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Mark Batterson - Cage of Fear

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I can’t believe that our Wild Goose Chase series is coming to an end! But we have another elephant coming to NCC so I’m excited about where we’re headed. If you have a Bible, turn over to I Samuel 14, we’ll get there in a few moments. This weekend we are going to talk about the Cage of Fear. A few years ago, two psychologists from the University of Michigan, William Gehring and Adrian Willoughby did a study published in Science Magazine. Volunteers wore an electrode cap and they engaged in a computer simulated betting game and the electrode caps recorded changes in brain electrical activity in response to winning and losing. With each bet the medial frontal cortex showed an increase in activity, but what intrigued researchers was this – they found that medial frontal negativity showed a larger dip after a loss than the rise in medial frontal positivity after a win. Did you get that? Still with me? During a string of losses, medial frontal negativity dipped lower with each loss, so in essence, each loss was compounded by the previous loss. The significance of that is this – neurologically speaking, losses loom larger than gains. Or to put it another way, the aversion to loss of a certain magnitude is greater than the attraction to gain of the same magnitude. I think that that neurological study has huge spiritual ramifications. In fact, I wonder if that aversion to loss is why we fixate on sins of commission. Don’t do this and don’t do that, but we often ignore sins of omission, what you would’ve, could’ve and should’ve done. I wonder if that is why many of us approach the will of God so defensively, we have this better safe than sorry mentality, and I wonder if that’s why the church is often more known for what we’re against than what we are for, because we are playing defense instead of playing offense. I would suggest that we need a paradigm shift. We need to quit playing not to lose, we need to play to win. We need to fear missed opportunities more than making mistakes and I think we need to stop playing defense and start playing offense. That’s what this cage and this story is all about.

1 Samuel 14, but I want to pick up the last verse of 1 Samuel 13:22. It says: The pass at Micmash had meanwhile been secured by a contingent of the Philistine army. 1 Samuel 14:1: One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost.” But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing. I’m not sure of the significance of that but what I do love about that is that we are in a town where if anybody does anything, they call a press conference, and I like the fact that Jonathan is not talking about what he is doing, he just goes out and does it. Verse 4: 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. We will come back to that statement and that’s where we are going to park this weekend. Perhaps the Lord will act on 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.” It is tough to psychoanalyze someone who lived thousands of years ago, but I think it is safe to say that Jonathan had a sanctified medial frontal cortex. He did not let his fears dictate his decision. His desire to advance the kingdom, so to speak, was greater than his fear of failure, and his attraction to gain was greater than his aversion to loss. Jonathan was not playing defense. He was playing offense. He courageously climbed the cliffs at Micmash, picked a fight with the entire Philistine army, and I love the way that the New Living Translation captions this story. It is called Jonathan’s Daring Plan. Now, I’ll be honest, part of the reason why I love Jonathan’s Daring Plan is because it makes me feel better about my bad ideas. This has to be the worst military strategy I’ve ever heard of. If you read the next few verses, you discover that Jonathan’s plan is basically this. Let’s expose ourselves to the enemy in broad daylight and concede the high ground. Then he comes up with a sign. Verse 9; “If the Philistines say to us, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.” Ok, I’m sorry but if I’m making up the signs here, I’m doing the exact opposite. If they come down to us, that’ll be our sign. Or better yet, if they fall off the cliff, that’ll be the sign that the Lord is giving them into our hands. But no, Jonathan’s plan is far more dangerous and difficult and daring than that. Now, I’m going to be honest, I read this story and I’m not this courageous. Is anybody else there with me? I don’t see myself in this story, and it really hit home this week. On Friday night, Parker celebrated a birthday and his big ask was that he wanted to go play airsoft, It’s basically kind of an indoor arena and essentially you shoot each other with BB guns, and I’m not really into getting shot, it is not my thing. But I love my son and he wanted to play so we went. We walked in and immediately I knew I was in trouble. I’m wearing jeans but everybody else there has the full camouflage on, and there were some guys wearing bulletproof vests. I was seriously scared, like what is gonna happen? So we played some games, like you’ve played capture the flag, for example, but instead of tagging each other, you shoot each other, and when you get shot, you have to put your arm up in the air after you get shot so that you don’t continue to get shot and then you go back to your base, and we played where you count to 20 and then you get to get back in and you get shot again. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I faked getting shot several times so that I wouldn’t actually get shot!  I would hear gunfire and my arm would go up and I kid you not, I would go back and count to 20 very slowly. So I’m in the airsoft arena and I’m having these thoughts and it was sort of surreal and like I’m thinking to myself, if I was in this actual battle situation, would I be the guy who would fake being dead? The lack of courage was astounding to me. I tried to muster up a little bit of courage, so at some point in the game I got my young son and one of his friends and I gotta do something, so I went out and had one courageous maneuver, got shot in the chest, yes, it’s black and blue, so what I did the rest of the night is, I would say to everybody, “Let me cover you,” which is another way of saying, “You go ahead and get shot and I’ll watch.” That experience helps me appreciate this verse, because this is a real scenario, they are using real bullets, he is outnumbered, he is outgunned, the courage it took for him to climb this cliff. So here is the $64,000 question – what motivated Jonathan to climb this cliff? What gave him the courage to go on the offensive and how did he know it was God’s will? I think it is impossible to know exactly what thoughts were firing across his synapses but this verse does reveal Jonathan’s gestalt. Everybody say it. Doesn’t that feel good? It just rolls off the tongue, just so you don’t think I’m real smart, I had to go on an audio dictionary to make sure I was pronouncing it the right way. It is a mindset, a paradigm and it is captured in verse 6, do not overlook this, do not underestimate this. Here is what Jonathan says to his armor-bearer: Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. I love this modus operandi.

