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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” from God! It is a time of setting all that down and walking away from it.
Why? God did not save us to gain a worker. He can manage quite fine without us. (Something to consider when you are working so hard – God doesn’t need you!) He saved us that we might enter into a relationship with Him and get to know Him. If we are so busy working that we aren’t getting to know Him – than the working isn’t working. It is actually counter-productive to what God’s true aim is.
We are busy “making Him known,” but we forget the first half – “To know Christ, and to make Him known.” If we forget our relationship in the pursuit of the second half, we are then working to reproduce something that isn’t what God wants. No wonder many non-believers have no interest in becoming a Christian! They see a lot of busy-bodies, instead of disciples of Christ, men and women who walk with God.
To be in awe of God again…
So once a year I stop all the activity and simply walk with God for a week doing nothing else but enjoying Him. And I invite a small group to join me. It changes me and helps me continue that walk when I get back to my God-given work.
Will you join me this May? Only three spots remain.
Take some time and browse through the blog on YosemiteSummit.org – you’ll discover inspiration and the answers you have about this unique event.
I’m already praying for you… I just don’t know who you are yet.
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PS: If you need this Summit and can’t afford it, please let me know.
I’m back from my 6th Yosemite Summit – and what a fantastic year it was. We had beautiful weather and did some fantastic hikes in Yosemite National Park.
These guys joined the elite group known as Summiteers! Tom was a four time repeater. Dave, Patrick, and Chris were there for the first time. (No, that is not our cabin; that is an old trading outpost found along the trail to McGurk Meadow.)
I will soon be putting together the annual report and highlight video, but I’m also back into the midst of the busy work schedule I unplugged from, so going though the 2,407 photos, plus editing and creating the video always takes me a few weeks. But I’m also working on a new surprise for this year’s Yosemite Summit Report, so be sure to watch your e-mail for the news when it breaks. (Be sure you are subscribed to the Kidology Newsletter.)
What can I say about this year now?
Well, we did a lot of hiking along with just spending time enjoying the Creator and His creation. This year, I decided to wear a pedometer for fun, starting out with my shopping day:
Friday (the day Dave and I arrived), I walked 4371 steps for 1.63 miles. That was just a little more than an average day for me based on the week before. Saturday saw a lot more action with 10,456 steps for 3.89 miles. There was a lot of prep to do! We left on Sunday, and that included our first short hike and introduction to Yosemite, bumping me up 14,856 steps for 5.64 miles for the day. But then came the real hikes. The day that included the trail to Dewey Point racked up 29,199 steps for 10.98 miles followed on Tuesday with 19,203 for 7.32 miles (Murphy Creek to the Poly Dome Lakes.) Then two of the guys really wanted to hike the Panorama Trail from Glacier Point around the rim and down to the Valley passing Illilouette, Nevada, and Vernal falls – what is typically a Day One hike. The other two opted to have some solitude time in the Valley with less than the 27,267 steps I put down to conquer that 10.09 mile day. (Remember, this is all day, not just the hikes themselves.) On our last day, we went down to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, but I took it easy and only logged 10,095 steps for 3.76 miles. Friday I flew home, so I returned to my average day clocking 4,587 steps or 1.68 miles.
Of course, this may not interest many, but I had fun logging my total of 100,831 steps, or walking 44.99 miles. (Wow!) We don’t typically hike that much, but it was such a beautiful year, and adding on the Panorama Trail was just plain fun.
My feet may have been a bit sore for a day, but my soul was refreshed and renewed! I’m posting from my iPad mini at the airport, so I’ll add more pics later when I am at a computer.
While I am glad to be back, there is a part of me that never leaves Yosemite. But right now, I have some catching up to do!!
Let me invite you to jump over to my lastest post on YosemiteSummit.org and read a personal challenge from me to you…
It could just be the thing you need today.
John Muir said it best years ago…
The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go!
As I reflect on the upcoming 6th annual Yosemite Summit, I am amazed at all that God has done in my life and in the lives of so many men who have traveled with me to this amazing place over the past five years.
Many have asked me, “How long will you keep doing this?” I usually answer, “at least until next year,” because I don’t ever want to assume to plan ahead of the Lord (James 4:13-15).
But I know this: I need this time away, and I have seen the incredible impact it has had on other men.
Let me just share a few of the things the guys last year shared with me:
The greatest impact was hearing God’s voice and calling me to a personal mountain top experience. This experience allowed God to change my life there at that moment. He drew me close to Him, and there He freed me from the bondage that filled my soul. This spiritual impact has allowed me to continue on a journey daily to be in complete oneness with God.
The biggest “take away” is there are 7 guys that love me for who I am. We all came with different things going on in our lives personally and spiritually. God changed us together and because of that has made each of us stronger and what I would call a “band of Christian brothers” forever.
My highlight was the morning at North Olmstead Point when I heard God’s voice calling me to the top of a mountain. It was a place that God brought me as close to Him as possible and broke me. He drew me to this highest point to share His love with me and then freed me from all the bondage that was weighing me down and quenching my Spirit.
I really needed this Summit. I came home with a greater sense of peace and hope than I’d ever had before. I have a greater sense of who I am as a follower of Christ and what my personal mission is. I realize that the “trail” I’m on is one that God has designed for me and I need to continue to learn and enjoy it. (Even the hard stuff) He opened my eyes to some things right before me that I need to focus on in a better way.
To those considering Yosemite Summit, one guy wrote:
You need this time more than you’ll ever know. Taking time to unplug and get away with a group of guys that God brings together is priceless. Experiencing the beauty of God’s creation, spending time in his Word are times that prepare you for eternity. I believe in Yosemite Summit and it’s opportunity to really re-create someone and allow them a fresh start in life and ministry.
Since I started Yosemite Summit in 2008, men who hiked with me have gone on to create their own Summits, inviting other men to join them on similar retreats. Two of them do a similar retreat in Yosemite, in lodges right near “mine” during the same month. This Summit is reproducing itself.
WHY? Because those who come are changed, and they want others to experience it as well.
YosemiteSummit.org is filled with REPORTS linked at the top of the site from 2008 to 2012 with pictures and a highlight video. If you go through the blog, hitting “Previous Posts” at the bottom, you can travel back through time and read stories of guys whose lives have been changed, why they went, and other encouraging posts.
Here are a few highlight posts you may enjoy:
But in the end, it is up to you.
This is a small “band of brothers” – I only take five guys, and one spot is already taken, so that leaves only four spots left.
There are many amazing conferences that fill banquet rooms and auditoriums with hundreds, some thousands, of children’s ministry leaders singing, listening, learning, and enjoying wonderful fellowship – there is a place for that.
But imagine spending a week with just five other guys, hiking, sitting under some of the highest granite cliffs in the world, at the foot of the tallest water falls in the world, seeing the sun rise and a vista appear that literally takes your breath away, live animals – we’ve seen a bear every year! (and let me mention GOOD home cooked food, including NY Strip Steak!) and through it all experiencing God through prayer, some manly hymn singing, and awesome fellowship in a trusting setting like you may have never experienced before.
And only four more can come in 2013.
Will you be one of them?
Register ASAP – before the waiting list begins again.
If God is nudging you, don’t resist.
Next entries »
The 2012 Yosemite Summit Report has been posted!
The 2012 Yosemite Summit Gang!
I have posted the 2012 Yosemite Summit Report and Hightlight Video over on YosemiteSummit.org – GO CHECK IT OUT!
I am already looking forward to and praying about who will join me next year! Remember, Yosemite Summit is now open to any men in ministry, not just children’s pastors.