Monday, August 9, 2010

Rocky Mountain Trail

I DID IT. Hiked to my first mountain elevation of 14,000+ unassisted by pack animals or sherpas. Mount Cameron Colorado.

Lessons learned on the trail:
When it is too tough and the air too thin, take only one step at a time and rest in between - called the rest step. Takes a long time, but it works. I put my nose in the trail and disciplined myself to breath, step and keep going. Than after a few minutes you look up and see where you have gone. What a thrill.

Exertion and high altitude fill the body with adrenalin and it takes a while to come down from that. On the way home from a hike I am usually doing all I can to stay awake and if someone else drives, I am asleep in minutes. This time I was fully awake, no joint pain, talking, involved, active and very surprised. When we returned home, the same feeling kept on. Lasted until about 2:30AM which became quite annoying. My skin felt like it was 100 degrees and very tingly. I took a glass of water and sipped on it for a half hour and then sleep came. I have never felt anything like that before. Not sure I am anxious to repeat it, especially if it takes the same effort as this time.

Walking with God is like hiking the hills - one step at a time and constant effort with Him giving the strength for each step. What a great day of hiking accomplishment - of spiritual development - of personal growth. I accomplished something I never would have thought possible with strength I did not possess. This has helped make my summer a time of spiritual renewal. Praise God.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Scripture Heritage

Some work done by Chadi Moussi and me as we work to illustrate the teaching of inspiration in Scripture.

The Bible we have is inspired by God. The word inspiration comes from a Greek word meaning “God-breathed.” ( 2 Timothy 3:16). Words that are inspired by God are exactly what God wanted to be said. God the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, not people. The authors of the Bible were moved by the Holy Spirit so that they wrote the exact words that God wanted them to write within their own styles. ( 2 Peter 1:20-21) The scope of the Bible’s inspiration is plenary verbal inspiration, which means that every single word of Scripture was exactly as God intended.
God is the source of this process of inspiration, causing the original autographs to be inerrant. Scribes and others copied the Bible, producing copies that were accurate. These copies were then taken, copied repeatedly, and translated. People since then have preached and taught the Word, are illuminated and then apply biblical principles into their lives. This entire process produces an infallible Scripture which will never lead astray those who trust in it. We can say without apology “I have an accurate English translation of an accurate copy of God’s written, inspired Word.”

The first step of Bible study is Observation. Observation is when you ask the question What does it say?. When doing observation, we find out what is in the text and ask a lot of questions in order to better understand it. The second step of Bible study is Interpretation. Interpretation is when you ask the question What does it mean? We must make sure to have a correct interpretation of the Bible; otherwise, we can mislead ourselves when we go to apply it. The third and final step of Bible study is Application. Application is when we ask How does it apply to me? We cannot just be satisfied with knowing what there is to know; we must take what we study in the Bible and apply it to our lives.
What is prayer? For true Christians, prayer is “communion with God”. Through prayer we actually experience relationship with God. Prayer is talking, listening, and enjoying the presence of God. We pray because we love God, because we depend on God in order to resist temptation and most importantly because He commands us to. Before studying the Bible it is vital that we pray for God’s guidance since He is the author of the text.

There are many reasons why people don’t study the Bible. Some might say, “I need something that works”. The problem of relevance may be the number one reason that people are not studying God’s Word today. God’s revelation is as alive and working today as it was when it was first delivered. Some say “I don’t know how”. The problem of technique is also common; we’ve been saturated with visual images, and we’re losing our ability to read. Studying the Bible can be easy if you put forth time and effort; if you don’t know how, then learn. Another response is I’m just a layman. Many people think they understand the basics, but don’t work on uncovering His truths. They think they can’t do it because they aren’t preachers. You don’t need professional training to understand the Bible. A very common excuse is I just don’t have time. If we find ourselves saying this, then ask yourself where the Bible fits on your list of priorities. We must learn that the study of the Word is not an option - it’s an essential. Others say I have my doubts about the Bible. These people ask if the Bible is reliable and authoritative; we must learn that it is completely reliable, and the more we study it, the more consistent and reasonable it turns out to be. One last wrong view is I can’t seem to make it interesting. It is very difficult to get people excited about one’s own insights into the Word.

An excellent resource for Bible study is the web site Here you will find helpful word studies, commentary and resources to enrich your personal Bible study.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Goat Lake

Superior day with perfect Northwest weather. Low 70's, dry, cloudy for most of the day and sunbreaks included. 5.2 miles one way along a rather easy trail for most of the distance.

They said the last half "rudely switchbacks" up to the lake. Perhaps it was because during that time one's tongue was hanging out - - I don't know. Jonathan, Annie, Margaret and I made a day trip out of it.
Included some pondering at the lake - - that is leaning back against a tree and taking in all of God's power and grandeur on display before us. Lots of mining in the area 100 years ago, and a small settlement, which is now gone. Huge cedar trees along the way.

Much of God's beauty and creativity on display as we traveled.

Great Quote
The hiker can go without combing his hair or shaving and will be accepted as perfectly normal. He can get dirty and his friends will still speak to him jovially. His clothes may be in tatters, and people will think nothing of it. If there happens to be a little rock dust on his shirt or trousers, or if his clothes are a trifle torn, so much the better. Of such stuff are hiking heroes made. The hiker doesn’t have to have to talk very much, say witty things, hold a glass in his hands, or laugh lightly at banalities. His is a world of opposites, and no one cares or worries about it. —ANN and MYRON SUTTON, The Appalachian Trail: Wilderness on the Doorstep, 1967

Friday, June 18, 2010

Six Blind Men and an Elephant

The Blind Men and the Elephant

John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend.

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"Oh bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New trail in a new decade

Wow, it looks like the trail is dusty and overgrown from lack of use. Since the last post, we have started a new school year, survived hunting season with Tim and Jonathan and seen God start and develop Everett Bible Church, of which we are privileged to be a part.

Today I preached again at Sedro-Woolley for Pastor Rick Coursen while he was away. The message was from Colossians 3:1-4. One of the key concepts in that text is that we have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. A great paradox for the believer. Fully alive due to human birth, we remain dead in our trespasses and sins - walking dead men. Coming to Christ by faith, we are born again. Now we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. Our life is hidden in Him - kept for eternity, preserved and secure and full of mystery and adventure, walking in obedience.

I told some of my classes a few weeks back that if you were to take one new area of obedience from the Scripture and practice it for a week, by the time you die, you would not need to repeat any of God's wonderful permissions for life. That is much better than practicing death by degrees and thinking it is life.

A new year is here. I am excited to see the things God has in store for me and my family as we continue to explore our new life in Christ.

See you on the trail.