Now let me state a personal conviction. I think what is most lacking in the church is not education. Let’s keep learning but we are all educated beyond the level of our obedience. And I don’t think what’s most lacking is resources. Let’s keep giving, but we are the most resourced church in the most resourced country the world has ever known. You want to know what I think is the most lacking? Guts. Good old-fashioned guts, to live mb faith, to climb the cliff, to engage the enemy and to realize that we are involved in something that is a matter of life or death and that we are called to live courageously, even dangerously for the cause of Christ. Now, the good news is, I don’t think in most scenarios, our lives are on the line. But passivity is not an option, and I think God is calling us to play offense, and this story inspires me to no end. It tells me that the will of God is not an insurance plan, it is a daring plan. I think more often than not, the will of God will involve a daring decision, a difficult decision, sometimes a dangerous decision that might even seem unsafe and insane if you don’t know how someone is processing it and the fact that the Wild Goose has prompted them to do it, you are going to think they are crazy. I’m watching Jonathan climb this cliff and I don’t know how it is going to turn out, I say he is crazy. Crazy. But look at what happens, one daring decision was enough to shift the momentum, create a tipping point. I Samuel 13:23 says: So the Lord saved Israel that day. Because one person made one move. One person did one thing that made a difference. Can I suggest that the church needs more daring people with daring plans?

I like the way that the 20th century missionary C. T. Studd said it. He said, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” The church needs more Studds, and you can quote me on that.

When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? Where did we get that? I think we made a false assumption about the will of God. I think we’ve assumed that it should get easier the longer we follow Christ. I want to suggest that some dimensions do get easier the more you practice spiritual disciplines, it is easier for me to tithe now than it was in the beginning. It is easier for me to trust some of those crazy promptings of the Holy Spirit now than it was then, but listen, I don’t believe that it gets easier, I think spiritual growth prepares us for more dangerous missions, to do more daring things for the cause of Christ, and it shouldn’t get less adventurous, it ought to get more adventurous. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Can I suggest that many Christians seem to operate with the exact opposite modus operandi? Perhaps the Lord won’t act on our behalf. So we spend our entire lives at the foot of that cliff, we just don’t have the guts to climb it, because what if God doesn’t act on our behalf? Well, you’re gonna be there a long time and nothing exciting is going to happen and I wonder if that is why a lot of us are bored with our faith.

