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Good Old-Fashioned Guts
05/22/2011
Scripture: 1 Samuel 13:23; 1 Samuel 14:1-10; 1 Samu...
Track 7 of 7 in the Wild Goose Chase series
Running time: 59 minutes, 28 seconds.
Fear has gripped many Christians and far too many Churches are too afraid to do anything because they might lose something. I want MPCC and myself to be more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes. I would rather endure some failures in life than live with life-long regrets. It is the people who dare to dream the unthinkable that accomplish the impossible.



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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.


Good Old-Fashioned Guts

We are now down to the last cage that keeps many Christians from chasing after the Holy Spirit – Chasing after the Wild Goose. I stated in our first lesson that many Christians today are lacking one very important component to their spiritual lives, ADVENTURE. You can see it in their faces, in their eyes; they are spiritually bored. There is nothing in their spiritual lives that makes them feel alive because in many cases, they aren’t spiritually alive. For many they find themselves in cages they created that prevent them from chasing after the Wild Goose when He comes running by.

Let’s review real quickly the 5 cages we already studied:

Responsibility: Are you responsibly irresponsible
Routine
Assumptions
Guilt
Failure

These cages we find ourselves in are the reasons why many Christians are not out there running after the Holy Spirit like the early Church did 2,000 years ago. Why isn’t the Church today having the affect the early Church had with a lot fewer Christians back then? I believe it is because many if not most Christians are sitting in their cages and not out doing great things for God.

David Whyte put it this way: The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears.

True or False: Our vitality today based is on the fears we allow to control our lives. If this is true, the more fear we strip away should increase the amount of vitality we have in life, correct?

What do you think has a greater affect on a person, the losses we sustain or the winnings we get?

There have been many studies on this topic. Researchers wanted to know what affects the human mind more, losses or wins. What they discovered was the experience of a loss is far more powerful than any win. Losses affect the human mind way more than any euphoric experience of a win. What is also known is that multiple losses compound the effects deeper and deeper with each loss. It takes far more wins to overcome just one loss. Wins are awesome to experience but the experience of a loss lingers for a much longer time.

Maybe that is why so many people live their lives so defensively.

What is more powerful in our minds, the sins of commission or the sins of omission? Why?

True or False: Your tendency is to approach God with a better-safe-than-sorry mentality.

Instead of chasing after the Wild Goose, you get trapped in the cage of fear, failing to pursue God passionately and find out what kind of adventure He has for us in building his Kingdom. Too many of us are way too tentative when it comes to the will of God. We let our fears dictate our decisions. And what we fail to recognize is indecision is a decision and it is our indecisions that keep us in the cage of fear.

What does the aphorism, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” mean? How does this apply to the Church and God’s will?

Today in the church, things are not getting done. We have allowed the government to do what we the church should be doing. It isn’t a matter of a lack of resources or education, it is very simple, it is a lack of GUTS. Fear has gripped many Christians and far too many Churches are too afraid to do anything because they might lose something. I want MPCC and myself to be more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes. I would rather endure some failures in life than live with life-long regrets. It is the people who dare to dream the unthinkable that accomplish the impossible. I want our church to get back to that again.

When was the last time you followed through on a daring plan? Something that involved risk, something that required guts to pull off?

1 Samuel 13:23; 141-7: Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash. One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba. Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

There are three types of people, those who are always on the defense, those who are out to lunch most of the time and then there are those who are always on the offense. Jonathan was one of those types of people who were on the offense. He did not let his fears dictate his decisions. He hated the Philistines because of who they were, they mocked and hated God. To Jonathan, that was unthinkable. David felt the same way about the Philistines and was the only one who dared take on Goliath when he taunted the army of Israel.

No question, Jonathan was looking to pick a fight. But his plan was not all that great. In fact, his plan was very stupid. If you wanted to kill some Philistines and there were only two of you, how
would you go about doing it?

1 Samuel 14:8-10 Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”

From a military standpoint, what was wrong with this plan? They allowed the enemy to see they were coming; they gave up the high ground, they had to climb up a cliff and they were way out numbered. There was no element of surprise.

Now what motived Jonathan to do this is not revealed in scripture. Where he got the guts to do something like this is unknown but we do see in this passage a glimpse of what might have been going on in Jonathan’s mind. He said:

Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.

The Philistines were a very powerful enemy of Israel. They had 5 heavily fortified cities while Israel lived in the high country with no fortified cities. The Philistines were constantly badgering and raiding Israel’s villages and King Saul seemed to always be on the defense. Israel’s army spent most of their time in defensive positions hiding from the enemy rather taking the enemy on. Jonathan was tired of sitting around and decided to mix things up a bit to get something started.

