Calculated Risk vs. Fear-Based Decisions – Part 2

By Don Gentry

Getting Back on the Horse

In Part 1, I told you the story about my daughter and I being thrown from a horse, and the decision we had to make in response.  However, this wasn’t the end of the story . . .

After checking the horse, the saddle, and taking a ride myself, I decide to continue the ride.  I then decided to try to convince those around me that it was safe to continue riding. It took some convincing of others present but we continued on with our day.

You might be asking yourself: Why do I tell you this?

Our children are going to have fears.

You are going to have fears.

Government systems throughout history have used scare tactics and fear based rhetoric to sway people groups for years.  Parents often motivate their children through fear. We create rules of safety to help assure ourselves that if our kids follow the rules it will create an environment of safety and control!

We have the opportunity as parents to help our children overcome their fears. We will never do that if we feed and give into our fears, which in turn often project onto our children.

Take the Risk

As a pastor I have had the opportunity to observe many parenting styles. What I have found is that parents who help their children ask questions of legitimacy and reality of their fears, help their children become far more adjusted in life.

I like to call this the “Calculated Risk Parenting Style.”  I am sure some of you would not be comfortable with my personal calculated risks. I’m ok with that; however, I want to challenge you to see that when we live a life of fear based decision-making, we limit what God can do in our lives and especially what God can do in the lives of our children.

The Bible is full of stories of people responding in fear and missing out on the incredible blessings of God.  On many occasions they not only missed his blessings but they also incurred his wrath. Why?

When we respond in fear we eliminate faith.

I’m not trying to tell you that you need to put your kids on horseback.  What I’m trying to ask is, “Do you live a life of fear?”

Take an honest evaluation of yourself:  Have you made decisions based on fear or calculated risks?

If we are truly honest with ourselves, safety and control are simply illusions. Anything can happen in life, but we go to great lengths to make ourselves feel better, thinking that we have covered as many scenarios as possible.

As a parent or guardian, I challenge you to identify your own fears first, then help your child identify their fears.  Create a plan and then create opportunities to establish how you are going to learn to make decisions without being controlled by fear.


Let’s choose to be intentional about helping our child make decisions based on faith, trust, and calculated risks, rather than illusion, safety, fear, and control.  God’s love, God’s word, & God’s fame would never have been and will cease to be proclaimed if people live in fear.

If you take anything away from these posts, it’s this:

Choose to make decisions with faith and boldness!

(2 Timothy 1:7; I John 4:18; Joshua 1:6-9)

Message Follow Up | Grattitude: Part 1 – Say It

Grattitude: Part 1 – Say It from Journey Church on Vimeo.

What I Say Matters…

It Reveals the Attitude of my Heart

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man,“Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

This weekend, we talked about having an attitude of Gratitude.  This is constantly at war with the entitlement of our hearts.  The entitlement that says “this is NOT FAIR”,  “I want it NOW”, and “I deserve MORE”.

Continue reading

Weekend Preview | Grattitude: Part 1 – Say It

By Chris Denning

Click Here to Download Spotify

We’re only a few weeks away from incessant Christmas music on the radio and A Christmas Story being replayed a million times (thanks TNT). However, before we get to the jolliest time of the year, we’ve got the culinary marathon that is Thanksgiving to run first.

Of course we’ll take some time next week to remember the things we’re thankful for, but do we ever consider expressing this thankfulness the other 364 days of the year?

Continue reading

Calculated Risk vs. Fear-Based Decisions – Part 1

By Don Gentry

A Man, His Daughter, & A Horse

My daughter was seven years old and we were at a friend’s house on vacation. They had two horses that were great with kids and we were excited about taking our children horseback riding.

Moments into mounting the horse, the horse began to buck violently. I was holding on to my daughter while we were being tossed too and fro while hearing the owner say his horse has never responded this way.

