The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears. — DAVID WHYTE
—Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 143). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
A pair of psychologists from the University of Michigan conducted a fascinating study that sheds light on the fear of loss. One hundred and six volunteers donned caps containing electrodes, and while they engaged in a computer-simulated betting game, researchers analyzed their brains' electrical activity in response to winning and losing. The betting game allowed subjects to place either a five-or a twenty-five-cent bet, and after they made their selection, the box they checked turned green or red, indicating whether the bet was added to or subtracted from their winnings. With each bet, the medial frontal cortex in their brains showed increased electrical activity within a matter of milliseconds. But what intrigued the researchers was that medial frontal negativity showed a larger dip after a loss than the rise in medial frontal positivity after a win. In fact, during a string of losses, medial frontal negativity dipped lower with each loss. So each loss was compounded by the previous loss. Researchers came to a simple yet profound conclusion: losses loom larger than gains. In other words, the aversion to loss of a certain magnitude is greater than the attraction to gain of the same magnitude. —Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (pp. 143-144). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Yikes! Those volunteers were more worried about losses than they are about the possible gains. Hmm. Sounds like churches sometimes, especially in these last twenty years. There are so many churches — mainline or non-denominational — that have been fighting the "we are one generation from extinction" since the 1980's. Many churches became so accustomed to what the church had been in the 50's-70's, that when faced with losses, they focused more on the magnitude of the losses than what the greater gains would have been if they had done one thing: Be the church Christ intended! Be Jesus to the world. Serve and love the world. Be places of healing and reconciliation. Extend extravagant hospitality to all people. Be good stewards of God's creation.
Maybe David Whyte is on to something when he said, "The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears." What if for the last thirty years churches would have been more focused on what I said in the above paragraph about what the church should be — always? Churches that have spent too much time on the fear of losing their "then world" have sucked all the vitality out of themselves fretting about what was and what might be in the future. No kids. No young adults. No resources. No building. No congregation. The gospel of "more butts and bucks in the pews" has never worked, and it never will. It will suck the vitality out of a church, and the sum of all our fears will indeed come to reality. However, I am excited about the possibilities and the vitality that lies ahead for Spring Creek. I am already starting to see glimpses of it. I am seeing Otro día, otra aventura ("Another day, another adventure") here. As we continue the adventure of transition and new possibilities, remember these words from Mark Batterson in our following of God's Wild Goose so that we focus on the gains rather than "reside" in the fear of possible losses.
Instead of following the Spirit, we invite the Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God's purposes, we want Him to serve our purposes. And while this may seem like a subtle distinction, it makes an ocean of difference. The result of this inverted relationship with God is not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty, it's also the difference between spiritual boredom and spiritual adventure. —Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 4). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
When you lack the courage to chase the Wild Goose, the opportunity costs are staggering. Who might not hear about the love of God if you don't seize the opportunity to tell them? Who might be stuck in poverty, stuck in ignorance, stuck in pain if you're not there to help free them? Where might the advance of God's kingdom in the world stall out because you weren't there on the front lines? —Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 11). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
You know what is most lacking? Good old-fashioned guts! We need people who are more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes. People who are more afraid of lifelong regrets than temporary failure. People who dare to dream the unthinkable and attempt the impossible. —Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 145). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
UPCOMING SERVICES AND SERMON TOPICS
Worship is at 10:30 Sunday morning unless otherwise noted.
02/04/18 — Pastor Steve will be on vacation.
Prairie Association Minister Kathy Lawes will bring the message and preside over communion this Sunday.