's dreams, God's plans, God's desires or yours? Is it your job? Is that that raise? Is it your finances? Is it your house? Is it the security of other people? 

Here's the reality, when I wake up I'm scared about City Station and what might happen. You need to understand that’s sinful. Why is it sinful? Because all of a sudden my dreams have shifted. I'm not fearing God anymore. I'm fearing man, and what man thinks about how I am as a leader when the reality is God has given that vision and whether it ends in bankruptcy or whether it ends in billions of people coming to Christ, I'm not in charge of that. For me to fear, that is sinful because I'm fearing man and what people think about me and what can man do to me. So what are you afraid to lose? What are you afraid you won't get, and what can you do this week to begin to let that go? Trust God with it. 

I want you to see this video of my daughter. I've been giving her a little bit of a hard time this morning and I think it sums it up best. As you watch this video this morning and you’re thinking, “I need somebody to talk with. Maybe I need to take that first step of surrender.” If that's you this morning, I would love to talk with you afterwards. There are people that would love to pray with you. If you need somebody to hold your hand and walk through life for a little bit, there are people that would love to do that with you. But don't let fear of man, or fear of anything other than fear of God derail you and what He wants to do in your life. Check out this video. 

(Video) - Fear is a real thing! I feel like everyone goes through it. We all will go through it. It's comes from within. It's not something on the surface, you're not just fearful because of “insert”, I have this going on, that going on. It's something much deeper that you've got to work through. I feel fear when I'm getting anxious… I'm having anxiety right now… I know because it feels like the world is literally weighing in on you. It can just be one or two things or it can be a whole lot of things that I felt like I just cannot do. It feels like there's so much going on in my head that I'm trying to personally deal with. I haven't allowed someone else to help carry the burden over the past few months. 

I've gone through class here at Southern Hills called “Equipped to Counsel“ and we talked about fear and realized that fear is brought on. The majority of it is brought on because of myself, because, I put myself at the center of everything. Fear is a real thing and we all struggle with it, but we have to remember that our mind has to be focused on the Father and not on ourselves. When it's focused on ourselves, nothing in life's going to make sense and we're going to constantly be in fear. But in reality, if we trust the Father, everything will work out. 

One of the scriptures that has really stood out to me is Matthew 6:34 it talks about, don't worry about tomorrow, today has enough trouble of its own. Then also Philippians 4 is talking about specifically worry, which I think ties in with fear and just that we have nothing to worry about. 

We should be thanking God for what he has brought us through and what he will bring us through. When you give it up and you just say Lord, “I speak it,” you say whatever it is that you know is causing the fear. There's just like a sense of peace and comfort even when you talk to someone about it. I love talking to people through my issues because it's like, I don't have to do this alone, and I love that. That is an aspect of community because that's honestly what the church is called to do. When you do that, you speak it into existence You read the scripture and then you can confide in other people, other believers. Just the power in knowing that I don't have to carry this alone and I don't have to be fearful of this situation is so great!. I'm able to not only walk through it, but work through it to where when something else that could potentially cause stress or anxiety or fear or whatever, it doesn't.