Jonathan did not wait for something to happen; he decided to make something happen. Some of us are just the opposite of Jonathan. Our thought is perhaps the Lord won’t act on our behalf. We can’t step out and try something daring because what would happen if God wasn’t for us?

Jonathan’s plan was the tipping point. What he did was enough to shift the momentum to Israel and the story ends with this statement:

1 Samuel 14: 20-23 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So the LORD rescued Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Here is the point we the church have to get in our minds and in our hearts, the will of God is not an insurance plan, the will of God is a daring plan. If you think by being a Christian God is going to make your life wonderful, full of mountain top experiences, you are applying to join the wrong club. To be a citizen in the Kingdom of God, it requires daring people. It requires people who are willing to risk everything, even their lives to advance the Kingdom for God. In fact, you can’t begin to follow Jesus until you have given up everything. Look at what happened to many of the daring:

Hebrews 11:35-38 Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stonedŁ; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

Not every story ends with a happy ending but these stories further advanced the Kingdom to those who needed to hear the Gospel preached. Paul was beheaded, Peter was crucified up-side down. All of the original apostles other than John were martyred for their faith and John suffered greatly throughout his life. We have many more examples like Stephen who did what they had to do to advance the Kingdom and their efforts didn’t go unfruitful. The question is, do you have the same guts they had? Are you willing to follow after the Wild Goose and allow him to take you where ever He wills even if it cost you everything? Or will you hide in your cage of fear?

True or False: Life gets easier the longer we follow Christ.

True or False: As we grow in Christ, God gives us more difficult things to do.

Rarely does the Holy Spirit lead us down the path of least resistance. It is not his nature. In fact, the Wild Goose will probably have you chase after him down a road least traveled. Most likely he will make us climb cliffs or pick a fight with the enemy. There is a simple truth to all of this; the hardest way is the best way.

MPCC is sitting in a very dangerous situation. In worldly terms we have been successful. We have a growing congregation, we have a nice building, an awesome worship, and we are out of debt. Usually when people find themselves in that situation, they become less likely to do things to mess their success up. They become more defensive and less likely to take chances. But what are we going to do now? In reality, it has been 25 years since this church has really laid everything on the line. We talk more about what we did in the 80’s than what we are going to do tomorrow. To be honest, I want to go out and pick a fight with the enemy.

Are you willing to give this entire up, start completely over, put at risk everything we have accomplished to win more souls for Jesus? How far are you willing to go and will you remain faithful?

1 Samuel 14:2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeon under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men,

What a study in contrast. What Saul didn’t do is just as significant as what Jonathan did do. While his son was climbing cliffs and engaging the enemy, Saul was sitting under a tree enjoying himself. Do you see what is wrong with this picture?

The Philistines controlled the pass at Micmash. It was an important pass. The king should have been fighting back but instead he was kicking back. Saul was sitting on the sidelines rather fighting on the front lines. And this wasn’t the only time he did that. Saul was also sitting on the sidelines when David fought Goliath. Let’s call Saul what he really was, a spiritual spectator. Instead of playing to win, he was playing not to lose. He was very content to let others fight his battles for him. Unfortunately for many churches, they too are spiritual spectators.

True or False: For many if not most, church has turned into a spectator sport.

Have you ever said, church wasn’t good today?
Have you ever said, our attendance has dipped, I wonder what Chuck is doing about it?
Have you ever said, I wish someone would …
Have you ever said, when is someone going to do something about the homeless?

If so, maybe you are a spectator.

I want to end this lesson with this thought, how many dominos does it take to start a chain reaction to knock down a whole row of dominos? On October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther picked a fight. He had the audacity to challenge the status quo by attacking the selling of indulgences (get out of jail free cards for sinners). Luther posted 95 these on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany and ignited the Protestant Reformation.

There comes a time when enough is enough. You get tired of playing not to lose. You get tired of maintaining the status quo. You get tired of making decisions based on personal comfort. That is when you need to step up, step in and step out.

Yesterday was predicted to be the end of the world. Well, being here today proves the predictions were wrong. So here is today and most likely for us there will be a tomorrow. Here is what I want to leave you with:

Today is the first day of your life because it has never been before and today is the last day of your life because it will never be again.

Every day is precious because God gives it to us. You need to ask yourself, what cliff do I need to climb today, what fight with the enemy do I need to pick? Today, come out of your cage of fear and start running with the Goose.