So how has God worked in your life? When have you have really sensed His presence and His leading? What has that looked like for you?
Last year when we started Rogue for guys 35ish and up, I was already swamped. Harbor Ministry was really gaining momentum, and we had just started the fourth RHYTHMinTWENTY group. It was a crazy pace, and we were dealing with some tough stuff in our family at the same time. I knew Rogue would add another significant piece. But through all of that, I had sensed God’s leading. In fact, launching Rogue confirmed again how God has typically worked in my life; an idea comes, it is consistent with the vision, passion, and things I deeply care about. Typically I start to engage the ideas with people I would love to join with on the journey. If there is some synergy and confirmation from those close, I take the next step. If my mind starts to race and I have trouble sleeping as more ideas come and momentum builds, it’s a good sign.
Then a significant moment always comes: a crossroad. A time of risk is required. Very seldom have all the ducks been in a row. There has always been risk. There was always a significant step that needed to be taken. THEN His confirmation has come.
In the case of launching a new leadership event like Rogue, I struggled with doubt, and I wondered…
What if no one comes?
What if I can’t raise the necessary money to make it happen?
What if people do come, and it sucks?
But I know for me, there is a time when I have to step out and really risk. For me, all the things I have wanted to do — the things God has drawn me to — included risk, and there was that moment… there was a point where I had to choose to face the unknown and step out.
So I know it is critical to remember… to remember how He has typically led and directed me in the past, because it can provide a great pathway toward what is next.
We do a thing with the groups of leaders we work with in the Rhythm and Rogue events where we take a look at the last year. We think through the highs and lows, the successes and failures, moments of frustration and great fulfillment, and we talk it through with others.
One of our Rogue groups.
We take a step back and look for any themes, or anything God could be telling us through it all. I think in a lot of ways, He is already talking to us; whispering to us through the day-to-day events of our life. As I was preparing for a recent talk on this, I thought again about some old scrapbooks I used to keep as a kid. Lets be clear: I don’t do scrapbooking now. I don’t do scrapbooking parties. I like football, a good drink, fishing — you know, guy stuff. But when I was a kid I kept track of everything. I was the one who would keep extensive scrapbooks of our family vacations, travels, sporting accomplishments, etc. I just did not want to forget and I did not want others to forget either. One summer when I was eleven, I actually journaled all the fish I caught. I mean every fish. I may post it. It’s a good read!
As I was looking that over I realized again why I love putting together the RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue events. Something in me loves pulling people together for shared life experiences — the kind of unique and memorable experiences that stand out. The kind of experiences that make a difference, that mark the journey for people.
So, are there some things that stand out from your younger years? Things you were passionate about? Things that were unique that might offer insight into to your calling in this next season of life? Give it some thought and let me know what you come up with. Sometimes we just need to slow down enough to look, access, listen. He may already be speaking.
So what do you do when things just don’t make sense? When the journey is hard, when questions far outweigh the answers? What happens to the faith journey when there has been relentless prayers, but seemingly no change.
It seems like in the last week I have been around a lot of this. People struggling with hard/hurtful relationships, those struggling with long-term serious health issues, some heavy issues weighing on people. So many trying to chase dreams and facing setbacks. Many wondering where God is in all of it. I have a son who is now on month twenty of dealing with sports-related injuries. His dream of playing college basketball, which so many times was within reach, once again seems pretty illusive. It does beg the question… so where is God in all of it?
Sometimes I am at a loss for what to say, and how to encourage people. But I do know that many times in the last six weeks I saw God move in some dramatic ways in the lives of people. During this time we had four RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue events out in Colorado. It was tiring, but they were also some of the best times of the last year. There were several stories of seeing God work in the lives of these guys, their ministries, their marriages, and their families in some very real and deep ways. I saw examples of marriages restored, renewed passion in their pursuit of God, some dreams realized, and answered prayer, without a doubt.
So today as I walk through some of the hard times with people, and as I process things going on with others close to me, it helps to remember… It helps to remember the many ways God has moved, worked, healed, restored. As I think of my son’s struggles, it helps to remember that as a result of the last twenty months of physical struggle, he is a more compassionate, spiritually stronger, and a more resilient young man.
