Friday, October 13, 2006

Spiritual Bungee Jumping

I've been thinking a lot lately on being a risk-taker. It seems everything from books to sermons, taking risks for the Kingdom of God has been on the brain. I have been confronted in the past 2 weeks by Pastor Mark Batterson's new book, not even released yet, about taking risks. (You can read the first few pages of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day here.) Whether it was Moses stepping out and commanding Pharoah to let his people go, or Jonathan and his armor-bearer taking on the Philistines themselves, I've been confronted in my own spirit about being a risk-taker, being entrepreneurial for Jesus. Now, I don't mean becoming a business owner, but stepping out, sticking my neck out and taking a chance in what I feel God is calling me and my family to do. Frankly, it's scary.

Why is it so scary? As a kid, did I think twice about climbing ladders and hanging out on the roof with my dad as he did work up there? Nope. Did I stop to consider the consequences shed-jumping? Please! I even once tried to make a hang-glider out of some of dad's scrap wood and a garbage bag! Not only did I frame a rough glider, I climbed to the top of the 10 or 12 foot peak on the shed and jumped, thinking that I actually could glide. Instead, I fell like a rock. I mean, those endeavors included the possibility of serious injury, even death, but I didn't think twice about it!

Taking risks for the Lord for me means that I am safe from hanging gliding, skydiving and bungee jumping. But it does means risking total failure. It means I may possibly look bad to other people. For years, I have not only dreamed about starting a church, but I truly feel that God wants me to do it. But, truthfully, a fear rises up in me every time I decide to step out and do it. It becomes easier for me to simply wait for a church that is in operation already to come open, and become their pastor. It seems safer. But God doesn't necessarily lead us down a path of total safety. Remember, David wrote in the 23rd Psalm that God lead him into the valley of the shadow of death. That doesn't sound so safe and comfortable to me. But as long as God was leading him, he had the all comfort he needed. In fact, God has a habit of leading his people into situations that are less than ideal. Just ask Gideon, whose big army got reduced to 300 men by God himself. Or Elijah, who God sent to get in the face of one the most wicked kings in Israel's history, Ahab, and pronounce judgment that was really the king's doing.

So, here I am, once again at a crossroads. Will I step out and take that plunge of faith that I feel God is telling me too, or will I continue to weasel out of it, hoping that something "easier" pops up? You know, taking risks for God shouldn't be difficult for me. It isn't like I haven't done it before. Just the fact that this blog is here and has been for more than a year now is proof that I have taken the risk of being ridiculed, thinking that some may take one read of my stuff, and dismiss me as a literary wannabe. But, God has been faithful, and many have been touched by what God has led me to write. So, just a note to myself, taking risks for me is not an unprecedented thing.

This post may be more for myself today than anyone else. Sometimes, I just need a swift kick in the butt to remind myself of what I am truly called to do. But, just as the foreign languages that the 120 disciples miraculously spoke on the day of Pentecost served to preach the Gospel to the people visiting town for the feast of Pentecost, so this writing is hopefully going to be a blessing to someone else today, not just me.

Well, as the great Porky the Pig said, That's all folks! God bless!


Roughrider said...

One of my favorite lines of a movie is in "Finding Nemo." Nemo's father is always trying to play it safe with his son.
He says, "I don't want anything to happen to him."
Dory says, "But if nothing ever happens to him, then nothing will ever happen to him."
Our lives are not meant to be dull and mundane. People who change their world for the kingdom take chances. One man summed it up, "I want to be busy when Christ returns, even if I'm only making mistakes."
I hereby give you my written permission to go ahead, take chances, and make mistakes to the glory of God.
When the enemy tries to make you afraid. Tell him you have permission.

ruthrap said...

you are not only called, you are capable-----shoot for the moon, mp! I think you can do anything you set your mind to, with God's help!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog tonight! I was just talking to my Children's Pastors about a change that I feel is necessary in the church I'v been pastor of for almost 9 years now. I don't know that change is easier after you've began your work as pastor or before. Change is difficult all of the time. William James said, "Compared to what we ought to be, most of us are half-awake." I fear that this is true in my life sometimes. Brennan Manning says, “The new, the creative, the fresh is looked on with suspicion, not with fascination." Thank you for your honesty, it helps others see God's plan for thier own lives with greater clarity! I'm up for a God risk? Anyone with me?!?