Friday, July 15, 2011

Continued adventures in Colorado.

The last few weeks have flown by as I have been busy helping lead our "Father Teen Adventure" program here at Spring Canyon.  FTA focuses on dads and their relationship with their children, and building that relationship as the son or daughter moves into adulthood.  It's been so amazing getting to help facilitate the week for these teams and watching their friendship grow immensely over the course of a week!  I have gotten to spend countless hours over the past weeks sharing in life experiences with different fathers and encouraging them in their journey and walk with Christ.  Once again this summer, I feel overwhelming privileged that this is my "job."  I get to invest in lives for the eternal difference of them choosing to love Christ well in future years to come!  That's pretty much amazing!

Last week I got to with the Fathers and Sons on their white water rafting trip down the Arkansas river.  It was a blast!  The water was running unusually high for this time of year, so the river was incredibly fast and powerful!

I've gotten to do quite a few things this summer that I've always wanted to, but never had the opportunity.  Through all of the fun activities, I still would have to say nothing compares to the amazing opportunity I get every week to lead men and women into the love of Christ and help them see His everlasting desire for them!  There is so much hope inside of Christ for the weary heart.  For those that have been laboring for years, there is rest for the weary and strength for the down trodden.

Something else that was very encouraging for my own heart the last week was that a friend of mine from Kansas City came out to visit his dad in Colorado, and it just so happened that his dad lived about 40 minutes from where I was staying in Buena Vista.  So we got a chance to hang out a couple times while he was in town.  I was greatly encouraged to share in our common love for the man Jesus.  We got to do one overnight campout and later in the week a day hike up past Cottonwood lake, such a beautiful area!

The summer adventures continue, I've got just over a month left here in Colorado, and I'm looking forward to enjoying every moment of it!  This has been such a great time of refreshment for my heart.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Embracing the Words of Life that lead to Death [Colorado Springs, CO]

Over the course of months leading up to this summer the Lord spoke to my heart again and again to prepare me for what He was starting, that is, this process of learning to lean more and more on His friendship than any other.  My prayer for this year in January was that I would learn to love people well as He does.  It seems that the training grounds for pouring into others is that you experience a heightened intensity of being drawn into deeper friendship with the person of Jesus.  

The closer I come to Jesus, the more I realize the weight and depth of His words.  If in this mans words there is truly eternal life, then why do I neglect His words more than anyone else?  Why have I not grabbed ahold of every word that He has spoken and claimed it for myself? In His words there is life, but embracing His words means death to my mortal flesh.  To embrace His path means to embrace a pathway of suffering and self denial.  To truly experience life, I must die to myself.  "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24 The cost of following after Jesus is nothing less then complete surrender and wholehearted devotion. "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 Though there is death to the flesh, in these truths there is eternal wells of life springing up on the inside!

Our culture feeds us this idea that the journey of life should be easy and enjoyable, when we encounter hardship, our society tells us it's not fair and we deserve better.  I don't see this kind of language anywhere in scripture.  We see the exact opposite for the pathway of those who choose to follow after Christ.  The journey is filled with embracing suffering and being spitefully used because of Him.  "Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14  "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (endurance)."  Embracing the trials of this life produces endurance and long suffering for the marathon race that we are running.  When we bow out of tribulation and say that "it isn't fair, or God isn't just in our circumstances," we are robbing ourselves of embracing a valuable spiritual lesson to help strengthen our pace for the course of years to come.

Being a friend of the man Jesus, and loving Him well means that we obey and follow His commands.  "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15  "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."  John 15:10-11  There is joy in this process of dying to self.  When we choose to voluntarily love Him with the whole of our heart, and embrace His commands, we subject our flesh to suffering, and we greatly move the heart of the creator God because of our act of willful obedience.  This is the wisdom of God, that when we choose to love Him, it cost us something.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good or Bad Idea?

