Friday, February 27, 2009

Fear -- FAITH -- Foolishness

Since Joan and I seriously began to consider leaving Community Wesleyan Church we have encountered a lot of fearful thoughts -
  • "Where is God leading us?",
  • "What will the people be like?",
  • "Will they accept us?",
  • "Are we in God's will or coming up with our own agenda?",
  • "How will CWC do without us?",
  • "How will God provide for our needs (and some of our wants)?".
One day I was kind of spinning some of these fearful questions and God led me to a new insight.

As humans we tend to either live in fear or in foolishness. Fear means that we play it safe because we are unsure of the best course of action, or we have been burnt before and we do not want a repeat. Foolishness means that we are throwing reason and caution to the wind and we are going to do what we 'feel' or what we 'want'. Foolish actions come from denying the realities around us - the value of relationships, human and divine laws, social mores, the effect of addictions, etc.

It hit me that these two ideas are on polar opposites on the spectrum of decisions we make. We all know people who lean very heavily one way or the other. We cannot understand how they could be so limited by their fears or how someone could make such foolish choices. So what is the balance between these two opposites? I believe it is Faith. Faith means that we are trusting God to lead us to what is best. God's leading might take us through fearful times, or places that seem like foolishness to us or others, but if we faithfully follow God's leading we will eventually see what God was trying to accomplish in our lives or in the lives of those we affect.

As we read the stories of men and women of faith in the Bible it is obvious that they went through times of fear - Moses before Pharoah, Elijah and Jezebel; and sometimes God's leading seemed like foolishness - Moses wandering in the desert for forty years, Noah building an ark on dry land. We cannot let either of these issues derail us from what God is leading us to be.

FOOLISHNESS - 1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

FEAR - 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.

FAITH - Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

So, the Swansons are trying very hard to live in faith at this point in our lives. We have the natural fears that accompany change and we do not want to do anything foolish, but we do understand that God might need to lead us through some tough places to arrive at God's place for us.

In Christian Love,


Information About this Blog

My name is James Swanson and I will be the primary blogger for I have been a pastor for over 20 years and the past 13 years have been spent in Horseheads, NY at Community Wesleyan Church. It is a wonderful church which is located in the Southern Tier of central New York, about one hour west of Binghamton. The church has changed a lot over those 13 years and it has been a joy to watch God change lives on a regular basis. We have grown from about 70 people to a church of over 225 on a Sunday morning. Many people have taken on ministry responsibilities, men and women have been called into the ministry and about seven years ago we were able to build a new sanctuary, Sunday School class rooms and offices. God is so good! It truly has been a joy to be a part of what God is doing through Community Wesleyan Church.

About five years ago I began to sense God leading me to minister in eastern New York. About a year and a half ago I spoke to the Central New York Wesleyan District Superintendent (DS), Rev. Wayne Wager, about this leading and he said he would be praying with me about this possibility. The call to eastern New York has grown stronger and at the end of 2008 my wife, Joan, and I felt it was time to begin the process of moving that way. I interviewed with the Wesleyan DS of Eastern New York and New England (ENYNE), Rev. Paul James, and it became obvious right away that we share a common heart for souls and for the body of Christ.

I resigned from Community Wesleyan in early February and my family will be moving to eastern New York at the end of June. At the moment we do not know exactly where we will be located. There are several possibilities - we are seeking God's guidance and working closely with Pastor Paul to see what God might have in store for us. At this point it appears that we might be most useful in a church revitalization project somewhere in the district. We are excited about the possibility of being used by God to touch lives.

Please pray with us that we would land in the town or city that God has planned for us. And pray that our hearts would be right as we seek that exact type of ministry situation that God has in store for us. Most importantly, pray that men and women, boys and girls would come to know God the Father through Jesus His son, and that we would play whatever role He asks of us in this Kingdom work.

More posts will be coming with further details about the process God leading us through. If you would like to contact me you can email me at

In Christian Love - James