Risk Taking -- Carl Tinnion
The White Piece of Paper
When you think of a white piece of paper what do you feel and think. Infinite possibility, board, need some colour, I don't know what to do, fire, paper air plane, where do I start. The interesting thing is that we all approach it differently. Some people wet themselves with excitement, others think, horrible. Good for us to bear that in mind. It is good to point out that we are all different. Some people will love taking risks. God has made us to take risks.
What if I Fail?
Luke 14:28 Which of you who wants to build a tower...counts the cost. This man began but couldn't finish. The challenge comes when you are overwhelmed by the negative consequence of the risk. Moving to York had much threat associated with it. The biggest was, what if I fail, what if it goes wrong and I look stupid. What if this dream I'm passionate about doesn't work and I fail and get embarrassed and have to leave YWAM. A big fear was loss of face. What if I say all this stuff, people follow me and I mess it up and look stupid and am a failure. That's a big risk to take, especially if you like being a leader and don't want to lose it.
What Stops People Taking a Risk?
What causes us to decide to stay in a comfortable place rather than step out? We look at others and admire them and leave the risks to them. Risks can look different for different people. A risk could be taking on a new role in your YWAM community, stepping into a new leadership role, starting a new ministry in your base. Or fancying this girl and asking if she wants to go on a date. Or leaving my country and starting afresh somewhere else. Or starting a new YWAM team. I think the enemy wants to stop us taking risks because being a risk taker is not a glamorous thing for strong people but it is about faith. To take a risk in God's economy is to step out in faith. Hear from God and step out even if I don't know how it will work, choosing to trust God.
Stepping Out in the Darkness
The Lord used this verse to help guide us to York --- Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the Lord...trust in the name of the Lord and rely on your God. I fed from this scripture. I am a go-getter, a builder, a maker. I like to develop strategy and make things happen, solve problems. I would light my own torch because I will fix my own problems. "God, I'm not sure You will do anything so I'll do it my own way." But this verse says that those who walk in darkness trust their God. Stepping out in faith is like a step in the darkness. As a third generation YWAMer I have grown up listening to yesterday's stories of stepping out in faith and it seems glamorous and I think, "I could never be like that." I want to confess and proclaim to you that stepping out and the faith life is a fear-filled life. You are in the darkness and don't know what will happen. In the darkness when you are choosing to trust God, it is a beautiful place to be. It doesn't feel good but it is right and beautiful. There were times in the first few years in York when I felt far from God but I knew that I wasn't lighting my own torch and there was a fear there that God loved and came back to the verse and confessed it was true. And my relationship with the Lord has gone deep, my understanding of who He is has gone deep in my life. And this is part of who we are in YWAM. Everyone doesn't have to start a new base but we all have to live by faith, to hear from God and to obey, to walk blindly and trust Him. I think that is what YWAM is and it is how YWAM was birthed. My YWAM forefathers and mothers are great men and women and faith and yet I'm sure they were wondering what they had done.
Faith Life is a Fear-Filled Life
The word I think we should take to our communities is that it is not a glamorous thing but a life of faith. It is fear-filled. One minute it is "Yes Lord," the next, "Lord what have I done?" something changed in me when I processed the decision. I might lose face, I might fail. SO WHAT! What if I fail and lose face. What if everyone thinks I'm a donkey. There is a fair bet that everyone thinks that already. And we give the fear more power than it deserves. There are so many fears that hold us back and I'm not sure God means it that way. We are not to be governed by fear but by faith. I hope I always walk in the darkness because I don't feel strong and I have to trust the Lord. I don't want to lose this.
What Are Some of the Fears for You?
At this moment we are all facing some sort of a risk. New role, dream you've carried for years you'd love to do, country you'd love to go to, new ministry you'd love to start, new relationship you'd like to start.
What fears are holding you back? What is the cost involved? I like to do 'ministry experiments'. In York we like to try something and see how it goes. Let's give it a go. If it doesn't work we'll give it another go. There is something good about wanting to just 'go for stuff'. I don't care what I look like. If it doesn't work out I don't think it's a failure. Went on the LDC with Stephe Mayers and Mariette Lowe. I thought I had a pride thing because I couldn't remember any failures. But then it wasn't that I had never failed, just how I'd processed the failures. I'd looked from it, learned from it and it ceased to have power over me. Started a night club for teenagers -- there was nothing for them and also created a safe place. It was messy, we didn't know what we were doing, had no money but thought, "Let's give it a go." Went for it. Last time had 200 teenagers. The journey of faith is a little like this and I want you to remember this image:
Carl Acts Something Out
Take a mental photo of this moment --- Carl shuffles slowly clenching and unclenching his hands. He inched forward. Did Carl move forward? Yes, pitiful but yes. It is what it is like moving in the dark. There is something about walking in the dark that makes you dependent on God. The Israelites in the desert had to be in relationship with God.
The Practical Bit
Response. I'd like to invite you to get into discussion about this. There is coffee and there will be music. Talk about this. When we get in an iron sharpening iron situation we encourage one another, or, I know someone who could help you with that. Or, I want to do that as well or, I'm going back to my base and support you or give you some money.
I've brought in some ash.... We have been using the image of beauty for ashes. Europe looks like it is all ashes -- post Christian Europe, it is all the end. And when you look at ash you think death. How do we feel when you see desolation? The YWAM that I love always has its eyes open and sees the ash and asks God, "How should we respond? How do we bring restoration, how will You bring restoration?" it is good for gardening, fertile soil.
I finish and leave you with this one thing. I'm going to jump from this chair to the next. Will I fall, might I break something? He jumped and it was OK.
Many of you are facing the same leap, it is a leap of faith. In that it was a bit stupid because God might not be with me but when it is with the ashes it is a different dynamic -- when God is for us, who can be against us? Extending God's kingdom depends on how much we are going to be governed by our fears.
Piece of music, where are you at, what are you facing, what are you carrying, what dreams are you hoping for? What does God have to say about it. It is more about obedience rather than living in fear. After the music I invite you to talk about some of the dreams and some of the risks and fears. And see what emerges from it. This is what this consultation is about. Thank you.
- LDC = Leadership Development Course