By Connor Neigenfind
Some of you reading this right now are bored. Not bored with this blog (hopefully not, you have only read one sentence!) but bored with your faith. Your faith, which God intends to be adventurous and life-giving, feels mundane and dull. You’re bored because your faith has become routine and predictable. You go to church, you give some, you pray some, you try to refrain from certain activities that you have been told are bad, but a sense of adventure is missing. I can relate. I often find myself wanting more in life and faith than what I am currently experiencing. I read incredible stories in the Scriptures of men and women of faith who did crazy things with and for God and I want some of what they experienced to be true of my life. The irony is I often find myself wanting to retreat from the very things that make life and faith exciting. My tendency is to choose comfort over faith and security over adventure. This is not a winning formula. In order to embrace adventurous faith, we need to say yes to the adventures that God is inviting us on.
Do you remember the story of Moses recorded in the book of Exodus? Do you remember how Moses came to be the leader of the nation of Israel? It started with him running into fire.
Moses was out in the wilderness, minding his own business, doing his own thing, when God called out to Moses through the fire of a burning bush. It was from that conversation Moses had with God through the fire of a burning bush that Moses’s life changed forever. He would never be the same again. How could he be? He had experienced the literal fire of God.
Can you relate? Has there been a moment in your life when you knew, not just theologically, but also experientially that God was present with you? Have you sensed His presence? Have you observed him doing something in -or through- you that could only be explained by His presence with you? Maybe it was when you first placed your faith in Christ, maybe it was at a point after that, maybe there have been (by God’s grace) multiple moments during the course of your life where you encountered the fire of God and He was undeniably, experientially present.
Maybe this wasn’t some loud experience for you. Maybe it was a whisper, a calm assurance that He was there, but whatever it was like, it was enough for you to know, enough for you to trust God.
Think about what it was like for Moses encountering God through the fire of the burning bush. There was no question in his mind that he had encountered the fire of God, that this experience was real, and that life and spirituality could never be the same ever again.
And do you remember what happens next? Do you remember what God’s desired outcome was for interacting with Moses through the fire of the burning bush?
He wanted to send him to Pharaoh, the ruler of the powerful nation of Egypt, who had in his control the nation of Israel as his slaves. God wanted to send Moses to Pharaoh as the instrument through whom Israel would secure its liberation from oppression and slavery!
So really we could say that God appeared to Moses in the form of fire to send him into the fire (metaphorically speaking) of the palace of Pharaoh.
This seems to be a common theme.
As I reflect on the main positive characters in the Bible there are two things that almost all of them have in common. 1.) they have an encounter with God 2.) they receive a calling from God and respond to that calling. There is something that God wants them to do, some grand adventure he wants to send them on.
We see this time and time again. We see this with Noah, we see this with Abraham, we see this with Samuel, we see this with Isaiah, we see this with Jonah, we see this with all of the disciples, we see this with the Apostle Paul. Maybe you are new to Christianity and those names mean nothing to you… that’s fine… let me fill in the gap for you. These individuals had God-encounters from which they never recovered and then were given incredible assignments from God.
Interacting with us through “fire” and sending us into “fire” seems to be what God does. When God appears to us in the fire He sends us into the fires around us. I might have missed the story in the Bible where God shows up to give a guy a high five, watch a game and eat some tacos, but generally speaking, when God encounters individuals He commissions them to do great work, significant kingdom work, He sends them (if you will) running into fire.
Let me ask you something. Is this currently your story? If you are reading this my guess is that at some point in time you have had an encounter with God that was real and meaningful. If you are like me, you are not content with the encounters you have had with God in the past, you hope those are merely the beginning. Perhaps while you may have had a real encounter with God, you have not responded to the tremendous invitation of God; you have yet to embrace adventurous faith. I am convinced God has more for you and for me. I hope you will chose to join me on this journey of embracing adventurous faith.