Yesterday I had the opportunity to attempt a 16,000’ foot peak in Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador with about 20 youth leaders from all over Latin America. It is freeing for me to admit that I reached my limit yesterday. In my pride I wish I could say that I had the energy and strength to bag that peak, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. You could stick a fork in me. I was baked.
Like the night I survived a terrifying lightning storm with my two other 12 year old friends at the base of Hawk Peak one summer, we often witness God’s goodness and power through being exposed to the wildness of his Creation. And if God chooses, he will usher us into an encounter with him through those wilderness experiences. The book of Job is overflowing with powerful outdoor ministry curriculum. It is about how one man encountered God face to face through the wildness of Creation.
I remember an epoch climb when from dawn til dark I climbed not one, but three peaks covering over 20 miles of hiking in one day. Now I’m always up for an adventure, but honestly, I am more of a wanderer in the wilderness rather than a driven alpinist. Well, by the end of the day I had had it…. Like a soaked sponge that gets squeezed, who we really are comes out when the pressure is on.
Most backcountry enthusiasts follow the mantra, “leave no trace.” Like the attitudes we cop when we have to “share the trail” with someone who is doing something different than us, I was reminded on the trail this past weekend that our sin can also leave a measurable impression. Like so many spiritual metaphors, time in the outdoors is a wikipedia of object lessons. We may think we are without sin or our rebellion only affects ourselves but more likely our behavior leaves a trail “littered with loose debris.”
Part 2 in the series, “Abraham’s Tent-Like Faith | Outdoor Ministry Inklings from Hebrews 11:8-9” I’m guessing that many of us camp in tents sometime throughout the year. This series on Abraham’s tent-like faith shows us how to seize this teachable moment to connect tent-camping with what our life of faith is supposed to look […]
Oswald Chambers’ devotional, My Utmost for His Highest is chocked full with wisdom and illustrations for outdoor ministry applications. One my favorites is his October 2nd reflection, “The Sphere of Humiliation,” based on the mountain of transfiguration in Mark 9:2-32.
If you ever feel tempted to believe that you can’t make a difference, or that your vote doesn’t count, consider a story from the 4th century about a Monk named, Telemachus. His courageous and selfless act forever changed a culture.
The trustworthiness of God is the anchor of our faith in him. Yet even though he can be trusted, we continue to doubt or wane in our faith at times. That is why wilderness experiences are so valuable–they lift us out of our pits of doubt.
The author of Hebrews highlights Abraham’s Tent-like faith… Like the pioneers who traveled out West, Abraham set out on a long journey not really knowing where he was going, living in tents with his extended family, believing that in obedience to God’s call there would be reward beyond measure.
When David’s father Jesse sent David to resupply his brothers on the front lines of the battle against the Philistines, David accepted the task. He had no idea his adaptation skills were about to be tested.