Archive for Getting biblical

The Whiteout

// August 22nd, 2013 // Comments Off // Climbing, Getting biblical, Leadership, Reflections

White Out on Pisco

White Out on Pisco

Through the darkness of the early morning hours we began our climb.  Headlamps shining brightly to illuminate the rocky terminus of the glacier we navigated by instinct and small piles of rocks called cairns.  The small circles of light were just enough to illuminate each step and where it should be precariously placed before glancing upward to spot the next pile of rocks showing the way.  Hours would pass by as time and time again we would briefly lose our way.  Pausing, examining the surroundings, exploring possibilities, we would regain our course and press on.  A favorite scripture of mine speaks to this: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path – Psalm 119:105.  The destination is unseen, the entire plan unknown, there is just enough light, just enough information to take the next step.  In faith – take it.  Navigation requires focus, experience, the ability to be alert to each step even while carrying on a conversation.

Have you ever  been at a place in life where you were wondering which way to go?  Have you been seemingly stuck, no map, no signs, no GPS coordinates, and no one to guide you and make tough decisions for you?  True in business, true as a parent, true for the student figuring out the future.  We have all been there.  So what does it take to carry on in such uncertainty?

Fortitude and faith.

We emerged from the darkness into the light of day long enough to get geared up and hit the glacier.  Only minutes after setting foot on the glacier we were again moving blindly, and this time a headlamp would be of no use.  The wind kicked up, the snow was moving sideways, the clouds came down and now there was no visual separation of earth and sky.  Hello vertigo.  Progress became slow, morale dropped, and what was supposed to be a “gimmee” of a climb became a real challenge indeed.  Winter in the Andes is predictable: the sun always shines – ha.  The drifting snow covered the tracks of yesterday and as the ridge narrowed, we began to wonder if we might walk right off the ridge stepping onto a cloud thought to be solid ground.


More exhausting than the altitude and the climb itself was the amount of focus it took to discern and stay the course.  Probing with poles for each step, the mind playing tricks on the senses and the senses playing tricks right back on the mind, up seemed down and down seemed up and at times the team tied to my rope would disappear into the white.

Just when all hope seemed lost a break in the clouds would reveal some footsteps, or a feature up ahead, just enough to ensure the course was still true.

We walk by faith, not by sight.  Says 2 Corinthians 5:7.  It is that faith that assures me the course will be revealed at some point, so I ask myself do I have enough faith to take another step when all I see is my feet?  Well one more…then another…and so on.

We made the summit of Pisco in challenging conditions.  Experience, a positive well equipped team, moving forward in fortitude by faith.

So if you are facing difficulty, uncertainty and that next step seems impossible – try this:
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6.












// June 4th, 2013 // Comments Off // Getting biblical, Leadership

- In memory of Tom Driscoll -

Tom lived with purpose and passion in service to, and love for others, even while battling terminal brain cancer and living in hospice care.
Tom’s life, and the manner in which he lived shows all of us that it is never to late to make a difference in the lives of others, and that by taking the focus off of ourselves and our own miseries and putting that focus on others will cause our problems to take a back seat.

You will be missed Tom, thanks for living to the fullest even while you were dying – your life gave inspiration.

His favorite scripture: “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9


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.  The 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

Guide to Yellowstone and Tetons – A Book Review

// November 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // books, Getting biblical

The latest edition in the True North series: Your Guide toYellowstone and Teton National Parks was a read that left me wanting more.  In fact it made me want to go back and visit these parks again with a fresh perspective.  Having stood on top of the Grand Teton and bicycle toured through Yellowstone park, I have seen a lot of the natural features and beauty in these parks while my mind considered their formation.
  This book doesn’t just merely offer up answers, it will challenge you to engage your brain and think – even better, it will encourage you to seek truth in the process.  As Psalm 104:8 says “the mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which you established for them” so is the perspective from which this book is written.  There is no kick in the teeth to those who hold an evolutionist point of view, rather common sense explanations of a young earth backed by the scientific method put into language that all can understand from a Biblical foundation.  In other words this book is not picking a fight, it is intelligently supporting the idea that there is a God who is a creator, and he is the one who put the forces in motion to forge such beauty.  This book accomplishes it’s three fold purpose of 1. being a guide to the overlooks; 2. offering arguments for creation vs evolution; and 3. showing how the parks themselves are supported by the idea of a great flood and intelligent design all while offering pages of wonderful photography that all serve to encourage the reader on towards good stewardship of our natural world.  I can now just imagine how valuable this guide would be in my hands as I toured the parks today in person again with my kids.  It would help me to discover the greater treasure and deeper value of our parks.  Guess I know what I am doing next summer – road trip!  (to Yellowstone and the Tetons of course.)

