Fearful Futures, to Trust in God’s Control

829311_28468256On Sunday we looked at how in reality we control so little of our lives. Most of the time we move through life like we have great control over the outcomes of our life: friendship, career, marriage, parenting, future, health, etc. The truth though is that often we don’t have control, and when we get reminded of that fact we move from Plan A to Plan B.

Plan B times in our lives is when we realize we aren’t sufficiently in control to make our desired future come to pass. It’s when we realize the plan and promises of God that we were moving forward towards seem further away than ever before.

This is when fear comes in. Fear fills the void of our lack of control. When we don’t have control fear starts to take a grip on our lives.

And on Sunday we looked at how fear must have gripped David. David wanted to be king of Israel. David was promised to be king of Israel, but David is in a “Plan B” time of his life. It doesn’t look like he will be king. Saul, the current king, is trying to kill him and David is just trying to survive.

So after being on the run for months, David and his men are hiding in the back of a cave as Saul and his men hunt from him. They are full of adrenaline, scared, and anticipating what might happen. When all of a sudden the most unusual thing happens. Saul the current king comes into the cave alone, and doesn’t realize that his enemies are right there hiding in the shadows.

David’s men quickly tell him, “This is the moment. This is your time. Here is an opportunity from God. This must be how you become King.”

And David faces a decision. He can kill the king, something he knows isn’t right, or do nothing and stay in this “Plan B” place. He can kill the king, walk out of the cave and become king of the entire nation and only one person would die. That’s it. It’s simple, straightforward, and immediate. He could kill Saul, walk out with his men, and take charge and lead. He could regain the control in his life he’s lost. He could stop having to hide in caves just to survive. And he needs to make this decision now.

Or of course…he could trust in God.

See the decision for David to kill or not kill Saul is really a decision about trust. Will he trust in God, or trust in his fear that this is the only time and way he will become king. Will he trust in God’s plans for his life, or trust in fear that says take control of your life and make this happen. David is placed in a place of tension choosing where to place his trust: in fear or in God.

And David chose to trust in God. That God will get him to become king, but not through regicide hiding in a cave. God will be faithful to him, even though David has no idea how God will accomplish his promises.

Fear tempts us into trying to take back control. God asks us to trust that he is in control.

So on Sunday we ended with the main point that when we are in the “Plan B’s” of life we can either trust in fear, or trust in God. And fear will always drive us further from God. Fear casts out God of our lives, and leads us into difficulty every time.

So we ended by asking two simple questions: Is there any area of our lives that are being driven by fear? And do we trust God?

First, if fear is driving something in our lives, we need to recognize it and challenge it. And we challenge fear, not be debating or entering into a discussion with it. We challenge and root out fear by trusting in God. 1 John 5:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. Love is the antidote to fear. So we overcome fear, by trusting in God, and his love. We choose like David to not believe in fear, but believe in God.

So we ended the service with one clear and simple challenge. That whenever fear grips our hearts this week, to turn to God and focus on his love and his promises that we do not need to fear, but can trust in him. So may you this week experience all of God’s love, and see fear loosen its grip on any part of your live. Because we get out of our Plan B’s of life not by following fear, but by following God.

 

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: We need to choose to trust in fear or to trust in God

Take Aways…

  • The fact is this: we are not in control as much as we think we are
  • the natural and normal response to a loss of control is fear.
  • “When life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it was going to turn out, you may think you’re losing control. But the truth is, you never had control in the first place” Pete Wilson
  • A decision made out of fear will never be a good one.
  • Two options: To fear and grasp for control, or to trust and let go of control.
  • A bad option when things are good seems like a good option when things are bad
  • Whenever fear asks you to make a decision it is the wrong one
  • But that’s one way we can identify the devil’s voice: it always plays to our fears. Jonathon Martin
  • Fear casts out God in our lives. Jonathon Martin
  • Is there any area of your life – being driven by fear?
  • Do you trust in God?
  • Trust in God and his love, and get rid of fear

Adult / Group Discussion Questions

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

When have you been in a “plan b” in your life? How has fear gripped you in “plan b” times? What areas of your life are filled with fear right now? Can you relate to the temptation David faced to force things on his own? When have you ever had to make a choice like David’s? How can centering on God’s perfect love for you, help to cast out fear of your life? How can you trust in God deeper this week?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families

Talk to your kids about fear, and how it can grip us. Talk to them about what makes them feel better when they are scared (parents, friends, God, etc). Share with them how when we get scared focusing on God and his perfect love for us can help us to get rid of fear. That God is always there for them. Share from your own life how God’s love has helped in a time of fear.

