Fear of Man

Scripture Notes Header

Fear of man is a snare.  (Proverbs 29:25)

The Gospel frees us from the insecurity of needing other people’s opinions to validate our worth.  It frees us, therefore, from needing to manipulate the perceptions and impressions of everyone around us.

This means that when we receive the truth of the Gospel and embrace who God says we are in Christ, we no longer have to use people for their accolades.

Instead, we can love them authentically and serve them for their benefit… rather than using them for ours.

–Pastor Phillip

What kind of person…really? (Luke 6:45)

A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart.  An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.  (Luke 6:45)

“I know he’s done some terrible things, but he’s really just misunderstood.”

“Yeah, he cusses and yells and lies sometimes, but he’s really a good person.”

“Okay, so he cheated once and got violent a couple of times, but I know he’s got a good heart.”

Do you know what I think Jesus would say to all of that?

“That’s just silly.”

–Pastor Phillip

Two Perspectives on Pull-ups in the Pool [An Encouraging Word]

The clock was ticking, and we weren’t getting anything done.

My son Bradley loves the pool, and this particular morning I had agreed to join him in “training” together, practicing laps to help us both prepare for the triathlon he wants to do with me in the fall.

Pull-ups in the PoolThere, in tepid waters of our little neighborhood pool, I started out by explaining the difference between “lengths” and “laps,” and we started swimming… but not for long.

Instead of doing significant training, we explored new ways to splash each other, played make-believe for a little while, and yes, got in a bit of exercise, though not as much as I would have liked.

Then, as our alotted time was almost up (I had to get to work), Bradley decided he wanted to get a little more exercise, not by swimming, but by doing pull-ups… in the water on the side of the pool.

Pull-ups in the pool.

To be honest, I didn’t quite know what to say. I’d already been a little annoyed at having done very little actual training, and while I’m all about encouraging physical fitness in creative ways, I was pretty sure doing pull-ups in the pool wasn’t actually doing anything!

Or was it?

Maybe the greater purpose of that morning before work wasn’t helping my son strengthen his body, but helping the two of us strengthen our relationship. Maybe the real value in those moments wasn’t found in the exercise, but simply the experience of us being together and him feeling like his ideas had value and worth.

Maybe I needed to adjust my priorities.

Another thought occurred to me in the water that morning. This one not about relationships, but effectiveness.

I wondered, what are the “pull-ups in the pool” that I’m doing right now in other areas of my life? What activities am I doing that keep me preoccupied, but don’t produce much progress? What things are giving me a busy schedule, but aren’t helping me build success?

Maybe I need to adjust my work habits.

How about you?

You see, when our relationships become all about productivity and progress, we can lose sight of the bigger picture. We need to remember that “pull-ups in the pool” are okay, because what matters most isn’t accomplishing goals, but cultivating hearts.

On the other side of the equation, when our work becomes more about routine than results, we’re out of balance there, too. We need to remember that “pull-ups in the pool” must be avoided at all costs, because life is too short to spend it doing things that don’t really make a difference.

Wherever you are right now, relationally or professionally, here’s my encouragement to you today.

Ask God for the clarity to evaluate your priorities and activities, and the courage to make the changes that lead to the result He wants for you: a flourishing life.

–Pastor Phillip

The Paper Clip [An Encouraging Word]

I confess, I probably love paper clips a little too much.

I am that guy who will throw away a whole stack of papers but remove the paper clips first so I can reuse them. I carry two of them on my keychain and others in my car. I’ve used them for clipping papers, of course, but also for picking toy handcuff locks (when I was younger), for resetting any number of little electronic devices, and even for cleaning under my fingernails.

I love paper clips.

The Paper ClipThat’s one reason I noticed it the moment I sat down at the long, dark brown wooden table at Starbucks: a jumbo silver paper clip, abandoned and unused by a previous guest. It had curves in all the right places, and boy did it shine.

I wondered why on earth someone would leave a perfectly good paper clip behind. Why not take it with them? Why not use it again? Why the waste?

I started to ponder what its use had been before I found it. School assignments? Job applications? Legal documents?

Then I had this thought: even though I didn’t know WHAT its purpose had been, I knew THAT it had a purpose once and could have one again in the right hands.

Even though someone else hadn’t considered it worth bringing along, that paper clip still had usefulness left in it, still had value, still had potential if someone was willing to give it a shot.

Just like the people in the coffee shop that day.

Just like me.

Just like you.

When the Bible teaches that, “God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female…” (Genesis 1:27), it isn’t just making a theological point. It’s revealing a personal promise.

If you’re human, then it doesn’t matter what other people have said about you or done to you; GOD says you have value and potential and worth just because you’re you.

If you’re human, then whether you’ve been lifted up or trampled down by this life, GOD says you can have power and purpose and hope in Him!

I picked up that paperclip because I saw there was still life left in it.

May you look to Jesus today and let Him pick you up, because He knows that wherever you’ve been, and whatever you’ve been through, there’s still life left in you.

–Pastor Phillip

Wisdom, Stature, and Favor (Luke 2:52)

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.  (Luke 2:52)

Would you increase in your stature and standing in the world?  Would you maximize and take advantage of every opportunity to grow stronger in body, mind and spirit?

Seek God’s wisdom, and the stature will follow.

Would you grow more highly favored by the people around you?  Would you be looked on with deference and high regard by those who cross your path?

Receive and rest in the incredible favor of God that you have in Christ, and the confidence that comes from walking in God’s favor will produce an incredible result.

It will cause others to favor you, too.

–Pastor Phillip

There’s a place for you in God’s family

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 12


The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor…  (1 Corinthians 12:21-23a)

The world looks for superstars and high-performance people, but the Church is not supposed to be like that.

The world elevates the talented and marginalizes the average, but the Church is not supposed to be like that.

The Church is a place for broken people to be made whole.  The Church is a place for hurting people to be healed.  In fact, the Church is a place that is not a place at all.

It’s a people you belong to, a family in which everybody has a part to play.

So, no matter what your background is, no matter what abilities you may or may not have and no matter how many times you’ve seen “church people” fail to live this out, may you be encouraged by the hope of this truth: there’s a place for you in God’s family.

-Pastor Phillip

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Like a Person

As a customer, do you ever feel “processed”?

I avoid long lines at Starbucks (and other places) because I don’t want to be processed as part of a batch. I want to be treated like a person.

Here’s a question I’m forced to ask myself, though. What about when the tables are turned? Do others feel “processed” by me when I don’t take the time to engage them as people?

Here’s what I’ve discovered: to be free to treat people as people, I must have clock time and mental space to do so. This requires managing my tasks and responsibilities well so I can be unhurried and unstressed in my dealings with others.

If I’m not able to be efficient with the checklists of my work, I’ll usually end up treating people like they are just one more box to check off.

–( selah )–

What things help you in your dealings with others? Let’s discuss it in the comments below…