Are you a guy in any capacity of children’s ministry who lives in the Denver area? Then READ ON!
You are invited to be a part of the Fellowship of the King!
“The Fellowship” is simply a group of children’s pastors and ministry leaders I am gathering who desire to periodically disconnect from the busyness of life and ministry to spend time with God in His creation and fellowship with others who share in their passion for children’s ministry.
There is no cost. It is simply a list of guys who I will invite on day hikes.There is no obligation to attend any or all – I know that only a few may be able to make each hike – the Fellowship simply makes up the list of those who want to know when the hikes are so they can be invited to join us. They will be planned all over the state during all seasons. Most will be one day hikes, leave early in the morning and head home when the sun sets.
The first will be Thursday, April 1st. For more information contact me.
NOTE: If you REALLY want to get away and enjoy creation, join me in May in Yosemite! See www.yosemitesummit.org (only a few spots remain unspoken for!)
Saturday while my wife went to a tea at church, Luke and I decided we needed to have some fun too, so we went to McDonald’s where there was a play place! The last time we were there, about a month ago, we celebrated Luke’s first basketball basket and those of you on facebook got to see the video of I happened to capture right before my iPhone battery died! What an exciting day that was!
If you want, you can watch Luke make his FIRST basketball basket right before turning four:
Well, when given a choice of three different restaurants with play places, he chose McDonald’s when I reminded him of the basketball hoop and showed him the video on my iPhone. We got there and after eating and watching some “big boys” hog up the hoop for awhile, finally we got some court time. Luke shocked me by how quickly he got the hang of it. Soon he was nailing the shots, often in a row! Once he made THREE in a row before having some dry spells due to getting so excited he’d get erratic in his shooting for awhile. But we kept track – first it was FIVE SHOTS we celebrated, then it got up to an amazing TEN! Then it was FIFTEEN! But when he got to TWENTY even I was impressed and we had to ask another little girl what was after 20 and learn how to count so high!
Every number after that was celebrated as a major life achievement! On TWENTY-FIVE another boy came in with his dad so we surrendered the court and left as though we had just won the NBA FINALS!
Luke had not only shot 2500% better than last time, but learned to count into the 20′s better than ever before!
As we were driving down the road home, I was telling him how proud I was and he asked, “How proud are you, Daddy?” and I said, “This proud…” and I rolled down the window of the car and yelled out the window at the houses we were passing and yelled as loudly as I could,
MY SON JUST SHOT 25 BASKETS AT McDONALD’S ALL BY HIMSELF!
I looked back at Luke and the look on his face was worth a million dollars. He couldn’t believe I was THAT proud, that I would yell it out the window! After I rolled up the window, he said, “Are you so proud you would do that again?” And I said, “I’m so proud I would do that all the way home.” And I did.
I don’t think anyone actually heard me. And I have a sore throat today. But it’s O.K. My son knows that I was so proud of him I wanted the world to know it.
Have you let your kids know you are THAT proud of them lately? Your volunteers? Whoever it is you are proud of?
They are wondering, just how proud of them are you? Are you willing to shout it? Is your throat hurting yet?
My four year old is destined to become a judge. He already has a keen sense of justice. Or at least a better sense of mercy than I do.
Yesterday I could not find my shoes. I had gone up and down the stairs and searched every room of the house at least three times. I was managing to keep my grumbling humorous so as to hide the real anger that was mounting inside because I had a four year old following me and offering to help me in my hunt. But the volume and frequency of my complaints were growing even as I kept them light hearted on the surface, since I had impressionable little eyes and ears watching me. But we were eager to out the door and the delay in finding these shoes was delaying us, and I was getting acutely frustrated. (A scene I hope is not limited to our home?)
The shoes that were acquitted
In the end, my shoes were found – in the first floor coat closet – with all daddy’s shoes, right where they belong, just under some other shoes.
As I went to couch to put them on, my little boy behind me, I was eager for an outlet for my bottled up anger, but still wanting to keep things light for my son, and so I found the “perfect” fun solution, and said to Luke, “Let’s spank the bad shoes for making us late” and proceeded to spank one of the shoes for all the frustration it had inflicted upon me for the past 15 minutes and invited my son to spank the other shoe before I put them on.
Then it happened.
My four year old put me to shame.
Luke simply went into an judicial statement such as a Supreme Court Justice would before handing down a judgement in the highest court of the land.
“Daddy, when you come home, and take off your shoes, you are supposed to take off your shoes and put them in the coat closet so they don’t get dirt on the floor and make a mess in the house. That is where the shoes go. So the shoes were in the right place. So they didn’t do anything wrong. So they don’t deserve a spanking. So I’m not going to spank that shoe and you shouldn’t be spanking that other one either.“
And I’m supposed to be the father here! Where did my son get this sense of justice? And for a SHOE? I must be doing something right! I was stunned, but proud.
