I want to introduce you a section of a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon that gives me pause during this time of harvest. He was a pastor in London in the late 1800’s, but he had a real affinity for the countryside and the outdoors. In his book, Farm Sermons, you can read some of his messages to country congregations. They are very insighful, especially to urban dwellers who, in his words, live in a world surrounded by “dungy bricks.”
The ropes course was thrilling, but I knew that my soul needed to be refilled. The wilderness was wooing me. I’m not just into the adventure. I’m into adventures with Jesus. With that attitude, outdoor adventures becomes another opportunity to experience God.
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.
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 […]
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.
Ironically, Albert Einstein wrote: “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Jesus artfully poured a solid foundation for his disciples to build his church upon. And he often taught & modeled his worldview in the outdoors.
How easy it is to cut corners in life. The same is true in our spiritual journey. When approaching difficulty in your walk with God, don’t fall prey to these two temptations: 1) giving up and heading back to previous comforts, or 2) hiking straight up the hill in your own strength.
Abandonment is Critical to Spiritual Formation & the Wilderness Provides Tremendous Space to Embrace It In my earlier post, It’s not “If”, but “When” to Abandon Ship | A Reflection on Abandonment, we took an honest look at the irony of abandonment. It can be good and bad. Jesus spoke directly into this paradox by […]
When things get tough, we are tempted to abandon. But Jesus gives us his Word, Prayer, and Community to help us endure through trials. In the same way that a group encourages its members to make it through a tough climb, or a sleepless night of wind and rain, connecting to a church and plugging into community will give you the ability to avoid the temptation to abandon the path of discipleship and persevere through life’s storms.