Go – Part 1
Go – Part 1
July 28 2014
(Based on the message by Brian Houston at the 2013 ARC Conference in Jacksonville, Florida)
Most people live two lives. There’s the life we are living, and there’s the unlived life within us. H.G. Wells put it this way, “The only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have been and what we have become.” There is an unlived life within you, and there is a gap between what you are doing and that unrealized life.
The gap is an invisible, deadly force that is created by resistance, which shows up in many forms. One of these forms of resistance is underestimating the impact of our lives. If we could roll out a picture of all of the impact you have now and will have in the future, it would be far more than you can imagine. I think all of us would underestimate what it would look like. When my wife and I started our church thirty years ago, we never would have thought we could live in days of such phenomenal impact like these. What you are doing is phenomenal. Don’t let your estimation of what can be determine whether you pursue the life God has for you.
Sometimes resistance is simply procrastination. Some of you have a book in you that you know you should write. But somehow you can find every reason in the world to not move ahead and you just leave it for another day. Or maybe you think, “What if I can’t find a publisher?” Well, what if you can? You’ll never know if you don’t give it a try. Paul the Apostle never had a publisher. He just wrote letters to people.
I’m a genius at procrastination when it comes to exercise. I rationalize it away all the time. I start in the morning and think “Well look, I should go for a run but maybe I’ll get a coffee first and I’ll run straight after.” But when straight after comes, I remember I have to do that other appointment. So then before you know it, I’m saying, “Well okay, I’ll do it this evening.” And then the evening comes and theres a good football game on TV. So I talk myself into believing I’d do it in the morning. But the next morning is Sunday, and I have to be up at the crack of dawn for church at 8 a.m. Some of you are like that too, aren’t you?
Pharaoh was. But his procrastination was even more irrational. When he asked Moses to get rid of the plague of frogs that had overrun Egypt, Moses asked him when he wanted them gone. “Tomorrow,” said Pharaoh. The seemingly obvious answer would have been, “Now!” And it’s not just Pharaoh – we all procrastinate in one way or another. It’s just another way that resistance tries to limit us.
Sometimes it seems like it is easier for God to get us delivered from sin and out of bondage and call us to ministry than it is to get us to start something He’s calling us to start. That’s what happened in Acts 12 when everyone was praying for Peter to be released from jail. When he is released, Peter heads over to the house where they’re all still praying and he knocks on the door. Rhoda answers the door but gets excited and forgets to let him in. And those who are busy praying don’t believe that Peter is at the door.
Maybe you feel that what you’re dreaming of is just a little “out there.” In ministry, if we never put ourselves in that place, most likely we’re not allowing the unlived life within us that God wants to bless and use to be fully maximized. It’s the voice of Marge Simpson saying, “Don’t even try because you’ll make a fool of yourself.” It’s self-sabotage.
I know a little about resistance through self-sabotage. All my life all I wanted was to be a preacher. That’s what my dad did and I used to look at my dad and I used to think, “I want to do that one day.” It’s all I ever wanted to do. Then, when I was in Bible college, I was invited to speak in chapel to the entire student body. It was only sixty students, but I was so overwhelmed by the thought of speaking to my peers that I hopped in my car and drove the other direction. It was real self-sabotage.
The prophet Jonah did much the same thing. The Bible tells us “he paid the fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish,” instead of Nineveh where God wanted him to go. It is interesting to me that when you run from the presence of the Lord in terms of some of the unlived life within you, you pay the fare. Sometimes you pay the fare in lost opportunities, or in disappointment or unfulfillment, but you always pay the fare.
That’s why I’m encouraging you to step up and step in to all that God has for you. Don’t sabotage yourself, and don’t let unbelief or fear stop you.
There’s another form of self-sabotage we see in the story of the man who had been paralyzed for 38 years and was sitting by the pool with the others who were sick and hurting, waiting for the water to be stirred. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made whole. We tend to see that as a somewhat ridiculous question, but maybe it wasn’t. Being made whole would mean he would have to step up and step in to what God had called him to. All of the potential that had been latent for 38 years, he’d have to step into it now. There would be a cost, there would be sacrifices, challenges, and whole new ways of living. Jesus was asking him if he was ready for it. And he’s asking us the same thing today.
Read Part 2 here.
July 28 2014