What Will You Leave Behind?

Life is lived moving forward, but it’s good to look in the rear view mirror once in a while. WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? Recently, I did some off roading in the mountains here in Colorado. I came across old structures and enjoyed taking pictures of them. Hard to believe this old mine once produced gold! What a happenin’ place it must have been. The imagination allows you to picture this structure new and bursting with activity as men toiled to produce gold. Now all that remains is a pile of wood – a shadow of once was. I came across a few cabins, roofs long gone and one had a 20 foot tree growing inside. And yet, imagine when there was not only a roof, but a floor and furniture and people eating, sleeping, laughing and calling this home. It got me thinking. What will remain of my life’s efforts one hundred years from now? What ‘ruins’ will hint at how I spent my limited time here on earth? How have I spent my time and what mattered most to me? What will last and what will vanish without a trace? 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says: For no one can…

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Taking the Path Less Traveled

You’d miss it completely if you weren’t looking for it. Most walked right past it. But we enjoyed a rare treat because we were looking for the path less traveled. I kicked off 2017 with a week of hiking in Yosemite National Park with a good friend. I lead the Yosemite Summit retreat for pastors every May, but we were eager to see this incredible place in winter. God blessed us with both fresh snow and temperatures that made hiking surprisingly easy as we stuffed hats, gloves and jackets into our backpacks… not needed! Ahead of time we did some research on the best spots to see in winter. We discovered a secret spot off the Upper Yosemite Falls trail that afforded an amazing view of the middle falls that otherwise are impossible to see from any other location. It was amazing! We marveled that the slight detour leading to this spot was missed by most, but at the same time enjoyed that the secret was ours alone as other hikers walked on by, just a few feet away and missed it completely. I won’t even name it here, its worthy of secrecy – but if you ask me in…

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Finding the Reflection of God

One of the highlights of Yosemite, is seeing the reflection of towering granite cliffs in the water of the valley. In fact, one of the lakes in Yosemite earned the name “Mirror Lake” due to the beautiful reflections upon it’s surface. While not technically a lake, visitors enjoy seeing in its smooth surface the mirror image of the cliffs towering above. Mirror Lake it actually a man-made lake, from a time when sand and ice were exported from the area for use down in the coastal cities. Today, it is being allowed to return to it’s natural meadow conditions, so each year this once famous lake reflects less – and becomes filled with more grass and rock as the surface drops and widens into a meadow. Nevertheless, a creative photographer can still find places to capture a reflection of Half Dome that rises majestically above it. The reflections can be amazing… but to be seen, something is required. Without this one thing, there can be no reflection of the grandeur above. Waterfalls and flowing rivers and creeks pour over rocks and around bends throughout this incredible park, all working their way to the Merced or Tuolumne Rivers and ultimately to…

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Time to UNPLUG and Reconnect

Have you ever wanted to UNPLUG from the hectic busy pace of ministry life? That is the entire point of Yosemite Summit. It is a week where you are unplugged in every sense of the word. No computer, no e-mail, no phone calls, no work, no deadlines, no ’emergencies’, no pressure. Better than a day off spent catching up on personal things – it is a complete break for the sake of complete rest and renewal. I was once told by a very wise mentor, “Karl, you need to stop being a human doing, and learn to become a human being.” That is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It is an annual cessation of activity. Too often we confuse busyness with what God is truly seeking from us. Not that we aren’t busy doing good things! But we get so busy doing these good things, that our relationship with God can grow distant, and soon God is wondering, why or who we are truly busy for? Stopping, completely, once a year is an opportunity to recalibrate. It is a time for reflection and renewal. It is not a time of evaluating ministry goals and seeking a new “ministry vision”…

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Book Review: Emory’s Gift

I am not one to toss around the words “favorite” or “best” lightly or often, so when I say that W. Bruce Cameron’s novel Emory’s Gift is my favorite novel, I mean it quite sincerely. It is TRULY the best novel I have ever read. Never before have I laughed out loud reading a book, turned away from others lest they see my tears, or just cried boldly on a plane because I no longer cared if anyone saw my tears. I have read lines to strangers who had no idea what I was trying to express because they lacked the context, but I didn’t really care, because I just couldn’t keep that line or paragraph to myself. Cameron’s writing style and insight into the mind of a young boy is truly amazing, insightful, and downright hysterical at times. Truly, I am Charlie Hall, the main character – a middle schooler, around whom the book revolves. And I miss him now like I lost a childhood friend I’ll never get to see again. So real did the author make him, and so vivid did he paint his memories, his experiences, his deep loves, such as Kate, a teacher he was…

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