Jentezen Franklin (Charisma House)
You wouldn’t think Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga., and Irvine, Calif., would struggle with fear. But the truth is, he’s just like the rest of us. And in his latest book, Franklin writes about his own wrestling with fears of failure, others’ opinions, financial problems, family issues, health problems and more.
While the notion that one can live a fearless life may seem too simple, Franklin explains that fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but rather walking boldly despite fear.
He begins by sharing from the “scary” times in his own life, including his first instance of public speaking, which is a huge phobia for many. He explains he could have played it safe and refused the speaking engagement but says he’s glad he didn’t. Overcoming that scary moment helped push him toward greater opportunities. Franklin is open about his personal faults in this book and shares many situations he and his family have faced.
Franklin says that while most of us wait to move on a “sure thing,” rarely will the “correct” answer be so simple. Instead, he encourages us to move in faith on just a “maybe,” reassuring us that no matter the outcome, Jesus will still be there—sometimes we just need to get out of our own way. To help make this point, Franklin uses examples of famous people who failed many times before getting it right and asks what would have happened if those people gave up because of a fear of failure.
Some will question Franklin’s bold assertion that the difference between living in prosperity and living in poverty is a choice. This is an easy claim to make, coming from such a successful man, and most people would never say they chose their poverty. However, Franklin later explains that diligence is also a choice and that there are two people God will not bless: the lazy and the stingy. You can’t expect God to bless you if you aren’t willing to do the work on your end, he says.
In the end, Franklin does a thorough job addressing many fears we all face and backs up his statements with Scripture. He doesn’t offer pat answers, but instead gives in-depth solutions that use biblical stories for support. The book is not only a spiritual guide, but a practical one as well. —Jeffrey Totey