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Where the Wild Things Are

Pastor Casey Parnell shares on his departure from church staff. In his message, he teaches on the Holy Spirit and the wild adventure that ensues when we’re willing to take a leap of faith.


my name is Casey I am currently the creative arts pastor here in five days I will not be because last week if you missed it pastor Steve announced it Cory my brother and I who've been full-time staff members are actually transitioning out of full-time staff to go pursue a music career so yeah can you believe it so in a few months you know if we're starving make sure you feed us or whatever happens I'm just kidding this has been a really incredible journey to get to this point and just lots of Prayer and moments pour it into this but I just want to honor you as my church family you guys have been such a special and significant part of my life and I'm gonna still be part of this church I'll still be in one of the rows somewhere with pom-poms on rooting the whole team on and just except for Evan I'm not gonna cheer him on but everybody else I'm gonna cheer on so no I haven't hit faster Evans taking my position here at the church which is creative arts director which is essentially just responsible for all the interpretive dance that happens up here all the time that's all I do literally all I do anyways it's been an absolute honor to serve here and I want to tell you guys that you have the best lead pastor here at Westside that I've ever seen yeah and there's not there's not anything bad about this there's no I know everyone when they see a transition like this they wonder if there's something behind the scenes are or some kind of foul play or whatever but I just have to tell you me and Steve Mikkel were just two weeks ago just weeping in his office together about my life not about what's the church gonna do or anything like that but our just about me his care and his his pastoring and shepherding so what an amazing place this is yeah give give God a hand for what he's done here and so I'm thankful in 2003 think about this in 2003 what were you doing were you still eating ramen left over from y2k your dad had stored up or were you what were you doing in 2003 can you remember that far back that was 15 years ago and 15 years ago I was in Boise Idaho and I was sitting in my car and I had a clip-on tie on and a hairnet on and a hat and an apron and I was about to go inside and serve coleslaw and a deli for like eight hours straight just every people loved coleslaw in Idaho it's a thing and so I was serving I was serving this coleslaw at my job and Steve Stern called me up and he said God is moving in band and this is actually my where I went to high school so it's kind of my hometown but he called me back and said God is moving in Bend at Westside we feel like you should come and be our youth worship pastor and I was sitting there in the car with the name name tag and hearing out on and I was like and leave all of this behind it was just a really I mean that was dirty jobs there's some things they made me do in that job that were just just like this is what people film shows about but I hear in 2003 I remember the day I drove up nervously to go to my first day of work and I was totally overdressed for my first day of work here it's a pretty casual place like I get my first Sunday here I had like full full suit and tie on basically because I was just like the church I was at in Idaho and then I in the front row there's a guy with like these really high shorty shorts on and a tank top and I was like that guy's apparently we're very casual at Westside Church so it's how this place goes anyways I will get to the point of this message so pastor Steve announced our transition it's a really good thing and God is leading me into the wild I want you to know I've prayed about this and thought about this and I'm being obedient to the Holy Spirit which is what we're going to talk about today so you're an amazing people and I wanted to read this scripture over you because I believe and you can receive this that God is going to do something brand new ooh in in the midst of Westside church and in our people here so let's this is gonna be on the screen Isaiah 43 this is what God says the God who builds a road right through the ocean that's pretty cool who carves a path through pounding ways the God who summons horses and chariots and armies they lie down and they can't get up there snuffed out like so many candles forget about what's happened don't keep going over old history some of you need to be refreshing that don't keep going over your old history leave it behind be alert be present I'm about to do something brand new everyone say brand new brand new it's bursting out don't you see it there it is I'm making a road through the desert rivers in the badlands wild animals will even say thank you that's got to be really cool when that happens the Coyotes and the buzzards because I will provide water in the desert rivers through the sun-baked earth drinking water for the people I chose the people I made especially for myself a custom people made to praise me I wonder if you could just receive that newness this morning Westside Church just receive it I'm gonna be sitting in these chairs I'm stepping out in a new adventure in a new faith and as I've been stepping out so many of you have told me your own story about stepping out and risking and believing God it's been really inspiring to me but believe that God is gonna do something brand new in you so before I move fully into this message I want to poke fun at Korie and I really quick for leaving the church through the top five reasons we hypothetically could be leaving staff okay this could be so here's the first one use of