featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Being brave in a world of fear

2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

It has been horrible! The news and social media are lit-up with images, stories, and the tragedy of more mass-shootings. One in Buffalo, New York. Shoppers were out picking up groceries for the week at the Tops market. One older woman was picking up food for her church, and an angry 18-year-old young man took her life along with 9 others. The New York Times is reporting the killing spree was racially motivated. That was Saturday. The very next day another shooter, this time in Orange County, California, went into a church, according to the Los Angeles Times and as he started shooting, a doctor did all he could to subdue the assailant. The doctor lost his life. Many others were injured. Now take in the war in Ukraine, the lingering possibilities of another variant COVID-type virus, the slap of reality as gas costs more, food costs more, out to eat costs more, services like housecleaning, yard maintenance, and almost everything costs more. Now add the anger of people out and about. I saw a woman lose it in the grocery store because someone got in her way as she was coming down the aisle. The guy behind me was honking up a storm because I had stopped for a pedestrian, who had the right of way. In all this, fear can creep in and make us shy away or disengage. Yet our world needs people to step up and be brave in a world of fear.

Our crazy fear-enraged world needs brave people to step up and not react, but with kind words and actions seek to live and love courageously. Sure, being brave is overcoming great obstacles but bravery is also courageously overcoming our own individual fears. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking wrote in a Psychology Today article that “Courage is a habit, a muscle you can exercise.” The more we make brave steps the more brave we will be. It starts with the brave move to accomplish a goal for today, then a bigger one the next day, then that huge one the following day. So, being brave is not letting our fears rule us. The truth is, we all have the potential to be brave. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Yes, fear comes easy, but we can exercise that muscle of courage and be brave.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them (past fears), for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

We can be brave because God promises to be with us. (See Psalm 145:18, Jeremiah 23:23, James 4:8)

Psalms 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;wait for the Lord!

Psalms 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

To wait for the Lord is to follow His leading and rely on His strength. It’s not just mustering up courage, but seeking God and asking Him to guide and direct you.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalms 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Be brave! It’s in you to step up with courage. What courageous choices could you make today? Your bravery will not only encourage others, but will push back fear and build in you that brave person God made you to be.

Church can be a great place to exercise bravery. It might even be a small step of bravery to attend church. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to be brave along with you,

Mike McKay