Challenge for this Week

Trust in God and his love, and get rid of fear

What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up Like You Thought He Would?

planb-postcard-frontOn Sunday we started our new series called Plan B. And we began by saying something that is honest, but difficult: Plan B’s suck.

They just do. They are hard, they are difficult, and they not only can test faith – they can break our faith. Because true “plan b’s” of our life are where we cry out to God – “why” and “where are you?”. The hardest situations to really move through are when you’re following God’s will and your life falls apart. It’s easy to understand why things fall apart, when we make bad choices. But the really tough “plan b’s” are when we follow God, and things still fall apart. It’s at those points that we do cry out “why God?” and “where are you God?”

So we began by recognizing that Plan B’s are hard. That they are difficult. That they not only test faith, but they can also break faith.

We then began to look at the life of David, who had many plan b’s in his life. He gets anointed to be King of Isreal, and then nothing happens for a long-time. And when things finally start to get moving it all falls apart so quickly. He becomes a hero killing goliath, gets noticed by the King, becomes a favorite of the people, starts to marry the King’s daughter – and it all looks like God’s promise that he will be king will come true.

But it all falls apart. And it falls apart badly, as Saul (the present king) tries to kill him.

David moves from being sure of how God is moving his life forward, to doubting and unsure what is going on. The promise that seemed just around the corner, now seems so far away. So David does what any of us would do – he runs. He runs for his life. I also think he runs too because he is not sure what to do or where to go.

And this is the trouble in Plan B’s; we have the temptation to run but so often we run in the wrong direction. Rather than running towards God, we run away from him. Rather than running towards community and church, we run away from those connections. But this isn’t what David does. David in 1 Samuel 19 runs to Samuel. He runs to the prophet the one who anointed him. David runs but doesn’t give up on God even in the dark.

And this was our main point on Sunday. That in the Plan B’s of life we can’t give up on God. We can’t give up on God, when things fall apart. And just because we aren’t in control, doesn’t mean that God has lost control. If we ever want to find our way towards God’s promises it means not giving up on him, even as everything falls apart. I’m not saying that’s easy. I’m not saying it’s simple. I’m simply saying I think that’s the only way we get through the hellish places we sometimes find ourselves. We need God.

So we ended with this challenge: that if you’re in a plan b place, don’t run from God but lean into others. Share with others where you are at, be like David and run to trusted people, run to God and don’t give in to fear and darkness. Next week we’ll look more at that. But I think the first thing we need to do when Plan B’s jump out unexpected is to resist the temptation to run and to lean into God, others, community, and care. And that’s what we learned on Sunday.

 Sermon Notes

Big Idea: When Plan B’s happen, we can’t give up on God.

Take Aways…

  • What do we do when our plan A’s fail?
  • “Everyone has shattered dreams” Pete Wilson
  • Sometimes the plan b’s in our lives bring about God’s best later on.
  • God’s will in the moment doesn’t always come to pass
  • God’s promises don’t have expiration dates.
  • When Plan B’s happen, we can’t give up on God.
  • “Your dream may not be happening, and things aren’t turning the way you expected, but that doesn’t mean your life is spinning out of control. It just means you aren’t in control” Pete Wilson
  • Don’t run from God

Adult / Group Discussion Questions

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

When have you been in a “plan b” in your life? What made it hard? What made it easier to get through? How did God get you through it? Can you relate to the temptation to run when things get tough? How so? Are you in a plan b place right now? If so, who can help you and support you during it? If not, who can you support that is in a plan b place.

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families

Talk to your kids how sometimes hard things happen. Talk to them about the importance of turning towards God. Share with them from your own life, how that’s happened and what you did. Use your life to teach them, and to get closer to them.

Challenge for this Week: Don’t run from God but lean into others / Support others who are in a Plan B place.