This week Pastor Gene's wife Heather brings our message on the "F" word ...FEAR and how to deal with it.
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okay good morning this will tie into my topic for today that was not a glitch that was on purpose we are hitting the pause button on our series the rest of the story my name is heather i am pastor dean's wife and from time to time i get voluntold to do a message up here so i'm here today as we hit the pause button on our series the rest of the story where we have been going through the bible diving into the details about what it says not what we think it says but what it actually says and we are at a point where uh gene has mind-bending chronological order that he has to put together he's like you don't have to be it and i go thank you so i get to do a different topic today so today we are going to learn how to deal with the f word nope not that f word get your mind's out of the gutter although i'm sure some of you in naples traffic might have let one slip on your way in it's okay you can ask for forgiveness i'm talking about the real four letter f word that completely rules our lives in more ways than you can imagine fear fear there are many healthy and unhealthy forms of fear so today we are going to talk about fear and those of you who have been here before maybe heard me speak the last time would say heather haven't we covered this especially in the proverbs and i would say yes in proverbs 1 7 fear of the lord is a foundation of true knowledge but fools despise wisdom and discipline so we are going to go through this today the different types of fear and how to deal with them but first i have a story for you gene has lots of stories but this one's actually about gene yes see i get up here and i give you the other insight all right so gene has told you about previous experiences at the movie and why he prefers to watch movies at home we set up a nice little movie theater a big screen usually we got bigger tvs instead of getting glasses and finally he got glasses so we could stop buying bigger tvs all right so his main reasons are loud whisper guy cougher loud drink slurper popcorn open mouth cruncher so many previews you forget what movie you even came to see so he has laid out his many reasons for preferring to stay home instead of going to the movies now fridays my work week is a little different than his he gets to friday and because of his mind-bending scripture he goes through it at double speed and so sophie and i exit out and escape for a few hours together we call it girls day and we generally go to the movies because jean doesn't usually like to go so we go to the movies and usually when we're there uh it's quiet we almost get it to ourselves if you've been to silver spot that is amazing you can pick your seats and a few times we've been the only ones there right now in this movie theater you can pick your seats and if you prefer you can buy the ones next to you to make sure no one sits next to you another one of gene's fears obviously he didn't have to do the message this week because i'm standing up here so sophie and i carve our time out and we're getting ready to go to the movies he says so what are you going to see and the 20 years married indicated to me do you want to go to the movies yes and like a five-year-old he gets ready in split seconds and skips out the door with us to go with us so we get there at first everything is running smoothly i get amazing parking spots but this time i get a better than average parking spot we get in there there's no line for food there's three people waiting on us we're like i'm like this is amazing perfect he's going to experience what we experience we settle in and inevitably it all comes crashing down we get coffer cruncher slurper loud with guy all in one behind us who also decides to scrape the bottom of the bucket mind you before the movie has even started then we get too many previews usually when sophia goes like two or three they're predictable they show one twice this time he's thinking what did we see will we come to see again i'm like uncharted oh that's right okay so literally everything is coming true i'm like fantastic he's never gonna come to the movies again with us all right so the movie settles in our food is great yeah about halfway through the movie at the peak of the storyline a new set of couple comes in an elderly couple and we're thinking okay we didn't buy the seat next to us so hopefully they're not gonna sit next to us no it gets even better they think that our seats are their seats an attempt to with the flashlight flashing in our eyes sit in our seats while we're sitting in them straddling gene the gentleman practically strut like he's starting to fall gene in his own epic movie moment keeps him from falling and crashing down i'm exaggerating but you know basically what could have happened and so he says instead of thank you for saving my life it's a good thing i had this mind you he's flashing his flashlight in our face while this is all happening he finally sits down at the other end of the row his wife sits down and goes great this is gonna be fun i'm sure they've been married 45 years instead of 20. she knows what's about to happen and finally his light goes off we eventually miss the peak of the movie so we'll be watching it in our home theater when it comes back out again and uh so he proceeds to sit down and now you can see why gene has a healthy form of fear about going to the movies so again talking about fear and last week gene told you a story about me telling people what they need to hear or not what they want to hear he told you the story about how when we first started dating i asked him if i thought he i should lose some weight and he was honest with me and said yes now most men in here would be afraid of getting hit by answering that question at all usually nothing says everything just walk away pretend you didn't hear it now gene was less afraid of getting hit because it's what he did for a living so he was less afraid of getting hit than telling me the truth and what i needed to hear i'm going to fill you in on a secret i was actually relieved that someone finally told me the truth i knew i had gained weight i was in an unhealthy spot and he finally was the first one around me who didn't tell me what i wanted to hear but what i needed to hear and how often does fear of rejection or confrontation keep us from being honest with those around us especially those we love so again there are many forms of fear some good some bad some forms of fear can lead to death like tumbling down in the movie theater because you're in the wrong seats while other types can keep us alive i have one more story for you about fear how are you part of me i'm a little fearful up here today i don't know why i think talking about fear has like i've gotten myself riled up today anyway i'm going to calm down have you ever heard the saying give them enough rope and they will hang themselves well in this story it is all too true there was once a criminal who had committed a crime because that's what criminals do that's their job anyway he was sent to the king for punishment and the king gave him two choices for his punishment he could be hung by a rope or he could take what's behind big dark scary mysterious iron door the criminal quickly decided on the rope now as the noose was being slipped on him he turned to the king and asked by the way out of curiosity what's behind the door the king laughed and said you know it's funny i offer the same choice and nearly everyone picks the rope so the criminal said tell me what's behind the door i mean obviously i'm not going to tell anyone pointing to the noose around his neck the king paused and then answered freedom but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope what an amazing illustration of how fear can be what kills you or keeps you alive i know fear runs through every facet of our lives but it is what we do with fear that makes a difference are we using it to hang ourselves with are we using fear to become free free in the lord freedom from sin freedom from our broken world and the promise of eternal salvation i know for me fear is a cornerstone in my life just like anyone else for me those of you who have heard my story know that i have been so sober and in recovery for over seven and a half years and in recovery we literally have to learn how to deal with our fears as a matter of life and death we like to numb our emotions addiction is a deadly disease many of you may be familiar that there's a 12-step program out there and in this program steps one through five are as follows very simply i'm not going to go through it's very long step one admission of your problem two belief in god three surrendering to god four personal inventory of fears five telling another person we have to literally write out all of our fears and take a personal inventory of everything that has been done to us and what we have been we've done to others the best part about it is we have to turn it around and look at where our fear led us in the situations that someone hurt us and how we played a part in it ouch that is a major punch gut gut punch backwards again my fear is a little high this morning but that was a very painful process but the fear of drinking again or picking up was greater than cleaning out my emotional baggage a healthy form of fear now in my book i see fear as either constructive or destructive gene already debunked the fear not count in the bible you can go back and hear his message download our app we are to fear the lord as it is the beginning of wisdom fear of the lord fear of danger fear of hell those are all healthy fears fear is not a sin if you have been led down that road let me repeat fear is not a sin it is a normal human emotion and fear is one of the most misused words in christianity but it is clearly outlined in the bible for us which is why we're going through it today proverbs 14 16 the wise are cautious it actually says fear in greek and avoid danger fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence now it's not just in the old testament but in the new as well ephesians 5 21 and further submit to one another out of reverence for christ now i got permission to tell you to cross this out in your bibles from gene because it actually says fear in the greek so i get to give you permission to cross out something in your bible i don't get to do that it's actually jane so anyway the key to living in spirit guided relationships is fear of christ you cannot get the holy spirit without full surrender in order to receive it much like with my sobriety i had to surrender my addiction to christ before my compulsion to drink was removed and in order to begin right spiritual living we have to first surrender in order to become free as the key to wisdom is fear of god the key to receiving the holy spirit is fear of christ paul is going to he repeats in ephesians what is said in luke by christ luke 12 4-5 friends don't be afraid of those who want to kill somebody they cannot do any more to you after that but i'll let you but i'll tell you whom to fear fear god who has the power to kill you and then throw you into yes he is the one to fear paul you're in anger with sins of the flesh versus the fruit of the spirit in galatians 5 19-26 when you follow the desires of your sinful nature the results are very clear sexual immorality impurity lustful pleasures idolatry sorcery hostility quarreling jealousy outbursts of anger selfish ambition dissension division envy drunkenness parties and others like these let me tell you again as i have before anyone living that sort of not inherit the kingdom of god but the holy spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self-control there is no law against these those who belong to christ jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to the cross and crucified them there since we are living by the spirit let us follow the spirits leading in every part of our lives let us not become conceited or provoke one another or be jealous of one another so we have to start programming ourselves to identify the difference between destructive fears and constructive fears so i did some googling and i found a list of common fears and i'll put this in the app that's really small there's a lot up here if you need them but we've got abandonment hurting others fear of people fear of public speaking i'm getting over that this morning fear of rejection fear of lack fear of self-expression selfishness fear of loss fear of material loss fear of success fear of pain fear of the unknown fear of vulnerability fear of god and duty so you can see which ones or later after they're bigger for you our flesh-driven fears in spirit-driven fears when going through life especially in recovery for me i have learned some helpful tools i get to ask myself some questions on a regular basis am i feeling restless irritable discontent or angry if so why am i being selfish dishonest and what am i actually afraid of and in recovery i have this wonderful saying sometimes i have good days and then there are days when i don't get my way so if we are in sins of the flesh where most likely will end up feeling restless irritable discontent and or angry when we should be seeking the fruits of the spirit feeling happy joyous and free we are now living with the holy spirit in us which lead us to an area where there are no laws against those feelings we live with holy spirit in us that is our building guide in shame prevention so to be careful not to live in anger our world is so full of anger especially right now the fear is literally dominating our society anger is a system a system a symptom of flesh-based fear anger is addictive i'm going to repeat that anger is addictive the endorphin released can become a chemical rush for me personally before i had christ in my life i accomplished a lot with anger i became successful and accomplished in the world trying to prove everyone wrong and find my value in the world however i was still spiritually bankrupt at the end of the day and using anger based on my worldly fears worked until it stopped working i will never forget the day i went to tap into my anger for fuel i was working out those of you who know me i like to work out and i went to get that adrenaline rush for fuel and it was empty jesus emptied my anger tank and he gave me a new fuel source a new horsepower my higher power in him i just didn't know how to use it yet i had a new and cleaner source of fuel with an unlimited reserve i just had to learn how to tap into it and i hadn't realized until that moment how much i had been addicted to my anger base and all the fears worldly fears in my life now god tells us about anger but our modern society also has a definition for us the american society of addiction medicine defines an addiction as a primary chronic disease of brain reward motivation memory and related circuitry dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological psychological social and spiritual manifestations this is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and or relief by a substance and other behaviors addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain impairment in behavioral control craving diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behavior and interpersonal relationships and a dysfunctional emotional response like other chronic diseases addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission without treatment or engagement in recovery activities addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death addiction falls into two categories substance and process what is interesting about this is it's also laid out in the sins of the flesh in galatians substance being abuse all in drugs process behavior such as gambling hoarding spending eating disorders workaholicism codependence and surprisingly inappropriate use of the normal human emotion of anger again outlined in galatians we have it in our modern day science that backs that up anger is a symptom of destructive fears that can literally kill us the constant flood of stress chemicals and associated metabolic changes that go with ongoing unmanaged anger can eventually cause harm to many different systems in our body some of the short and long-term health problems that have been linked to unmanaged anger include a weakened immune system headache digestion problems such as abdominal pain insomnia increased anxiety depression high blood pressure skin problems such as eczema heart attack and stroke god knows us so well and jesus loves us so much that we are gifted with the holy spirit in order to keep us on track so that we don't die a death of flesh or of spirit but with an internal compass for god's children to allow us the freedom that constructive fear gives us fear of the lord first and foremost fear of real dangers getting hit by a car but fear that spirit gives us hope god gives us guidelines on what to do with fear-based anger in ephesians 4 23-32 but that isn't what you learned about christ since you've heard about jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life which is corrupted by lust and deception instead let the spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes put on your new nature created to be like god truly righteous and holy stop telling lies let us tell our neighbors the truth even if they don't want to hear it for we are all parts of the same body and don't sin by letting anger control you don't sin by letting anger control you don't let the sun go down while you are still angry for anger gives a foothold to the devil if you are a thief quit stealing instead use your hands for good hard work then give generously to others in need don't