The Secret of Adventure…

From the very beginning I’ve had a deep longing to explore… to be challenged, tested, and to discover. God in His great wisdom granted my heart’s desire… and made me a parent.

The secret of Adventure is knowing your already living in one.

AA Milne knew that. His pooh stories saturated with the truth of Adventure and the need we have to be on one. So is the Bible… it reminds us of the fantastic story we’re a part of . The epic and the insignificant moments all threaded into one beautiful tapestry we call our life. For us children of the 80’s… the Adventure was in a galaxy far, far, away.

pic source - moviepilot.com

pic source – moviepilot.com

Like all great stories, there is a sacred quest and a villain with evil intent. A damsel in distress and a gallant hero complete the setting…

Soon our story expands, as priceless treasure is discovered, needing to be protected,…good, and evil locked in a battle for the prize. Drama and tragedy set among the glory and triumph, we watch with breathless anticipation to see how the scene plays out.

Life is an adventure… if you see it for what it really is. 

Can you see your life as more than survival, or a test? More than a painful series of ‘checklist’s to complete?

Can you see your marriage and your love for others as a sacred quest? The priceless treasure…your little ones. Heroically we stand guard against a corrupted and evil world, fighting to protect their hope and preserve innocence.

It’s heroic, even inspiring to watch as we parents learn to love and honor each other in the pursuit of parenthood. Sacrificing our rights and ‘precious little wrongs’ on the altar of true love and a growing commitment to serve someone greater than ourselves.

Ahhh… the heart of a epic story really is inside us all, just waiting to be discovered and celebrated!

Each family, each marriage can become a testament to the adventure God intended us to all share in. And like any great story… we know intuitively the ending. Good will triumph and the evil villain will get his just reward…

Unless you remember the story. Unless you understand what your life really is a part of… the adventure you’re in may only feel like one long moment of sheer terror and the epic hero seems absent. Don’t be confused, that isn’t just a battered and helpless carpenter nailed to a cross… it’s the Prince of Peace and the Lord of the Universe.

The truth is, your hero is with you. The battle has been fought and your are free to be as your father intended. Full of life and optimism, trusting the script has been written down to the smallest detail.. and you’re going to see the ending! 

Peace and Grace dear one… Pastor B.

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Day 4… Road Trip Revival. #iShineontheroad “Attitude at Altitude!”

Rolled into Dubois WY… snagging the last 2 rooms at the local Super 8. Dusty, dry and breezy. Temps in July were pushing 100F as we drove the 2 lane ribbon across the hazy, flat, high plains of eastern Wyoming. The sun lingered slow and low in the horizon… seven, eight… almost nine pm before we saw it start to slip over the distant ridge.

The Mountains!

The Mountains!

Sweaty, tired and butt numb we felt the miles. Wall SD to Dubois WY is only about 600 miles with a short detour to Mt.Rushmore NP, but it’s a good long 12 hours of travel. We crashed early and didn’t really notice the clear cool night emerging outside our windows.

We awoke to winter.

42F at 6:30am. My breath fogging the inside of our SUV. My naked legs one giant goose-bump of frigid skin.I had to dig out one of my light fleece pull-over’s to give my body some chance at finding warmth. The shock was complete. We had gone from the blazing heat of high summer sun to COLD.

A sixty degree temperature swing in 8 hours.

We were in the mountains and I couldn’t be happier. The cool / cold morning was such a relief. Felt like a peppermint patty embrace to my summer sweat soaked brain. No humidity, No sweating, No bugs. AWESOME !

As I look around to find someone else to share my jubilant happiness with… I only saw heaps of blankets and fetal postured freezing teens huddled in the back. Chattering teeth and groans quickly deflated me.

I confidently proclaimed the cold wouldn’t last! In fact, for sure by noon it would be bright and warm again, at least 80F with gorgeous mountain summer light. We were heading up the Wind River Valley to clip the edge of Grand Teton NP and push into Yellowstone! The grandest of them all. I had no idea it would turn out to be one of the coldest days possible for July. Snow flurries and sleet would be settled in by noon and would never allow temps to rise higher than 55F.

