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Chasing After the Wild Goose
04/03/2011
Scripture: John 3:5-8; Mark 10:17-23
Track 1 of 7 in the Wild Goose Chase series
Running time: 1 hour, 04 minutes, 40 seconds.
The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit that is very interesting, An Geadh-Glas. It means The Wild Goose. The name gives us the image of God as mysterious, un-trackable, or untamed. There is an element of danger or unpredictability that surrounds him. There is no better description of His leading as we pursue Him through life as a Wild Goose Chase.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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Chasing After the Wild Goose

I want you to clear your minds a minute and think about a word we all know. We have all heard this word before and many believe they know the meaning of it. I bet that if I gave you all a piece of paper and then posted the definitions each of you wrote, most of you would be close to each other in your definitions. In fact, the official definition has been heard so many times that it is seared into your brain. The problem is the definition we all know and understand is very limiting. In fact, many can recite the definition but don’t really know how to really live it out.

Give me the definition for faith. What is faith and what comprises faith? What is faith made of and what does a person who has faith look like?

True or False: Risk can be another word for faith.

There are some words I feel that get left out of the definition of faith that were truly evident in the lives of those who were the first Christians. In that primal definition of what it meant to be faithful in the first century, several words defined that primal faith that for many churches today are avoided, in some cases banned. Words like:

Adventure, risk, stretch, innovation, imagination, energy, insight, passion, constant change, adapt, conquer.

It is amazing to me today that churches that incorporate these actions into their ministry are viewed by many churches as radical, liberal, non-traditional or even worse, un-biblical. In fact, the first century church was exactly like that and what many of our churches are today would be very unfamiliar to first century Christianity. What happened to that Church that conquered the world for Christ? Where did it go? What is missing in the Church today that was there at the very beginning?

Our study for the next 7 weeks will explore thoughts from a super book by Mark Batterson, "Wild Goose Chase". He writes about something many churches don’t associate with themselves or their relationship with God, an adventure. Living life with God is a spiritual adventure. If we totally give ourselves over to Him and allow Him to take us where He wants us to go, life will be nothing less than an adventure. Christianity is so much more fulfilling and fruitful when pursuing God requires risk, energy, passion, being stretched and experiencing constant change.

Helen Keller put it this way, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Unfortunately for many people, life is boring, unfair, disappointing, a waste of time. People sit around waiting for something to happen or for someone to make things happen for them. If good fortune doesn’t come up and fall into their lap, it never will because they don’t intend to get up and create some for themselves. To these people, life isn’t an adventure, it is a hassle

If you are in an airport heading home and your flight just got canceled giving you the possibility of missing Christmas with your family, how many of you would be innovative enough, determined enough to find a way to get home on time? Or would you be the person sitting and waiting on the airlines to figure out how to get you home even if it meant missing Christmas with your family?

Unfortunately, many Christians are just sitting and waiting on someone or even God to bring an exciting spiritual life to them. They sit and wait expecting God to drop a life into their laps. But our relationship with God is not like that. Jesus already took care of and removed all of all the barriers that keeps us from experiencing Him totally. The problem isn’t that God hasn’t sought after us, He did fully. The problem is, we aren’t pursuing Him.

The key word here is “Pursuit”. To live a life of spiritual adventure is a pursuit, a running after God. Now don’t get confused with the phrase “running after God” as working or trying to catch God. We already have Him when we entered into His covenant. The pursuit I am talking about is following after His spirit as he leads us through our daily lives. Is your life a spiritual adventure or is it boring, unfulfilled, disappointing or even a waste of time at times? Maybe it is because you are running after the wrong things.

The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit that is very interesting, “An Geadh-Glas”. It means “The Wild Goose”. The name gives us the image of God as mysterious, un-trackable, or untamed. There is an element of danger or unpredictability that surrounds him. There is no better description of His leading as we pursue Him through life as a “Wild Goose Chase”.

What does the phrase “Wild Goose Chase” mean when we use it? What does it describe? A purposeless endeavor without a defined destination. Is this sacrilegious to think of the Holy Spirit in this type of term?

