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Eight Foot Ceilings
05/01/2011
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 15:5; 1 Corinth...
Track 4 of 7 in the Wild Goose Chase series
Running time: 1 hour, 01 minute, 10 seconds.
Assumptions too often cause many people to not look up and view life from a higher vantage point. Assumptions keep us on the ground and causes us miss what is really possible. In many respect, assumptions are lies that we tell ourselves keeping us in a cage from what is possible for us to doto be free.



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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.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Eight Foot Ceilings

Over the past two weeks we have looked at some of the cages we allow ourselves to be caught in when it comes to why we don’t or can’t follow after the “wild goose” or Holy Spirit. In many cases it is because we can’t. The cages we find ourselves in prohibit us from doing what we want to do for Jesus and his kingdom. Two of the cages we talked about are our responsibilities we have and the routines we like to live within. It is unreasonable to think that we can just stop what we’re doing and go off and follow Jesus wherever. We have responsibilities to keep. It would be totally irresponsible to drop everything I am doing and venture out to follow the Holy Spirit as he leads me. And besides, we like our routines. They are safe and we know what to expect.

But that is not how God works. As we saw in scripture and as we know today, great opportunities don’t just wait on our time schedule. When God come knocking, the call is for right now. If we are truly serious about going where God wants us to be, then it requires us to live lives free. In a sense we are to be like the wild animals living the way God created them to live, free, untamed and dangerous. We are not to be like animals caged up in a zoo but that is how many Christians find themselves. They are not free to run loose for God or to chase after the Holy Spirit as he runs by in our lives inviting us to run with him. No, we have our cages that make us slaves to the things that really don’t matter much.

We are going to learn about another cage that imprisons us and prevents us from chasing after the wild goose, the cage of assumptions.

Have you ever been fooled by making the wrong assumption? What is dangerous about assumptions? How powerful are assumptions? Do they control you?

I believe there are basically two types of people in the world:

• There is the person who looks at a situation or a challenge and ask the question, what is possible here, is there an opportunity to gain?
• Then there are those who when faced with the same situation or challenges views them as negative realities or tries to explain away why they can’t do something. There are no possibilities for them, in fact, someone else needs to do it.

There are those who see the big picture in life and then there are those who see only the grass and dirt. It is a lot like the contrast between being and eagle or a turkey. It all depends on the perspective in life you have. The eagle soars from very high altitudes and sees for miles around. The turkey primarily stays on the ground and can only see life from a low vantage point.

Assumptions too often cause many people to not look up and view life from a higher vantage point. Assumptions keep us on the ground and causes us miss what is really possible. In many respect, assumptions are lies that we tell ourselves keeping us in a cage from what is possible for us to do…to be free.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And the reality to all this is, from the moment God created man in His image, man has been making God in his image. Look at the history in the Bible, from beginning to end, the struggle has always been, who is God? Call it naturalism, call it idolatry, call it whatever you want, this spiritual inversion is a god who is about our size and looks a lot like us. And most of our spiritual shortcomings stem from this fundamental mistake, thinking about God in human terms. We make God in our image and when we do this we are left with a God who can never surprise us, never overwhelm us nor astonish us nor transcend us. Why, because we made God like us and we see him like a man, believe in him as though he were a man and not like God the Almighty Creator of the universe.

How many of you have ever heard of a book titled, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth? It is more commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible.

Thomas Jefferson loved the teachings of Jesus. But Jefferson was also a child of the Enlightenment. Jefferson was a person who didn’t believe in the supernatural, spiritual or mysterious things in life. Literally, Jefferson took a pair of scissors and extracted from his Bible every miracle found there. Jefferson didn’t believe they were real. He was a man of logic, not mystery.

What events or acts of Jesus did Jefferson not include in his Bible?

True or False: You can’t pick and choose. You can’t cut and paste. You can’t do that to the Bible!

What about us? Are there verses or passages in the scriptures that we just cut out and avoid because we don’t like them? In our actions, do we cut and paste scripture?

In reality, we pick and choose the truths we want to accept. We become trapped by our own Logic. Our lives are limited to those things we can comprehend and accept. We end up caged in our own assumptions. And the more assumption we make, the smaller the cage becomes.

