Have you ever thought of your life as an adventure? Our kids used to love reading the Choose Your Own Adventure book series when they were younger. The stories are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the reader, as the main character in the story, faces two or three options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings. The number of endings could range anywhere from 12 to 40. This allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, as the reader chooses their own adventure. Life is a lot like that!
Every adventure starts with a calling or mission then proceeds through various challenges and struggles to an eventual destination. Adventure requires making a choice to step out of our comfort zones of safety into the risk of unknown worlds of opportunities. There are dragons to slay and mountains to conquer. You choose you own adventure.
Have you ever thought of your life as an adventure? Every adventure starts with a calling or mission then proceeds through various challenges and struggles to an eventual destination. Adventure requires making a choice to step out of our comfort zones of safety into the risk of unknown worlds of opportunities. There are dragons to slay and mountains to conquer. You choose you own adventure.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]
"A ship is safe in harbour, but that's not what ships are for." [William Shedd]
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” [Helen Keller]
“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone … I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!” [J.R.R. Tolkein in The Hobbit]
Genesis 12 is the central passage of the book of Genesis. Here we move from the history of mankind, beginning with the creation of the world by God, to the history of Israel as a nation, beginning with the story of Abraham. Into a situation of hopelessness and barrenness, with no foreseeable future (Gen.11:30), God spoke and called Abraham to leave home and follow Him (Gen.12:1-3). Abraham was to become the “father of all who believe” (Rom.4:16). Abraham’s story introduces journey as a metaphor for the life of faith. We are called to follow God in a life of pilgrimage, moving with God through life, in a multi-generational journey of faith – an adventure.
The Adventure of Your Life
Like Abraham, God calls you to follow him … on this adventure called LIFE. But that invitation requires a response. We have a choice to make. Abraham was a man of faith and action – he went, he took, he entered, he built, he journeyed, and so on. He obediently acted on the revelation he received, despite the tensions created by his own age and the barrenness of his wife.
God’s will is not something extremely hard or unenjoyable. The apostle Paul called God’s will “good, pleasing and perfect (Rom.12:1-2).” Jesus described his burden as “easy and light” (Matt.11:28-30) and said he came to give us a “rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10)” in contrast to the thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy. There is much freedom in God’s will, with few prohibitions and many possible choices (Gen.2:16). Even God’s commands are “for our good” (Deut.6:24). Who will we trust? Yes, there is a cost to discipleship … but there is also a joy.
1. God is your companion and guide on your adventure.
God called Abraham into a relationship with Himself and to be a part of His covenant purpose for the world. In responding to God’s call, Abraham moved from being a pagan who worshipped many gods to becoming a worshipper and “friend” of Yahweh, the true God of heaven and earth. This was a conversion by faith and obedience, in response to a revelation from God.
God calls us too, as children of Abraham, into relationship with Himself. God speaks to us be His Spirit and His Word. Like Abraham (Gen.12:7-9), we are to respond by building an altar of worship and prayer in our lives, as an expression of our devotion to God. Our adventure is about honouring God, growing in our relationship with him, and seeking him for guidance along the way.
It’s a call to PRAY. Prayer is simply conversation or dialogue with God – sharing whatever is on our heart with him and listening to the voice of his Spirit. Through faith and complete trust in God we can overcome the unbelief, doubt, discouragement, and apathy that so often hinders our prayers.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” [Saint Augustine of Hippo]
2. Your Adventure is a Shared Experience
Abraham was given two instructions: (1) leave and (2) be a blessing. Intertwined with these instructions, were two sets of three promises each. In the first set, God expressed a commitment to Abraham to make him into a great nation, to bless him, and make his name great. In the second set of promises, God said he would bless those who blessed Abraham, curse those who cursed (or showed disdain or contempt), and that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him. This was the highest goal for Abraham’s calling. God was working through one family for the benefit of all families. This included sharing the knowledge of God, which Abraham had possibly already engaged in with those he had taken into his household (see Gen.12:5).
We too are called to be a part of a community of faith, the church. No one is to do life alone. Together we can discover meaningful relationships and a sense of belonging. From there we too can SHARE with others the good news about the God we worship and serve. Church exists for mission – for others. This starts with hospitality and flows out to sharing our faith in God.
3. Your Adventure serve a greater purpose.
In the middle of two sets of promises, God instructed Abraham to “be a blessing”. That is, Abraham was to let this blessing work in him and his family in order that he might become the agent through whom God might bless others. Unfortunately, blessing for the entire world never became a program for concerted action by God’s people until after the ascension of Jesus.
In the same way, Jesus calls us to follow him, to go into the world, and to be a blessing to whoever we come into contact with. Our adventure is for others. It’s about contribution, service and making a difference. God has shaped us for a specific purpose and he has some good works for us to do (Eph.2:8-10). Use your gifts to SERVE others.
As a response to God's relentless love for us, and the adventure that he has called us to embark on, we want to commit ourselves afresh to be devoted to God this year – to PRAY more passionately, to SHARE our faith more intentionally, and to SERVE with our gifts more wholeheartedly. As we do, we will see a greater fulfillment of our mission to be fervent followers of Jesus Christ reaching out to our world.
1. Reflect on a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone to do something new.
2. What inspires you most about Abraham and his response to Gods call?
3. Consider the difference between pioneers and settlers. How can we keep that sense of adventure in our journey of faith?
4. Reflect on “God’s will” for our life and the different ways that he guides us.
5. Consider the concept of “motivation.” The first believers “devoted themselves” to some important practices (Acts 2:42-47). Where did this inner motivation come from and what fuelled it?
6. Remind yourself of an answer to prayer that really built your faith in God.
7. Write out your own story of coming to faith in Christ. Who shared with you?
8. Make a list of some people in your world who you would love to come to faith in Christ this year.
9. What are some of the joys or benefits of serving through volunteering (inside or outside church)?