Tough Day

Tough Day

This led to some complaint and grumbling… but no one could deny the beauty of the mountain scenes before us and we toured the iconic spaces and places (Old Faithful, Yellowstone Falls, Buffalo on the plains etc…)of our oldest and grandest NP (in lower 48) with layers of shirts and jackets wrapping our unprepared limbs. As our altitude rose over 10,000 feet, our attitudes grew a bit short and over the long day of driving and stopping, shooting selfies, and dodging the hordes of tourists… some of us got very crabby 🙂

When we drove up and over the highest pass back to our cozy Super 8 rooms…. it began to snow big time. 3-4 Inches would pile up overnight. I shivered in my hiking shorts as we drove on. Smiling at the irony of it all.

I was the only one smiling. 

Tomorrow our days adventures would change the girls forever. But before the hope of dawn… we had to get through a very dark night.

By God’s grace…. we made it. But it was a tough road to ride.

Day 5 tomorrow; a BRAND NEW DAY.

Mt. Rushmore Here we Come… RoadTrip Revival #2

Too much fun to share with just words…. so here is what it all looked and sounded like this summer!

Stay tuned for more 🙂

Roadtripping Revival – A Summer to remember

The stats are EPIC. 

12,400 miles… five weekends, in six national parks…stretched out over 30 states with over a dozen people in tow. Americana on display as we worked our way across 2 lane, country road and interstate highway. Merrily bumping along in a 12 passenger van, 14 bunk Prevo bus, and luxe Ford Expedition from one weekend to another. Performing in the bible-belt, eastern seaboard, across New England and into the upper Midwest…finally ending the wandering in Washington state. Then…  we jumped back in and drove all the way back to Nashville 🙂

EPIC! 

The sights and sounds were thousands of pictures long… and the experiences as diverse as the landscapes we crossed, but all of them were strategic and superb! It’s always amazing to see how much we change when we make the space for personal reflection and deeper relationship, it’s like a part of us is suddenly re-discovered.

When we invite God into that roadtrip mix… it’s sure to exceed all expectations

Over the next few days and weeks, I’m going to share some glimpses (behind the scenes, beautiful, funny- awkward moments) of how this summer changed me and those I traveled with.

If you’re seeking a bit of encouragement or just want to live vicariously through us… your are most welcome to join in the journey and come along. It’s gonna be fun… a roadtrip revival! #ishineontheroad

Summer Tour 2015

Summer Tour 2015

Peace out,

Pastor B.

Strength for Life

Life is more than survival. 

Sometimes we / I forgetcampfire, Joe Wheeler SP - Alabama

Our life provides a chance to watch our faith grow and literally change us. It’s an honor we have been given as Christian’s, to share our journey with others.

A supernatural adventure of epic proportion, in which our greatest fears are conquered and our deepest pains are healed. We are shattered, undone, and then put back together again. A miracle of God, broken man-made whole.

When we live our faith out with a group of men (or women), we call those brothers… comrades.

When a group of comrades gather together in one place to share their journey,… with unity of purpose and genuine humility in their hearts… all will benefit, with extraordinary strength and fresh hope as the time ‘apart’ brings restoration to the soul. 

If you haven’t had a chance to ‘retreat’ and join with your Christian friends, or personally make the commitment to take a step back from the daily strain on your heart and the battle for hope, you probably need to.

When we intentionally stop from our schedules to rest, re-set, and refresh ourselves in the word of God, we can remember the truth of our faith and it brings hope and strength to continue on. When we retreat in the company of friends and Christian family, we gain greater conviction and strength… and we remember how to “live’ again. 

When Brothers Dwell in Unity

Psalm 133 Behold, how good and pleasant it is…

    when brothers dwell in unity![a]
It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.

(Scripture sourceBiblegateway.com)

Having just finished a fall retreat with the men of my church, I can attest first-hand to the effectiveness of renewing our strength in the community and fellowship of fellow Christians, it’s a beautiful and necessary thing for us to do if we want to grow and mature into all that God has called us to be and become.

