New Blog From Jay Trull: Trusting God With Fear

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Once upon a time there was leader in a church. He was concerned about people leaving his church and going to another one. He said inside his heart “If people leave my church, I could lose my job, and if I lose my job I would have no money. Then I could die!”

In order to protect himself from all of this, the leader decided to change the way people worshiped God. He wanted to make it easier for them to reach God. He gave them many options to choose from that were closer to their house. He thought this would help people stay at his church. This church leader was full of fear.

A similar story to this one can be found in 1 Kings 12:25-33. In this passage Jeroboam was scared that people would leave his kingdom and go to Rehoboam’s kingdom (v.26-27).

Jeroboam was full of fear.

We see here that fear often starts in our hearts (v. 26). Unless fear is managed and purged from our hearts it can easily escalate into internal exaggerations. Jeroboam equated the thoughts of people leaving his kingdom with him being killed. The possibility of death from people leaving his kingdom is not really likely. This is a picture of what we can do to ourselves when we interact with fear.

In verse 28 we see the fear in Jeroboam’s heart eventually manifested itself into the work of his hands. He decided to build idols in order to manipulate the lives of people in a way that would protect his kingdom. He disobeyed the commandments of God that told him where and when to worship (v.29-35). He put his people in a place of disobedience with God as well. He did all of this because he was scared to lose his kingdom and his life.

Have you ever struggled with fear?

Jeroboam shows us what not to do. In contrast, I would like to suggest that there are at least 3 things from this passage that can help us overcome fear.

Pay Attention To What Goes On Inside of You – There are thoughts and feelings that come up inside our hearts. This is part of being human. We can’t just push these things aside and keep working with our hands. Fear will lead us down the wrong path.

Stop Internal Fear Before It Reaches A False Reality – Human emotions will escalate. That is another part of being human. It’s OK to be human, but is better to rest in the super natural grace of God. We need to recognize fear, pray through it, and soak it in scripture before we turn our interior world into pictures of a false reality. We can also seek wise counsel to help deal with fear. Be careful who you talk with though. Verse 28 tells us that Jeroboam took counsel and its obvious that he received bad counsel.

What’s In Our Heart Will Show Up In Our Hands – We may not realize this or even do it on purpose, but when we lead out of fear in our hearts it will manifest itself in human control, self protection, and the manipulation of others.

Does it really matter if people leave our ministry for another one? It’s God’s super natural ministry not ours. He can move people where He wants them to go. He does not need our human efforts to help control and manipulate His kingdom. When we start planning and building programs to get people to stay in our ministry we have a problem. When we do this in ways that are in direct disobedience to scripture we are in even more trouble.

The ministries and businesses we lead are directed by the grace of God. When fear comes we need to rest in God’s grace, cease striving, and know that He is in control. There is no need to protect ourselves and manipulate others in our own strength.

The next time you struggle with fear in your heart remember to pay attention to it, stop it before it escalates, and recognize that what’s in your heart will show up in the work of your hands. These things will help us trust God as a leader.

New Blog From Bill: Haddon Robinson 1931-2017

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In 1960, during my senior year of college when I was accepted by Dallas Seminary, I saw a picture of Haddon Robinson and thought, “What can a guy that young teach me about preaching?’ He looked the same age as some of my classmates, and all the professors I ever had looked like professors, like in their forties and fifties. During my first two years in seminary Dr. Robinson earned his PhD from the University of Illinois, so I did not have any courses from him until my third year when I gave my first sermon to him. I had taken preaching courses already, preached several times, usually did well, and felt pretty good about myself as a preacher. A couple of days after class I made the breath-taking climb up four steep flights of stairs to the fourth floor and Dr. Robinson’s isolated office. I entered his office and took my seat next to his desk face-to-face with him. He took little time to tell me what he thought of my sermon—and it didn’t quite match what I thought of it.

“The introduction didn’t introduce the sermon. (“Huh,“ I thought, “Really?”) “The body didn’t develop the text.” (“Is that what the body does?” I asked myself). “And the conclusion didn’t complete the sermon.” (“Well, what do you know about that!” I said to myself). “But at least you had style so I gave you a B+.”

In those twenty seconds I learned more about preaching than I had in six years of study before. And I learned what Dr. Haddon Robinson could teach me about preaching. Everything. Certainly I needed to learn from him.

That began six years of study with him. How many times did I climb up those four steep flights of stairs to his office? How many times did I gain new and deeper insights into what it means to preach? How many times did Dr. Robinson spend two, or more hours with me in his office as we talked about preaching and more—about life, about seminary, about dating, about growing up in a large city—he in Hell’s Kitchen in New York and I in an unknown factory neighborhood in Philadelphia. He who had a father who formed him and I who had a father who determined that I would go to college.

We went to Dr. Robinson’s home for many courses, and from those times I learned a way to teach when I joined the faculty at Dallas Seminary fifteen years later. That was how I met Bonnie, his wife, a gracious, loving, warm, gentle woman who welcomed fifteen seminary guys into her home. It was also there that I met ten-year old Vickie, their daughter, and her younger brother, Torrey. Years later Vickie became our friend when we moved to Dallas.

For fifteen years I taught a Sunday school class here in Dallas, and Vickie was a faithful attender. Two or three times a year Dr. Robinson would visit her and attend the class, usually sitting on one of the last rows, not wanting to attract attention to himself. Many times at the end of the class he would come up to me to ask how I was doing and also to answer any questions I had concerning him. Those were mini-echoes of our old days when I sat face-to-face with him to learn about preaching or education or girls or life or even some difficulty he had faced and how the Lord had stood with Him.

Now Dr. Robinson is gone, taken from us by a devastating form of Parkinson’s Disease. He is now in the Lord’s presence reunited with his precious father but missed desperately by Bonnie, Vickie, and Torrey and the many communicators he formed. Few men have impacted preachers more effectively than he has. Few men have affected the church more completely than he has. Few men have influenced pastors more fully than he has. Few men have faced the struggles of life, the devastation of the body, and the loss of gifts more than he has either. Further no man has taught me and scores of others to preach as much as Dr. Robinson.

You notice that I constantly call him Dr. Robinson. Later, after I was no longer a student, I called him Haddon at times, but he will always be Dr. Robinson to me. After all, what could a man who looked like one of my college classmates teach me about preaching? Everything. That’s all.

new Podcast:  From Fear to Thanksgiving

Fear can paralyze a leader. In this episode hear how the Apostle Paul went from fear to thanksgiving. Being able to establish this discipline will keep us on the right track as leaders.

New Video: Meet Our Ukraine coordinator Alex savich

Watch this video story to see how Bill Lawrence mentored Alex. The Leader Formation message helped Alex discover how to find freedom as a leader and now he hopes to mentor others in Ukraine!

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