I was back in San Diego this week. Back to a place that holds a ton of memories for me both personally and for the work I am so passionate about. This place has been the setting of some iconic moments for my family, friends, and for the guys who have been part of the Rhythm and Rogue groups that have journeyed here.
San Diego is a place of incredible contrasts in my own journey. It represents perhaps the most difficult season of my life, and at the same time, it was the place of my most profound spiritual breakthrough. We have now brought fourteen RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue groups to this place. Here we have wrestled with what it looks like for a leader to drop anchor and deeply connect with God, and with others and with things that bring us life. We have discovered how important it is to listen and to follow the unpredictable “holy wind” when it comes.
In this place I am reminded again of just how mysterious this God we follow really is. Sometimes this faith journey seems so unpredictable and filled with extreme contrasts, yet I long for the consistency and steadiness that faith brings. For me San Diego is a constant reminder of the best… and the absolute worst of times. Years ago, I was on this boardwalk, trying to make sense of some of the worst circumstances I likely will ever face. Yet it was in that place that God showed up in a radical and real way. Somehow through that time, I gained new resolve to stay the course.
Yes, this faith journey seems filled with contrast and extremes. Things that make sense… and things that absolutely make no sense. Times of deep disappointments… and times of incredible breakthrough. It is good to be back, and remember. In the remembering I am gaining some needed perspective and resolve to take the next steps.
Being here again reminds me to keep coming back….and it stirs me to keep chasing the moments, no matter how illusive they may be.
TIme for me to revisit trail 401……..
The last few days I have felt flat, unproductive, unmotivated. During times like these, I’m often reminded of a devotional I once read by Oswald Chambers. He talked about the importance of learning to live in the ordinary gray days according to what we saw on the mountain.
That continues to be a great challenge to me, because I love the mountains. For some reason, I think more clearly there. It’s a great thing for me to leave business and stress behind and head to Colorado for the solitude, the silence, the great times, and moments of clarity I often experience there.
For many years I have hiked and biked in one of my favorite spots in Colorado, Trail 401. Right above Gothic pass, you have to hike, or push your bike up this single-track trail. After an aggressive stretch down the bowl and through a meadow, you emerge through some aspen trees and you can see for miles down the valley to Crested Butte. On the other side, if you climb a little higher, you are on top of the world, and can see the Maroon Belle Mountain Range. In fact I just made that climb a few weeks ago with an awesome group of RHYTHMinTWENTY guys, as we closed out our three-year journey together. it was a pretty epic time.
I’ve had many great moments with guys on Rhythm journeys, with friends, and with God at the top of that trail. It’s where I came to somewhat of a peace with the loss of my parents years ago, I have caught ideas and thoughts on my future and gained strength for some needed steps of faith up there. Just a few weeks ago I gained a renewed passion to continue the RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue journeys, and sensed some clarity on the next steps to take. For whatever reason, I just feel closer to God up there.
But, at least for now, I don’t live in the mountains.
For now, I have to remind myself often of the whispers I’ve heard from God up there. I have to believe in those God moments and live according to what I heard , sensed, and experienced there. Then, those days that are gray and flat, seem a little easier to navigate.
Here is to not forgetting,
Here to to remembering those breakthrough moments, and those epic places that God seems to speak to us.
Here is to continuing to chase Trail 401…
…..An update of the first post on this blog on April 3, 2014
I cant seem to get that picture from my last post out of my mind, there is just something about it……
There could be a lot of reasons. Maybe it’s the road… well traveled, a bit worn, but still inviting…
Maybe it is the lure of that familiar yet mysterious mountain range… a constant reminder for me of this mysterious God who continually invites us to step out, to take a risk… stay on the journey and continue to pursue Him. It might be this adventurous pursuit of the unknown that I have so often been ready to give upon, or at least been tempted to take an easier road.
Maybe it is the tension I feel when I see it, There has been so many times when disappointment, fatigue and frustration at God’s silence have set in. at times I have felt beat up, and have wondered if it is worth staying on the road.
At the same time there is this pull, this invitation and challenge, the need for risk, the call to not just settle… to not give up, or give in, but to keep seeking out that mountain range all the way to the finish line…
Maybe it is just the pure love of the mountains that keeps me moving, seeking, hoping for more.
Last week as we finished up a RHYTHMinTWENTY group in that mountain range , I was reminded that those glimpse we get of God—those brief moments when the windows to what this life was supposed to be like open up—make it all worth it.
It keeps me on that well-traveled road looking for more.
I have driven west toward the Colorado Rockies probably close to 100 times over the years. And I never get tired of this sight.
When I first see these mountain on my drive west, I still get excited. The remembrance of family, friends, adventure, fun and amazing ministry moments never gets old.
Last week I was driving to my favorite spot , Crested Butte, Colorado, to finish the third year with one of our RHYTHMinTWENTY groups . Heading to the event this year felt different though. I felt like I was in irons… and I knew I had been in a spiritual slump for a few months. Over the last few years we have had thirty different RHYTHMinTWENTY or Rogue events. It has been an incredible run as we have seen God work in some amazing ways, but I did feel weary and wondered for the first time if I and others in the ministry could keep up this pace.
Then something happened. Twenty guys showed up. They were excited, full of anticipation, and ready for whatever God had for them in the three days we had together. It became clear to me again, that we have an enemy that does not want this to happen. So we chased what it means to live with a life-changing kind of rhythm, and explored what it looks like for young leaders to finish well. Twenty world changers spoke again and again about how this rhythm journey had impacted their lives, their families, and the many they influenced. Those three days for me personally were deeply impacting, and God used those guys and our time in the mountains to renew my vision, increase my resolve , and ready me for the launch of new groups and whatever else He has in store for Harbor Ministry in the months ahead.
So once again, in a different way, a glimpse of the mountains brought needed excitement, hope, great resolve and anticipation for whats next.
I am going to keep pursuing those mountains on the horizon. You should as well! Just a glimpse can make all the difference.
Have you ever made it to the top of something and found it was not quit what you expected?
On vacation recently we were at this historic hotel in Memphis. This place has one of the more bizarre (okay, kind of dumb, yet great…) traditions I have seen. It’s called the march of the ducks. Everyday at 5:00 p.m. sharp, to the cheers of many, these ducks come out of the fountain in the middle of the hotel lobby, and march along the red carpet to the elevators. They ride those elevators to the top of the hotel where they live in duck luxury. Hundreds of people, including us, crowd into the hotel to watch this march, which is followed by a lot of hype and a invitation to go to the top of the hotel and celebrate.
We actually waited in line for the elevators and went to the top… where we found a flat cement roof, a 110-degree heat index , very few places to sit, closed displays… and no ducks. The real attraction had already taken place. It was a good view and all from the top, but not what we expected, and not worth the wait. I am not sure what we hoped to find up there, now that I think about it, but for sure something different than what we experienced.
I was reading something that Richard Rohr wrote recently in his book Falling Upward. He talked about one of the mistakes we make in life is that we work hard, we strive, but don’t thrive. We climb the ladder of success, but we never pause to really assess what is at the top of that ladder. He observes that “we are more about getting to the top than finding out what is at the top.”
It struck me that if that is our journey—if we are so busy climbing, moving, striving, and we have not taken the time to pause, to process, to assess, and to remind ourselves of the passion and mission that God has placed on our heart, in the first place—we may just lose ourselves along the way. We may just get to the top and ask why did I give all my time, and passion to this…….