And no, I’m not referring to almost being struck by lightening in Yosemite last year! Nor am I directly talking about my near heart attack last year either – though for all practical purposes I might as well be. If almost dying twice in 2009 taught me anything (and it taught me a lot!) it made me realize that long life is not something you should assume. So let me say it again, and I really hope you will hear me this time: (this is now directly from my journal on my solo sabbatical)
Everyone ought to almost die. If not, they really should try to pretend or reflect on what it means to live as though they are not sure of long life.
Let me set the record straight. I’m not afraid of dying. Never was. But after almost dying (twice!) I’m no longer afraid of living! I refuse to put off the life I want. If that sounds selfish, let me rephrase it – I refuse to put off what I believe God is calling me to do. (sound better?) I no longer assume far off “somedays” exist! Two to three years is as long as I assume I have. That DOESN’T mean I think I’m a dead man in five years! Without going into detail – I have a clean bill of health, I avoided a heart attack, and have a stent in a healthy heart. It just means that if I want to do something, I START PLANNING IT! I know better now – start planning it, or it’ll never happen!
Someday is just another word for NEVER!
What are you saying you will do someday? Write a book? Go on some dream vacation? Produce a resource? Start a business? (Go on Yosemite Summit or Unbridled?) I can’t even guess what it is for YOU, but YOU know what I’m talking about… I’m scratching that itch RIGHT NOW. I know I am.
The point is, start planning it NOW. At least get out a pad of paper and start scratching out the first few steps.
One of my life long dreams was to go to Yosemite in Winter. It seemed impossible. The only way it happened was to start planning it. And then God came along and took care of the “impossible” part for me! He surprised me by taking care of the one detail I couldn’t manage. Do you think God won’t do that for you? Do you think He loves me more than you? Bah!
Watch this video of my little dream come true. This took over four years to come true. Even longer if you count the years I was too scared and too busy to dream the dream! Enjoy! Two days snow shoeing through Yosemite in winter and then ask yourself,
What “someday” am I not trusting God for? And start planning it.
Before I continue my series of posts on my solo sabbatical in Yosemite, I want to follow up on my last post, Giving Up on Knowing God. I think I freaked a few people out by some of the private e-mails I got of concerned people who thought I was denying my faith! I let it hang there for awhile because I put a challenge in there for anyone who knew God to e-mail me and tell me what that looked like. I was seriously hoping someone would. Well, last night while at Chipotle with my son, I got the e-mail from a guy named Kirk saying bluntly “I know God!”, and it made my day. Reprinted with the writer’s permission, here it is:
I know God! Like you, I started by knowing about Him, and then gradually getting to know Him more and more. Finally, I set my mind to get to know Him “personally.” This itself was the light bulb moment – it was when I DECIDED that I was going to relentlessly pursue this. And then I found Him, just as He promises us. He’s there in the stories of the bible … the things that make Him smile, the things that really piss Him off, and the things in between. Some things He doesn’t like, but He tolerates … other things make Him so happy He brags about us! It’s all there in the pages of the bible. I can show you how. It’s the coolest thing ever, because He is SO real. And when He becomes that real, one can write something like the 23rd Psalm (written by another man who knew Him)… or pray prayers like John 17, etc. [Have you ever imagined what it would feel like to BE David - to be ABLE to write the 23rd Psalm, and have it be true?] Email me if you want, and we can “talk.” You’ll love it. Anyway, please take me up on my offer to show you how to get to KNOW Yahweh. He wants you to – He really does.
It took a lot of courage for Kirk to write this e-mail. He didn’t know me, he had come to my blog for the first time after someone recommended he look into my ministry as a way to sell a resource he is developing – imagine his surprise when this post was his first introduction to me! Here was my response to him:
Thank you so much for your note. You made my day! I was so much hoping someone would have the courage to respond to my challenge and e-mail me because I DO indeed believe we can know God, Scripture makes that abundantly clear from cover to cover!! And I do know God, as you describe. I was just so humbled as I always am by my smallness when I am in Yosemite and surrounded by the BIGNESS and GREATNESS of God, it is just so humbling and I think we need to never be too flippant or trite about what it means to know God, but yes, that is the Amazing Offer that God extends to know Him, it is the beautiful offer of salvation. I just think we throw that offer around to loosely at times… it is an AWESOME thing to say, “You can know God.” To stick that on a bumper sticker is almost… I don’t know how to say it… is our God not Big enough? Have we made him a size we can handle? I think if we truly understood Him, would we ever sin?
Anyway, I do believe we can know God, Scripture is quite clear on it, and I planned to follow up on my blog:
On one hand God knows us….
1 Corinthians 8:3
But the man who loves God is known by God.
But scripture also talks of us knowing God… (in addition to showing it as you described!)
Galatians 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God….
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God…
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
1 John 4:6
We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us…
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
I was so curious to see if anyone would have the boldness to take me up on my challenge and email me and say “I know God!” THANK YOU for doing so! I really thought I’d be challenged more for that post! If no one did, I was really going to be disappointed. Perhaps more struggle with not feeling like they know God. I’m sure it is a struggle, because we do all fall short and feel that gap between where we are and where we want to be!
May I share your email on my blog, with only your first name? And I’d be happy to “talk” more with you – as I have plenty of room to grow and would appreciate any insight you have to share on how I can know God better.
