Rock Climbing

July 26, 2015

David Sorn

Tired of living a boring life? God has some rocks for you to climb!

Rock Climbing

July 26, 2015

David Sorn

Tired of living a boring life? God has some rocks for you to climb!



Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor of Renovation Church.

Ever gone rock climbing before?

I’ve watched other people rock climb.

Does that count?

It’s hard work. I can see that from watching.

Especially if you’re “legit rock climbing,” and scaling a actual cliff.

When I was a kid, we went to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and I saw people actually climbing up the side of this.

(Show Devil’s Tower Picture)

You can see my great family photo to prove it.

Sidenote: When I was a Youth Pastor, one of my 9th grade technicians was picking pictures out of some nature folder to put as backgrounds for worship songs.

And he put a picture up of this.

I had to inform him that this was called Devil’s Tower, and perhaps “Devil’s Tower” wasn’t the most inspiring concept for worship J

Now imagine you’re climbing up a cliff…and there’s someone waiting at the top to kill you.

Even scarier.

BUT…what if God told you to climb anyway??

That’s a story we’re going to look at in a minute in the Bible this morning.

We are continuing in our Monarchy series as we go through the Book of 1 Samuel in the OT this year.

If you’re visiting for the first time today, much of 1 Samuel is about how Israel got their first King…Saul.

He’s made some great decisions as a king, and some “not so good ones.”

Today we’re going to see some more of the “not so good ones” in chapter 14 J

BUT…God is going to purposefully contrast Saul’s story with the story of Saul’s son, Jonathan.

Let’s take a look at our passage

(Page 223)

(Renovation App)

(1 Samuel 14:1-14) – NIV

1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. 4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba. 6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” 7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” 8 Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.” So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.


My goal today is to teach you how to be a rock climber.

Not a literal rock climber…as I mentioned…I have no experience rock climbing J

But I want to teach you how to be a spiritual rock climber…like Jonathan.

How do you trust in God for great things, and then take the steps you need to have those things carried out?

To me, it all starts with a courageous attitude.

#1: Choose a Courageous Attitude

In Scripture, Moses tells his successor Joshua, and David tells his son Solomon…BE Strong and COURAGEOUS.

If you want to see God do great things in your life…it’s going to take courage to believe him for it.

Nolan Bushnell, who was the founder of Atari, once said, “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference”

Many of us have ideas about how we could serve God…or how God could make a change in our lives.

But in order to start walking in them…we’re going to need some courage.

You’re going to need to start walking.

And that’s where it starts for Jonathan.

It’s interesting because God hasn’t actually told him yet that he should specifically go to this outpost, climb the cliff, and attack the men.

Jonathan just has a courageous heart for defending his people…and he grabs his armor bearer and starts walking.

Then, in verse 6, he says, “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

He has a courageous heart.

One of the many, many hats I wear as the lead pastor of this church is to recruit new church planters.

We have a very and audacious goal to plant 10 churches out of our church by 2022.

Our 3rd church, by the way, Revision Church in Des Moines, is officially launching with public services in late September, so please keep them in your prayers.

But one of my jobs is to recruit future church planters to come out of Renovation.

And when I sit down with potential candidates, I’m looking for courage in their heart.

Just like Jonathan, they don’t have a specific call yet, but you want to see guys that are going, “I just want to reach people for Jesus! Someone needs to reach people for Jesus! Nothing can hinder the Lord! Just tell me where to do it!”

And that should be our heart as well.

That we would have courageous faith

That we should believe God wants us to start rock climbing in our lives.

For too many of us, our lives are too ordinary.

We’re much more like the Jonathan’s contrast in this chapter, his father Saul.

While Jonathan is just itching to do something for God…his father is “sitting under the pomegranate tree” (verse 2 tells us)

As we discussed last week, the Philistines are still thinking about invading Israel…and Saul still is sitting around…lacking courage.

Saul characteristically is an odd combination of fear, impulsivity, and inaction.

But his son, Jonathan, is a courageous person who takes action.

Saul is simply a responder.

(1 Samuel 14:15-17) – NIV

15 Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God. 16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

So now, we’re going to see in a moment, that Saul is going to respond.

So are you a courageous person (like Jonathan) or are you a responder (like Saul)?

Are you a follower of Christ that takes action?

Do you have the attitude of Jonathan?

That “perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf? That He can win any battle?

Because God has some rocks He wants you to climb.

And if you’re going to start climbing, it has to start with a courageous attitude…which comes from a heart of faith.

And God is probably calling different people in this room to climb different rocks:

For some of you, he’s put some sort of ministry on your heart.

He wants to use your gifts, whether administratively, behind the scenes, or even in leadership, to make a difference in this world.

