"I'm not sure there is a safe place in the world today."
The comment was from a friend, a strong Christian and an active church member.
Her voice seemed tinged with fear. I understand fully. It is a natural reaction to the events of the days in which we live.
Most of you who visit my blog are church leaders. People look up to you. They look to you for calm and assurance. And they look to you for God's perspective in this mess. What can you offer? Though the answer to that question could fill volumes, allow me to suggest five ways to lead in times of fear:
1. Lead in greater and deeper prayer. Certainly a deep prayer life should be normative for Christians. Many of us, however, can use a reminder that God is always there to hear our petitions, our needs and our fears. He is the Comforter. He is the Victor. He removes the fear with His assurance and promises.
2. Be courageous yourself. How many times have you read in God's Word to be courageous? How many times has He said, "Do not fear"? There is a reason for such an emphasis. First, God does remove fear. Second, He expects His leaders to demonstrate such courage and fortitude. People are watching. Let them see God's hope, not humanity's fear.
3. Focus on the promises of God. Have you ever done a teaching series on the promises of God? It is an incredible exercise and affirmation of how much God loves us and cares for us. It can also be greatly comforting for those who sit under your teaching.
4. Teach how Christ's love overcomes hatred and bigotry. There is simply no greater example than the cross. Sometimes I think that some of the violent and vile people do not deserve love and forgiveness. Then I am reminded that I don't either.
5. Focus on sharing the love of the gospel with others. There may not be a better time to demonstrate and share the love of Christ than the times in which we live. People are looking for hope. Christ is such hope.
I find myself looking to the news apps on my smartphone more often these days. I need to be opening my Bible more often. I need to hear more from Him through His Word. And I need to demonstrate His comfort, assurance and love to others.
Indeed, we live in perilous days. But we also live in days of great opportunity. May more people see Christ in all that we say and do.
"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
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