Taking the Path Less Traveled

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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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What Re-Creates You?

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The 9th annual Summit is now only one month away. It will probably seem like the longest month of the year as I anticipate my annual pilgrimage with God in Yosemite National Park with six other pastors for a time of re-creation, renewal, recharging, refocusing and restarting for the next season of life and ministry. I am often asked, “What’s so special about Yosemite? Why do you go there every year?” While I have answered that countless times and in many ways on the YosemiteSummit.org blog, let me share with you my first entry in the journal I have now taken to Yosemite on every trip. WHY YOSEMITE? This place is beyond description, though of course, I will try. As I often say, it is the closest God ever got to sin… because he sorta showed off His creative abilities! Our language lacks adequate words to do Yosemite justice. Incredible. Amazing. Spectacular. Breath-taking. Beautiful. Magnificent. I suppose the best I can use is awe-inspiring. Awe at the sheer size and height and depth and distance and beauty and splendor that hits your eyes all at once. And no matter how many pictures you take (and I take a lot) you …

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Finding the Reflection of God

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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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The Cure for Smart Phone Addiction

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Last Sunday, our pastor continued a series called Satisfied. He shared some amazing statistics about Americans and their cell phones: 66% of Americans feel anxious if they are separated from their device. 58% do not miss one waking hour without checking their smart phone. 59% of Americans check email as soon as comes in. 89% of Americans check their device every single day, even on vacation. 80% of teenagers sleep with their phone! 84% of Americans believe they couldn’t go a day without their phone. The average cell phone user checks their phone 150 times a day! In fact, many people check their cell phone first thing in the morning and as the last thing they do before going to sleep. They go to bed and wake up checking their smart phone. While some people are worse than others, all of us, I believe, probably check their phone more than necessary. There is no doubt that we live in a world where our smart phone is now practically a part of our body. How many times have you been in a room filled with friends or family and everyone is on their device rather than enjoying each other? Well, I …

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Yosemite Summit Report and Video

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ALSO available on YosemiteSummit.org Yosemite Summit 2014 Report One of the best decisions I ever made in life was to start Yosemite Summit. I can still remember how nervous I was the first year – it was an incredible step of faith to put money down on a lodge not knowing if any guys would even sign up. I’ve now completed seven Summits. Each year God brings together a completely different group of men – sovereignly gathered by God for a week of unplugging from the busyness of ministry to reconnect with God in an incredible way. What are the benefits of Yosemite Summit that these men benefit from? Let me share a few with you… (click on any image to view larger) They get to spend time strengthening their foundation by spending quality time with the Rock. They gain a new objectivity on their life and walk with God. They learn to see God in nature in new and creative ways. They learn to enjoy the journey over the destination. They gain a heightened perspective on life. (Can you see him there?) They learn that even when you can’t see God at work… He is still there. Sometimes it’s …

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