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Say YES to God

It’s the dog days of summer. Our short-term mission teams have traveled to cities and towns around America. Our two Expedition squads are coming at each other from opposite sides of the globe like heat-seeking missiles, intersecting in Kyrgyzstan.    The 300 World Racers and staff who…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
It’s the dog days of summer. Our short-term mission teams have traveled to cities and towns around America. Our two Expedition squads are coming at each other from opposite sides of the globe like heat-seeking missiles, intersecting in Kyrgyzstan. 
The 300 World Racers and staff who are in the last few days of their training camp outside my office are in a state of discombobulation and no doubt dreaming about their swimming pools and hamburgers back home. But they’re also loving this place.
Yesterday on Clint’s lawn, after corn hole, badminton and brownies, I talked to the Expedition squad that is heading to Latin America. “What’s the highlight of camp?” I asked.
“It’s meeting my squadmates. We love each other. We’re the L squad – we think that stands for ‘Love’.”
Yes – that’s sweet and yes, it’s the honeymoon, but squads seem to be going deeper and doing so faster.  As one staff member said, “Something clicked with the January squads and it’s been that way ever since.” 
Another staff member noted, “There’s more intentionality with this group of racers. They aren’t just along for the ride.”
Out on the race from the far corners of the globe emails about the anomalies, outliers and rebel cases periodically float back to my in-box. They all tend to have one thing in common – they want their way. 
Of course the point of the World Race or of any STM trip is not to squish the participant into a box, but to take them on a walk with Jesus. To set them free from what the world says about them and the lies that they’ve believed so that they can embrace their true identity.
And it all begins with saying YES. Yes to going on a journey with Jesus that has its roots in Matthew 10. Yes to choosing to travel with a group of people who are as messy as they are. Yes to choosing to go through the pain so that they can walk in freedom. And yes to setting the captives free.
God wants his children free, but usually there’s a pricetag. Sometimes he’ll ask me if he can have my family or my house or my future or Adventures. “Can I have what you’re hanging onto?” He asks. And it’s hard, but I know that the answer has to be yes.
I talked to the racers on Monday. I said, “If there is a maybe in your spirit, then it will slow down your squadmates. Because they will see you and wait for you to catch up. They will run back to you and help you.”
“Please do us all a favor,” I said, “if you don’t have a strong YES, if it’s a maybe, please check out. Go home until you can get to YES, because Jesus always tested the yes in his disciples’ spirits.”
One racer took me up on it and checked out after my talk. Another six or so couldn’t finish the three mile walk in under 50 minutes. I want to consider making the time limit to 45 minutes next year. 
We need to know that this YES in their spirits has some steel in it.
Following Jesus should cost you. It should require discipline. He wasn’t blowing smoke when he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” 
Tip says YES
Betty Gomez shared this story of a Tip, who worked in the sex trade in Chiang Mai.
“We soon became friends and found ourselves spending time with her every day. During the day she was bubbly and had a smile on her face. As evening fell upon the city so did the sadness that filled her eyes as she competed with other local girls to get a customer. She was trapped in the lifestyle, the prison called the Red Light District.
We found ourselves hanging out with Tip, shopping with her, going out to dinner with her, and simply loving on her.  
As much as she wanted out of that lifestyle…fear held her back. She couldn’t find the courage to leave. Where would she go? Not knowing the answer kept her in the bar life. 
I recall driving in the back of a truck to the airport on our last night in Chiang Mai. We stopped  at the bar where she worked to say goodby to Tip. It was hard.
It has been a year and a half since we left Chiang Mai that evening. My team and I continued to cover Tip in prayer. I was thrilled to read what she just posted:
“I got the baptized today. Thank God that He gives me the new life. Now I know who am I in Christ – how much value am I. I found true love with God who never leave me. I have Him beside me and fight for me. No one on this earth can do this for me. And I know that whom I live for. I’ll live for my King of all King My highest God.”
Your YES
Tip was in a dark place. What dark place do you find yourself in? Does Jesus want to walk with you through it as he did for Tip? We can’t lead people places where we haven’t been or aren’t willing to go. We need a big YES. 
Let me encourage you to do a gut check. Our lives go by so quickly. What else are we going to do with them but follow our Creator? We know he loves us, why wouldn’t we say YES? 
What precious part of your life does he want? What will you say?

Comments (9)

  • As I prepare to leave for Romania for the third time, I needed to read this! Life for our family since the WR has been a wonderful journey of ‘YES’.

  • This is so good Seth! I’m in the 6th month on the Race and it is the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, but also the best. If you don’t have a solid “yes” in your heart – then yep, you will absolutely hold others back who do. I just finished Banning Liebscher’s book Rooted (I think it just came out) and he talked about how he is much less impressed with people who start a new journey – who are excited and passionate about starting – although he still celebrates them. He says now he gets much more excited about those pushing through the hard parts of a journey – who are staying with it until the end. I’m learning more and more how important to re-ignite that ‘yes’ every day! Thanks for this great blog post – I get a lot of encouragement from your writing!

    • That’s great to hear, Kara! I like the way Liebscher puts it. And it sounds like you are one who is pushing thru the hard parts of the journey!

  • I remember when under the worst emotional and spiritual attacks, one of the ways I said Yes to God was to speak over myself the identity He says is true of me, whether I believed it or not. Interestingly, the one thing I would hear when listening to the Lord for peace was to apply for the WR. I’m 30 now, and wish I had gone for it. My soul had a strong yes, and anytime I said yes to apply I felt so much peace. Like Ananias receiving one instruction at a time, I needed to trust the Lord was leading me somewhere. Yes I have been a part of wonderful jobs and ministries and I see God using me, but there is still a restlessness in my soul, and a peace when I consider the WR, even now. Wondering if the spark and a yes from years ago is still an open invitation and a leading. Thank you for writing, for visioneering and leading the way you do.

  • Evan,

    It’s never too late to follow your heart. When is the best time to plant an orchard? Now!

    Others like you are in a similar place and want to check out alternatives to the American dream. If we were to start a World Race for 30-somethings would you be interested?

  • Hi Seth, I am definitely interested in a World Race targeted for 30-somethings! Would love to know more about what that might look like. Current routes look great as well.

  • Hi Seth,

    I was at the June TC that you talked about in this blog. I remember the “YES” talk you gave and thinking to myself that “YES this is where I am supposed to be, I am supposed to launch with this squad, they are my family and I couldn’t be more excited”… I was ultimately sent home from Camp early… but I still do have that YES in my heart and am excited to see how The Father works in my life over the course of the next 18 months (and then on the field) before I am able to launch in Jan 2018. I know that when I am able to launch it will be an even greater experience than if I had been able to launch with my original squad in just over a week.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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