So what do you do when God directs you toward something but it doesn’t seem to make sense?
I was thinking again this week about the vision and the dream of Harbor Ministries. It seems like yesterday but it was like six years ago that I asked Ben Harms and Kyle Dellevoet to meet me in Colorado so we could start dreaming about launching a new ministry — a ministry that could be a harbor to strategic leaders. A harbor that could give them the encouragement, the resourcing, the restoration and, we hoped, the inspiration they would need to stay the course and finish well in their families, ministries and places of influence. A harbor that was so strategic and so critical that it would have world-changing impact.
But then…the part that didn’t make much sense… invite just 20 guys at a time into this journey! The other part that made no sense was those 20 guys were going to have to be gutsy enough to commit to a three-year journey with people and leaders they knew nothing about. I still remember one of the guys saying that his wife thought that this RHYTHMinTWENTY thing was a cult, but he so needed something that he was willing to take the risk.
It was a great few days as we struggled with this idea of investing in 20 leaders at a time in such a deep way that it would change their lives, families, and the churches, ministries and businesses they lead.
What eventually came out of that time was a clear mission of “helping strategic leaders live with rhythm, leave a legacy, and finish well.” God willing, we would accomplish that through what we now called RHYTHMinTWENTY for leaders ages 25 to upper 30s, and eventually the ROGUE Journey for leaders ages 40 and older.
Now, seven groups into this amazing experience, I can honestly say that what seemed to make no sense makes perfect sense. But we needed to be willing to take the step, to take the risk. We had to say, “let’s try this and perhaps God will work for us.” Time moves way too fast, so I want to do my best to live the next season of my life with that same willingness to sometimes do the things that make no sense.
I have been thinking a lot about this lately.
Last week I spoke on the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer at our church. It is a story that continues to blow me away. Here is the Hebrew army hiding in caves, hiding in holes, cowering in fear, afraid to take on the enemy. It is easy to understand why: their king had lost his confidence and they were facing a far superior enemy — an army who had the swagger, the more significant numbers and the higher ground!
Enter the scene, the son of this once great king…and the young man who has carried his armor into many battles. Jonathan has had enough. He has had enough of waiting on his father, he has had enough hiding when he knows that his God can win this battle by many or by a few. So he launches his plan; the two of them engage their enemies at their strongest point. Just the two of them step out and then deliver one of the strongest and most amazing lines in the bible:
“And perhaps God will work for us”
Jonathan, 1 Samuel 14:6
The application of this has stuck with me for weeks. If I really believe God walks with me through everything that life throws at me, then is there something I need to try? Is there an area I need to step out in? Is there something God has been nudging me towards but I have been hesitant about because the outcome is unsure?
For the last couple of years we have been renting this house in Estes Park for the RhythminTwenty and Rogue events that I am involved with. I cannot shake the thought of what amazing things could happen if we owned that place. But it seems impossible, the cost would be to high, it just seems like way too much money to raise. Yet I can not shake it, and the thought of “perhaps God will work for us…” continues to come to mind.
Just maybe it is time to step out on that one!
You may have some time over this holiday weekend to sit with this thought: Perhaps God would work for you in…? Anything come to mind.? It can be a bit scary to think about, but more than that it, this is a phrase that can stir some amazing movement. For me, it stirs this desire to step out, to try something, to not settle for the comfortable.
So when has God really surprised you? Where were you? Who where you with? What were you doing? Keep these questions in mind as I continue the Top 10 list of my personal inspiring moments and holy places.
No. 8 – Estes Park
There was this crazy moment with my wife in Estes park. The sun was setting over the mountains. There was this mix of blue sky and clouds, and it was snowing lightly from what seemed to be the clear sky above. It was one of those moments that is hard to describe, but we both paused and had this sense that it was just a glimpse of what’s to come.
No. 9 - Barry O’s
Barry O’s is a sports bar in Omaha where I met some friends after coming back from a John Eldredge conference several years ago. Eldredge’s writings and work have been a significant source of inspiration to me through the years, but this one was different — more weighty. It was definitely a holy moment for all of us as I tried to pass on the unique way God had met during me the previous few days.