But you’ve been stuck sitting on your big…comfy…safe couch.

You’re sitting under the pomegranate tree like Saul.

You came out of the shower with an idea…but you’re still on your couch.

Because…well…the cliff looks really high.

And what if there are some people up there who want to knock you down?

Choose courage.


Perhaps the Lord will act in your behalf!

For some of you, maybe it’s more of a relationship climb:

God’s nudging you to bring more spiritual leadership to your family.

Or He’s encouraging you, maybe as a dad or mom, to get more serious about teaching your kids the Bible…teaching them to pray.

It’s hard work…but nothing will happen if it’s just an idea.

If you just, like Saul, wait to respond, you’re going to miss the boat.

And it’s okay if you feel afraid.

As many have said, “Courage is not the absence of fear…it’s the ability to face your fears”

When people rock climb for the first time…most of them are shaking in their boots.

But they muster the courage to grab the wall, even with trembling fingers.

And you can muster courage…because your GOD is with you!

God wants you to rock climb!

Spiritual Rocking Climbing in your life really could be a number of things.

We all have things that the Holy Spirit is nudging us to.

If you don’t…the oh my word, you need to pray.

Because if there is one thing I can guarantee you: God is not calling you to a safe, easy, boring, and fruitless life.

He wants to use each and every one of you, and if you don’t know how yet…make that prayer request #1.


So once you get the courage up to start moving…to be a person of action…rather than just a sedentary person who never leaves the couch…

THEN…you need to be seeking the Lord’s specific calling.

#1: Choose a Courageous Attitude

#2: Seek the Lord’s Confirmation

It’s the difference between general and specific calling that we talk about often.

God’s calling everyone of us to serve, love, sacrifice, and more.

And in courage, we should all be doing that.

But as we are moving and serving, we then need to ask for more specific instructions.

This is PRECISELY what Jonathan does.

He asks for the Lord’s direction.

He says, “if they say ‘Come up to us,” we’ll know that the Lord is in this.

And indeed, he gets confirmation.

See, Jonathan, a man of action, was still humble enough to know that his heart might be wrong, so he asks for God’s direction.

The question for Jonathan, is NOT whether or not God CAN do this.

Or course He can!

It’s just, “God, is this your will at the moment?”

This is in direct contrast to what his father Saul does. Check this out:

I’m actually going to use the New Living Translation for the next few verses as I believe it’s more accurate.

The NIV says Saul has the Ark, but most translators believe it’s the ephod…which was like a vest the priests wore…when they were seeking God’s will.

They would stick their hand in the vest and pull out a rock…

Kind of like a “yes” or a “no”

(1 Samuel 14:18-20) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!

18 Then Saul shouted to Ahijah, “Bring the ephod here!” For at that time Ahijah was wearing the ephod in front of the Israelites. 19 But while Saul was talking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp grew louder and louder. So Saul said to the priest, “Never mind; let’s get going!” 20 Then Saul and all his men rushed out to the battle and found the Philistines killing each other. There was terrible confusion everywhere.

It’s an amazing contrast to Jonathan.

Both Saul and Jonathan were in serious situations.

Jonathan has men right above him on the cliff…but he consults the Lord first.

Saul…has his enemy fleeing in battle, so he begins to consult God about his next steps…BUT…like he does ALMOST every chapter…he gets impatient…and finally says to the priest, “Never mind, let’s get going!”


Saul isn’t so much wicked…as he is just foolish.

So be a ROCK CLIMBER for Jesus.

Be a person that’s seeking to do bold things for Him.

Whether that’s impacting kids or families just in your neighborhood

Or maybe even doing the impossible and getting two family members to talk again.

Or Signing-up on your connection card to start serving here…

If you’re not part of this amazing team that’s changing lives every single week…absolutely start there.

Come hold one of our hundreds of babies…or work with our A/V team.

Be a bold ROCK CLIMBER for Jesus.

But before you scale a specific wall.

Always seek the Lord’s confirmation.

Jonathan’s words are LOADED with wisdom.

God CAN do anything…but his WILL doesn’t apply to EVERYTHING.


And if you’re going to get off the boring couch and out from under the pomegranate tree…if you’re going to start making your walk with God exciting again…you’re going to start climbing more cliffs for Jesus…then you’re going to need some help to do it:

#1: Choose a Courageous Attitude

#2: Seek the Lord’s Confirmation

#3: Get Friends to Encourage & Fight Along with You

This is one of the hallmarks of this passage.

Jonathan’s armor bearer says to him in verse 7: “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul!”

Don’t we all want that in our lives?!?

And yet, Americans are good at many things, but being friends and sharing life together is not one of them.

ESPN recently had an article on basketball star Kobe Bryant and his comments about friendship.

