Overview of Courage Season
In 2017, Courage Season is October 1 - November 22. Here are some basics. Don't get lost in the details. Read a little. SYNC a lot.
The big idea behind the Courage Declaration
If we are in SYNC with Christ, we are involved in his risky, costly mission. But when we carry a cross, we are never out on a limb. He is with us every step.
His presence anchors our courage. "Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, 'For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.') No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." Ro. 8.35-37, NLT
The Courage Declaration is our commitment about what we are going to do when the going gets tough because of Christ. Our minds are made up. We rely on the Spirit to give us the power we need when the time comes.
SYNC does not promise you will feel courageous. The Declaration does not say, "This is a day of the Father's will, and we feel courageous." It says we will act courageously whether we feel like it or not.
SYNC also does not lead us into any boasting about our courage, as if we can say, "Bring on the difficulties! We will show you that we can handle anything." On the contrary, Jesus teaches us to pray, "Lead us not into times of testing [that will require a lot of courage], but deliver us from evil."
Key courage story
Peter and John praying for boldness after the court that condemned Jesus ordered them not to speak in his name, Acts 4.20-31
Key courage phrase in the Lord's Prayer
"Lead us not into times of trial" (or “Don’t put us into situations that will test our limits")
Key courage verse in the New Testament
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” Heb. 12.2 (NLT)
Key courage verse in the Old Testament
"God answered Moses, 'So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not.'" Num. 11.23
Like all the other SYNC seasons, Courage Season links you, your world, and your day today back to something huge God has done.
To "SYNC" with that God-thing means to align yourself with God's intentions when he did it. In this case the God-thing is that Jesus Christ showed us how to have courage to lay down our lives for his mission. Christ also strengthened his followers with his Holy Spirit so they could share his courage during their trials.
Jesus' command to us is not, "Take up my sword," but "Take up my cross." Courage Season is not about the courage to attack violently but the courage to endure violence.
Why did he choose this strategy? He intended to change the world without force. Violence is not a tool good people have to use to make a better world. It is something that good people "attack" by enduring it courageously, and in the end they break its power.
This view of violence is terrifically liberating. We are free from the burden of thinking we have to conquer the world, as well as the deception of thinking the world would be wonderful after our conquest.
Jesus never told his followers to conquer the world, and on judgment day he will not ask us how much we conquered. He will ask about two other things: 1) how were we his witnesses, especially of his resurrection, and 2) and how did we endure whatever the world threw at us because it did not want to hear our witness.
Courage Season follows Forgiveness Season in the SYNC cycle. Forgiveness is a good start. Courageous suffering is a totally logical next step, showing that the forgiveness was authentic and deep.