Pastor B.

Why Tweens need whitewater rafting

Tweens are caught between childhood and young adulthood. They live in that hormone soaked space between the worlds of simple fun and the social meat-grinder known as Junior High.

It’s scary stuff to walk from class as a sixth or seventh grader, knowing everything you are and have is about to be reviewed, analyzed – assessed and mocked by the “big” kids. Getting up and getting ready goes from grabbing the clothes off the floor and a pop-tart; to setting the alarm an hour early to start working on their hair, matching wardrobe and a desperate need to catch up on all the latest mobile electronic chatter. Each morning tweens step into a dark world that’s totally unpredictable…and intensely cruel, especially to anyone who dares to be or live “different”.

Tweens get complicated… the social pressures grow like a late summer hurricane until you may find yourself having a bi-polar chat with your 12-year-old! It’s disturbing to a parent to have such a discussion…one that alternates between the infantile fears of not leaving their room without turning on a light…. to the haughty sneers of a late adolescent. Dueling word wars erupt with their sarcastic intolerance of your aged presence, offended at everything…daring you to intrude into their private lives, like a trip to crazy town!

At the root of all this chaos and confusion is FEAR.

Deep anxiety and convoluted apprehensions rule about most everything in a tweens life. Fears as vast as and distant as global warming to the mundane….like forgetting their locker combination at school or missing the next audition for drama class.

Tweens are drowning in a host of normal and abnormal fears threatening to crash their lives before they ever get going, anxiety and misgivings force most tweens to avoid even “trying” to step into something new or different.

Their fragile identities slowly fracturing as they bounce from one popular group of kids to another, trying to decide if they “fit” in that group or maybe another one ? Are they athletic… or smart, pretty or preppy? Are they moody and artistic, should they try out for band or stick solidly in the “in-between” world of not belonging to anything – undefined and aloof.

Deep down, most tweens are afraid to move… afraid to be rejected one more time. 

It’s into these lives parents need to step firmly in and make a decisive difference! We must show our tweens how awesome they really are!

Whitewater rafting is the cure. Seriously… grab your tween and a few of their friends (or youth group) and head for the river. It’s a little frightening, even scary at the beginning, but the thrill of overcoming something new and different and a little dangerous… is the KEY INGREDIENT in helping your tween discover how strong they really are.

Each summer we have a few weeks to re-confirm and re-establish our tweens identities! We must speak, courage and hope and strength into their ever evolving lives! 

Don’t let the coach, or art director or agnostic educators shape and mold your kids hearts in the day to day. We have a vital window of opportunity each year to speak LIFE into our children, to put an underlined – bold font – italicized exclamation mark on their unique and amazing lives, providing the lift they need to meet the coming year head on.

wildwaterrafting.com

wildwaterrafting.com

Worried a little bit about your tween, it may be time to consider something radical ?

It may be time to take them whitewater rafting and let them sit in the front…watch them grow exponentially as they transition from apprehensive hesitation to excited and triumphant in just a matter of hours on the water!

Watch as your slumped tween emerges from the raft soaking wet and wildly exuberant with new life, crackling with new-found confidence!  

It’s amazing how much a little “nudge” in the right direction at the “right” time can help them “overcome” all kinds of fears.

GO OUT, GET AWAY from the safe and predictable and expose your tweens to the beauty and awe of God’s creation. Find out together what you can do !

I Dare ya ! Pastor B.

PS – I’m not saying that rafting will cure everything or replace the role of faith and personal devotion in a tweens growth, but dang it…it’s awesome and freaking fun 🙂

Time for a Family Roadtrip Adventure?

Whenever some of us consider a family roadtrip… we get a crazed image of a temporarily unhinged Chevy Chase loading up his dysfunctional wife & kids and piling into the old school station wagon to chug their way into the historical record of epic family disaster and misery… 🙂 

Courtesy of WARNER BROS / Kobal Collection

It doesn’t have to be that way, just take a few minutes with your family to review and reflect and ask God together to direct your trip… He wants us to be together as  families and a Road Trip is a great way to reconnect and refresh with our kids and our marriages! IF you take some precautions.

