Chapel message: Nothing to fear, even this year
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
The words “Fear not” appear in the Bible 366 times – one for every day of the year, even in a leap year.
On the 265th day of 2020, which can’t take a hike soon enough, Terry Mackey summoned those words again to remind his online listeners at Grand Canyon University Chapel that God gives us the fortitude to face our fears.
“I do understand that these are unsettling times for us, and after much prayer the Lord has led me to a very familiar passage to encourage your hearts today,” the Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church began in the final exclusively online Chapel before the weekly worship service reverts to in-person gatherings next week.
Mackey’s elocution is as elegant as his words, filled with what he calls “Mackey-ology.” He’s also direct:
“All of us are afraid of something. It may yet harbor in the inner recesses of our minds. It may yet to have gained a prominent place in the museum of our memory. … Some people are afraid of the past, that something in the past will come in their present and will ruin their future.”
Mackey based his talk on 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of sound mind.
Timothy was fearful, too, which is why the apostle Paul wrote those words in his letter to him in his final words as he coached Timothy to take over his work.
“Let me put some ‘Mackey-ology’ on it for you,” Mackey said. “I believe what Paul is saying here is that God has not given us a hindering spirit, but He’s given us the helpful spirit called the Holy Spirit because when you get the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, guess what? He’s going to give you power. He’s going to give you love. And He’s going to give you a sound mind.”
Jesus shared the meaning of God’s power in Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
That power, Mackey said, is from the Greek word dunamis, which means “power, force or ability.”
“It’s supernatural power,” he added. “It’s staying power to be able to take a licking and keep on kicking, to keep on pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.
“But what I love about this word (is) that the base word dunamis is where we get the term ‘dynamic.’ It’s where we also get the term ‘dynamite’ from because God gives us explosive power.”
What does fear have to do with love? Mackey pointed to 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Then Mackey told the story of a girl who showed no signs of fear as an airplane appeared in danger of crashing. Her reasoning: Her father was flying the plane and would never let anything bad happen to her.
“I’m not just talking about that little girl. I’m talking about you …” Mackey said. “God will not let you falter. He will not let you fall.”
Finally, there’s a sound mind, which Mackey likens to the self-control addressed in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Mackey noted that theologian Frederick Buechner once wrote, “A Christian isn’t necessarily any nicer than anybody else. Just better informed.”
But you can’t be better informed, Mackey emphasized, if you don’t study the Scriptures.
“You’ve got to know what the Word of God says because, as Christians, we get our news from a different network,” he said, and referenced John 14:26:
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
“The world tells you that if you want to go up the ladder of success, you’ve got to pull other people down,” said Mackey, shaking his head in disapproval. “But when you’re sound in the Scriptures, it gives you a sound mind.”
Mackey had two more Bible verses to share. First, 1 Peter 5:6:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.
And then Psalm 121:7-8:
The Lord will keep you from all harm —
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
As is his distinct style, Mackey was building up to a crescendo about looking to Jesus, then concluded with this:
“He lives, and that should give fortitude to face your fears.”
And to fear not.
● Chapel replay
● Next Monday’s speaker: GCU President Brian Mueller
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].