Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lessons from the Trail

Spring has not yet spring per se, but it's moving in the right direction. The days are getting longer and last night we were instructed to turn our clocks forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time. It's getting warmer and it seems hard to believe less than two weeks ago it was thirty below. Pastor Brad was just back last week for his near 2000 mile trek to Hudson Bay by snowmobile. And this morning he's planned to share many of the God-moments he experienced on this trip of a lifetime.

"Good morning! The Lord be with you!"
"And also with you," the congregation replied.

1. Brooke shared about an app for your smartphone or iPad for a daily devotion supplied by the Covenant Church.
2. Secret Sisters is after church today.
3. March 28-29 there's a Red Hat event in which there is a need for assistance setting up. The assistants will be paid $200. Call Paula Saxin for details if interested.

Chuck, Darlene and Ken led worship today beginning with the song One Scarred Hand, a favorite of Ken's with it's tender chorus, "The Great Physician's touch is a balm that can mend broken hearts with one scarred hand." Afterwards while the offering was being taken they sang No One Understands Like Jesus.

After a time of prayer, the pastor shared his...

Lessons from the Trail

Brad began by thanking us for allowing he and his family yo go on this adventure. He wanted to share today about the trip because it is a metaphor for stepping out into the unknown.

Most common question he was asked: Did you see any polar bears?
No, most are out on the ice hunting or hibernating.

The second most asked question: Did you have any moments you feared for your safety or that you were lost? There were a couple times where the trails were inaccessible, and one day we had to go 375 miles because the planned trail was closed. There were a few other places where we were anxious and had to turn back for another route.

What if you break down? How do you travel when there is no trail? Proverbs says you need to plan. Planning involves anticipation of things that could go wrong. This was not a joyride. There were risks.

Was the journey as scary as it seems from the outside?

Any time we attempt something big it may appear scary to others. But like the church building project, it wasn't scary to follow God's leading. God calls us to step out in faith.

Brad shared a story from Gary Haugen that was a good metaphor for the life of faith.  Haugen tells story of hiking on Mount Rainier with his family when he was ten. He saw a sign that warned all the dangers to beware of, and it scared him so much that he stayed in the visitors center. He brother and father went on that hike and saw some fabulous things. He later regretted that he played it safe.

Brad noted too often the church in Amercia opts to play it safe, but misses something spectacular because they didn't want to take risks.

We ourselves fall into the same trap, choosing safety rather than risk, missing out on more fulfilling experiences.

The safest place is not the visitor center but to be in the center of God's will.

This does not mean that things always work out. --> cite Hebrews 11

The American Trinity seems to be comfort, pleasure, and success, and because of this one of our big idols is safety. We are the most seat-belted, air-bagged, bike-helmeted, knee-pad-wearing, hyper-insured, sunscreen-slathering, massively medicated, protected and inoculated generation in history, and all it has done it to make us more afraid," he said.

Safety shrinks our lives. We become like the

Safety shrinks God. It becomes a celestial seat belt...

God believes in life after birth, not just life after death.

Lessons from the trail...
1. I didn't and couldn't have done this trip alone. Whenever you want to do something big for God, it always takes teamwork. It's a beautiful thing when people come together around something.
We live in a culture that makes it hard for people to work together, in part because we need to learn trust. Pride and process can be a problem, but it always takes teamwork to make the dream work.

Brad expressed gratitude to his family, and for those many faithful friends and well-wishers who helped in various stages along the way.

God is more concerned about the players than the play. It's always about transformed lives.

Brad then read from Ephesians 4
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

2. The big things we want to do for God always boil down to the small things we do daily for other people.
I wasn't scared because it was one day at a time.

We tend to overestimate as human beings what can be done in the short term and underestimate what can be done in the long term when our priorities are right.

3. If you want something you've never had, you need to do something you've never done. There's a part we play. God is powerful and active and present, and our willingness is more important than our competence. When we have a sense that God is with us it enables us to move beyond our comfort zones.

At the end of his report Brad shared slides from the journey. It was a very special service.

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