I want to talk corporately for a moment to us as a church, as National Community Church. I want to remind us of something. We’ve tried to create a culture, we try to live by this principle – perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. We are a multi-site church. We are one church right now with eight services in four locations and our vision is to launch locations in movie theaters and where possible at metro stops around the greater metro area, and I think one of the things we’ve come to terms with over the years is that every once in a while there is this question of why would you launch another location, and I want to confront that. I think it is the wrong question. Why would we NOT? Why would we not? I think one of the things I’ve learned in my own walk with Christ is that if God is blessing something, you better double your efforts to make sure of a couple of things. One, that you keep doing what got you there, and chances are, it was taking some risks that got you to this point that now will tempt you to play it safe, but you’ve got to be good stewards and that means it is not going to get easier, it is going to get harder, and I think anything short of multiplication, trying to reproduce what God is doing on a macro level called discipleship, it is Christ reproducing Himself in us so that we reflect Him, and then in others. Anything less than that is spiritual laziness. ‘Why’ is the wrong question. Now listen, it takes tremendous discernment, doesn’t it, to figure out how and when and where and what, those are tough decisions, but what I’m saying is that we are going to operate with a mentality that perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf.

We’ve got this wonderful coffee house, Ebenezers, God is blessing it. It is just such a wonderful part of our community at this point, and the Lord is blessing it financially. Every penny of profit goes back into, The Convoy of Hope, for example. A lot of the funding for that was profit from that, coffee with a cause. Here is where we are going to find ourselves, like, should we do it again? Why wouldn’t we? If God is blessing it, let’s not get lazy, let’s keep taking risks and believe that maybe God can get us where we need to go. I’ve shared this before, I need to be careful, I get on this rabbit trail but I’m excited about this. I’ve told you before, we need to grow so that we can give, we need to be giving millions of dollars to missions, and to get there, we need to grow and we need to grow a lot. We need to keep reaching people for Christ and see them become a part of this advancing the kingdom effort, but I had this thought one day, if you have a coffee house that is making $100,000 profit and you had 20 of them, if my math is right, that adds up to 2 million dollars. Is there more than one way to get where God wants us to go? We need to continue to give and be faithful and invest, and we are going to do that. What I’m suggesting is let’s keep playing offense, and I don’t know the timing, but I have a hunch in my spirit that not only do we need to launch another location next year, maybe we need to launch two. Maybe we need to stretch ourselves, maybe we need to climb a really high cliff and see what God can do. That excites me and we are going to operate that way and I want to challenge you, we’ve got to operate that way in our own spiritual lives.

Let me flip the coin, because I want you to see the other side of the story. You’ve got Jonathan climbing cliffs, and take a look at what his dad is doing. I Samuel 14:2: Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. What a study in contrast!  I think what Saul didn’t do is just as significant as what Jonathan did do. His son is climbing cliffs engaging the enemy, Saul is sitting under a pomegranate tree on the outskirts of Gibeah. I see him just popping pomegranate seeds into his mouth, maybe a little fan action, chillin’ out on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree. What’s wrong with this picture? The Philistines control the pass at Micmash, and as the leader of the army of Israel, Saul should have been fighting back instead of kicking back. But he is on the sidelines instead of the front lines, and you know what? It is not the only time, he let David fight his battle for him too didn’t he? Saul was head and shoulders taller than anybody else in Israel, Saul should have been the one out on that battlefield fighting the kingdom’s battles, but he was a spectator. I think, instead of playing to win, Saul was playing not to lose and he was content with letting others fight his battles for him. I want this to come across as more of a challenge than a criticism, but whenever I preface something with ‘I love you’ get ready. I love you but here’s the deal, I just wonder if we haven’t turned church into a spectator sport. I think we are a lot like the Israelites who told Moses to climb the mountain and talk to God for them, ‘You climb the mountain, you talk to God, that’s fine, then just tell us what He said.’ See, we want someone to seek God for us, pray for us, study for us, make decisions for us, and if we aren’t careful, we unintentionally foster a subtle form of spiritual codependency. Listen, I think church plays in important role in the spiritual rhythm of our lives, the Bible does say: Forsake not the gathering together yourselves. We need the synergy that we experience when we come together and we are the church together, but do you really think that God’s ultimate dream for your life is to sit in a pew or a theater seat or chair for 70 minutes every weekend? Listen to a sermon, sing a few songs, good to go. Is that God’s ultimate dream for our lives? Is it possible that we’ve turned church into an end when in fact it is a means to an end? It’s where we rally the troops, it’s where we are recharged spiritually. But then, man, that’s where we live out our faith, that’s where we live it out. Listen, sitting in church is not a barometer of spiritual maturity.