But chasing the Wild Goose is different. There are times when the promptings of the Holy Spirit seems pretty pointless but the fact is, God is working his plan. But if we choose to chase the Wild Goose, God will take us places we never would have imagined going by paths we never knew existed.

Have you ever gotten frustrated over trying to figure out the will of God for your life? Have you ever wondered where He was going? When we try to figure out all of God’s ways, where does it usually take us? In many cases, spiritual paralysis sets in. What happens when we try to fit God within the confines of our minds, when we try to figure God out logically? God is neither logical or linear. He is downright complicated and confusing at times.

What happens sometimes to us is we experience uncertainty. In fact, Jesus even promised us that once we came into relationship with his spirit. The fact is, most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time.

John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Can someone describe for me Paul’s long term plans? Or, what was the Church in Jerusalem’ long term plan? Do you think if they made a plan, would it have included all the Holy Spirit did to them and for them?

What is your long term plan? What is MPCC’s long term plan? Are you missing out on the adventures planned by the Holy Spirit because you are not on The Wild Goose Chase?

Caged Christians

Few things compare to the thrill of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. There is something so inspiring about a wild animal doing what it was created to do. Uncivilized, Untamed, Uncaged. Once you see the real thing up close and uncaged, the experience going to the zoo is disappointing.

When wild animals are removed from their natural habitats and caged up, their behaviors change and they start do things they normally wouldn’t do in the wild.

I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.

I don’t think the church intends to do this to people, but too often we take people out of their natural habitat and try to tame them in the name of Jesus Christ. We try to remove the risk. We try to remove the danger. We try to remove the struggles and we end up with caged Christians.

FREEDOM was the first experience the first church experienced. No longer was it caged by a religious system that prevented them from loving God full out and close up. They were set free; free to do any good they wanted in any way they wanted. The cage opened when we recognized that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make us safe, he died on the cross to make us dangerous. When Chuck closes our worship service and gives us the benediction like he does most Sundays, he sends out dangerous people back into our natural habitat to wreak havoc on the Enemy. Where is our roar? Do they out there hear us coming?

True or False: Boredom is the root of all evil.

I wonder if angels get bored? If so, do you think they yawn? More importantly, I wonder if some of us are living such safe lives that not only are we bored, but so are our guardian angels. How many of you out there have guardian angels begging you to give them something dangerous to do? Since when did it become safe to follow Jesus? Maybe it is time for you to come out of your cage and live dangerously for the cause of Christ? And here is the real kicker, you cannot, at the same time, live by faith and be bored.

Mark 10:17-23 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

What did the young man lack? Adventure…Chasing the Wild Goose. Why is it hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom? They desire to remain safe and to live a boring life. What amazing, unbelievably rich experiences did this man miss because he walked away to live out his spiritually boring life?

True or False: No guts, no glory!

What does this statement mean? What does it mean in the spiritual sense? No guts to step out in faith robs God of the glory that really belongs to him.

6 Cages

1. The cage of responsibility: We all have day to day responsibilities. But how many of those responsibilities are excuses. Too many times we tend to let less important responsibilities displace more important ones and over time they are the reasons why we don’t venture out for God.

2. The Cage of Routine: Too often we trade adventure for routine. Routines are safe and predictable. Life is safe when we can predict it. Faith does not flourish in predictable and safe situations.

3. The Cage of Assumptions: Our assumptions keep us from chasing the Wild Goose. I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m not qualified, I’m over qualified, it’s too late, it’s too soon…and the list goes on. This cage causes us to live our lives from memories rather than making new ones.

4. The Cage of Guilt: Instead of moving forward to start chasing, we look back to the past and let the things we did wrong chain us to our cages. Jesus set us free from the chains of sin…there is no more need for guilt because we have been declared not guilty. Don’t focus on what we have done in the past, look to the future and the excitement of the chase.

5. The Cage of Failure: Failure is not bad, in fact most chases start from failures. Why? Because sometimes our plans had to fail in order for God’s plan to succeed. Divine detours and Divine delays are the ways God gets us to where he wants us to go.

6. The Cage of Fear: We need to quit living our lives with the purpose to arrive safely at death. Instead, we need to start playing offense with our lives. We are all going to die. The world needs more people willing to live daring lives with daring plans.