4 Ways Time Outdoors Can Expose the Worldview of Jesus

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. -Albert Einstein

photo by Thomas Haines

C.S. Lewis, described a memory when he, as a boy, looked intently into his brother’s homemade terrarium and was immediately struck with a realization that he had within his soul a desire to know the One who knew the mysteries of the life bursting forth in his miniature garden. Lewis writes:

On a summer day there suddenly arose in me without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries, the memory of that earlier morning at the Old House when my brother had brought his toy garden into the nursery. It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton’s “enormous bliss” of Eden…comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation of course, of desire; but desire for what? Not, certainly, for a biscuit tin filled with moss…It has taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant in comparison. (Lewis,C.S.,Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. London: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1955,16.)

It’s one thing to have a fairly solid biblical worldview. But it’s another thing to know how to help others pour a biblical foundation for their own life. In this blog series called, “Using Outdoor Ministry to Teach the Worldview of Jesus,” I look precisely at how to use teachable moments in the outdoors to compel others to build the foundation of their life on the rock of Jesus, and not on the sandy foundation of worldly ideas.

1. LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE TREE IN YOUR BACK YARD

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

2. THE TREE’S ROOTS DON’T LIE

Like it or not, there is a connection between the health of a tree’s invisible roots and the visible health of it’s leaves and fruit. David Noebel, in his book, Understanding the Times writes,

Your worldview is like the trees roots, it is essential to your life and stability….  Roots are essential for the trees stability. We can’t see one another’s worldview, but we can see the exposed part of it—your actions.

Hmmm… methinx there is something there for me to honestly consider.

3. REGULAR RETREAT TO SOLITARY PLACES DEEPENS OUR ROOTS IN CHRIST

Jesus seemed to have a habit of regularly withdrawing with his disciples to solitary places in the outdoors. This rhythm of retreat in Jesus’ life (explored in the book, Christian Outdoor Leadership), served to give Jesus’ disciples needed rest for their bodies and minds. It also provided a platform for spiritual formation. He used these regular retreats into the wilderness to keep his disciples anchored into reality as he saw it. And one obvious characteristic of the way he did this, was to use object lessons or teachable moments from Creation to illustrate reality.

RELATED POST | The Top 10 Tent Pegs that Anchor our Worldview

It isn’t rocket science to read the Gospels and recognize that one of Jesus primary concerns was to pour a solid foundation for his disciples to build his church upon. One way of talking about this foundation he laid is by seeing it as his worldview. It is safe to say that all of us have a worldview, or a way of viewing the world. The question then really becomes, what is the substance of yours and my worldview?

4. WISE BUILDERS DIG DOWN TO THE BEDROCK AND BUILD ON THAT

As a leader of others (whether you are a student, a pastor, small group leader, parent, etc.), the worldview or foundation you laying for others to build their life upon matters. Hopefully it is Jesus’ worldview, because against such a worldview the gates of hades cannot prevail: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18) And against such a worldview, no flood can erode its foundation because it is built upon a rock:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:24-27)

In my experience as a leader, it is one thing to teach the Gospel and inform others of the teachings of Christ, and it is often another thing to model it and inject it into the lifeblood of those following you. We want those we are leading to be able to take every bit of advantage of the direct access we have to the Father through the blood of Jesus:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. –Ephesians 2:13

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2:17-18

In all of my years of student ministry and leadership development, I still find that taking people outdoors for a day trip of hiking, climbing, paddling, etc., or leading them on an extended expedition to backpack, climb peaks, etc. is one of the most powerful tools to help people see the truth through God’s creation. No matter who you are leading, schedule some time to nurture your own soul in the outdoors. And don’t wait another minute to start using the classroom of Creation as a tool to heighten the awareness of the Gospel for those you are leading.

RELATED POST | Outdoor Leadership as Mission | Where Outdoor Ministry is Going Today?

REFLECTION

  • Take some time to consider Psalm 1 in the context of the outdoors. Look at a tree and consider it’s roots. What insight might God be offering you from the object lesson of a tree’s roots?
  • What does the fruit of your thoughts, words, and actions tell you about how healthy your spiritual roots are right now?
  • Commit to delighting in Jesus by meditating carefully on his Word this week and see what happens… Maybe share with a trusted friend what God is speaking to you through Psalm 1, and through the lesson of the connection between a tree’s leaves and fruit and the health of it’s roots.

This blog series will look at the ten primary foundation stones of a person’s worldview, and how time in the outdoors can be a useful tool for exposing the bedrock of Jesus Christ’s worldview. Stay tuned for other posts…

 

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