I think spiritual spectatorship takes a variety of forms, but stick with me, follow the logic because I want to hit this point, then I think we all need to look in the mirror a little bit. I believe in giving to missions, I believe it is the greatest investment we can make, but like everything else, it can be done for the right reasons or the wrong reasons. Sometimes, I wonder if we simply write a check to ease our conscience. We give so someone else will go, but if God is calling you to go and all you do is give, then giving is actually a form of disobedience. By the way, have I mentioned that we’re going on ten missions trips this next year?

The bottom line is this – I think there is a little Saul in each of us. There is part of us that wants God to defeat the enemy while we are on the outskirts of Gibeah under pomegranate trees. Do it for us. But we have a core value at NCC, pray like it depends on God, work like it depends on you. Sometimes you’ve got to get up and do something, and if we don’t do anything, this is so profound, nothing is going to happen. If Jonathan hadn’t climbed the cliff, engaged the enemy, picked a fight, the status quo is going to remain. We’ve got to take that little step of faith.

Just a little reminder. I felt like, as I was writing the book, this was one of the thoughts that the Lord just gave me. At the end of the day, God is not going to say, ‘Well said, good and faithful servant.’ He is not going to say, ‘Well thought, good and faithful servant.’ He is going to say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ It’s about putting our faith into action. We have a choice to make. Are we going to sit under a pomegranate tree on the outskirts of Gibeah or are we going to climb a cliff.

Now let’s get practical for a minute and talk about some of the ways we can climb the cliff. This is where I want to be really careful because in the spirit of Wild Goose Chase, I have no idea what cliff God is calling you to climb. I don’t presume that, but I believe that there is some daring plan, or some dangerous plan. It might not be halfway around the world, it might be going halfway across the your dorm or across the street or just the person that you felt prompted to say a word of encouragement to but you’re afraid to do it. It is those little promptings and obedience to those little promptings that sometimes could seem like the biggest cliff, but if you climb those cliffs, I guarantee, you will meet the Wild Goose at the top and your life will take on an element of adventure. So I want to be careful, but I also want to be practical. I want to give you some ways I think we can play offense.

Here are a couple of ways. We’ve got a Leadership 101 coming up. This is a great way for those of you who aren’t serving, or are serving, to get in the game and maybe God is putting a ministry in your heart or a group in your heart, you need to take this little step, we’ll spend three hours together and at the end of the day, I think you will be ready to step into that leadership capacity. I think inviting someone to NCC, what a great way to play offense. Are these cool or is it just me? These are cool. I’m envisioning, don’t litter, but I want to see these little pink cards all over the city. I want to see people going to www.theelephantinthechurch.com and actually engaging in a meaningful conversation. It is going to be a great series and one of the ways we play offense is inviting someone to come with us.

I think tithing is a great way to play offense. But, ‘if I give more, I’ll have less.’ No you won’t, because God can do more with 90% than you can do with 100%. I want to tell you from personal experience, if your finances are boring or dull, you need to start tithing. It will turn it into a spiritual adventure. Give and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be poured into your lap. Those of you who practice it know exactly what I’m talking about. It redeems that financial part of your life, it takes the stress away because now it is God’s issue, He said, “Test me in this.” It turns it into a financial adventure. You can’t wait to see the way the Lord is going to glorify Himself and provide.

Couple more ideas. Missions trips. Have I mentioned that we’re going on ten missions trips next year? Oh, yes I did!  What a great way to play offense. Here’s one more thought. Ok, when it’s time to launch that next location, we are going to ask everybody to pray just like we’ve done for Ballston, give it up for Ballston, yeah! Just like we did for Georgetown, give it up for Georgetown!  We are going to ask everybody to pray and ask the Lord, is He tapping you on the shoulder saying you need to step out in faith and be part of this launch team to see something new birth, or is God saying I want you right here, I want you to re-double your investment in the location that you are at. We are going to ask that question, we ask it every time, and it’s a good opportunity to play offense and some of you, God will call you to step out of your comfort zone and be part of that launch team.

I think those are some ways that corporately we can play offense. Now, I don’t have a lot of time, but I think there are some ways we can do that personally as well. I’ve talked quite a bit about life goals this year, so I’m not going to go there, but I could preach on it all day, it has revolutionized my life. When you set goals in the context of prayer, it will change your life. Go to chasethegoose.com and there is a free download, 10 Steps to Setting Life Goals , and maybe that is your action point from this message. By the way, it says you have to buy a copy of the book, but it’s the honor system, and I’m giving you permission to just put in whatever location you attend, download it, and it will help you begin to put this into practice.

Let me say one other thing, as a dad, the way that I’ve put this into practice was, it was a year ago that Parker and I signed a Discipleship Covenant and I signed a covenant with him and essentially, it was my way of saying, I’m going to play offense, I’m not going to let our culture raise my children. I’m going to disciple my kids. Now I want to tell you that many, if not most days, I’m frustrated with myself as a dad because I play a lot of defense and I get reactive and so I don’t want to give any impression of any measure of perfection whatsoever. I’ll tell you this, I’m playing offense with my kids because it is my responsibility, and honestly, it redeems that relationship and it changes, I tell you what, to come to the end of a year where he has met some of these physical challenges, intellectual, spiritual challenges and to see the way that he is grown. Is he perfect yet? No, neither is his dad, but to see the way that he has grown and the way that we’ve played offense together and then to celebrate the way we did this weekend. I won’t take time, I blogged about it a little bit. But you’ve got to find a way to play offense in your relationships and in your life.

One last word of encouragement. I know you are sitting here thinking, ‘I’m not Jonathan. That’s a great story but that’s not me.’ Well, there’s someone else in the story, it’s the armor-bearer and that’s what I love about this story, without the armor-bearer, Jonathan can’t do this. It says that Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me, the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” And Jonathan climbed up using his hands and feet with his armor-bearer right behind him, and together they wreak a little bit of havoc for the kingdom.

Here’s what’s great, not everybody can be a Jonathan, but you can be an armor-bearer, you can be part of what God is doing. We are part of the greatest dream ever dreamed. We call it The Great Commission, Go and make disciples of everyone everywhere. You are part of something bigger than you, more important than you and you may feel like you don’t know where to play offense or what to do, but listen, you are part of the greatest dream ever dreamed, so we have a cliff to climb, it is about us living out our faith on a daily basis.

Let me just get real, hopefully I’ve been real the whole time but can I share a couple of my fears with you and just the way that I’ve tried to process them? These are the things that keep us at the bottom of the cliff. This year, one of my demons was trying to write this book that we are talking about, Wild Goose Chase. I don’t think I can put into words the way I felt, almost tormented by the enemy, like, here’s what it was – the fear that people wouldn’t like my second book as much as my first book. That may sound silly but there is this part of me that has the fear of disappointing people or letting people down and I can’t tell you how often this doubt or fear would consume me and I’d almost have to start writing and I would just pray, “Lord help me write what you want me to write and not worry about what people think.” I just kept writing and climbing that cliff and the fear would try to keep my down. And I had a lot of people talk to me, it’s the sophomore album, and at some point, I had to release that fear and say, ‘I’m going to try my level best to write what God is asking me to write and let the chips fall where they may, but at the end of the day, I’m going to climb this cliff.’ And, can I tell you that I’m not going to face that fear with the next one? I can’t, but it is something you’ve got to face and you’ve got to process. You’ve got to ask God to help you. Let me say something, I think that a lot of our fears are subconscious, we’ve never defined them, and the first step is actually defining what we fear. And I think I was able to come to terms with why I feel that subconscious pressure as I was writing this book and I think that was it. Let me tell you one of my fears as a parent, and I think parents are going to identify with what I say, I love my kids so much and what’s most important to me is that they would grow up to love God and serve God and I live with the reality that no matter what I do, my kids have free will and the day may come that they walk away from me, everything I believe in, from the God that I believe in, and I don’t know, over the last couple of years as my kids grow older and gain a little bit more independence, I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve lived with some of that fear, and I’ve tried to say, ‘God help me’ because I’m not going to live my life out of fear. And I think that fear could keep me at the bottom of the cliff and say forget it, I’m not even going to try. But what that fear has done, I’m going to be the best dad that I can be and realize that there are things that I cannot control. I’m going to live my life fearing the things that I can’t control. I’m going to face that fear, I’m going to try to climb the cliff and I’m going to keep doing that. What I want you to realize is that I don’t care how high up the cliff you are or how many successes you’ve experienced, I think we are all going to continue to encounter these fears. The enemy is a fear-monger, it is one of his primary tactics, but perfect love casts out all fear. So what I need to do is grow in my love relationship with God and realize that Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so, and it begins to release me from these fears. You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of sound mind.