Westside essentials class to start up an elite underground gambling ring that's the first one second one to many all staff emails from Cory about his end times predictions see how that goes for everybody Jeannie is sick of those in the front desk number three Casey almost burnt the church down in 2005 with a youth group fireworks stunts this may or may not be true it's actually true let me just tell you really quick the we we set off fireworks for something for we don't do this anymore it's it's funny how like throughout my time in youth ministry like we outlawed sumo suits and we out loud fireworks and it's like the only thing in youth group they could do is just sit there quietly so nothing bad happened the kids were long story short kids were kicking over fireworks and they were kicking them at the church building somebody I know right this is why they moved me to creative arts um so so somebody kicked him over and we thought we put it out with water in the next day that I get a call from the executive pastor and this is if you remember Craig Eshelman calls me this is not good like it's not of day off and he's like hey can you come to the come to the church right now and they come to the church and outside the bark dust is smoldering and the whole youth office hallway is filled with smoke and he said I put it all out but let's just keep this one between me and you so there's like a decade ago so I'm just thinking maybe that I get to cover two multitude of sins is far enough back I'm still here okay moving on number four plans for the back storage room greenhouse grow went up in smoke that was hypothetical you guys it's funny it's organ it's okay this is whatever it is we don't okay and then Casey ended up having a secret family in Mexico adios amigos I thought on my last one I could at least do that for you so if you had any trouble with any of these jokes you can email them to see Parnell at Westside Church org and that will be automatically forwarded to pastor Evan at the end of this week so have at it okay this message is called where the wild things are where the wild things are let's pray father thank you for your presence in this room 11:15 thank you that we can have fun and thank you for your spirit here and what an amazing time of worship you are so good and I love and worship thinking about your kind to us and thank you that your intentional towards us and you don't leave us stuck where we're at but you keep us moving forward so thank you for that speak to each heart Lord as we as we dive into your word today in Jesus name Amen and so sometimes in life God changes your route he changes her course and I remember I was in Cairo Egypt massive city 18 million people unofficially in Cairo Egypt and we're looking at the Pyramids at Giza and we're about to take these camels to ride to the pyramids and they're like ride to the pyramids this sounds great so I think we're gonna navigate our way through the city streets but they they take us in this moment they set us up with camels and if you've ever ridden a camel there's like they basically had a set up in twos so there's my my brother Corey and his new fiance Whitney and they're together on a camel you know riding a camel together and there's my my good friends Mike and Ali they're on a camel together and then there's me and my good buddy Tim and something like we're just trying to describe the moment to like the proximity of us sitting together on this camel it was like you know when you're going down a slide and you decide to do a train I can tell you that's what it was like for like four hours and so he was just movement and stuff I'm like he's just turns to me and goes this is is what it is bro just embrace it like embrace our moment in Egypt together and so we're just a side note I thought it was funny and then um we're we're going and I think we're gonna weave through the city but instead they take us out into the sand and it's like Aladdin it's we're going out into the sand is like desert wasteland all the way out thousands of miles of Sahara Desert to our left and then they weave us around and all of a sudden the pyramids start coming up in their full glory and so they kind of took us a different route and it was absolutely amazing so I'm thinking in this moment in my life I'm trying to get unstuck in a few ways and God is taking me on a different route and so I I went to counseling this year to try to figure some of these things out in my life and talked to somebody about it we totally encouraged that here at the church and just think it's amazing to process your life with somebody and this word wild kept coming up and it's like when you buy a this is when you buy a Subaru Outback and then like you start seeing that car everywhere else well in Bend you're gonna see Subarus anyways but if like if you bought a new truck or whatever you start seeing that truck everywhere I started to see this word wild everywhere it was just all over everything I was reading it was there was a big sign on a place where I was going it's called it just a restaurant as it said wild on the wall and so I just began to pray and it kind of led to this step and so I wanted to say to you guys there's the sense in me that many of us need to not just me but many of us need to refresh our sense of adventure in God and so what is the craziest thing you have ever done I think about it just to kind of get in this line what's the craziest thing you've ever done I'm gonna show you a picture of the craziest thing I've ever done and so that's me jumping off a bridge in New Zealand my brother and I were in New Zealand two years ago Queenstown and that's about 300 feet up and at the top of it they asked me there's they said do you want to be dunked in the water or not and I was like I'm here