No. 10 – Downtown Quito, Ecuador
I had a moment in Quito a few years ago when I sensed God telling me I did have something to offer the leaders I was about to speak to from around the world. I was preparing to speak on living with rhythm, staying the course and finishing well, but I was really feeling unworthy of the moment that was in front of me. Somehow, He reassured me that despite my success and failures, I had a voice of restoration and hope for leaders, and that voice was needed. This is a moment and a mission that has helped shaped Harbor Ministries and much of my life’s work.
During the past week I’ve shared just a few of the my personal inspiring moment and holy places. They have been random, awesome, inspiring, encouraging and often surprising moments; moments that remind me that God walks through all of it with us. He is right there through the spectacular, through the mundane, through the struggles…
if we keep our eyes and ears open…
if we stay quiet enough…
if we practice listening…
God breaks through.
Try making your own list. It will be a pretty awesome reminder that there is a bigger story playing out around you.
Today, I am compelled to continue my Top 10 List of personal inspiring moments and holy places. I hope there is something here that will stir you
No. 2 – Surprised on the San Diego Boardwalk
Actually, surprised is not a strong enough word; words like amazed or stunned come much closer. I could write a book on this one. A few years ago, at perhaps the lowest point of my life, I sat on the wall of the boardwalk at sunrise. I was in His presence in a very tangible way. At a time when I really needed to hear from Him, He reminded me that He walks with us through all that life throws at us.
No. 3 – A U2 Concert Just Months After 9/11
I don’t know if Bono intended it or not (I suspect he did), but through the lyrics, the music and the moment, U2 connected us to something much bigger than ourselves that night.
No. 4 -The Grand Canyon’s North Rim
No words needed here.
Gold Beach, Oregon at Sunset
No. 5 – Gold Beach, Oregon
So there is this trail just south of Gold Beach that winds its way to the ocean in southern Oregon. It’s an amazing place of awe-inspiring beauty and a sense of reckless adventure. You have to check it out.
No. 6 – The Jamaica Bike Trail, Five Minutes From My House
I always feel a little bit better after a quick ride on this trail.
No. 7 – Mumford and Sons
I am inspired every time I listen to “Awake My Soul.” These guys have captured the essence of what many of us are searching for and experiencing in life. I’m bummed they had to cancel their concert in K.C. this week
As I look at this list, I guess I’m struck by the sometimes planned, but often random, unassuming and surprising ways God has made His presence real to me over the years. It’s a great reminder to me that as we just live life, as we seek Him, we may be able to see Him and experience Him in many different ways.
So let me ask it again: Where do you go to get inspired, to get your tank re-filled, to get wind back in your sails?
For me, a Top 10 list is coming to mind, and what jumps out right away at No.1 is…Trail 401.
For some reason, I think more clearly there. For many years I have biked down this trail in Crested Butte, Colorado. Right above Gothic Pass, you have to push your bike up this single-track trail. After an aggressive stretch through a meadow, you emerge through some trees and you can see the trail wind down below through the bowl at the top of the mountain. You can see for miles down the valley to Crested Butte. On the other side, if you climb a little higher, you can see the Maroon Bells.
I have had many great moments with friends and with God at the top of that trail. I came to somewhat of a peace with the loss of my parents there. I have caught ideas and thoughts up there regarding my future and often, for whatever reason, I just feel closer to God and more in His presence on that mountaintop.The trail winds through open rock fields as it descends from above timberline, through aspen forests, creeks and springs, through abandoned cabins and meadows of wild flowers. You ride through a stream and weave around dense pine forests. Some of the real beauty is grown down in the valley, but the view from up high is hard to beat.Then, there is the time to unwind in Crested Butte, to connect with friends over nachos and a drink, to meet new people and remember the many times I have sensed God’s presence there.
Determining how to bring back the energy and clarity I get there is always a challenge, but it is critical because, for now, I still live the day-to-day, in the flatlands. I have to remind myself often about the whispers of God in the in some of those holy places…remembering those times when I was stirred and inspired. I believe I will eventually fade or spiritually die if I lose sight of those mountaintops, and the same is likely true for you.
Decide now that you will do whatever it takes to create the space in your schedule and find a “mountaintop.” The view is more clear up there.