"Give yourself up to love, and the Holy Spirit will come; receive the Holy Spirit and he will teach you to love more."
- Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender

Look Beyond the Mountains

This well known, and oft quoted phrase among people who love the outdoors was originally penned by conservationist and outdoor enthusiast John Muir in the early 1900s: 

The mountains are calling, and I must go. 

Whether he knew it or not, the mountains of the wild places of the world have but one voice that continually proclaims the goodness and majesty of their Creator. They can do nothing but stand upright, singing to the heavens of the glory of Him who spoke their existence in to being. What Muir may or may not have known is that God has been using His mountains for thousands of years as places of spiritual rest, renewal, challenge, sacrifice, and calling both inside and outside of the Biblical examples we all know.

So when a man feels that the mountains are calling to him, he would be wise to look beyond the hills, to their Creator, for the voice they so painfully seek.

On Sunday, August 3, I set out with six of our college student leaders from Cornerstone for the Sisters area of central Oregon. The plan was for all 7 of us to complete a 36 mile, 3.5 day loop through volcanic region known by locals as the 3 Sisters (they are in fact a chain of three distinct, dormant, volcanoes that shoot out of the forest beneath them in incredible fashion). Thankfully, and by the grace of God, we all completed the trek.

At the beginning of our hike, I reminded the men of all of the stories throughout scripture of the Lord using mountains in peoples’ lives - Abraham, Moses, Peter, James and John, Jesus upon Calvary - and then challenged all of us to ask a few simple questions of Him: 

What would you say to me on this mountain Lord?

What should I leave as my sacrifice on this mountain? 

It is true that going in to the mountains for fellowship’s sake would be a worthwhile trip; however, our band of brothers had travelled cross-country for a different purpose. Had we ventured such a great distance for a few good laughs or a few stories that we would remember for a season? Or had the Lord led us the Oregon mountains for a higher purpose? I am convinced of the latter. While the stories of God’s setting some free from pain, hurt, and chains and speaking clearly, “son, whom i love” to others are just beginning to be shared, the significance of our time together there is far greater than the sum of the miles, days, blisters, and total elevation climbed. 

This was truly a spiritual pilgrimage for us all that will echo in our hearts for eternity…and for that I am grateful to our God in heaven. 

As leaders of our college ministry at Cornerstone and volunteers in various other areas, I greatly anticipate the fruit of our journey to play out in each one’s ministry during this next academic year. 

I am incredibly thankful for our journey together, but I am eternally grateful for the changed lives of each man, each with hearts beating stronger for His glory, with whom I was privileged to take a hike with in central Oregon.

I am thankful for the one who draws our eyes beyond the hills.

Oregon Backpacking Three Sisters leadership

If I was half as excited as Finley is every morning to wake up, open my Bible and spend time with Jesus, I would never fear or doubt for the rest of my life. Matthew 18.2-4 #Jesus #takesherBibleeverywhere

If I was half as excited as Finley is every morning to wake up, open my Bible and spend time with Jesus, I would never fear or doubt for the rest of my life. Matthew 18.2-4 #Jesus #takesherBibleeverywhere

takesherbibleeverywhere jesus

Interrupted by “Jessuu”

Yesterday was a day to get things done.

Lacey was working…which means i had Finley all day. So my plan was to get her to school by 8, go for a quick run, and swing by the house for a shower before my first meeting at 9. it was a good plan and was one I felt was me making the best use of my morning, but God had other ideas.

it amazes me how well the Father knows us and our need to be slowed down from time to time.

in the midst of the hustle and bustle of getting a 17 month old ready and out the door when all she really wanted to do was run around the house in a diaper, I finally had her cornered in her room to get dressed for the day. forgetting one thing in the kitchen, i ran out of her room for a split second, and before i could turn around, here comes Finley, ever so quietly out of her room holding her Jesus Storybook Bible.

She looked at me, held up the book, and in her not so great, yet perfect English, she said, “Jessuu? Jessuu?”

Run? nope. 

the option was clear: a) tell her later little girl, we have to get you to school on time so I can do a-b&c this morning or b) stop everything and say yes to Finley and to God in that moment.

We sat down in the kitchen and read about Jessuu inviting himself in to Zaccheus’ home. Some times, and I’m so thankful for them, the Holy Spirit simply whispers, i’m coming over. be ready. can we sit and talk together? Of all the things I had to do yesterday, none of them mattered in that precious moment. nothing mattered but Finley wanting to read a book about a man who changed everything.

Having read many Bible stories to Finley, by far the most amazing to date was yesterday, alone with her in the kitchen, reading about a man she doesn’t really know yet, but blown away that I was given the privilege to say, “yes little girl, we can talk about Jessuu.”

Jesus Finley mind blown thankful

One more for Father’s Day. I swear this kid knows exactly how to make a man smile

When I dreamed of being a Papa, I never imagined that God would bless me in such an incredible way with this amazing little girl. #proudpapa

Excited to have finally planted the first of what I hope becomes many raised beds in our yard #growfood

Firing this behemoth up for free dinner tonight at Cornerstone College.

Firing this behemoth up for free dinner tonight at Cornerstone College.