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We hope you are sensing the power of praise God in your life. Be sure to use 1 Chronicles 16:34: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (NIV)  In our series Moving the Chains Toward Gratitude, we move from a good offense of praise to defensive tactics with the sermon, Tackling Fear (Part 1). In the last several years it seems that fear has been our constant companion. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be decreasing. We have two basic responses to fear: fight or flight. This may explain some of the anger in our general society as well as the disconnection from relationships, community, and even worship. In an online article entitled The Lost Art of Tackling, the author, Taylor Kempf says that tackling is: 1)it is markedly harder than it appears; 2) much of the hard work is done before contact is even madeThe early believers lived in a much more threatening society than we do, but they were able to thrive even in the midst of uncertainty, anger, and persecution! We turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. They were struggling with how they were going to be ready for the day of the Lord and the coming of Jesus. The Apostle Paul’s answer was not a timetable or a date.  Instead, these words are filled with the encouragement and strength to tackle fear in our lives. Uncertainty, turmoil, conflict, and anger are always filled with the power of fear, but are our only options to lash out or run away to hide? This Apostle says that we can tackle our fear with faith, love, and hope, rather than being trampled by it. These words are not intended to be a “quick fix” but a process of growth. The Apostle would agree with the article that it is much harder than it appears but God wants to help us build the strategy and strength to thrive in our lives, regardless of the forces that want to overwhelm us! Our prayer for you is that you will experience the power of the Holy Spirit and that you will be lifted into the encouragement, hope, and love through the presence of our Lord as you read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.  

 1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (NIV)