Then he replied:
Whew! I’m so relieved to get this response … I was a bit concerned about being so bold. But then it also occurs to me that’s a shame, too, isn’t it? Isn’t it a shame that we should consider it bold to proclaim that we know our own Father? Wow. Man, I love talking about God, thinking about God, fearing Him and loving Him. HE is everything. Two lines in your note below say SO MUCH (I’m tempted to write a book or two in response, but I won’t because you obviously already “get it”): “Have we made him a size we can handle? I think if we truly understood Him, would we ever sin?” I’m afraid we’re all guilty of making God in our image … sad. (….)
I’ve since been enjoying some good conversation with Kirk that I’m sure will continue! In the end, I still stand by my original post – I’m not “taking it back,” the more we get to understand God the smaller we ought to see ourselves, and the greater God becomes and the more impossible it seems that we could ever “know God” my conclusions in that post stand – and YET at the same time, all the more amazing and incredible it is that THIS SAME GOD WANTS US TO KNOW HIM! And invites us to do so despite our sinfulness.
These are images and journal entries from my Solo Sabbatical to Yosemite in January 2010. (Pictures are all from Day One, two more days yet to come.)
Day 1 – February 1, 2010
First Glimpse of Half Dome - Always Stunning
Started thinking about this topic this morning – so been mulling it around all morning as I snow shoed around the base of El Capitan and Merced River taking pictures today. (Love snow shoeing by the way.) Really thought it would be a lot more laborious than it is, it’s easy and enjoyable. But anyway, “knowing God” – isn’t that the promise of the Christian life? We can know God!
I gave away my Badger Pass ski lift passes each morning (also included tour bus passes and other perks) at breakfast that came with my Lodge “all inclusive deal” because I didn’t need them, the meal vouchers were all I needed. I’m here just to hike and take pictures. I was offered money each time and just said nope, “they’re as free as God’s salvation.” I almost added, “I hope you’ll get to know Him like I do.” That’s what got me thinking about this. How well DO I know Him?
El Capitan Aglow in Late Afternoon
That’s supposed to be the big offer of salvation! How many Gospel tracts have on the cover, “You can KNOW GOD!” Then why don’t I feel like I know Him? (Should I not be admitting this?) Oh, I know a lot about him – probably more than most people. Try me. And not just on a biblical knowledge basis either, philosophically even. (Don’t ask me to explain, it’s complicated.) ;0) But know God? – come on, are you serious? He’s GOD for crying out loud! How am I supposed to KNOW Him? What does that even mean?
Understand Him? Yeah, right. Predict His behavior? I wish. Anticipate His moves? Never. Influence His decisions? You could argue prayer – but that’s a stretch. Hang out with Him and shoot the breeze? I hardly think so. Worship Him? Certainly! (I’m doing that here in Yosemite!) But that isn’t knowing Him.
Brideveil Falls in Winter
I worship Him (especially here in Yosemite) precisely because I don’t know Him enough – how He created this place, etc. I understand what He expects, wants, and demands of me well enough – and how far short I fall – and I understand His mercy and grace, even friendship and salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ — and have accept it!! BUT KNOW HIM?!?!?
El Capitan On Fire from the Evening Sun
I’m not so sure about that – and I’m not even convinced I’m supposed to KNOW HIM – just His TRUTH. The more I marvel at the wonders of Yosemite – the more I am convinced my purpose is not much different from that of Half Dome or El Capitan. I think I have about as much chance of knowing God as one of those Rocks! And only man’s pride tells me I have more chance of knowing God than a towering tree or a flowing river.
Seriously. The more I think about who God is – the more I see that I am just another of His creations. Sure – I’m MORE than a rock – I can talk, write in this journal! (or blog) I’m self aware – and aware that I’m self aware - and aware that I’m aware that I’m aware and so on! I have a free will, and therefore the capacity for love as well as rebellion – I can be loyal to my Creator – or selfishly act independent of Him even as He sustains my very existence and breath. But know Him?
A Snow Covered Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge
I’d like to meet someone who claims to know God. Seriously. (email me if you do.) I’d like to know what that looks like. For me, I’d like to stop telling people, “You can know God personally.” I’m not sure that’s true. However, perhaps we can say, “God knows you personally, and you can be right with Him.” I think I want to give up trying to “know God” and instead focus on being right with God. Living a life of obedience that pleases God, honors God – and reflects His glory.
Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge After Dark (time lapse)
As I said earlier, my purpose, as a creation of God, is no different that these mountains here – it is to be a testimony to God. The only difference is that they are far more limited in what they can do, however they get to do it for for hundreds of years! I don’t get as long – but have been given much more ability to testify! With words – actions – love – attitudes – etc. HOW I LIVE, the testimony of my life.
I’m not sure my goal in life ought to be to “know God” – I think it is rather that others might be right with God too because they knew me.
Yosemite Fall Taken in Pitch Darkness with Open Shutter
I wonder every time I come here, how people can be in Yosemite and not believe in God. I ought to wonder how people can know me and not believe in God.
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey