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On Being Fearless

I thought that over the next few weeks that I would take a series of posts and talk about our Core Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs and practices as Sonoran Community Church.

What’s the Difference?

These four elements make up what we call The Core of Sonoran Community Church. At the heart of The Core is our Beliefs, the “What makes us, us.” Next, coming out of our Core Beliefs are our Mission, Vision, and Practices. These are the things we believe we are to do because of what we believe. Lastly, are our Values. These are the larger overall virtues which we believe we should cultivate as community of Jesus followers in order to be faithful to all of the other things in The Core.

Core Beliefs = Who we are

Core Mission, Vision, and Practices = What we do and where we’re going

Core Values = How we get there

Core Value #1: Fearless

Over the last few years the idea of being fearless has been bandied about to mean different things from opposing racism to not wearing a mask during COVID. However, while you may or may not agree with those things, these are not the things we are necessarily referring to when being fearless.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, the life of Christ, and the life of the Early Church in Acts are all clearly centered around taking the Good News of the Gospel, the need of repentance, and the coming of the Kingdom of God to those around us who are not followers of God. We may fear talking about religious things with our friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers because religion has become as contentious as politics, especially with the recent max exodus of young people from the Christian church.

However, there are a few things we should remember: First, a call to be a follower of Jesus is a call to be a proclaimer of Jesus. The two cannot be separated. Second, the Gospel is a serious matter with eternal consequences. Like it or not, the Bible teaches there eternal punishment for the unbeliever and eternal blessedness for the believer after death. Recently, this has become a touchy subject in a culture fascinated by unicorns, happiness, and endless love. There is no way that one can take Jesus and Paul seriously and not admit that they operated with the notion that life after death was a serious matter. Third, we are commanded to be a proclaimer of Jesus. We cannot be an obedient follower of Jesus and keep the Gospel to ourselves. They are quite literally, mutually exclusive states. Lastly, God has promised that whenever we find ourselves in situations where we are called to answer for our work for the Gospel, He will give us the words to say and that He will protect us:

[Luk 21:12-19 NIV] "12 "But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.”

- We fearlessly love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.

Something that has become obvious in the last few years through our use of social media is that if we really like something we want the whole world to know it: a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a car, a shirt, a cause, a political part/candidate, etc. We fearlessly pursue everyone on our newsfeed and friends list making sure they know how much we like this thing or that thing, this team or that store, this political policy or that brand. We get ourselves in trouble, violate community standards, get ourselves blocked, make people mad. We do all of this for things that we like and love. And we’re called to do the same thing, albeit in a spirit of love and gentleness, with our God:

[Luk 10:25-28 NIV] “25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."”

We should be just as willing for culture and our community to see us as “unhinged” as long as we are unhinged for God and not for our version of religion or God. We should be on fire for Jesus because we love Him more than that candidate, brand, cause, shirt, or whatever. Jesus is of infinitely more value than anything we can promote of social media or go viral for.

- We fearlessly love our neighbors as ourselves.

If there is anything that has become clear over the last 5-10 years, it is that as the American Church we are really bad at loving our neighbors as ourselves. We shout and spew vitriol at each other over trivial things online and in real life. We treat each other like dirt for temporal things that when viewed eternally do not matter one iota. We need to start taking Jesus seriously as His followers and follow His command to love our neighbors as ourselves:

[Mat 22:37-40 NIV] “37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."”

This may mean putting away our social media accounts, turning of the flow of news to our phones and TVs, and start taking people out for coffee or having them over for a BBQ. This might mean stop peering from behind our blinds at our physical neighbors and go meet them and help them with something. This might mean putting away our disagreements and hateful comments and living the Gospel to those we hate so much instead.

Fearless doesn’t mean we don’t have any fear at all. It simply means that we value doing what we need to do more than not doing it. Being Fearless means that we value the Gospel, God, and our neighbors over our fears.

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