Authentic courage

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  -Joshua 1:9

I don't really watch horror movies anymore. Most of the ones created in the last 40 years or so are fairly predictable, and thus, less than interesting to me. The bad guy (monster, demon, ghost, homicidal maniac, whatever) is going to somehow survive, so there can be a franchise of five or six sequels. The only remaining suspense is which good guy will survive for parts 2 and 3, and the sequence in which the rest of the cast meets their demise. My point for bringing this up is a horror movie cliche' that generally hastens the departure of the characters (thus moving the story along, I suppose). 

Somehow, the characters decide, intentionally or otherwise, to split up. Somebody has to go find somebody, or somebody gets mad at somebody, or somebody wants to prove they aren't the loser everyone thinks they are, or something. Next, the bad guy shows up and the isolated character runs upstairs (have you noticed the predominance of multi-story structures in horror movies?) where the only way out is through a window onto a roof with a 30-degree or steeper pitch. (Tell me you haven't seen this a dozen times.)

Where am I going with this? When I am alone, I am vulnerable to the enemy. Then when I inevitably start feeling under attack, my panicked response often puts me into an even more precarious position. My outcome is as predictable as the girl running through the woods in underwear and high heels. She ain't gonna make it, and neither am I.

But what if we flip the script? Next Friday, we will hear from Stan Chesser. The story he will tell is an encouragement NOT to split up, but to find a group of trustworthy brothers, then exercise some real courage to be authentic with them and see what happens next. God designed us to walk this thing out together. Sometimes the idea of doing that can be scarier than any slasher film, because it's real. But as Stan will remind us, the rewards are worth the effort - it's fun to watch the bad guy get his tail kicked!

Our story can be thrilling without being a "thriller". Here are some inspired words to set the stage.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for times of adversity.  -Proverbs 17:17

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  -Galatians 6:2

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  -James 5:16

Scott Thompson