Inexperienced kayaker, good or bad idea that I decided to raft down the creek in camp? Water was a pleasant 40 degrees, the rapids took good care of me as I dumped it the second time around =]  Still loving my time here in Colorado!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wainwright Family [Spring Canyon, CO]

These are my friends the Wainwrights, I met them this past week at Spring Canyon.  Ryan and Mary and their two kids Danielle (4) and William (16 months) are moving out to Fort Lewis in Washington to continue serving our U.S. army.  I had such a great time getting to know this family, I absolutely love their heart and love for the Lord.  They have such a beautiful family and beautiful hearts.  Enjoy their family as I did.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mountain Adventures [Mt. Shavano, CO]

This last week I had the privilege of peaking a 'fourteener' as they refer to it here in the rockies.  A beautiful hike through the San Isabel national forest, I spent 4 days on the trail with cadets from all over the U.S.  Every time I get to go out on our 4 day treks I so appreciate the time spent in the wilderness, getting to talk to the Lord in His creation.

On the 4 day trek I led a group of 2 brothers and their dad up the mountain.  I had a blast getting to spend the week with these guys in the Lord's creation, getting to talk about life and future plans.  I have come to love my 'job' out here in Colorado.  I can't believe that I get to do this the whole summer, hike, and talk to military cadets about loving Jesus with all of their heart!  This past week I had countless conversations with different guys about living wholehearted before the Lord, and how it's possible to walk out the first commandment!  I've formed a few friendships along the way, a few more connections with people from all over.  I feel as though everyday I have a heightened ability to connect with the Lord, being here in His creation, and just being 'closer' to Him at 9,000 feet.  I know that this time is forming some very key experiences for my heart to draw from in future years.

Love it here.  More to come.

Grace & Peace

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Life of a Mountain Man continued [Buena Vista, CO]

It's been quite the adventure thus far being out here in the beautiful mountains of Colorado.  This past week I finished up my 2 weeks of training for the summer as a guide staff.  I am now Wilderness First Aid certified, CPR certified, a general understand of rocky mountain climates, and a general understanding of rocking climbing and repelling systems and knots.  I have enjoyed learning the practicalness of all the different life skills I am gaining.  Spending more and more time in the mountains and getting the experience to go with the training has started giving me a confidence in my ability to survive in the backcountry.

Half of being a successful guide and backpacker is simply knowing how to prepare for any conditions you may encounter.  Making sure that you have done all that you can on the front end to be prepared for the worst.  Everything from food and water, to having plenty of layers and shells.  There has been some days we've been on the trail and it's 65 and sunny, and that night it drops down to 30 degrees and a blizzard!  Just this past week we were spending a day out on the cliff face climbing and repelling, the morning was sunny and a good temperature, by about 12:30pm a snow storm had moved in and we were scrambling to get off the rock!  Visibility was probably about 25 feet, and wind gusts were attempting to blow us off the mountain at 20 to 30 mph!  Luckily I went with my gut that morning and packed an extra fleece and my wind shell, my hands took the brunt of the weather as we scrambled to get all of our gear packed up.

 It's been alot of fun learning how to cook different meals when backpacking.  So far I've learned how to make mac and cheese, chicken alfredo, and beef and potato pie from scratch using ingredients that are easy to pack and not spoil.  Also making rice krispy treats on the trail has become a good treat for around the campfire on chilly nights =)

This next week I'll be hiking another fourteener with my first group of ROTC cadets.  I'm really excited to speak truth and identity into the lives of men and women that are hungry for the Lord.  The Lord is so kind in the way that He continues to lead my heart and show me the value of my time here.  I'm so in love with this man Jesus, may He have all of my affections.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family DomiNATION [Ann Arbor, MI]

Here's some favorites of my shoot with the Brabbs from few weeks back.  Absolutely loved taking pictures of this family, I had such a good time getting to gleam into a little bit of what life for the Brabbs family looks like.

Phil was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a type of blood cancer) right around the time that I met him when I was in highschool.  I've watched and admired the last 3 years as he and his family have navigated through the rough waters of life.  I have so much respect for this man of Faith.  More than Phil's incredible drive to bring awareness about multiple myeloma, I love the way that He is dominating as a husband, father, and head of household.  Follow he and his families journey here.

Holy Cuteness!

Loved this action shot for some reason =]

Beautiful Family!

Daddy Sandwich.

Definitely blog material.