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Goose Bumps
04/10/2011
Scripture: John 9:57-62; Mark 3:20-22; Nehemiah 1:1...
Track 2 of 7 in the Wild Goose Chase series
Running time: 1 hour, 04 minutes, 20 seconds.
Responsible Irresponsibility: Refusing to allow human responsibilities to get in the way of pursuing passions God puts in your heart.



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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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Goose Bumps
Coming Out of the Cage of Responsibility

Chasing after the “Wild Goose” the name the early Celtic Christians had for the Holy Spirit; I introduced a study last week that will help us explore something many churches don’t associate with themselves or their relationship with God, an adventure. Living life with God is a spiritual adventure, like being on a Wild Goose Chase. 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.

We ended our lesson talking about the cages Christians find themselves in. These cages cause us to lose our freedom. These cages prevent us from chasing the Wild Goose where ever he wishes to lead us. It is like taking a wild beast like a lion, a tiger or a bear and sticking them in a zoo caged up. Being in a zoo is not their natural habitat, they need to be out and running wild, being free to do what God created them to do.

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?

I identified 6 cages and we will discuss and study. The first cage we will look at today is the cage of responsibility.

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.

The soul lives by that which it loves St. John of the Cross

If you were relieved of all your duties, if you could get rid of all the expectations placed upon you, if you had absolutely no responsibilities, would you be living life different than how you are living it now? What would you be doing differently?

If you had control over your death, how would you like to die? All of us are going to die, that is a promise and a reality but not all of us are going to die at the same time or in the same way. How do you want to go out? Why?

I enjoy walking through cemeteries, especially old ones to read the information people have placed on their headstones. Have you decided what you want yours to say? I am not sure that the date of death is the date carved on the tombstone. Most people die long before that. In reality we die when we have nothing worth living for. And we don’t really start living until we find something worth dying for. Ironically, discovering something worth dying for is what makes life worth living?

What in your life right now is worth dying for? If that is true, are you living a life that reflects that?

Jesus was so full of life. Everyone who met him or heard him speak or witnessed any of his miracles knew he was someone different, someone special, someone who really knew what life was all about. The reality about Jesus was simple; He had so much – or rather so many to die for. No one has more passion about life than Jesus and Jesus called his followers to follow in his footstep which means that we should be the most passionate people in Quincy, the most passionate on this planet.

Pursuing God-Ordained passions isn’t optional…it is an essential part of chasing the Wild Goose.

Research discovered that the average person will spend close to half of his/her waking hours at work. On an average that equals about 100,000 hours. For many, they make a very big mistake, they start out pursuing a passion and end up settling for a paycheck. Instead of making a life all they do is make a living and their original deep seated passions get buried beneath their day to day responsibilities.

If you had originally sought out to follow your passions, how many of you would be doing what you are doing today in your jobs? How many of you work to follow or feed your passions? How many work to survive day to day? Which path is more fruitful?

For those of you who are not presently pursuing your passion, what prevents you from doing it? What are the barriers? For many, the biggest barrier is responsibility.

True or False: The greatest responsibility is pursuing God-Ordained passions.

Here is a hard question to ponder: Are you allowing less important responsibilities to displace the more important ones? SLIDE 6: If so, then you are practicing irresponsible responsibility.

John 9:57-62 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

How many of us here today can say they are a lot like the people encountered in this passage? How many of us are so entangled in less important responsibilities that prevent us from fulfilling the most important ones?

The point Jesus is making is not about dropping everything for God, it is about using less important responsibilities as a smoke screen, making excuses for not fulfilling the most important responsibilities. When this happens, our responsibilities become a cage.

Can chasing after the Wild Goose feel downright irresponsible? Will the Wild Goose cause you to take a course of action that seems to others as down right crazy?

Mark 3:20-22 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

Here is an interesting term I want to introduce to everyone: Responsible Irresponsibility. If irresponsible responsibility is making excuses for not fulfilling the most important responsibilities, then what is Responsible Irresponsibility?

Responsible Irresponsibility: Refusing to allow human responsibilities to get in the way of pursuing passions God puts in your heart.

In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, captured Jerusalem, and carried off many Jews to Babylon…thus Daniel. After 70 years in captivity the first remnants’ Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem led first by Zerubbabel. The temple was rebuilt in 516 BC but the walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins by 445 BC. Jerusalem was defenseless against its enemies. Then a cupbearer of the king back in Babylon got a crazy idea. Thus enters Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 1:1-4 In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

For those who don’t know the story of Nehemiah, he goes back and rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem under great stress, in dangerous circumstances, rebuilds the walls in record time and becomes one of the great examples of leadership and how good leaders lead. But the interesting thing about Nehemiah is this, he was a cupbearer. There is no evidence that he knew anything about construction, nothing about being a great military leader and in most accounts, he was severely unqualified to pursue this passion. A cupbearer rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem is pretty laughable when you think about it.

In fact most God-Ordained passions are laughable.
• Laughable as a farmer named Noah building an ark
• Laughable as a young shepherd named David fighting a Philistine giant
• Laughable as a murderer named Paul writing half of the New Testament

When it comes to doing God’s will, God-Ordained passions are far more important than any human qualification we can bring to the table. The biggest mistake most churches make when trying to do something impossible, they look for those who are qualified rather than those who have the passion.

Here is a dangerous statement. This statement is hazardous to your spiritual health:

When God puts a passion in your heart, whether it be relieving starvation in Africa or educating children in your inner city or making a movie with redemptive messages, that God-Ordained passion becomes your responsibility. And you have a choice to make. Are you going to be irresponsibly responsible or responsibly irresponsible?

Nehemiah 2:1-4 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

That question is a great question. In fact, that question gets to the heart of passion. It is probably true that the problems we have are by-products of the fact that most of us can’t answer that question. What is it you want? We don’t know what we want. We have never defined our goals or values or passions, so we are out of touch with our hearts desires which robs us of our possibilities.

When the king asked that question, Nehemiah had to make a decision, follow after his human responsibilities or go after the God-Ordained opportunity. Nehemiah decided to come out of the cage and chase the Wild Goose.

How did Nehemiah get to that point? What happened in his life that led him to this point?

Nehemiah 1:4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

How much time to you spend on your knees weeping over, mourning over and praying about that which God has given you a passion for?

So where do our passions come from? How do they get started?

If we look to the Bible and read about the lives of those like Nehemiah, the passion usually starts out as a small thought. In Nehemiah’s case he simply asked about the news in Jerusalem. What he heard sparked the beginning of his wild goose chase. Wild Goose Chases usually start out as single-cell desires. Something unexplainable and inexpressible gets conceived in your spirit. Something makes you mad or sad or glad. You Get Wild Goose Bumps.

Have you ever experienced goose bumps before? What causes them? Have you ever experienced spiritual goose bumps?

For many of us it is time to quit praying. In many situations we are the answer to our own prayers. Why ask God to do something for us when it is within our power to do something about it ourselves? There are some things we don’t need to pray about. For many Christians, praying is one of those responsibilities that is used as an excuse. What we need to do is quit praying and start acting.

True or False: One of the great mistakes we make is asking God to do for us what God wants us to do for him.

So what are the things that God wants you to quit praying about and get out there and just act?

Fill out the application
Make the call
Pack the U-Haul
Write the check
Set up the appointment
Have the conversation
Make the move
Just get out there and act…the Wild Goose is waiting.