Fully Clothed

// November 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Getting biblical, Leadership

Last week here in Vail we received about a foot of snow with temperatures dropping down into the low teens.  On a recent trip to the Icebox of the Nation – the Fraser valley – we experienced our first dose of real cold this season with a morning of 2 degrees (F).  My friend even said at his house it had been minus 7, and it is still October!  Now it is the first of November another weather system is fast approaching and I am scrambling to make sure the cars are ready, my girls are ready, and that I too am ready for the deep freeze of winter.  Our world gets chilly and we need to make sure we have lots of layers and a solid outer coat to protect us and keep us warm.

As I get everything and everyone prepared I think of climbing in the arctic circle, climbing in the death zone on Everest and even skiing in Colorado on the worst days.  It starts with the socks and underwear as the base layer, moves out to a good breathable but insulating mid-layer sometimes followed by a technical soft-shell or gore-tex and lastly depending on the day the big “puffy” or parka.

As my wife and I were getting our girls layered up to go out and play in the cold she started talking about how we should do the same every day with our attitudes and virtues.  It caught me a bit off balance and unprepared.  I plan to the finest degree covering every detail about what goes on the outside to protect me from the cold world, but don’t often plan to the same extent to clothe the inside.  I don’t give much thought to the daily internal layers of character and virtue to protect me from the cold world or even better to share the warmth given me with it.

Colossians 3:12 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  I think in this way if I can plan a little ahead and make sure I am putting these layers on first, the harsh cold world might become a little warmer.  It’s the goggles that help me to see compassionately, the gloves that give me a touch of kindness, my holy underwear that keeps me humble, the soft middle layer that allows for gentleness, and lastly the “puffy” that allows me to bear with others through storm and be patient or even to give away when they are in greater need of being warmed.

As this next storm bears down on us I am making sure I have all my layers ready to go inside and out.  Are you ready for the next season in the icebox? 

Predictive Affirmation

// October 27th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Getting biblical, Leadership, Reflections

What is predictive affirmation?  These are words that foresee and encourage others towards a future filled with hope and expectation.  Backed by another’s stated belief in oneself, one’s skill and virtue, a person will often go forward in life fulfilling those statements like some sort of prophesy.  This is the idea behind predictive affirmation: more than just a positive attitude or a belief, or speaking fluff into someone’s life, predictive affirmation takes stock of a person’s character qualities and lays out a roadmap of where those could lead in the future.

On a recent trip to Orlando I got to use a little bit of this with a global organization which was setting goals for the next year.  Knowing the mission, the vision, and the values they had at their core, I was able to speak truth into their organization that by getting back to those roots and applying some fundamentals of success (things that they already owned) they would not only find the success they were looking for, but that they would be a stronger community in the process.

Since we were near Disney World I took advantage of the gift store to bring home two little Minny Mouse dolls for my twin daughters.  Disney characters had been a staple for me in my youth and I wanted my daughters to share in the joy that I had also found from the Magic Kingdom.  With boxes of toys, however, how would I get these little mice to stand out or stand a chance?  Predictive affirmation.  I found that by giving Minny Mouse ownership of some human traits and abilities, and then sharing those in a special way with my daughters Minny has not been out of their grasp, and has become the go to doll of choice.  When Minny arrived in our home I told my girls that she was special, that she loved them and travelled all the way from Florida to see them.  I told my girls that Minny wanted to play with them, sleep beside them, dance with them and be a friend.  It has all come true.

What I have learned is that if I speak that same way to my daughters they more than likely will become those things too – friends that love each other, look out for each other, are polite and kind with grateful, courageous, adventurous and laughing hearts.  My hope is that if I can speak of my girls as I did Minny Mouse, that they too will be loved because they first loved others.
Are you speaking this kind of affirmation into the lives of others?

Have you ever had the blessing of someone speaking this way about you?

Can the cycle of of negative affirmation be broken?  I know it can by the promise of Jeremiah 31:3 …I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving -kindness.  I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt… .  Also 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

May your future be bright and filled with hope and expectation.


// October 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Getting biblical, Other

An alpine start is necessary in climbing, but who knew it was also necessary in film production.  Getting up before the sunrise is critical for capturing the best light and the best shots.  Just a few days ago I had the opportunity to help out Eli Pyke with a shoot for his company Zion Pictures –  Eli called me and told me he was doing a shoot close to where I live and that he could use some help.  I immediately offered knowing this would be a great opportunity to learn, and that I had enough skill to be of some value to what he was doing.  A pastor, who is a friend to a lot of people I know  in the Vail Valley and has just recently written a book called Replenish, was putting together a DVD to compliment his teaching aimed at church leadership.  Lance Witt was the executive pastor at one of the nation’s most visible and influential churches called Saddleback in California.  There he pastored under Rick Warren – the guy who gave the Benediction at President Obama’s inauguration – and was in charge of a staff of 400 (just a little country church).

The shoot went well, the weather was outstanding, and I learned a lot about production.  What I didn’t expect from these few days of work was to come away from a work project having been ministered to by the content.  It is so easy, no matter what we are doing, to be so ingrained in the mechanics of the workflow that we miss out on the words being spoken – not just into the microphone, but to our hearts.  Lance brought out a team of people whose work in ministry is to see to it that those who care for others take a little time out to care for themselves and maintain a healthy relationship with Jesus.  The focus of the Replenish series is to do just that – keep people on track with priorities and work, to not get to caught up in the mechanics, and keep an ear open for the Lord’s voice.