So, even as I write this I am finding some strength and needed encouragement in remembering, in focusing on truth, in believing and knowing that God is on the move. He is at work. He does walk with us through all of what life throws at us.
Tonight I am reminded again of Psalm 51. It was a desperate time for David, but he writes, “Renew in me a steadfast spirit, restore to me the joy of thy salvation, sustain me with a willing spirit.”
So here is to the journey of the next week and all that comes with it, and here is to the hope of seeing Him move…
The following is an excerpt from my book, “Harbor Seven.” I told this story at a RHYTHYMinTWENTY event we just launched in Frisco, Colorado last week. Life can be crazy, and in the fast pace and culture in which we live, it is really tough to live with a good rhythm through all that comes at us. Sometimes, it can be the really simple things that remind us of our priorities. Sometimes it is the little things that can make all the difference. If my dad were alive, he would be shocked to hear me tell this story, let alone to know that it had such impact on me. Yet through this simple memory, he taught me how to keep family a priority even when other demands pressed in on him. So let me tell you more about what happened when it rained…
Throughout my life, I never doubted that family was an absolute priority to my dad. He was always there for us. Even in his busy times at work, he was available. I always knew that he would stop what he was doing if I needed him, whether he was in the middle of harvest or in the middle of a football game.
Without a doubt, family was a priority to him, but he didn’t limit his focus there. He still had time to run a successful farm and invest deeply in friendships with several other men, a rarity for his generation and occupation. Part of the secret in keeping his life in balance was that he knew the importance of focusing on different parts of life at certain times. Solomon really addressed this principle in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4. It’s one of the great pictures in the Bible on how to live life with a sense of rhythm. He wrote, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven…a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” And, as I learned from my dad, there is also a time to fish.
The plains of Nebraska, the location of my father’s farm, can be arid and dry. The crops almost always require irrigation, a very time-consuming task. My dad told me that whenever there was an inch or more of rain, he could slow down the irrigation wells and take time to go fishing. Over the years, I made many laps out to the rain gauge to see if an inch had fallen. Do you see what he taught me here? Without saying a word, he taught me that there is a time to work and a time to play; a time to be focused on goals and a time to enjoy moments with your family. By his actions, he demonstrated that I wasn’t the only thing, but I was important. Even today, because of his single illustration of what it means to live a life that’s balanced, I still feel a sense of excitement and my heart still races when a thunderstorm passes.
What is it that fills your tank?
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on such a crazy pace. We have had four RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue events in the last five weeks. For a person who talks a lot about living and leading with great rhythm and balance in life, these last couple of months have not had much rhythm. It has been a crazy, all out pace. Sometimes there are just seasons when that is the case, but as much as I love these events, it has been tiring. I am actually out in Colorado now. We just launched our sixth group of Rhythm leaders, and I have a three-day break, and then we finish up with a Rogue group this weekend.
In the middle of this busy season, yesterday was a real struggle. I found myself wondering what would give me the energy, the rest, the refreshment I needed to get ready for this next round.
It started with a great bike ride, and then this morning I met three of the guys from an earlier round of RHYTHMinTWENTY, at one of my favorite spots, Starbucks at the REI store in downtown Denver. Getting with these guys, catching up some on their lives, seeing the vision and spark in their eyes as they talked about some of the things God is doing in their work and families, was just what I needed. After a morning of connecting with these guys I felt refreshed and more ready to step into the demands of the next week.
It has reminded me again of how important it is to be involved in the things that re-energize us and refresh us — things that fill our tanks. For me it was some deep connection with some guys I love investing in, it was a bike ride around a mountain lake, and some coffee at my favorite spot. Simple things that breathed life back into me.
If you are at a point of needing some vision, some energy, some passion for the weeks ahead, think about some things that are life-giving. Make a short list and then go for it. I am seeing more than ever that if I am going to effectively reach that next destination, I have to do things that fill my tank along the way.