Lately I have been impressed by people with courage. I heard a story of a young mother who pushed through the demoralizing devastation of an unfaithful husband who abandoned her and their young children. She refused to be a victim and blame her circumstances, or wait for someone to rescue her. She clung to God as she stepped out in courage. She pursued a college degree, raised her kids, now has a career, and is serving God in her local church. I wonder what would have happened to her and her kids if she had not had the bravery to overcome.
I was also reminded of a young woman back in the 1960’s who stepped out in courage and refused to give up her seat on a bus. It made national headlines and Rosa Parks’ courage, along with others, corrected this country’s view of civil rights. What if she had given in to the social pressure?
As I studied for this Sunday’s sermon, I was reminded of a young preacher who took courage to share the life changing message of Jesus. Billy Graham began his crusades and they have been used by God to lead millions of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. What if he had lost his nerve and backed down?
What if Hudson Taylor would not have had the guts to go against his mission board and reach out to inland China? Millions of people would not have heard of Jesus. What if Jim Elliot would not have taken the courageous risk to reach out to the natives in the jungles of Ecuador; and although they murdered him, what if his wife had not gone back to those very natives? Hundreds of Ecuadorian Indians would have never come to Christ.
In Numbers 13 (that’s a Bible book and chapter if you are wondering), Moses sent off 12 spies to check out the new land of promise God was giving to His people. When they reported back, most of them said the land was good but too scary to venture into it. This turned the whole nation against wanting to follow God’s plan; yet Caleb had the courage to speak up and God used him to get Israel back on track.
In 1 Samuel 17 the armies of Israel had a giant of a problem. For 40 days the Philistines taunted them to send out a champion to fight against Goliath. Each day they were paralyzed with fear. David dropped by to bring some provisions and saw this giant mock his God. He stepped up with courage (you have got to read or reread this story – it is awesome!). David’s courageous act started a movement.
As I thought about all this, I pondered what God would do if more of our people took courage and stepped up to some of the great opportunities God has given us as we seek to live His unique call on our lives. God has and is opening up opportunities to minister to the resident motels in our city…just waiting for someone to take courage and lead. There are opportunities with the elderly in our cities, the poor, the hurting, and those in crisis…all waiting for those who will take courage and lead. There are opportunities to love our cities in tangible service ways, but people must take courage and step out. There are also Branch ministries (church plants and venues) just waiting for people to take courage and get involved.
God uses the courage of His people. He not only uses their courage to create movements, but to create great spiritual growth movements in our own lives and to impact our communities. What could God do in and through you? Why not take courage?
One way to discover some courageous opportunities is to join our leaders this Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. here at Cypress Church to discuss how we, as a church, are aligning to God’s unique call. The meeting will end at 8:00 pm and I would love for you to be there. You might even be inspired to step out and take courage.
Seeking to live courageously with you,