Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanks...Giving (Ozarks November 2012)

"Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High." Psalm 50:14

I am blessed. I am thankful. I would like to run down the list of all the things I am thankful for...like a heartbeat, air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and rest...then the things I'm provided for...like shelter, protection, warmth...then family, my beautiful wife, my silly kids, my mom and dad, and so forth...then there's friends, relationships, and everyone else that I know. I am thankful for all these things and much, much more!!!

But this year...what I am most thankful for is Grace, Mercy, and Love. In 2012, God has revealed to me more than ever that my life is not my own. I feel like I understand (maybe if it's even a small glimpse) that everything I do hinges on something Greater than I. I can't quite define it, or explain it...so I wont' try to sound smart...but every breath that goes in and out, every heartbeat I take, and every moment is an act of giving...a constant gift. So, here I am...

Given Grace...given an unmerited hand in life; out of pure kindness to me, though I continually suck in most areas.

Given Mercy...given a continous pouring of compassion in my life, though I am often a repeat offender...a selfish moron who keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.

Given Love...given Jesus Christ. Given the ultimate expression of love...that is Jesus redeeming me so I can have an intimate relationship with my Father. I can't do it on my own...nor do I deserve to...but with Jesus, Grace and Mercy follows...

So this year, and hopefully every year...I will give thanks to giving. For God giving me the greatest gift of all..his Son!

Where: Ozarks of Arkansas, Buffalo National River Wilderness
What: Family vacation, Lost Valley State Park, Horseshoe Canyon (climbing)
Who: The Moore family (Jen, Sean, Major, Addy, and Beckett) and Pasquels (Sarah, Hannah, Pia, and me)
When: 11/23-11/26/12
***This isn't a trip report***I have visited these areas and a trip report was documented in previous posts. Your welcome to check them out under December 2011 trip reports. So from this point on, it's just pics (with a few notes) from this long holiday weekend. Hopefully they will tell the story...hope you enjoy!
(Pia showed her courage, grit, and determination more than ever on this trip. I mentioned to Sarah that I have never seen her so confident and bold. There was no fear in her...I loved it. She grew up a little bit this trip and was holding her own with the bigger kids.)
(The kids got to see bats, elk, deer, horses, cows, pigs, mountain goats, birds, peacock, a lamb, and two of the kids spotted a rat snake on this trip)
(Yes, those are bats...)


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fellowship of the Rock

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:12
"For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them." Matthew 18:20
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
"what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the father, and with his son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:3
11/9/12
E-Rock
Who: Jeremy Hendrix, Chong Moore, and I.
Sport and Tope Rope Turkey Peak, Amazon Boulder, and Echo Canyon Motorboat Rock.
This quick day trip to E-Rock was truly a blessing for me. Sure...it was nice to take a day off during the work week, go spend time outdoors, go climbing, and even have a fine meal at the end of the day. Just even one of these things happening in a day brings enough joy to me...But what I enjoyed the most on this day, was the genuine, real, relational fellowship I had with both Jeremy and Sean.
We left my house in Keller at 4am and drove 4 hours to E-Rock. From the time we left my driveway to the time we returned back home near midnight...we spoke and shared all. We talked marriage, kids, family, church, work, etc, etc...But more than anything else, our hearts came back to Jesus.
I had many thoughts on this day, so I'll just begin with the beginning: God, thanks for letting me be out here today...but more importantly, thank you for letting me be out here with these guys. Thanks for surrounding me with men who have a heart for you. Men who love their wives and children, men who care for others, men who desire to be faithful followers because more than anything else...they want to please you. It's encouraging to see fruit in other men...and this blesses me.
As iron sharpens iron...I pray that I would be a man of iron. I pray that I would be the type of guy that other men can be around...and will result in men being sharper because of the work that Christ is doing in me. In addition...I pray that I would have the desire to surround myself with men of iron. Men like Jeremy and Sean who challenge me spiritually, hold me accountable, and show me the love and mercy of Christ when I'm too blind or deaf to see or hear.
For where two to three gather...Also thought about gathering in God's name...as we continued from crag to crag, working as a team from leading, sporting, belaying, hauling gear, and setting up protection, I knew this day of cragging would not be possible without the help, support, and communication of us working as a team. We continuously relied on each other on the wall, communicated and exchanged climbing commands, and trusted each other from setting anchors to belaying. It's all essential for a successful and safe day of climbing. I see this no differently in our walks in Christ. Men, we need each other! We need each other as team members (men's groups, small groups, studies, doing life, whatever you want to call it...) and more importantly as brothers in Christ. We need to help and support each other in our daily walk...we need to communicate more (yeah...I said it. Men, we need to TALK!) We need to confide in and let other men know what's on our hearts. To share our struggles and victories. We need to be each others protection, anchors, and belay partners in the everyday...so we have the confidence in Christ to move forward! We need to gather in numbers...because in doing so...we are strengthened in Him!
Let us not give up meeting...I know firsthand what it's like to give up on my brothers. Several years ago, I was like most men. I thought I could do this on my own. However...when I first came to Christ, I had all of my buddies and was blessed in having several meaningful relationships that held me strong and accountable. These relationships help form the foundation of my faith in Christ. But then life happened, and things didn't go my way...I quickly became bitter and angry at God (this is another story in itself). But a result of my pain lead to several selfish decisions; which included cutting off many of the spiritual connections I had made in the past. For several years, I was a one man team. I gave up meeting and got in the habit of living life without anyone's help. It was a lie I fed myself...but I had no desire to be "plugged" into other men and I sure in hell didn't want any other guys knowing my business. It was my life...I could handle my own...I don't need NO ONE! Men...does this sound familiar?

But like the scripture in Hebrews states above,..."Let us encourage one another...", Sean just kept on encouraging me (bugging me) to get plugged in. To get back in the word. And more importantly...join a group. What did I do...I declined all invitations. But after an incredible encounter with my savior a few years back...I knew exactly who to call. I phoned Sean...asked about a Men's group he had been talking about, he gave me a few details, and I decided it was time to stop doing this by myself. It was time to start surrounding myself with men who love Jesus more than their own lives. It was time to start meeting again!

And finally...my thoughts came back over and over again to Jesus. It wasn't a difficult thing to do with these two guys...but more specifically, I thought about what it will be like to experience Christ like the early believers did. To sit around with him...eat with him...laugh with him...share with him my heart...and he share his heart with me. To bro hug him...to slap his back...to cut up...to make fun of Sean together. To catch him on lead...he belay me...and we freakin send routes and rock the crags crushin 5.15s because in Heaven, we all climb like Sharma.
But seriously...I cannot wait to be in fellowship with my King! I cannot wait to be able to glorify the Father with the King of all Kings! To look at him in the eyes...and say, Thank you and I love you in person! And he hug me back...give me a pat on the back...tight squeeze on my tired shoulder...look me right back my emotional eyes...and say, "I love you too...I always have. And those years you were angry...I know...I know...it is finished. Don't worry about it...I loved you and missed you like you wouldn't even believe during those times. But it doesn't matter anymore. You are here now...and fellowship is good my man! Now stop stalling, stop complaining about your raw fingers and jammed toes, and let's go finish this route...
...so that we can go grab a heavenly brew and dig into some supper huh?"
(After our climb at E-Rock...we stopped at Auslander's Restaurant and Biergarten in Fredericksburg and had the Warsteiner Dunkel and the Kasewurst!)

Extra Credit Photos from this past weekend with my wife Sarah and las ninas ar Reimer's: