Series Introduction

When you can’t let go of stuff, it will eat you up – physically, emotionally and, more importantly, spiritually. If we can inspire, help, equip or challenge people to just LET IT GO, we can change our overall well-being in life.

  • What are three treasured things you would grab from your home if there were an emergency?


Sermon Introduction

The most repeated command God gives humans in the Bible is, “Fear not….do not fear….do not be afraid.”

There are many types of fears – relational, medical, educational, job related. Fear can grip us, and when we let fear overcome us it starts to dictate how we live our lives.

Have someone read Exodus 14:10-14.

The Israelites have just escaped Egypt and now find themselves facing a wall of water before them and enemies racing towards them. They have a very natural human response to this situation where their backs against the wall. First, they’re afraid. Then they get sarcastic with their leader and start imagining worst-case scenarios.

For those of us that fall in to that worst-case scenario mentality, we need for someone to say, “Hey, if you cave into fear, and sarcasm, and worst-cast-scenarios right now, where is that going to take you?”  We need someone to help us see there is a better plan.

Do you tend to make better or worse decisions when you’re scared? Share a time when you made a decision out of fear that you later regretted.

It’s natural when your back is against the wall to be afraid, but we have to be careful not to let fear drive us to make bad decisions, not to allow fear to make us panic when we need to relax and remain clear-headed, not to get sarcastic and biting and drive others away when we need people to help us.

The Israelites look at their situation and start predicting the outcome… and it’s not good.

  • When you’re afraid, what coping mechanism do you tend to use?

When we let worst-case scenarios take control of our mind, we lay in bed at night afraid. Late at night things weight heavy on our hearts and all the bad outcomes race through our minds. That almost never is helpful. The author of Aesop’s Fables once said: “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes…Most of which never happened.”  In the dark of night, we can choose to stand firm and decide not to let those thoughts overcome us.

Have someone read Matthew 6:27.

Jesus is telling us it’s just unproductive to worry. Worrying doesn’t solve our problems. It is never the solution. It doesn’t improve our lives. In fact, worry will take time away from us. Constant worry has physical consequences. Worry steals from us. When we decide to not allow fear to control us we can use that energy in a much more positive way.

  • Is there a time in your life where you made the decision to stand firm rather than fear? What caused you to make that decision, and how did it feel?

Moses makes a bold statement to the Israelites in Exodus 14:13, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.”

Moses is saying, “We’re going to abandon the scared, sarcastic, worst-case-scenario plan for the let it go plan.”

First, we’re going to adopt a fear-not mentality. Then we’re going to stand-firm and expect God’s help. This is the plan to implement when you find yourself with your back against the wall, and it comes straight out of the Bible: fear not, stand firm, expect God’s help.

Have someone read 2 Timothy 1:7.

The Apostle Paul is telling his young protégé Timothy—who has been given the huge responsibility of leading the church in the city of Ephesus—that he doesn’t need to be afraid.

We don’t have to freak out. We can have the self-discipline to choose a different path. We can develop the ability to be in a fear-not position when we’d normally be in a freak-out position.

  • What is one area in your life where you are feeling afraid currently? What would it look like to stand firm and trust God with this situation?

Standing firm requires faith. It requires the discipline to reset our way of thinking and to be brave. Time after time the Bible teaches us that God tends to wait for your declaration of faith before He supernaturally intervenes. Moses makes that declaration when he stands up and says, “I’m taking a different route.  You can all believe what you want to about God, but I’m expecting God to bring deliverance to us today.”  He doesn’t know how that will happen, but he is declaring his faith in God.

In Exodus 12:15 the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” His words are simple and clear.  Just move on and step toward that very thing you fear in faith. God doesn’t side step what they fear. He doesn’t take them over a bridge. God takes them through their fears. Choosing to stand firm in faith doesn’t mean we don’t have to walk through our challenges, but we can be assured that God is with us and that He will make a way.

Maybe you are in the midst of a challenge right now. Work is presenting a difficult situation to navigate. A relationship is on the line. Financially, you are desperate to see God’s provision. This is not the time to freak out but to fear not and stand firm.

  • What step can you take to overcome a fear that you are facing currently?


Application

Gene shared how he finds it helpful to write about his fears in a journal.  First, he writes out his fears, which somehow don’t seem as big and as overwhelming written down on paper Then he writes out more rational and faith-filled thoughts. This week, consider trying to journal each day stating your fears and how you can stand firm in the midst. Write your prayers and ask God to help you overcome your fears.

Gene ended our time with a prayer that you can pray together as a group now and at home in your quiet times.

PRAYER:  God we pray for the brothers and sisters in our group who have decided to stand humbly and courageously to face their fears.  We’ve all been there, and we know how futile it is to live in fear and to get sarcastic and blame others and imagine worst-case scenarios.  We’ve done it thousands of times and it just doesn’t work.  We also know how freeing it is to write new chapters where you say, “It’s fear-not time.”

So, God, help us to get on the fear not plan, and to discipline ourselves to take those thoughts and put them aside.  Give us the ability to stand firm, knowing you will never let go.  Help us to have faith… because some of us have given up believing that you can part the waters for us.  Maybe we believe you can for Israel, for someone else, but not for us.  Help us to change our thinking and to start writing with a pen of faith.

We believe You’re for us, not against us.  We believe help is on the way, and the waters are going to part.  And we look forward to the serious-water parting you will do in your time and your way, because we are standing in a declaration of faith today.