Gateway Church Austin and 20+ other churches in Austin are teaming together for an initiative to tear down the walls that hold us back from our best. These walls pit people against each other, keep neighbors distant, keep churches from working together or from serving our city. We all face walls. We all get stuck, but we don’t have to stay stuck.
John Burke spoke at the McNeil campus, and I spoke at the South campus. Here are some of the main points:
“Have you ever been afraid? Fear, more than anything else, keeps us walled in.
As children we fear monsters in our closet. Eventually we begin to believe our parents that they aren’t real, but even as adults we often fear things that are not real.
Not all fear is bad. Fear is a God given mechanism to protect us against real danger.
Destructive fear is based on the darkness of a lie. It’s a fear that controls us. It’s fear that ignores God’s power and love, and it keeps us locked up unable to grow into all God created us to be.
God did not create you and me to live in fear. He created you to live in love. You can live in one or the other, but you can’t live in fear and live in love at the same time.
‘God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.’ – 1 John 4:16-19
Fear turns us inward, love turns us outward. Fear turns us toward protecting ourselves, love turns us toward thinking about others.
We feel fear because we feel out of control. We feel out of control, because we ARE out of control. We can’t control everything. We want to! We want to pretend like we can! But that’s just not reality.
When we fear, it’s because we fear we have something to lose. Yet God has removed all fear of punishment, all fear of judgment, all fear of even death for all who will entrust themselves to him.
On Jesus’ last night on earth, He told his followers he would be crucified. Fear overwhelmed them. Jesus encouraged them with these words:
‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ – John 14:6
When we are stuck, Jesus shows us our way out. What path do I take to change this? Jesus is the path. What do I need to know? Jesus is the truth. What will give me real life? Jesus is the Life.
When someone was afraid in the Scriptures, God responded with the same answer 366 times: ‘Fear not, for I am with you!’ God is with us—He lives with those who Let Him in.”
To watch or listen to John Burke share this message, go to www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.