This is reality, this is where we live, I just think some of us never come face to face with them and I don’t know what is going to keep you down but you better face that fear, you better climb that cliff because it is the only way you are going to experience that spiritual adventure that God has called us to.

I want to give us one last word of encouragement. This is a tough series to end, I feel like there is more I want to do, but I trust this timing and I trust that He is going to get done what needs to get done, but I want to close with this. The way I closed the book because I felt like a lot of people are going to read this and be inspired, put it down and never do a thing. Henry James once wrote a story titled The Madonna of the Future, it was a story about an artist who devoted her entire life to a single painting, and when the artist died, it was discovered that the canvas was still blank. She never finished because she never started. Lord Acton, 19th century historian, you may know him for some of his aphorisms in DC circles, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, that’s Lord Acton. He was a prolific thinker, authoring numerous lectures, essays and reviews, but he never published a book. In fact, he referred to his life work, he had a title, A History of Liberty, as his Madonna of the Future, borrowing the phrase from Henry James. Many have described it as the greatest book that was never written. In the words of Daniel Borstein, Lord Acton was always discouraged by the imperfection of material. He always delayed his unifying work by the promise of new facts and new ideas still to come. Borstein said Lord Acton knew too much to write, and thus his life work, the culmination of everything he had learned and experienced became a Madonna of the Future.

Here’s my question – what is your unpainted canvas? What is your unwritten book? What God-given dream is collecting dust? What God-ordained passion remains caged? What fear is keeping you at the bottom of the cliff? I have no idea what your Madonna of the Future is, but here’s what I do know, you will never finish what you don’t start. That’s what this series is about. I think it is where many of us get stuck, but I want to give you some good news, we fail to take the first step so the Wild Goose Chase never begins but if you take that first step, that small first step, then it invites God into the reality of our lives, and I believe that you will begin to see your life change. I want to end this series where we started it. I think many of us need to discern what cage we are in and take the steps to get out of it. I think many of us need to take that first step, but I think during this series, what we’ve tried to communicate as clearly as possible is the Wild Goose Chase, this spiritual adventure that God is calling us to live, it begins by accepting the invitation that Jesus extended 2,000 years ago when He said, “Come follow Me,” and when you accept that invitation, I promise you, God will take you places you never imagined going by paths you never knew existed. It may not take you everywhere you want to go this side of eternity, but you know what? It will take you the place you want to go on the other side. And in between, I believe you will live the adventure that God has called you to live. So I want to encourage you, maybe this weekend is your weekend, why wait? We believe that most important decisions ought to be the most informed decisions. Luke 1: I thoroughly investigated every thing from the beginning. It’s why we do Alpha, it’s why hundreds of people are coming to Alpha and processing tough questions and trying to figure out their faith, we embrace that, we encourage that, but at some point, I want to challenge you, you’ve got to climb the cliff, you’ve got to accept that invitation and I want to invite you to do that this weekend. Let’s pray together.

Lord, I pray that You would give each one of us the courage to say yes to You, to say yes to the invitation that You have extended or to say yes to the grace that you offer us. God, to say yes to those prompting of the Wild Goose, to say yes to Your plans and purposes. God, I pray against the fear and the guilt, the routine, the responsibility, the assumptions, the failures that keep us caged. God, uncage us, unleash us so that we can truly live this adventure that You have called us to. God I pray for those that need to make that decision today to follow you. I pray that they would have the courage to do it, and I believe if they do, their lives will change. God, I pray for the rest of us this weekend, would You sanctify our medial frontal cortex? God would we be a people that is not afraid to step out in faith, God forgive us for acting as if You might not act on our behalf. Lord help us live with this supernatural courage and confidence, perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. God we confess our fears to You and we pray that Your love would help us overcome them so that we can become, so that we can go, so that we can do what You’ve called us to do, and at the end of the day, that God we can hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” We pray these things in Your name and for Your glory, Amen.

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