When I heard him say this, I knew that the saddle was not on correctly because I could feel it slipping beneath me. (I have ridden horses for several years, and while I am not a professional I am certainly not a novice.)

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Message Follow Up | Breathing Room: Part 3 – Margin for Finances

Breathing Room: Part 3 – Margin for Finances from Journey Church on Vimeo.
(Click link if you cannot view video.)

“Life is Better with Room to Breathe.”

Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been in this discussion about the margin (or lack of margin) in our schedules, relationships, and finances.  After all of this talk – have you discovered what the answer is?  Have you asked yourself “Where do I need some breathing room?”

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I can’t help but bring up this verse in light of the past few weeks. This verse comes with a warning and a promise.  A warning that we are experiencing far to often and a promise that not many of us are experiencing enough of.

Continue reading

Weekend Preview | Breathing Room: Part 3 – Margin for Finances

By Chris Denning

Click Here to Download Spotify

Over the past few weeks at Journey, we’ve talked about our need for margin in our life & in our relationships.  This weekend, we’re focusing on something that you might not be completely comfortable with: margin in our finances.

You might be thinking, “what can a CHURCH teach ME about having margin in MY finances?”

And to that, I would respond . . . Touché.

Continue reading

Welcome to the Journey Church Blog

Welcome to the Journey Church Blog!

This is Journey Church’s home for online content.

Our aim as a church is to humbly point everyone to absolute Hope, and our goal with this resource is to do just that by providing helpful, encouraging, and challenging posts.

You can expect to hear regularly from leaders at Journey Church.  We’ll talk about our heart and passion as a church.  We’re going to put helpful resources right into your inbox.  We’re also going to give you some extra bonus content from our weekend gatherings that you can only get here, like Weekend Previews and Message Follow Ups.

(Click Here to Subscribe to get these posts directly in your email)

Just to keep you in the loop, here’s our normal posting schedule: Continue reading

5 Ways Participation Awards are Destroying America

By Matt Dawson

Participation Awards
Ok, so I might have been a bit extreme with the title.

I’m not exactly sure that we are “destroying America”, but I do believe that we are setting up the next generation for failure, in turn harming our future by NOT setting them up for success.

Let me start with a definition:

Participation Awards – showing up for a sport, activity, or event and receiving an award without merit, achievement, or success of any kind. 

Let me further clarify that there is no spiritual foundation for this post. I’m a Dad, and I do lead a church of some AMAZING kids and teenagers!  So, I care about this issue on a deep level.  Our church believes that we partner with parents to help raise the next generation to love and honor God, so how they are raised matters.

What are we telling the next generation with these awards?  What damage is being done by removing the structure of a reward system (see #3) from a sport, activity, or social event and simply giving it away to anyone who shows up.

I believe we won’t fully know the answers to these questions until it’s too late – and we might already be too late **cue the dramatic music – dun, dun, dahhhh**  –  but the following are 5 ways that I believe these participation awards are harming our kids. Continue reading

21 Day Challenge – Day 21

Doubting Thomas   |   Joel McNelly

Scripture: John 20:24-29

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. 

Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


Thomas gets a bad reputation in the Bible for being the guy who is always doubting. Most people start out more like him than those who believe without seeing. Despite the fact that Thomas’ friends had seen the Lord, he had to see him with his own eyes to believe that he had been raised from the dead. The Bible records that a little over 500 people saw Jesus after he had been raised from the dead, but millions and millions of others have believed in him anyway. If you doubt like Thomas, you may be wondering how to overcome this.

Romans 10:9 says that “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” When they first followed Jesus, the original disciples did not have the basis to do this yet, because the resurrection had not yet happened. They decided to follow him anyway. And through that time Jesus showed them through his example, many miracles, and healings that he was indeed who he said he was. For Jesus to be able to show them who he was, they had to agree to at least go on the journey.