Genesis 15:5 [God] took [Abraham] outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

When you read this, what jumps out at you? It is simple but what God does is just as significant as what God said. God took Abraham outside.

Like Abraham, many Christians are holed up in their tents. When they look up they only see an eight foot ceiling. But God took Abraham outside to see the vast open sky. God asked Abraham to look beyond the ceiling. He told Abraham that his offspring would be more numerous than the stars. You can’t see the sky looking up in your tent. Many Christian can’t see the possibilities because they can’t see beyond the ceiling of their assumptions. In his tent, Abraham couldn’t see his promise from God.

What are some of the truths we know about assumptions?

Isn’t it amazing the assumptions we have. I love to look at the assumptions we had in the past that we now know or have been proven to be false. What are some of the assumptions of man that are now known to be false?

Do you know what the most dangerous assumption is? Assuming we know more than we really do.

1 Corinthians 8:5 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.

Basically what Paul is defining is a modern term used for scientific discovery, CRITICAL REALISM. It is the recognition that we don’t know everything there is to know, so scientific theories are subject to change based upon new discoveries.

Intellectual humility + curiosity = scientific discoveries

I know in my life I need a whole lot of critical realism in my own spiritual life.

What happens when your assumptions are challenged? Pride is often times offended

True or False: The desire to know God is greater than the need to be right. What happens when the knowledge of God points out a wrong in my life?

Are you curious? Are you the kind of person when confronted by something you don’t know have this drive and desire to find out the facts? Or, are you the type of person when confronted by something you don’t know avoid it or don’t give it a second thought? Do you have a list of things you want to learn before you die?

According to resent research, on average children ask 125 probing questions per day. Adults on the other hand ask only about 6 probing questions per day. That means somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lost a whole lot of questions.

It can be rather annoying but children are interested in almost everything. If you let a two year old out to walk and do whatever he wants, it is amazing where they will go, what they will pick up, look at and examine and even taste. And while they are doing this, they make as much noise as possible screaming, oohing over what they find.

Not only are they curious about everything, they also believe everything. Tell a child that the moon is made of green cheese; he will ask what it taste like. Tell your grandchild that you can out run a train; they want to know how fast that is. My dad had half his finger cut off in a printing press accident. He told my kids that grandma bit his finger off. Tommy asked my mom what she did with the finger. He wants to see it. The point to all of this is, children don’t make assumptions, they swim in the sea of possibilities.

Luke 18:15-17 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Thank God for children. I think God gives us children for lots of reason, one of which is to challenge our adult assumptions. Little kids like to play make-believe and when they do that they can do anything using their imaginations. That is the point Jesus is making in Luke 18, adults need to shrug off their assumptions and start playing make-believe spiritually allowing God to honor and fulfill our imaginations in him.

What is the point to what Jesus said about approaching the kingdom as a small child? How does that work in practical terms?

True or False: Faith is logical Faith is illogical

In reality, faith is neither. Faith is theological. It does not ignore reality, it just adds God to the equation. Those of us who are faithful don’t run from the facts in life but we are fully persuaded that God has power enough to fulfill his promises. Faith is not mindless ignorance as many think faith is. Faithful people just refuse to limit God to the logical constraints of the left brain. We need to quit thinking of God from our logical perspective and start acting on God from our right brain experiences. The Holy Spirit defies all common sense and logic and loves to work within that realm.

Think of it this way, Logic questions God. Faith questions assumptions. Faith trusts God more than we trust our assumptions.

Examples of our human assumptions that limit God:

90 year old women can’t have babies
I’m too old

Romans 4:18-21 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Personal Assumptions

Wild Gooses Chases begin with a defining moment. They start when your assumptions are challenged and you have a choice to make. Do we hang on to our assumptions or hang onto God. You cannot do both.

• Move the church into an old Jacks store in Quincy and grow
• The YMCA is a short-term rental option.
• It doesn’t make sense to give up a full-ride scholarship to go onto the mission field
• Churches don’t build coffeehouses

What are the assumptions holding you back from chasing the wild goose?