Monday, March 18, 2013

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Climbing Trip

"They were devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing  the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. Everyday they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved."  Acts 2: 42-47

We just spent and incredible three day weekend in the Ozarks...specifically at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, where we spent the entire days climbing and in fellowship out at the crag. After 10 hours a day, each day, we would go back to the cabin and prepare dinner and continue to enjoy each other...On the final morning, it dawned on me...this trip has gone incredibly, unbelievably smooth. Everything about this trip, from the planning, to logistics, to execution of the day has been smooth sailing...then reverential awe came over me. God revealed to me how this small group...for at least these few days...served as a microcosm of what the church could look like...what the church did look like in Acts 2.

The church in Acts was not perfect, and struggled with sin as we do...but they pursued the truths of Jesus. They devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship...they shared meals together...and prayed as a church family. They took the time to be still...and be in awe of God. They shared everything together...they offered all of themselves for one another, and served humbly. The good will of others was of upmost importance...love, kindness, and patience rung through their relationships. "The church loved the Lord with all their heart and soul, with all their strength and all their mind...and they loved their neighbor as much as they did themselves" (Luke 10:27 Alf paraphrase).
 In most if not all trips, as we all know, something inevitably goes wrong...either it's illness, or discomfort (yes, I was slowly turning into the Snickers Diva guy when the sun was over us and I couldn't cool off), or logistical error...and this trip was no different. Now, I did mention previously that everything played out smoothly...but it's not because of external circumstance...no, it's because we looked like the early church from the time we left to the time we returned home.

I was humbled by my group of friends, my people, the ones I call family, the ones I dearly love...We did everything together as one. We all pitched in and patiently served one another in humility. Every time I looked up or down (depending if I was hanging up above on a wall), I saw us serving one another in love and kindness:

-Over and again, the girls were "teaching" each other about life, love, marriage, kids, and what the Lord has been revealing to them...us guys did the same, though it was more oriented at the task at hand, as men tend to do.

-We were in constant fellowship...from drive up, time spend outdoors, at the cabin, and the 7 hours drive down...We were all in communion with each other, constantly engaged, listening, learning, enjoying each others presence and lives. Side note: On the drive back home, the girls had a 5 hour and 28 minute non stop conversation. Yes, I timed it...because there was not a moment of silence in the car until 2:28pm...and we left at 9am. When the car went silent, it was noticeably different...it's amazing how much women can talk!!!! And they were also non-stop the two days before...they never run out of stuff to talk about...again, amazing!

-We broke bread each evening...and everyone, without instruction, had a part or role in dinner. Didn't matter if it was prepping, dicing, preheating, cooking, washing, drying, preparing the table, clearing space...it seemed like everyone was in unison in preparing each meal. Then we'd sit down around the table, enjoy great food and drink, and just laugh...dinner was so joyful each night.

-We all shared without reservation as well...didn't matter if it was gear, taking turns climbing or belaying, food or water, food or water runs down into the canyon, etc. We all lent a hand and gave of ourselves without expectation of returns.

-We all worked together towards the common goal...when we moved to different walls, we all worked as one to gather gear, pack, and efficiently move along throughout the day. No one worked harder or less than another...and no one needed to. Everyone understood their role without having to be told...we just knew what to do.

-We were all patient, understanding, and kind to one another...and really encouraging! We all wanted success for one another...all day long, you can hear from our climbing decks our people shouting nothing but praise for each climber. And believe me, when your up there...and your people believe in you, it just gives you that extra motivation to send your route. But even when things got tough, like Melissa getting car sick on those windy roads...the group only wanted what was best for her. We all felt her pain, and only wanted to make things better...

-We prayed together over our meal the last night...honored God with our weekend, and thanked him for His blessings.

This trip was blessed. We all had good attitudes, a clear heart and mind, and only wanted what was best for each other. Didn't matter if it was climbing a route or serving each other food...we wanted nothing more but to serve one another in love, and make sure that we were all enjoying the fruits of our labor. I have to say...that we were a people of sharing food with a glad and humble heart, praising God, and looking out for the good will of each other. And it never let up! This is why I sit here today, in reverent awe...because God's design of the church, the church of Acts 2, the small church of the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch trip...is truly a beautiful picture of what community looks like in Jesus.

My prayer for our church, as in the entire body of Christ, is that this short lived microcosm becomes reality in our churches...that we go back to basics...that as a church, we reform back to Acts 2...
What: Climb Horseshoe Canyon Ranch (HCR)
When: March 15-16, 2013
Who: Jennifer Moore, Brad Hardin, Melissa and Jeremy Hendrix, Beauty (Sarah) and the Beast (me)...Danielle and Nick Beckham joined us on Saturday for several hours.
Jennifer warming up on swings...HCR is a horseshoe shaped canyon with sandstone cliff bands around the entire perimeter of the canyon. The cliff bands make up the sandstone crags that people all over the nation come to pull on...walls range from 30' to 100' high...there are also infinite number of boulder problems on the ranch...
First morning, we made our way to the "Cliffs of Insanity"...a 70' wall with several routes on them. This is Brad warming up on a sport climb of Fesic route (5.6). From this point on, it will be pictures, with climber and route info...
Jeremy on Fesic (5.6) and Jennifer on Little Sprout (5.6)
Me on the beginning of the classic route Swamp Rat (5.8)
Sarah on Fesic
Jeremy working Swamp Rat (5.8)
Panorama of HCR from Cliffs Insanity wall...tons of climbing here...After Cliffs of Insanity, we finished the day climbing most of the routes on Titanic Boulder...a 50' freestanding boulder. The second day, we spent the entire day at the North 40 wall, which in the picture above is located on the cliff bands to the right of the picture.
 Me working the starting moves of Ship of Fools (5.10a)
Jen working through sequence of Rubber Chicken (5.6)
Brad leading Stiff Neked Fools (5.8+)
Jeremy sport climbing Strongman (5.9+ or 5.10...depending who you ask)
Sarah cruising on the Cliffs of Insanity Wall...
Girls taking a siesta on warm stone...
Me on First Normal Form (5.9+)
Brad showing off his balance...
Northwest Arkansas biggest Hillbillies...me and Nick Beckham
me working Portside (5.10d)
Jeremy cruising Stiff Neked Fools 5.8+
Me about to send Swamp Ramp (5.8+)
Jennifer figuring out upper crux on Stiff Neked Fools (5.8+)
Sarah using the flake as a side pull on Stiff Neked Fools
Brad cleaning Swamp Rat for us...
Me working Big Top (5.11c)
Jeremy on Squirrel Deck (5.8+)
 Beauty and the Beast
Brad enjoying the starting moves of Swamp Rat
Jeremy sidepulling sweet sandstone on Strongman...
Jeremy and Melissa enjoying the shade...
me chalking up on Big Top (5.11c) before crux...
Jennifer working out sequence on Stiff Neked
 Me on the crux of First Normal...
Brad topping out on Squirrel Deck (5.8+)
Great trip...Great friends...Great Wife...Great Life...Great God!

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