I'm jumping off a bridge I'm gonna get dunked so and so Jason and I are freaking out my older brother are freaking out and then we watch this 12 year old girl just step up walk up and just leap off and we're like okay okay we can do this like we can we're good like we can handle it so what what in your life requires some risk that a pastor Evan last week said in Hebrews 11 he said without faith it's impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and he's a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him so let me say it in kind of the kind of a Christian way what in your life acquires faith what in your life I think about it what what in your own life requires faith pastor Ken Johnson the old lead pastor here used to say what what are you believing in so much so that if God doesn't come through then you're through you know you're through if God doesn't come through in this area I'm through your stepping out in faith CS Lewis in in his book The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe has a character Susan and she's talking to a beaver about Aslan the line you may have heard this quote before but it says the the beaver is talking Aslan is a lion the lion the great lion o said Susan I thought he was a man is he quite safe I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion safe said mr. beaver who said anything about safe of course he isn't safe but he's good and that is a kind of God we serve as not a god who's always safe but he's good and I believe our faith is a response to God's Spirit with trust that he has our best in mind for us this is our faith in action so how do we know when we should step out this is kind of a big deal in entrepreneurial efforts and in the world today it's always been a big deal in sports but how do we know how to step out what's a good way to figure it out get a coach right we get a coach to help us influence our life to help us be better at something I have a I'm in a very beginner CrossFit class on Monday nights and the weights are light and they're easy honest kind of or whatever but this guy Ian is our coach and he's just the specimen of a man and he's inspiring you want to like walk the same road he's walked because he's such a stud so we need a coach when we're trying to figure things out and so today I'd like to propose a source of direction for your life a divine source and that source is the Holy Spirit and we're gonna spend the rest of our time talking about who the Holy Spirit is and what he can do and how he can activate us in our lives so are you guys with me this morning if you're with me give me a thumbs up I was want to know great and so I watched this lady in a park the other day get tugged by this huge dog and she was getting like it was a massive dog and she was this tiny little thing and she's like basically be boppin through the park with this dog just like heaving her through the park it's kind of like who's leading who here but I thought about this one I was thinking about this message I feel like some of you dog trainers in the room are mortified by that idea but the Holy Spirit is a lot like that dog he's not going to be a tame like you know Labrador that's just right at your side he's gonna be leading the charge leading the way sometimes you almost feel like you're being drugged to the new place mark Batterson he's one of my favorite authors he wrote the book the wild goose chase and he said this in Chapter one of the wild goose chase he said the Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit that's always intrigued me they call him on God gloss or the wild goose I love the imagery and implications the name hints at the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit much like a wild goose the spirit cannot be tracked or tamed an element of danger and air of unpredictability surround him and while the name may sound a little bit sacrilegious at first earshot I can't think of a better description of what it's like to pursue the spirits leading through life than a wild goose chase has anyone ever felt like they've been on a wild goose chase with God like they had literally God's taking you out of your comfort zone I want to talk about the Holy Spirit I want to sort of demystify him a little bit and the first thing I'd like to say is I was raised in a church where it was sort of Father Son and Holy Bible and not Father Son Holy Spirit I wasn't taught a lot about the Holy Spirit in fact I thought the Holy Spirit was a ghost that was sort of like booing throughout you know who around the room like I literally when I was a kid thought that so the Holy Spirit was scare actually scary to me he's like there's a ghost in here like that's frightening and so but it's actually not weird what I want to talk to you about this morning is how personal he is I think a lot of times we've labeled him as it and and this has been super important to me to communicate is that you can have a friendship with the Holy Spirit you could you any of you you don't have to stand up here and or have a guitar on or or do whatever or leave everything to go to the mission field you right now where you're at wherever you sit however messed up you are can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit he can live inside you he can speak to you he can change the course of your day if you just kind of say good morning Holy Spirit what is on the list today I always feel like the Holy Spirit is that friend that it's like have you ever had a friend that you're he wants you like you're closer to them then you feel like they are to you like or that you mean like they matter to you more than you matter to them I feel like that's when my relationship with Evanier occurred this whole time is that I really really love him like really love him and he's just