Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lessons from my Rafting Experience!

While on vacation, my family and I tried out a new experience together.  We went whitewater rafting as a family and had an absolute blast.  While on our adventure, there were a few lessons that crossed my mind that apply to my journey with Christ.

The first lesson had to do with the river itself.  While on our journey the river had many different twists, turns and levels of rapids.  There were portions of absolute calm where the kids hopped out of the raft and gently floated down the river and other portions where we hit level four rapids and the kids (and I) held on for dear life.  It just reminded me of what life is really like.  We would love for it to always be calm and yet there are all sorts of seasons that God allows us to live through.  "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The second lesson had to do with our river guide.  I could not imagine going down that river without him.  As we approached some of the rapids, his ability to give us instruction and navigate our boat kept us safely afloat and on course.  Just as I could not imagine going down that river without our guide, I could not imagine going through life without Christ Jesus as my Shepherd.  He is there to lead, protect, teach and walk with me through every season (twist/turn) of life. (John 10:1-18)

The final lesson had to do with our need on the raft to listen and act upon our guides instruction.  As we got aboard and prepared to head down river, our guide gave us three simple instructions.  Our only task was to listen for and then act upon his instruction to us.  Failure to do so could lead to trouble on the river.  How true for us as we live out our lives for Jesus.  He simply asks us to trust Him, listen to Him and then act in obedience upon His instruction to us. (1 John 2:1-6)

How wonderful to live out our lives in the Lord Jesus Christ as our ultimate guide in life no matter what part of the river journey we find ourselves currently on!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rest, Rekindle, Recalibration, Recreation

The other day I was speaking with a friend and we both commented on how we feel like the summer is half over.  We've just celebrated the fourth and now we start gearing up towards the Fall.  But, somewhere in there are a whole lot of vacations planned by families including my own.

As I think about another family vacation and time away from the office, I always make sure to think through the primary purposes of getting away.  I've touched on some of these before, but thought these four were worth sharing as I contemplate them for my life.

I continue to learn that my need for physical, emotional and spiritual rest is necessary.  One can only live off of adrenaline for so long without crashing.  Sleep is necessary and the chance to sleep in for a few mornings will be wonderful.  Emotional and spiritual rest is also necessary.  It is far too easy to get caught up in just going through the motions and time is needed to just stop and think about where one is at emotionally and spiritually.  God rested on the 7th day of creation not because He was tired but because He was establishing a pattern for us as His created to follow.  Rest is necessary.

I believe immensely in the importance of families stepping out of the ordinary patterns and systems of life to enjoy time together and rekindle relationships.  As the family unit erodes within our current culture, there is something special about getting away from the routines of life to just enjoy one another over hours in a car, playing games or experiencing new things together.  Time away from the office with my family gives my an opportunity to focus the most important relationships of my life.

By taking the time to rest and remove myself from the normal business of life allows me the time needed to recalibrate spiritually.  I try on a regular basis to pause long enough to make sure I am still on track for the Lord.  Time away where I am feeling rested gives me the opportunity to set goals for myself that are not being tainted through a mindset of weariness or pressure that can lead to unhealthy or unrealistic personal expectations.  We all need to pause long enough to recalibrate spiritually once in a while.

I am also a firm believer that families need to find time to intentionally step away from the routines of life to just have some fun.  Please know that I don't buy into the current culture that believes you can only enjoy yourself if you spend lots of money.  Time away allows families to spend time trying many news things as well as doing the things they love to do.  Whether it involves spending money for a new experience or just laughing together in the car while Dad sings to the radio (its true... I do it and can still bring my wife and kids to tears from laughing so hard), families must learn to have fun and just enjoy being together.  God did not create us to never laugh or enjoy life.  In Him we have such freedom and joy with every day being viewed as a gift from Him.

So there you go... some of my thoughts in the season of vacations.