In HOPE
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David Timms 

Issue 5.5

Ministry Resource

My reflections this week are based on a powerful little book by Henri Nouwen entitled Lifesigns (Image Books, 1986, 115pp). Nouwen drives straight to the heart of our deepest human affliction and need. His short book challenges us to think deeply about our motives and actions.

HOPE Happenings

"Discover Hope" is a preview event for prospective students of Pacific Christian College (our undergraduate school). It happens again on March 17. Last year was a wonderful event as families visited the campus to "Discover Hope." Several hundred people attended last year and we look forward to even more this year. See our web-site for more information - www.hiu.edu .    

The House of Fear

Fear is a powerful motivator. It rules from Abu Ghraib to our home addresses.

 

We often keep "the rules" because we fear discipline or punishment. We learn to stay away from strangers because of fear. We buy gifts for some people lest we lose favored status with them. Workaholism may develop from the fear that we'll be insignificant or thought lazy. Routines can emerge from our fear of the uncontrolled. Rebellion is often a response to our fear of being controlled.

 

Everywhere we turn, we make decisions based on fear. We've been raised in a world of fear and trained to be afraid, because fear is how we control each other.

 

Little wonder then, that when we are privileged to lead people (be they our children, our colleagues, or our churches) we find ourselves still functioning in fear, either intimidating others or feeling intimidated by them.

 

So many leaders fear losing their position, fear a negative comment, fear being thought incompetent or weak, or fear failure. This latter may be the capstone of them all. Is there a worse way to describe our parenting, our jobs, our ministries or ourselves than as failures?

 

The house of fear may isolate us or drive us into the fray. It may paralyze us or push us to achieve more than ever before. In other words, it produces extremes. The common denominator, however, is the outcome.

 

When we live in the house of fear, we live superficially. Skeletons in our closets are powerful. Anxiety about the future is gripping. The need to preserve our carefully cultivated facades is all consuming. Cracks in any of this could kill us, or so we think. So we work hard to build fortresses to contain our fears and protect them from exposure. We're constantly shoring up the walls of our house of fear by being competitive, defensive, or compulsive.

 

When the Apostle John said that "perfect love casts out all fear" (1 Jn 4.18) and when we keep bumping into the Divine admonition "Do not be afraid!" (Josh 1.9; Matt 1.20; etc), we might take the hint that there's another - more productive - way to live.

 

But too few people have found this better way.

 

That way is love - a deep, abiding, life-changing experience of the love of Christ. His love shines forgiving light into the dark closets of our lives. His love is utterly disconnected from our achievements or failures. His love guarantees a secure future. His love, alone, can deliver us from the house of fear.

 

In a world where fear is the currency of most transactions, may our faith find deep root elsewhere and our lives discover the liberty of divine love. This spiritual movement will be transformational in every way.

 

In HOPE -

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

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Disclaimer: David Timms Chairs the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. However, "In HOPE" is not an official publication of the University and the views are not necessarily those of the administrators or Board of the institution.

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