Three considerations to a successful Family RoadTrip Adventure…

1 – How long and How much do you have to work with?

How much time you have off of work or available to vacation is critical, you don’t want to drive all the way there and barely have enough time to snap some pics and upload your Facebook status before you have to redeye back to home, and then rush back to work or life exhausted and unable to enjoy the whole experience.It’s true, it is ALL about the journey… but the journey needs to be refreshing and planned enough to enjoy the luxury of pulling off the road to explore a really cool historical site or feed the kids need to buy some trinkets at a tourist trap.

Money is an issue for us all, so planning realistically is important in reducing the stress on mom and dad and providing for the whole family to relax and enjoy the adventure together. Outline the budgets you have each day so the kids can help decide how your going to spend it as a family. For instance; we often give our kids a vacation allowance… (something they can work for in the months prior to your leaving, by doing odd jobs around the house for extra cash…only we keep it until the trip so they don’t spend it) that money is for their trinkets and tourist souvenirs… we (mom and dad) don’t spend our money to get them another bag of the almost valuable pretty rocks in the fake leather pouch as a memento of their time.

Gas and Hotel, meals and adventure money should all be calculated ahead of time, so you can enjoy the options along the way without having to constantly wonder it’s in the budget or get tempted to use a credit card for an impulse buy. Usually $100.00 / day is good for miscellaneous fun stuff (go karts, tours, canoeing etc..) and $30.00 per person for meals + your gas estimate and a hotel on priceline is easy to grab for $75.00-$80.00 in any region. Combined, usually about $300.00 a day for a budget friendly escape. If you’re heading to a hot resort or national park… it can edge up from there, so call ahead for sure. Disney adventures are not for the faint of heart… especially with younger ones in the heat of summer. ( I warned you)

2- How Far and How unique ?

I love to see NEW stuff, so i tend to drive further than others… up to 800-900 miles a day, but most folks have a 400-500 mile tolerance. I like two lane roads, most like four lane for faster travel. If you wanting to escape the city, head for the hills, ocean or mountains, I recommend no more than 10-12 hours to get to where your ultimately going. Longer than that can be a real drag. 🙂

Rocky Mountain National

For unique, I strongly endorse the US National park system… there facilities and designated historic sites, forests and parks are always worth the trip. The bigee’s are Rocky Mountain National, Yosemite, Glacier, Olympic, Cascades, The Smokies, Mt Rushmore, Zion, Washington DC, Acadia, Sequoia and Redwoods…. all amazing, beautiful and life changing in scale and scope.

Think about a place that would interest and engage your family… not just a place to drive through and snap a dozen pictures…but a place to explore. To hike, camp or swim in… a place to linger long enough to absorb the peace and power of God’s creation…it will seep gently into your heart and soul and revive you if you let it! Turn off the background noise, no work, no school, no distractions. Just you and nature and each other!

3- How old are your kids?

The younger your kids… the shorter your trip should usually be. And… always (whenever available) stop only at hotels or locations with a functional swimming pool. They will love you for it! Be prepared to gear up with them and swim as long as they can stand it or until the pool hours expire!

As they get older, look for further and more historic destinations to explore and learn from… get adventurous. Try some semi-dangerous stuff. Rock climbing, whitewater rafting, alpine hikes in bear country, giving your teens a chance to build their courage by overcoming their fears… and yours is a HUGE opportunity not to be missed ! 🙂

Bottom line. Get out of  dodge… find the clear air and breathe deep of life. It’s essential for you, for your kids and for the health of the family. They need your full attention, ditch the mobile phone and ipads, it’s their time. If you have to bring work with you… DON”T GO. It will not work.

Courtesy of WARNER BROS / Kobal Collection

Peace out and good luck… creation is calling and it’s time to immerse yourself in its restorative power!

Blessings,

brad.