like okay with me you know and but so it's just but I feel like the Holy Spirit's like that he really loves us he cares about our lives if we could just open our hearts to what he wants to do so if you believe in Jesus Jesus also endorses the Holy Spirit he does in the book of Acts we'll read it in a second he does this tag-team handoff in the book of Acts with the Holy Spirit and he send Jesus said he would send another in his place so let's look at some of the Holy Spirit's activities because he can actually be really beneficial to our lives the first is he comforts us so when we struggle when we're morning we're in a dark season of our life the Holy Spirit comforts the second thing he does is he inspires Scripture so if you feel like you're reading through the Bible and it's just kind of like like mindlessly you're having trouble reading through it or whatever not inspired the Holy Spirit helps scripture come alive actually I experienced this in college when I first started studying this he regenerates hearts he may he helps you make choices in your life he teaches us he guides he reveals Jesus he can Vic's he seals believers and he comes uniquely and famously in this one moment in Acts chapter two which we'll read right now it's going to be on the screen when the day of Pentecost came they were all together in one place suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the house where they were sitting he imagined Luke the physician is riding this oar and he's either observing it or others are telling him about it but it's like this is this is a wild moment suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the house they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire it's separated and came to rest on them and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the spirit enabled them so there's two things happening here there's two images and metaphors that I want us to think about this morning the first is the wind and if you're taking notes the Spirit comes like a rushing wind in that moment and the wind of God revives us I think it's an example of the wind of God coming in and reviving us pouring out his his resources into us to help us come alive has anyone in the room done CPR on somebody before or been it seen it done I actually we had a sound guy at one of our shows that it had rained and so he's hauling all this sound gear in at the same time and he actually went into like cardiac arrest and he's on the ground and fighting to survive and the staff that was around us at this resort came in and they did CPR and I was you know you've seen on TV maybe you've seen people do CPR and it's like these little you know it's dainty's the best word but I get can it was violent like what I saw was violent I mean it was like it literally was that like live man live you know that kind of thing in this this guy survived but I was thinking for us this morning it's an amazing example that some of us in need divine resuscitation how many how many of you could receive that this morning I need a fresh breath of God in my life in my lungs in my spirit in my heart I need to change that only God can provide I might need some spiritual CPR I need God to come in breathe into my situation when when ancient sailors would get stuck without wind in the middle of the ocean they would call this concept be calming where there's no wind and it was really dangerous and for this to happen to them so there's no current there's no wind which means they can't get out they're just stuck in the middle of miles and miles of water with no wind but I think this picture is here the the Spirit is like the wind because we need God to come in and to breathe in the oxygen of the holy spirit so that he can reanimate us and fill us with passion for living for him so the Holy Spirit is the wind of God that revives us and then the second one is he comes like fire how many of you have made us more in the last season over like a camping or whatever no s'mores being made okay good I'm just checking how many of you are they burnt to a crisp marshmallow people stick it right in the flames okay you guys are crazy I don't know what's wrong with you and then the second group is just the slow burn brown that thing how many of you were slow burn and brown there's my people right there have you ever tried a s'more with a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup like it's life trust me it is okay so just a little inspiration for your day so here's the note the fire of God refines us so think about how the fire it changes the marshmallow or whatever it's just a quick example but the fire of God comes in and actually refines us and I think that's why he's a metaphor and a picture for us it's because when we invite the Holy Spirit in he actually changes us he actually does transform us from the inside out wildfires you see this in in nature you know and we're very familiar with wildfires obviou for obvious reasons and all along the west coast but the intent of natural wildfires is so that the undergrowth of the forest can be cleared out so that the soil can receive its nutrients again and plant life can grow up and everything have you seen I've been over Santiam Pass in fact as recently as last night but there there's it was at the B&B fire that was on sandy em pass right there does anyone know okay correct all right so but it's amazing you're starting to see the forest grow up through the trees this really cool cert I mean amazing how like something completely dead can come to life like that in a new way so what could the holy spirit do on the forest for of your life to help refine you maybe he could um maybe there's some sin that could figuratively be burnt away I know if you're like me you have some rough points in your life that you