What Are You Afraid Of?

Reading Ed Welch's book Running Scared: Fear, Worry & the God of Rest last year helped me realize that fear is a bigger part of my life than I had realized. Our fears reveal our idols: comfort, approval, safety, and so on. It turns out I had (or have) more fears and idols than I'd realized. When we say, "I'm afraid of…" we're usually saying is, "I have an idol."

I've thought about church planting for years. I thought it was a crazy dream. It's easy to rationalize why it's not a good idea. Slowly my excuses crumbled, and I was left to confront my fears. It's one thing to think that church planting may not be a good idea. Not everybody should be a planter. It's another thing altogether when the thing holding me back is that I'm putting some of my idols at risk.

If you're struggling with fear, I highly recommend Welch's book. But I've found some other books to be helpful as well. The Flinch is a good, quick read, and it's free on Kindle. Seth Godin's book Linchpin was also very helpful.

What are you afraid of? Follow your fears, and you'll probably find your idols.

Two Requests

I can't remember when I've been so excited about an approaching year. In just a few weeks we begin the process of planting a church in downtown Toronto. We're praying that God would use this church to spread his fame in the urban core of this city.

I have two requests.

First and foremost, we're going to need prayer. Would you consider signing up to receive updates? Obviously, we're not going to spam you, and we won't waste your time. I would appreciate knowing that we have people who are praying for this plant as it gets off the ground. Just fill in the form below.

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Secondly, would you consider financially supporting this plant? A year-end gift or regular commitment would help us get established. You can fill out this form (PDF) and send it in to FEBCentral at 175 Holiday Inn Drive, Cambridge, ON N3C 3T2.

We're really excited. Stay tuned, and please remember us in prayer.

Disrupted by Christmas

In his book The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey recounts flipping through Christmas cards. He found beautiful landscape scenes, frolicking animals, and cuddly-looking angels. Even those that focused on Bethlehem presented a tranquil picture. Inside, the cards were full of "love, goodwill, cheer, happiness, and warmth."

As I read Matthew's account of Jesus' birth, I'm reminded that Jesus' birth was anything but serene. It's a wild and crazy adventure. You read about a band of explorers led by a magic star, a crazy king intent on killing Jesus, and a young refuge family on the run for their lives. This is a good introduction to the birth of Jesus. It's not peaceful; it's disruptive. It changes everything.

I've always been struck by Revelation's picture of Christmas. Revelation 12 speaks of a baby being born. It's a turning point in history. "And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it" (Revelation 12:4). I've never seen this on a Christmas card! The birth of Jesus unleashed a new spiritual battle. The birth of Jesus was anything but a tranquil event.

We know how the battle will end, but we're still waiting for history to run its course according to God's plan. Every Christmas I find myself praying that I will see past the safe Christmas images, so that I will see the birth of Jesus as what it really is. It was disruptive, and it continues to disrupt lives even today.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will be caught in the wild and crazy adventure of Jesus and his story. His birth, life, death, and resurrection stand at the climax of history. He changes everything. I pray that your life will be disrupted by the one who was born at Christmas, and that you will never be the same.