Archive for May, 2012

…as wild asses in the desert go they forth.

// May 4th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Cycling, Leadership, Reflections

20120504-070518.jpgMountain bikes, road bikes, 4×4′s, Razrs, dune buggies, rock crawlers, street motorcycles, dirt bikes, climbing gear, golf clubs, airplanes, paragliders, rafts – what good is a men’s trip to Moab Utah other than an excuse for guys to pull out all the toys and go play? – we have seen it all. While the toys are great, the best part is honestly the time forging friendships both new and old in the inhospitable environment of the Utah desert. Job 24:5 says “like wild asses in the desert go they forth” which for the purposes of good humor has become the motto of the trip. Having a few pastors in attendance allows for some good teaching around the evening fire and tends to give us some credibility as well as some thoughts to reflect on as we then go forth into the desert the next day.

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I have said before the value of sports is in the values sports instills in us. This statement was never truer than while on an epic 30 mile mountain bike ride and linkup of multiple trails. With my friends Dave Baker (a former D-1 hockey standout) and Gil McCormick (GM of Wheat Ridge cycler, former racer, and alpine hard man) I headed out well prepared with lots of snacks and water for a ride that we knew, due to the terrain, would take possibly more than six hours.
Navigating the winding canyons, over the slickrock, through sand, perching on precipices we rode under the hot sun continually seeking the best route and trusting in our one-eyed leader Gil (Gil lost sight in one eye while climbing a new route on Pumori in the Himalayas years ago). In this landscape getting hurt, lost, having weak or unprepared partners can be unforgiving, even so I never felt that way due to the fact that I was riding with guys I knew and trusted. I was having the best ride of the year because I wasn’t worried, felt prepared and in control. How often in our daily lives do we get to experience this kind of trust – trust made up of reliance and confidence that releases us from fear and worry. Sports – wether they are extreme or mainstream provide a venue to develop this kind of trust.

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Francois de Salignac de la Mothe Fenelon said this about trust in _The Seeking Heart_ “here is a way to know if you’ve actually trusted God with something – you will not think about the matter any longer, nor will you feel a lack of peace.” how great it is to know this trust, as well as a deep trust in the people you have surrounded yourself with. After the ride Gil said this “Seems you can hang out in lost and stressful situations, tired and worn out, and still have a sense of humor. Testimony to your extreme endurance and patience with the blind and half blind.” I took it as mere flattery and could easily say the same of my friends, but because of who they are things never felt desperate or out of control, just some guys doing a long ride in the middle of nowhere. I’m thankful for sports for the friends that come with them and for the values they teach as they wear us out but not down.

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Lord of the Rings

// May 3rd, 2012 // 1 Comment » // Climbing, Getting biblical, Hiking, Reflections

Firehouse West 5-3-12

On a cold day in December, as the ice climbing season here in Vail was getting underway, I had gone up to “Firehouse West” for a day of guide training with Apex Mountain School. The approach to the climb is long but at least it’s steep. ┬áThe thick underbrush of summer is laid flat by all of the snow as well as the big boots of climbers that tromp up this slope with their heavy packs.
It is wise to dress light for the 35 minute slog up, and then as the sweat dries add layers at the base of the ice climb changing gloves as well before starting up the technical climb.
It was later on this day that I realized that somewhere along the way I had lost my wedding ring (my second and more expensive wedding ring made of white gold) inscribed with Romans 15:5-6. I was upset and I knew my wife Amy would be even more disappointed. So a couple of days later, armed with a metal detector from Radio Shack, I made the slog back up to find the ring. No such luck – the ice had formed 2 feet thicker over the place where I had changed my gloves and with all the action this place had seen, I knew there was no chance but to wait for the spring thaw.
I pray everyday, and this morning as I set off to Firehouse intent on finding my lost ring 6 months later, I said a prayer that I might find this ring. The grass was starting to grow, the thornbushes that normally lie covered under the snow were devouring my shins as the willow and aspen branches taunted me with every loose and or muddy step. Finally as I arrived at the climb’s base I saw what still looked to be a climbable pillar of ice touching down on a frozen platform that covered, even now, the place where my ring had likely slipped off of my finger. Completely crushed and in disbelief the thought of coming back to a raging waterfall in one more month flushed away any hope of finding the ring. I had come up full of hope and without a metal detector knowing what God can do, but now I thought He just chose not to do it. “Hopeless!” I exclaimed. I had given up.

The Trail - ring is between log & stick

Turning, taking two more steps, looking down the slope right in the middle of the wintertime trail, sitting above all the choss and debris, sat a round treasure. “My ring! Thank you God! Thank you God!” I literally shouted it out with joy.

There it lies - as if placed there

So on this national day of prayer I want you to be encouraged, just as I am, that God does hear us and is even interested in the seemingly small things. So wether obstacles seem insurmountable, or just too small to offer up to a big God, this event today reminds me that just as I share concerns big and small with my spouse, I too should be mindful to share every concern of my daily life with my God.  Jesus gives us these words to give us exactly this hope and understanding:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. (Matthew 10:29 NIV)

Romans 15:5,6