need to be refined so maybe the Holy Spirit can come in and help refine you or maybe you just feel cold about your faith and you could be freshly lit up by his love that's what I love about Westside whenever I come in here I feel like this infusion I feel like I feel alive again in God because I see you and I see your impact and I see what you can do and I was reminded of this amazing scripture in Isaiah 61 and I wanted to read it over you specifically today to remind you of who you're supposed to be Isaiah 61 it says the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me everyone say upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor he sent me to heal the brokenhearted this one of my favorite verses he sent me this is part of my my passion my life your passion your life heal the brokenhearted to proclaim Liberty to the captives the opening of the prison to those who are bound to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord in the day of vengeance of our God to come for all who mourn to console those who mourn that's so beautiful to give them beauty for Ashes the oil of joy for mourning an exchange the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness God's doing that in this place he's exchanging he's flipping a spirit of heaviness upside down with a garment of praise and that they may be called trees of righteousness the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified Westside that is our call and in this next season as I'm stepping out and doing something different I want to just remind us of who we are that the Spirit of God is upon us when we say God use me use me in a new way use me in a fresh way he will do it and there's people in your circle of influence there's people in your life in your zone that need the healing of the brokenhearted they need the this heaviness that they feel to be exchanged for joy and you're gonna be the agent you're gonna be the one God decides to use I like to call it getting Bob goft does anyone know who Bob Goff is okay love does but it's like he he pulls people aside and he tells people who they are in God and he spirit-led about it he's not always pulling ran you know it's like you want to be led by God in this and into this and I've done this a few times in my life and I've had people tell me no one's ever said that to me before and I'm always amazed like I feel like when you're kind of in church culture like people will encourage you from time to time or write you a note but there's people in your world in your circle of influence and God is asking you to draw out the goodness of him in them they might not even be there yet right now I'm a work in progress so I hope people don't treat me as I am always right here in this moment I hope I hope people can see me with the eyes of Jesus and say you know what someday and I hope we can see other people in the same way that Jesus and the Holy Spirit sees them who they are and then call that out in them how powerful would it be if a city a community had a bunch of agents like this that were just hauling out the goodness of God in the people around them it could be spectacular so I want to close with this with this thought when we step out into wild places when we step out into the unknown the temptation is to think that God is gonna be stingy with us or he's you're always gonna say how is it gonna happen how is it all gonna come together and I was reminded this scripture in John chapter 4 and he's talking to the woman at the well and this just stuck with me and I felt like I need to share with you in verse 10 it said jesus answered her if you knew the generosity of God and Who I am you would have asked me for a drink and I would give you fresh living water if you knew the generosity of God if I knew the generosity of God and this should be our perspective that when we step out in faith when we step out into the place where the wild things are in and the place where potentially our comfort zone is messed with or we could be afraid of the outcomes of this life we just need to remember the generosity of God and who he is and who we stand in and he will take care of us that's the promise it's really amazing what he can do so this morning what I'd like us to do is bow our heads and close our eyes and I have I've talked about the Holy Spirit and stepping out into the wild and in letting him lead us and empower us but in most gatherings that I've been with either in youth ministry in worship services here in back prayer rooms or meetings I've I've done this practice which is simply as vessels asking the Holy Spirit to fill each one fresh and new and so I just want to invite you in terms of response this morning if you feel comfortable to lift your hands to God and I want to pray for you as we close this time that God would fill us fresh and new with this holy spirit to be agents of healing to our world father thank you for this beautiful church and this beautiful people and this morning as um Holy Spirit you have kind of unveiled who you are a little bit more I pray that you had come and invade each heart this each each life in person that is precious to you would you pour out your Holy Spirit in a fresh way not in a weird way help us to be practical and powerful in Jesus name I pray that you would fill each person with life and the knowledge that they they're more than just somebody who's clocking in day in and day out but they're a minister of reconciliation to a broken world God give us that perspective and the eyes of the Holy Spirit and we thank you for this moment together in Jesus name we pray amen amen I love you thanks for giving me the opportunity to share this morning go in the power of the Holy Spirit and I will see you around [Applause]

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