use foul or abusive language let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them and do not bring sorrow to god's holy spirit by the way you live remember he has identified you as his own in guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption get rid of all bitterness rage anger harsh words and slander as well as all types of evil behavior instead be kind to each other tenderhearted forgiving one another just as god through christ has forgiven you it also says in ethiopia 7 9 control your temper for anger labels you a fool it is here over and over and over again in the bible often when you have outbursts of anger it can make you look like a fool especially if you're supposed to be exhibiting self-control and kindness now i know fear is an inevitable emotion what we have to do is learn how to identify which one we are feeling and allow the spirit to lead us in our lives to feel happy joyous and free as one of god's children learning to let go of our anger and replace it with gentleness kindness love and peace like with the cruncher behind me on friday i literally prayed old me may have said something but i literally was like i'm just going to be quiet the movie's going to be loud and i won't hear it anymore and i literally pray instead of outburst of anger i was like thank you god because old me or old gene we have new gene and new heather would have been very different reactions in those situations so it's important to learn how to handle our fear so they don't run our lives learning how to surrender them to the lord in prayer even paul feared for the souls of those he led fear is not a bad word fear is a word that has to be channeled properly not as shackles of the world but healthy fear that leads us to freedom i know when i was still drinking the fear of getting caught fear of not having enough fear of controlling my body was literally killing me and drawing me away from those who love me especially christ quite honestly it was a waste of time and energy my fear now is normal ish i try not to let it control my life because i've learned that control is an illusion and in recovery we have an acronym for fear false evidence appearing real the more i try and control something out of fear the faster i'm going to lose it the tighter i grip the faster it falls out of my hands we live right by the beach most of you have hopefully been there or to a beach have you ever tried to pick up sand do you grab it with an angry fist or do you pick it up gently to gather as much as possible now would you say the world is angry is it angry i would say so with so much anger in the world doesn't it get loud really loud how many of you are tired of the fear-mongering going on i know i am so let's try something new turn it off stop listening to it honestly sometimes that includes other christians we have to ask ourselves if someone is spreading fear are they behaving like a christian trying to rile up your flesh-based fear is that healthy is that the holy spirit how about this for a change instead of tuning into the noise of the world why don't we listen to god he gave us wonderful technology you can turn on your bible app and turn the audio on and flush the world out we can talk about fear mongering globally i know oftentimes we think of social media cnn fox news all the different news channels doesn't matter which one it is the magazines on your way out of the grocery store but we often don't look in our inner circles for fear-mongering either in some cases we have to be careful not to listen to them because we normally associate it on a larger scale and very seldom equate this to our don't equate this to our daily lives and relationships with other people so we should look at our inner circles for those people who may be projecting their fears onto you and leading you away from god whether it's your boss your co-worker parent significant other brother sister friend any of the above fear is a this tool used by people to manipulate and control others or direct them twisting it into a crippling mental hurdle that holds us down so we can't stand our own two feet many of us have been in a relationship with someone who uses fear to control them or their surrounding circumstances i know i have in the past their fears are used to keep you or everything in their life around them under the illusion of their control when do we stand up with the holy spirit and do what god calls us to do no longer allowing that person to control you or anyone else in fear news flash they're not in charge christ is he's going to work it all out at the end it's not our job our job as christians is to love not to judge he's in charge you may want to evaluate your inner circle and those who may be using flesh-driven fear to make you or others around you feel less than and if someone is behaving this way you have to ask are they being guided by the holy spirit this is the case first pray for them pray for them the ultimate goal is to get them to christ not finger-pointing back at them second look at how you can helpfully exit the situation in love if that's what's needed as we discussed last week being told what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear and today some of you may need to hear you may be in a bad relationship you're being held down not being brought up encouraged or loved then you may need to send spend some time in prayer with the lord is this what he wants for you are you living in fear of the world or of a person your fear should be in the lord there's too much noise in the world today to hear god recently in our series gene talked about god whispering to elijah if what god is whispering to you and all the noise and fear of the world is so loud you can't hear him what are we doing to quiet the noise the fear and anxiety created by the world what are we really afraid of what is keeping us in the situation that is not healthy for us spiritually mentally or physically