Ever find yourself stuck unsure where you should go?
Ever feel like you are wandering around in circles?
Ever feel like something good is right around the corner but you don’t know if you have the courage to proceed?
We are looking at how uncertainty, risk, change, and sacrifice should be embraced (rather than avoided) to help us make progress.
This goes against what we’ve been taught or what our culture seems to embrace. We tend to gravitate towards certainty, safety or comfort, the status quo, and selfishness rather than such challenging experiences like uncertainty, risk, change, and sacrifice!
Even though we will see that uncertainty, risk, change, and sacrifice are critical values in the Scriptures, those of us with a background in church have been raised to avoid these very important Kingdom values.
Some of us grew up in families or church communities that sought to be a shelter from the world. Our well-meaning parents and pastors hoped to protect us from being influenced by the culture. We were so bored with a life in the bubble that many of us rebelled as soon as we could!
Others of us may have grown up in families or churches that were so assimilated into the culture that we never noticed a difference between a life with God and a life without God. As a result, we walked away from our faith.
Jesus actually offers something very different from a life protected from the world or a life no different than the world.
When Jesus walked this earth, He turned everything upside down. The people were wanting a political savior, but He came to rescue them spiritually. The people wanted political power, but Jesus offered them eternal life and spiritual freedom.
He healed people and taught people, and then He willingly allowed Himself to be tried for something He had not done and crucified even though He was innocent. The values of the invisible Kingdom that Jesus started are very different than the values of our world.
Rather than a Kingdom advanced by wars and treaties and bound by borders, Jesus is the King of an invisible Kingdom that has no borders, that invites all who want to follow Him (no matter their background). His Kingdom is advanced by faith, love, hope, and peace rather than war and negotiations.
We will see during this series that we move forward faster into the better future God has for us when we are willing to embrace uncertainty, risk, change, and sacrifice.
In Los Angeles, our lead pastor at Mosaic, Erwin McManus is one of the most innovative people I know. He wrote a book on entrepreneurial leadership called Seizing Your Divine Moment and later renamed Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment. He used the story of Jonathan and the armor bearer as the basis for his book. Entrepreneurial leaders take the following steps: “initiative,” “uncertainty,” “influence,” “risk,” and “advance.”
The story of Jonathan comes at the time the people of Israel finally have a king. They had been led by God through judges and prophets. Jealous of all the other warring kingdoms around them, they wanted a king. They were warned of the dangers of switching from God to a king, but they chose a king anyway. Over the years, the people of Israel had great kings, and they had evil kings. Saul, their first king started off well, but he allowed fear, jealousy, and rebellion to lead him down a dark path. Here’s a story of his noble son Jonathan when facing the Philistines.
One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying on the outskirts…. With him were about six hundred men…. 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…. Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. 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.”
Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them 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.” – 1 Samuel 14:1-10