A Daring Adventure

Part One – Follow the Holy Spirit
Helen Keller who was born in 1880 both deaf and blind was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. She was made famous by the movie “The Miracle Worker”
She wrote:
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
As Christians who have the Holy Spirit living in us and we have been empowered by Him as well (John 15:26, Acts 1:8)…

Because of this our life with the Lord should never be boring – but be a serious adventure as we follow, by faith, the leading of the Holy Spirit
The Celtic Christians of Ireland and Britain (strongest from the 6th to the 10th Century) had a name for the Holy Spirit that is seriously intriguing
They called Him “An Geadh-Glas” which is translated “the Wild Goose”
The name hints of the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit
Much like the wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed
An element of danger and an air of unpredictability surround Him
Jesus called Him “the Wind” …
John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Everyone who follows the leading of the Holy Spirit … won’t be sure why you are being led in a certain way, and you won’t always be certain where the Spirit (wind) is taking you… ADVENTURE
So, one might say, if we follow the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit we will find ourselves on a Wild Goose Chase.
“The Wild Goose” – the name comes across as a little sacrilegious at first but I cannot think of a better description of what it is like to pursue the Spirit’s leading through life than ‘Wild Goose chase’…
But, often we have clipped the wings of the Wild Goose and settled for something less – much less – than what God originally intended for us
I understand that “wild goose chase” typically refers to a purposeless endeavour without a defined destination
But chasing the Wild Goose – the Spirit of God – is different
The promptings of the Holy Spirit can sometimes seem pretty pointless, but rest assured, God is working His plan
And, if you chase the Wild Goose He will take you places you never could have imagined going by paths you never knew existed
We get so stressed out over trying to figure out the will of God for our life at this point in time
We want to figure it out – sort out the details – understand its details
We want to solve the mystery of the will of God for us the same way we solve a Sudoku or crossword puzzle
But, we are using our intellect to sort and figure out and discover – it never works
Intellectual analysis usually results in spiritual paralysis
We try to make God fit within the confines of our cerebral cortex
We try to reduce the will of God to the logical limits of our left brain
But the will of God is neither logical nor linear
It is downright confusing and complicated
A part of us feels as if something is spiritually wrong with us when we experience “circumstantial uncertainty”
But that is precisely what Jesus promised us when we are born of the Spirit and start following Him
John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time
The circumstances will not line up with the plan as revealed by God = uncertainty
And that can be unsettling, I know
But “circumstantial uncertainty” also goes by another name: ADVENTURE
We are meant to be following the Spirit – the Wild Goose
And there is nothing more unnerving or disorienting than passionately pursuing God
We need to come to that spiritual reality
When we do – we will relax and enjoy the journey a lot more
God does not promise us that we will understand everything
If we did, then we would no longer need to live by faith in Him
God does not promise safety or certainty
But, He does promise that chasing the Wild Goose will be anything but boring
Helen Keller: “Life is ether a daring adventure, or nothing.”
A pastor and his sons were on a holiday that was crammed full of adventures – day after day
It has been an amazing adventure
They were in a Spanish speaking area and, in Spanish, on the Sprite soft drink can they were sharing on their first day God spoke to them
The saying on the can was “Otro dia, otra aventura / “Another day, another adventure”
And the trip had been just like that – new adventures every day
Pursuing God is a new adventure every day – Another day, another adventure
Take the Holy Spirit out of the equation of my life, and it would spell b-o-r-i-n-g
Add Him into the equation of your life, and anything can happen
You never know who you will meet, where you will go, or what you will do
So, if you would describe your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you think you’re following the Spirit but you have actually settled for something much less
Something I call “inverted Christianity”
Instead of following the Spirit – the Wild Goose – we invite the Spirit to follow us
Instead of serving God’s purposes, we want Him to serve our purposes
Now, this may seem like a subtle difference or distinction – but, it makes a world of difference
The result of this inverted relationship with God in not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty
It is also the difference between spiritual boredom and spiritual adventure
We are here to follow Him and serve Him… to become involved in what He is doing today
That means that our Christian faith is always an adventure
As Christians it seems that we …
Try to remove risk from our life
We try to remove any sense of danger
We work to remove the struggle
We subconsciously think that because we are believers we should be safe, secure, and comfortable
When trouble hits / When God is silent
We immediately think “we” did something wrong
But, we need to recognize that just the opposite is true
There is a part of us inside that longs for some danger
There is a longing for something or someone to challenge us
There is a need in each of our lives for adventure
God created us that way!
There comes a time in our spiritual journey when things being safe and predictable is no longer good enough
Jesus did not die on the cross to keep us safe
Jesus died to make us dangerous
It is good to pray for protection
When was the last time you asked God to make you dangerous?
Ask yourself a question: Since when did it become safe to follow Christ?
Maybe it is time to live dangerously for the cause of Christ
Maybe it is time to break the boredom of the faith
Boredom is not just boring
Boredom is wrong
You cannot simultaneously live by faith and be bored
Faith and boredom are total opposites
Consider the Gospel story of the rich, young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22)
On paper the rich young ruler had it all: youth, wealth, and power
But, something was still missing
The rich, young ruler was bored with his faith
This is evidenced by the question he asked Jesus: “What do I still lack?”