You can find out more about pastor Witt and his wife Connie and their work here:

To learn about Mindy Caliguire  from Willow Creek Community Church and her work at SoulCare go here:

To meet Pastor Shaun from a church deep in Detroit who has no interest in Rock Climbing but is helping others climb out of trouble go here:


The Rope

// September 21st, 2011 // No Comments » // Climbing, Getting biblical

The other day when I took the 6th grade class from the Vail Academy climbing, along with local experts Tim Nottingham and Travis Colbert, I couldnt help noticing a common thread. Sixty feet high above the ground the rope was anchored to solid rock. The kids knew this, they just couldnt see this. Inevitably then a number of them, though tied to a rope, climbed in fear. It made me think of how those of us who profess a faith in God live out our lives in this same fear. The rope is like our faith that is anchored to the rock on high which we can not see, however we know is there. If we truly have confidence in things not seen, we should excitedly and expectantly tie into the rope knowing that holds and steps will appear as we climb onward and upward leading me to the rock that is higher than I as it says in Psalm 61:2
br /br /a href= src= alt=20110921-013144.jpg class=alignnone size-full //a

Stepping Out of the Boat

// September 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Getting biblical, Leadership, Reflections

check out:

Every once in a while I call the church secretary to schedule some time with my pastor.  When I do this I don’t let her or the pastor know what the activity of that particular day will be, but leave just enough information to make them both a bit anxious like “bring a helmet, borrow an avalanche beacon, grab a life vest.”  Having taken him on backcountry ski outings, rock climbing adventures (true faith building experiences) we have had the opportunity to see first hand what it means to trust the rock that is “higher than I.”  Talking through tears about fears and faith yesterday’s adventure was no different.  With an injured back the outing needed to be tame but sitting in a coffee shop doesn’t really make for a memorable time and is too often disrupted by all the people we both know in this community.  We met at the coffee shop and then pulled up to a nearby lake.  I told my pastor to read some passages from the Bible on casting nets, calming storms, and even walking on water.  With hot java in hand I then revealed the plan, the boat, and the fishing rod.  The time was rewarding for both of us even though we didn’t catch anything.  We talked about life, the call on our lives, and what it meant to walk by faith.  I love how Peter illustrated this when he saw Jesus walking on rough water.  He didn’t wait to be invited as we often think, he said hey I want to do that – can I come out there too?  Jesus replied with a come on out here then.  Peter had enough experience to know that through Jesus it would be possible.  I would have been inclined to stay in the boat and when Jesus got to it I would have asked “how did you do that?”

The lesson from the day to me was that we need to be intentional and deliberate with each other, but also in our faith.  We often wait around in the boat for something big to happen instead of actin on faith and stepping out when something big is already happening right there in front of us.

(This blog was ready to be posted yesterday.  All was complete, and I finished by saying how the WordPress app on my iPad made it very easy.  Then at the touch of one more button I lost everything.  Today it is coming from my computer.)

Independence Day

// July 4th, 2011 // No Comments » // Getting biblical, Uncategorized

Here it is July 4th, and we are celebrating Independence Day.  First of all let me thank those who fight, those who have fought and those who have given life and limb to serve us regardless of whether we are grateful or not.  They fight for the ideal that this country was founded on: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.  Allowing us to pursue life liberty and happiness as an individual right.

That said, I must admit I don’t feel the joy I did when I was younger, I don’t feel the same sense of pride, and I have more questions than ever as to where the leadership of this nation is taking us and has been for some time.  Independence?  I don’t see it.  Our debt is owned by the Chinese so in essence, they own us; Our phone calls are taken by Indians which take our jobs away – rather we give away; our products are designed in Japan, made in taiwan, assembled in Mexico, shipped to China and sold back to us; our labor force is largely illegal; most of our oil comes from a region outside of our borders and is sold at a high price with a general disdain for us; and the list goes on and on.  It makes me ask the question: are we really independent?  Are we not more dependent than ever on others?  Where does that leave us and what does this kind of future look like?  Where has that fighting independent American spirit gone?  We would rather  solve our fights by litigation than we would by standing strong in a real fight.  I feel as time goes on we get weaker, slowly caving in to the control of the UN, relinquishing our national sovereignty and reducing the power of our constitution and our people.

There may be a time coming to stand up and fight once again for our independence, but I don’t know that there are enough in this country who truly care and understand the sacrifices made by those who have served and died for this ideal.  What would you die for?  Who would you die for?  I think it is time America to once again stand strong and independent, to get back on our knees and humble ourselves before God and ask for his mercy and forgiveness.  So this Independence day let’s start with a prayer and celebrate unity, one nation under God, instead of diversity without him.  God bless the USA.