If you have never believed this, or you are one who still has doubts, Jesus is just asking you to follow him. He is saying “walk with me and I will show you who I am.” Be willing to read the credible accounts of who Jesus was and then look into lives of all the people around you who have been radically transformed by Jesus. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you that Jesus is who he said he was, and that he did rise from the dead just like he said he would. If you ask God to reveal himself to you he will do just that through his Holy Spirit. The Bible is an inspired factual historical record that testifies to who he was, what he said, and what he did. The testimony of others who believe in him also serves as proof in this day in age that he still works in us and he still transforms lives.


When we decide to follow Christ as the Lord (the supreme ruler of our lives, who welcomes us into His perfect kingdom and has only our best interest in mind), the Holy Spirit, God himself, lives inside of us and continues to reveal truth to us.


Father, I want to believe, but sometimes I doubt. Please reveal your truth to me as I walk beside you and learn from you. I ask you to remove the hardness of my heart so that I can be fully yours and come to a place of fully trusting in you.


21 Day Challenge – Day 20

Jesus Cleanses the Temple    Don Gentry

Scripture: Matthew 21:12-13 (HCSB)

Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves.  And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!”


I would have loved to be there when Jesus cleaned house.  So many people in today’s culture picture Jesus as this weak, mild mannered, doormat type of guy.  How many guys like that do you know can go into the most important place of societal influence and start throwing things around and get away with it?

I am not suggesting that Jesus was a crazy man; however, I am suggesting that we understand the real physical and human strength that Jesus had.  His presence commanded respect.  That is not done by a “wuss.”  That said, we very seldom see him using his physical might.  A little side note, the only time we ever see Jesus using harsh words or angry actions it is always directed towards religious leaders or his disciples.  In other words it is directed to those who should know better.

Jesus was confronting and addressing the first church scandal of misappropriated funds.  He was infuriated by the sin that religious leaders were allowing in the temple.  Thousands and thousand of travelers would come from long distances and foreign lands to come to the temple and worship.  Some travelers would be poor, some would have only foreign currency, (which was not allowed in the temple treasury), and most travelers would not have been able to bring their animal sacrifice with them so they would have to buy their sacrifice on the spot.  To the entrepreneur, this was a prime market.

They then set up money exchange tables and at this time coins weren’t perfectly minted so they had to use scales to weigh the value.  The moneychangers used dishonest scales and weights to benefit themselves and they also charged outlandish exchange rates.  This was not acceptable.  Those who had animals recognized a sellers’ market too.  These people could not worship and offer a sacrifice without an animal so they started charging outlandish prices for their birds and animals.  Jesus was ticked off and he went “temple” on those that were violating his house.

We also need to understand that this is the second time he has had to “clean house.”  John 2 records the first temple cleansing.  The people knew better, but they took advantage of the system.   Jesus does not like unjust gain and He takes sin very seriously.


Does your view of Jesus allow him to get angry at sin, or more specifically your sin?  Does your view of Jesus allow you to understand righteous anger?

I wonder what God sees when he looks down upon His church today?  The real issue in this story wasn’t that travelers needed to exchange their currency; it wasn’t that they even needed to buy an animal.  The issue was the people’s desire to capitalize and take advantage of another human beings need.  This especially makes God angry when church leaders take advantage of this.

We are fortunate to live in a capitalistic country but capitalism is heavily influenced by greed.  Many people who call themselves Christians work in environments where greed is often rewarded.  Is God honored by this?  We need to learn how to conduct business, make money, and not be corrupted by greed and money.


Dear Jesus, thank you for being a savior who displays strength when strength is needed.  Convict me of any greed that may exist in my life, or any way that may be unclean in your eyes.  Help me to be sensitive to what you view as sin.  Forgive me for the times that I have capitalized unjustly on another person’s need. Help me to be aware of the times when I need to be strong and take a stand against sin either in my life or in society.  Help me to understand the difference between “anger and righteous anger.” Thank you for helping to guide me in all my ways.