(Matthew 19:20b)
I think he was lacking spiritual adventure
His life was too easy
His life was too predictable
His life was too comfortable
He kept all the commandments – but he was still not experiencing life – liberty
Keeping the moral commandments can become another religion
There was a deep-seated longing within him for something more than simply not doing anything wrong
Something missing deep inside
I think most believers (in most nations) are in the same place as the rich, young ruler
I think that most Christians are bored with their faith – they are lacking any sense of adventure and challenge – other than staying awake during morning devotions / or the weekly sermons
We know our sins are forgiven and forgotten
We know we will spend eternity with God when we cross the boundary of the space-time continuum
We are trying our best to live our lives within the guardrails of God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will
BUT, still we have a gnawing feeling that something is missing
We all long, deep down inside, to leave this boredom known as the Christian faith (church) and live dangerously for the cause of Christ
But to live dangerously we need to let go of the place / the things where we find comfort, safety, and security / “Keep calm – Live dangerously”
Giving up the very thing in which we find our identity outside of Christ
In the case of the rich, young ruler – his wealth / financial security / comfort
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21)
If you think about this true story a bit…
A part of us feels bad for the rich, young ruler
How could Jesus demand so much?
Jesus asked him to give up everything he had!
But we fail to appreciate the full extent of the offer Jesus put on the table
Jesus offered him so much more
This was the opportunity of a lifetime
He offered him an internship with none other than the Son of God
Come on now, that’s got to look good in your resume
You can’t put a price tag on that kind of experience
But the rich, young ruler turned it down
He opted for the boring, rule keeping, lifeless religion
He made the mistake so many of us make
He chose a safe and secure, normalized, comfortable lifestyle over a life of adventure
Over a life of chasing the Wild Goose – the Holy Spirit
Over following the Wind…
Now, think about the twelve disciples who accepted the unpaid internship with Jesus
They were uneducated
They were religious
They were financially not well off
They were not near being the social elite
They drank the water Jesus turned into wine
They filleted the miraculous catch of fish
They were there when Jesus turned the temple upside down
When Jesus walked on water
When Jesus raised the dead
When Jesus fed the 5,000
When Jesus rose from the dead
When Jesus ascended into Heaven
When the Holy Spirit came as wind and fire and empowered them
WOW! Adventure!
In a day when the average person never travelled outside a thirty-five mile radius of his home
Jesus sent His disciples to the four corners of the ancient world
These ordinary fishermen, who otherwise would have lived and died within sight of the Sea of Galilee
Were sent to the ends of the earth as they knew it
What a ride – What a Wild Goose chase!
Eusebius – a third century historian – tells us….
Pater sailed to Italy
John ended up in Asia
James, the son of Zebedee travelled as far as Spain
Doubting Thomas chased the Wild Goose all the way to India
Just like the rich, young ruler, we have a choice to make
The same offered Jesus extended to him, Jesus extends to us
We can stay in our rut, end up with everything, and realize that it amounts to nothing
Or we can break free from routine and chase the Wild Goose
The way God designed us and designed life …
All of life should be a grand adventure – and it can become just that!
A grand adventure when we chase the trackless, matchless Goose of Heaven
But, it is more than just you and me experiencing an adventure
It is about the countless people who will hear about God’s love through you
It is about the people who will be healed – physically and spiritually
It is about the people stuck in poverty who will find new life
It is about the addicted who will find freedom and start a new life
It is about God telling His story through you and me….
And, if we lack the courage to chase the Wild Goose we are certainly not the only ones who lose out
Jesus is calling His people to “turn the world upside down” once again (Acts 17:6) by following the Wild Goose – the Holy Spirit
But, there are six key things that keep us from roaming free with the Wild Goose and living the spiritual adventure God destined us to live (next six teachings when I am here with you)
1> Responsibilities
Over time we seem to accumulate more and more responsibilities
Less important responsibilities displace more important ones
Our responsibilities become spiritual excuses that keep us from the adventure
We need to reclaim our greatest responsibility – pursuing the passions God has put in our heart
2> Routine
Somewhere in our spiritual journey most of us trade adventure for routine
Nothing wrong with routine …
But, when routine becomes routine, we need to disrupt the routine
If we don’t, sacred routines become empty rituals
3> Assumptions
We have made a number of assumptions that keep us from following the Wild Goose
I’m too old
I’m too young
I’m under-qualified
I’m over-qualified
It’s too late
It’s too soon
As we age, many of us stop believing and start assuming
4> Guilt
We are neutralized spiritually when we focus on what we have or have not done in the past
Then we begin to react to the memories and feelings from back then – We feel guilty
So, we end up reacting to the devil who gets us to focus on what went wrong
Jesus wants to reprogram our spirit / heart so that we understand His grace
Then we won’t be reactionaries – we will be revolutionaries for His cause
When we focus on what we did wrong in the past we lack energy to dream Kingdom dreams of the future
5> Failure
Because we have failed – we conclude that God can no longer use us
Sometimes our plans have to fail in order for God’s plans to succeed
Divine detours (failures) and divine delays are the ways God gets us where He wants us to go
6> Fear
We need to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death
We need to stop playing “defence” and begin to play “offence” with our lives
Daring people with daring plans
Six things that keep us locked up in the present
Six things that keep us living in boredom
Six things keeping us from soaring like eagles
Six things that prevent us from going on a Wild Goose Chase
Your chase of the Wild Goose
What’s your reaction to the ancient Celtic description of God as the “Wild Goose” – untamed, unpredictable, flying free?
How have you been living “inverted Christianity,” trying to get God to serve your purposes instead of you serving His purposes?
Right now, where are you on this spectrum?
Playing it safe Living dangerously for God
How does the call to spiritual adventure strike you? What is it inside you that resonates with the call?
Of the six issues described which do you think might apply to you the most and why?