When we first started the RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue leadership events, I had several people tell me we were starting too small. They said “with the amount of money and time you will invest you are crazy to do this with just twenty at a time. Increase your impact and go bigger. People will support it more and your vision to impact the world will go further with bigger events. Yet I felt we were supposed to deeply invest in just a few… just twenty at a time. We had this overwhelming belief that we could change the direction of lives, of families, of ministries by working with just twenty guys at a time. So we stayed “small.”
After returning from San Diego having just meet with the fifth and sixth RHYTHMinTWENTY groups, I am so thankful we stuck to the belief that you could actually go big by staying small. These forty amazing men will no doubt have deep impact on their families, and this world as a result of what God has been doing.
I was reading from The Message on the way back home, 2 Corinthians 6 :11-13 to be specific. ”I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide open spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but your living in a small way… live openly and expansively!” And I would add…live big.
Now twelve groups in….240 strategic leaders impacting the church’s, organizations, and families they lead, seems big; no it seems huge. Things are not always what they seem, I guess.
Here is to living a wide open, spacious…. big story……..
It is hard to see this summer end. It has been epic in a lot of ways . Don’t get me wrong, life still happened… there were times of deep disappointment and frustration, and times of sadness and the loss of a dream or two. But it was also a time of discovery, wonder and incredible awe . I saw and experienced some incredible beauty this summer. The highlight was this bucket-list trip with my family.
We drove through the Black Hills and the badlands, then through northwest Wyoming where we saw Devils Tower. From there we journeyed into Bozeman, Montana, and spent a couple of days fly fishing on the Yellowstone River. Then we headed down through Yellowstone and spent a couple of nights in the Grand Tetons. There were powerful waterfalls, buffalo and bear, and unparalleled colors and natural beauty. And there were the memorable and simple moments like some intense games of “bags” with my very competitive kids each night in Bozeman.
As you enter Yellowstone from the north near Bozeman, there is a large stone arch with the inscription, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” When I saw it, it struck me that those sure could have been the words straight from the Creator of this place and of the other amazing things I got see and experience the last several months:
- the spectacular colors and sights of Yellowstone
- the wildflowers and waterfalls in Crested Butte
- the incredible San Juan Mountain range
- the beauty of the cutthroat trout in Montana
- the spiritual feel and incredible views of Devils Tower
- the rolling hills and high plateaus of southeast Montana
- the sunset from our porch in eastern Nebraska
- the rhythm of the surf on Laguna Beach
- the vast grasslands around the Niobrara River.
In all these moments I got a sense of a Creator simply saying, “All for the enjoyment of the people.”
So I’m committed to continuing to chase the beautiful places–those places where I feel more inspired, more steady… more centered. Those places where I move forward with a greater sense of rhythm, and I have a more focused desire to keep chasing the awe, the beauty and the majesty of the Creator.
So this begs the question… where next? The sunset off my porch was pretty incredible last night, sometimes I don’t have to go that far.
So what am I going to do about it?
There is this old movie, The Untouchables. It is the story of Al Capone and the efforts of the government to stop his illegal activity in Chicago during prohibition. Kevin Costner is the government agent sent to Chicago to do the impossible: stop the flow of illegal alcohol. He eventually teams up with a local policeman played by Sean Connery. Capone sends a hitman after Connery’s character. As the policeman lays dying in his living room, he reaches out and pulls Costner close. As he coughs and spits out blood, he whispers, “So what are you prepared to do about it?”
You see, up to that point the government agent had been playing it safe, taking the conventional approach, unwilling to take risks. But with the death of his friend, the stakes had become much higher.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the things I know I want my life to be about going forward:
- Keep chasing the awe and mystery of God.
- Fight for the dreams of my kids and for the Rhythm and Rogue leaders that God sends our way.
- Inspire others to chase the wild goose, the holy wind.
- Keep seeking out natural wonders and beautiful places.
- Do my best to make the years that He gives me count.
Well all of that sounds good, but it does beg the question, “What am I prepared to do about it?” Doing something , taking any kind of step, can cause any of us to step outside the comfortable, and it could have impact on my finances, my work, and how I spend my down time , it will impact a lot of things.
Life is short. Sean Connery’s line haunts me as I come out of a sabbatical…
“What are you prepared to do about it?”
So I got to fly fish for two days with my sons on the Yellowstone and Gallatin rivers near Bozeman, Montana. The experience with them–about as good as it gets. Incredible scenery, trout bigger than I ever thought I’d catch, and great memories with my kids.
We were fishing with two flies on the line, one being a dry fly that would float on the surface. They called it the indicator. Sometimes the trout would rise up and hit the indicator fly, but most of the time, they would hit the fly that was subtly dragging under water, and often that was tough to detect. We had to watch that indicator fly very closely, stay focused, watchful, and ready. It was the key to the whole experience.
In the RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue events we do, we talk a lot about the themes, and the messages that can come from our life experiences.We look at the natural flow of life and explore where God is moving and what He is saying to us through the ups and downs and the critical crossroads of life. For me, it has been challanging these last few weeks,to slow down, think, get quiet and ask what some of the natural indicators of my life are saying.
A few times over the last few years I’ve hit the wall, and really had some times of struggling physically and spiritually. As I think back, I recognize some of the indicators I missed. If I had paid attention, they might have helped me get ahead of a crash.
For me, some of the signs of pending trouble were:
- Loss of interest in things I typically love doing
- Becoming easily frustrated over insignificant things
- Indecision and wavering that seemed to dominate my day to day decision-making.
So what is your life telling you? What are some of the indicators that tell you need to slow down and seek God in a more intentional way? Maybe there are some indicators that are saying it is time to make some things happen. Is there anything telling you it’s time to step it up, to take a step of faith, to not settle?
So what do you think? Is there some warning signs out there?
As for me, I’m ready to plan another trip to the Yellowstone River, …
As I have sought out some wide open spaces this summer, I have been challenging myself with some questions. And the first one I have wrestled with seems pretty foundational. It’s a simple question, but not easy to think through, and, it strikes me as significant right now: What do I want out of life?
There likely are many ways to answer that question, and sometimes the words don’t come easily. I could look at how I spend my time, how I spend my money, or what I spend my time thinking about. But the answer I think needs to come from a deeper place.
So I spent some time in one of my favorite places on the planet, Crested Butte, Colorado. I found myself wrestling with and thinking about what I want from this next season of life. And like the rush of the waterfall I was staring at, a few things came to mind very fast:
- I want to keep pursuing the mystery of God wherever that takes me.
- I want to keep seeking out beautiful places. I want to take them in; to be still and really soak in those moments.
- I want to fight for, cheer-lead and encourage my kids and my wife to chase their dreams.
- I want to fight for the dreams of others, and help them take the steps they need.
- I want whatever years I have to count. I want them to matter. I want to make a difference.
- I want to inspire others to be quiet, to listen, and to keep chasing the “wild goose,” the “holy wind”.
- I want adventure and challenge, and friends to seek those out with.
- I don’t want to settle.
- I want to laugh, to travel, and somehow to write and capture the crazy thoughts God seems to give me, and hope those words can encourage others.
- I don’t want to get stuck in disappointments and struggle.
- I want to take steps that seem impossible.
It’s a simple enough question, but a question that will could impact my life in a big way. Consider finding a great spot, a quiet place, maybe a spot on the water, and ask yourself the same question. You may be surprised at what comes to mind.