what is causing this unnecessary anger are we creating unrealistic expectations hoping that person will change hoping you can control it in reverse unrealistic expectations leading to anger we recently had a holiday this past monday hopefully some of you may have remembered or not valentine's day a worldly heart of each other even though as christians we're supposed to love each other every day unintentionally or unintentionally situations that cause problems so that you can lean on your sin anger being fear is dangerous and they create resentments now expectations are resentments under construction and expectations of anyone or anything without proper communication or commitment will lead to resentments failure and anger that person would use their turn signal you expected the person in the left lane would turn left not go all the way to the right lane immediately in front of you you expected that person would stop at the stop sign in florida apparently they're just suggestions you expected to bring your husband would bring home milk even though you didn't ask he should have noticed it was empty and just automatically picked it up you expected your child to brush their teeth every morning before going to school tie their shoes and bring home their homework you expected your spouse to remember your birthday or anniversary or bring you flowers for a reason or no reason at all up ourselves for failure and having expectations not communicating them and then getting mad about it expected no one would be in your seats at the theater even though you went into the wrong theater at the wrong time blinding people with flight no one record men's under construction those of you who aren't in recovery you probably ask what does that mean well for those of us in recovery resentments are excuses to drink or use our substance of choice we put that substance down and often channels to anger which is the same root different branch essentially so emotionally and spiritual being our measure of our sobriety i personally don't have the luxury of anger i know if i'm getting angry i'm displacing my addiction somewhere else and it's only a matter of time until i need a stronger substance to numb that emotion now in christianity it relates to how are you loving others as yourself are you letting the holy spirit lead you into right living living the golden rule essentially are we forgiving others by not forgiving others it gives us permission to stay angry but in matthew 6 in the lord's prayer the part that no one talks about but is now actually on a mug if you do not forgive you will not be forgiven matthew 6 14-15 if you forgive those who sin against you your heavenly father will forgive you but if you refuse to forgive others your father will not forgive your sins anger which essentially flesh-based fear steers us towards our sinful nature versus forgiveness gentleness and kindness but they don't feel as good as being right or being angry finger-pointing those behaviors spirit-led behaviors allow us to live in the spirit as directed as christians are supposed to be an angry hot-headed christian needs to ask themselves have they truly surrendered to the holy spirit as over time that diminishes and you stop reacting with anger and start responding with love so now that i've shown you how anger and fear can be destructive how do we begin identifying and changing our behavior first surrender to pray three get into the word of god again download our app the bible app you can turn on the audio and listen to it turn off the noise four take a daily inventory a reflection of your behaviors where did you wrong someone where did someone wrong you do you owe someone an apology again take that to god at night five ask for help really hard to do but we're here for you and six start to forgive yourself and those around you and yourself find freedom in christ galatians 5 1. so christ has truly set us free now make sure that you stay free don't get tied up again in the slavery to the law there is a new freedom in christ that truly lightens your load and all the shackles of anger fear remorse and guilt surrounding those behaviors don't be afraid of finding freedom because at least behind that door we know what's on the other side christ and freedom once you surrender and allow the holy spirit to guide you fear of change at first is scary but it is a very freeing gift that all of god's children receive the world is not going to be sunshine and rainbows we were never promised that but we live on a promise of an eternal life and salvation and a god that loves us here in this broken world john 3 16 for this is how god loved the world he gave his one and only son said everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life i think sometimes we take the saying a little too lightly god gave us his son to save us all we have to do is let him this change of heart loss of anger will naturally dissolve you start living along spiritual lines living peacefully inside despite the chaos of the world that has been there and guess what it's always going to be there once again it's what we do with fear that makes a difference are we using it to love the world and those in it are we using it to love the lord and live in it it's time to face everything and recover or repent allow christ in you to help you because he loves you no one else tells you that today remember jesus loves each and every one of you allow us as your church family to help you because we love you too allow yourself to love to be loved find your value in christ and find your freedom we want you to be happy joyous free peaceful and find freedom in the spirit of christ who loves you now i'd like to end in prayer you can join me or not if you know it in the lord's prayer our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done as in earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil and all the people said amen have a great day thank you you