When Bryant was asked if he had any friends, he said: “I have ‘like minds.’ You know, I've been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working.”

I think our great-grandparents would be shocked to see the state of our friendships in America.

We’ve chosen work…materialism…and all sorts of other things over friendship.

And now, we’re so far removed from friendship, most of us don’t even know where to start.

This is why every September to May, we provide weekly House Groups for our people…which by the way…as we continue to grow, we are starting our SIXTH House Group (a brand new House Group this fall)

Our House Groups are groups of 20-30 people who meet weekly…where you can make friends and grow in your faith.

And I think one of the reasons we have almost 80% of all of our adults in one is because we’re providing something that the world can no longer provide…friends.

And we NEED friends…

Especially as we grow up.

This past Monday, I took my two-year old son Rock Climbing.

Well, okay, not real rock climbing.

(Show Picture of Jeremiah on park climbing wall)

And as he got about halfway up, he said, “Help daddy!”

And I helped him to the top, but when he wanted to play on the top of the 8 foot wall, I insisted that wasn’t a good idea J

And it’s a good picture of what we need.

We need friends, armor bearers, who are going to say, “I’m with you heart and soul”

“When you get stuck…I’ll encourage you go further.”

We need friends to encourage us and say “Yeah, I’m with you! Let’s do it!

Our parents di that for us when we were young, but we eventually need others to do it for us

Think about some basic spiritual things that we’re all afraid to do, and what a difference a good friend would make.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to come to Haiti with us, but honestly, you’re a bit afraid (of what you’d be going to or what you’d be leaving behind).

But what if you and your friend from your small group went together?

Maybe that would be enough to give you the courage you need…

Again, not to eliminate fear, but to have enough courage to face your fear!

Maybe you’re feeling led to start spiritual rock climbing at work…and start talking to one of your co-workers more about God.

What if you did it together with another one of your Christian co-workers?

Friends make all the difference in the world.

They help us get up the wall…when all we’re thinking about is just climbing back down.

Jonathan’s friend gives him the courage to keep going forward.

In contrast to Saul, who will continue to isolate himself throughout 1 Samuel (especially from Samuel)

And if you don’t feel like you have people like that in your life yet…then step #1 is to sign-up for a House Group this September.

By the way, we are still looking for 1 or 2 more families to open up their homes as Host Homes.

Not as leaders…just merely to open up your homes weekly for a House Group.

There are A LOT of you that can do this…we don’t need a 5,000 square foot house to do this either.

Some of you NEED to do this.

God gave you a home…blessed you with a home…use it for him.

Use it to be a place where people meet and encourage one another to ROCK CLIMB for Jesus.

Some of you need to get out your bulletin…and write down that YOU will rock climb for Jesus…take a step forward and use your home for ministry.

IF you’re not going to write it down now, talk to me afterwards.

But don’t just wait for someone else to do it.

Stop living life under the pomegranate tree while everyone else gets to experience the thrill and honor of being used by God.


So this is the recipe for good spiritual Rock Climbing

#1: Choose a Courageous Attitude

#2: Seek the Lord’s Confirmation

#3: Get Friends to Encourage & Fight Along with You


See God Move!

#4 is more of a result than a step in the recipe.

If you are courageously trusting God in your everyday life…you’re seeking His confirmation…and your friends are encouraging you to go forward in it…

When you move forward in it yourself, you’re going to get to climb some amazing cliffs…and see God do some amazing things in your life!

When Jonathan does these things…He gets the enjoyment and honor of seeing God work to do amazing things through him.

Meanwhile…the opposite is happening through his father Saul

Jonathan Saul

#1: Get a Courageous Attitude #1: Live a Life of Fear

#2: Seek the Lord’s Confirmation #2: Don’t Seek God’s Will

#3: Get Friends to Encourage & Fight Along with You #3: Isolate Yourself

____________________________________________ __________________________

See God Move See a Life of Poor Decisions

In fact, if you read the rest of chapter 14 (which I highly encourage everyone to do this week), Saul is making crazy oaths (without consulting God), and it almost leads to death of his amazing son Jonathan.

My encouragement to you this morning is to get off the couch, start moving, start listening, and obeying.

This has been such a theme for our church in 1 Samuel this summer.

Each and everyone of us needs to key in to God and listen…

He wants to use you for something. All of you!

The famous 19th Century American Evangelist, D.L. Moody once said,

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully surrendered to him” – D.L. Moody

For most of us, you’ve only tapped into about 5% of what God wants to do through your life and through your gifings.

So start moving, start listening, and start obeying.

God has some cliffs for each and everyone of you to climb, and there are amazing things at the top of it.

So start rock climbing!

Let’s pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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