31 May 2009

Eat the Strawberries

"Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living." - Jim Elliot

It's entirely possible to go through life waiting for the "next best thing." I say, "I can't wait to go home," and I ignore the present moment, where life is given.

"I have been anxious... to stand upon the meeting of two eternities, the past and the present, which is precisely the present moment, to toe that line." - Henry David Thoreau

But I have saved the best philosopher for last: a young boy named Calvin.

His thoughts are here.

29 May 2009

Hanging Lake

Wake up at 0500. Notice roommate hasn't gone to bed yet. Pack up bedding and get dressed at 0530. Leave at 0600. Drive three and a half hours. Hike 1.2 miles along a rapid mountain stream up into a steep-walled canyon. Climb on rocks in the stream and notice the water gets colder with altitude. Get to Hanging Lake. Explore. Eat. Explore some more. Set up hammock above thundering waterfall. Head back down. Skinny dip in Colorado River's new snow runoff. Dry off and put on dry undies. Get back in car, and go to Idaho Springs for Beau Jo's Pizza. RTB.

If you want to have an amazing day, follow the steps above.

Five friends and I went to Hanging Lake, near Glenwood Springs, CO, today. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Standing there in the top of the Canyon, I couldn't help but praise God for His glorious creation. It's absolutely incredible. And He's made some pretty incredible people, too.

More pictures are on my facebook at this public link. Check 'em out.

Keen sandals worked out great today - mountain streams have unpredictable footing, but they held up well, even in whitewater. Back on the trail, they're as good as or better than any other hiking shoe. Thanks mom! And a waterproof camera can take some pretty sweet pictures.
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25 May 2009

Sacrifice

"Love has no one greater than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - Jesus (John 15:13)

It's Memorial Day - a day to remember those who fight for our lives, who show great love for friends they don't know. It is a great sacrifice and a great love. I thank them for that. I thank them for my life and my freedom - my freedom even to write these words.

Yet why are we so willing to sacrifce for our country, to support our troops, when missionaries go unremembered the world over? They fight for a greater cause and face the same - and greater - challenges. We send care packages to our troops. We pray for our troops. But how often do we pray for the missionaries and the lost souls they are struggling to save?

I am very grateful for our troops, past and present. And I am ready to answer my nation's call. I pray that I will be even more ready to answer the Lord's call.

"We know that there is only one answer when our country demands that we share in the price of freedom - yet when the Lord Jesus asks us to pay the price for world evangelization, we often answer without a word. We cannot go. We say it costs too much...

"Some might say, isn't it too great a price to pay? When missionaries consider themselves - their lives before God - they consider themselves expendable...

"'Except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone,' the apostle Paul said. 'I die daily. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.'" - Nate Saint, Jungle Pilot

Let me be a sacrifice like that. Let me serve like that.

22 May 2009

Te saltaré

You walk on waves
You run with clouds
You paint the sky
For me to see
Your Majesty
Your Majesty
Is why I sing

As we sang that tonight at the mill, images from my rides and other times outside this week kept flashing through my head: images of clouds from above them, of painted sunsets and stormy skies. Majestic.

Then we sang another song:

In my world, be lifted high
In my love, be lifted high
In my life, be lifted high

That's an idea which seems strange to me. How can I, a mere man, lift the Creator of the Universe up? How can this fragile, wavering being exalt the Almighty God?

It's an ongoing question, and I'm slowly finding some answers.

Why

"I'm here because the Lord wants me to be here. A lot of preachers waste their time walking up and down throwing seeds that won't grow because they've walked over that ground until it's packed hard - gospel hardened. I may be just carrying a seed bag with a small hole in it and maybe those few seeds are falling on some pretty rough, weedy, and stony ground. But the Lord giveth the increase." - Nate Saint, during assignment with the 354th Air Base Wing

That's an excerpt from the free book I got from Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Jungle Pilot. Nate Saint was on the same team with Jim Elliot, and was killed with two or three others by Acua spears. Through their efforts and the efforts of their wives, the Acua Indians were saved.

I feel pretty much the same as Nate right now.

21 May 2009

Flood

Rain, rain on my face
Hasn't stopped raining for days
My world is a flood
Slowly I become one with the mud

As I rode through the rainclouds today, Jars of Clay's lyrics kept running through my head. The rain was light, but unrelenting, and it stung on 45 mph descents. But it was a blast: I was pretty much the only cyclist on the roads, and the mountains were beautiful - when they peaked through the clouds.

My legs and butt were soon covered with dirt, soaked by the spray from my rear wheel. The same wheel went flat, and I pulled two small stones from the tire before installing the new tube and reinflating. The cold blast from my CO2 cartridge quickly froze the water on the valve stem. But it was ready to ride again, and after passing a few cars, I made it to Balancing Rock:

Throughout the ride, I couldn't help but praise God for the beauty of His creation. Most stay inside on days like today. They don't know what they're missing.



20 May 2009

24 hours

Alarm clock tells me
it is a new day.
I am 24 hours closer to death
and 24 hours closer to life.
I met no mere mortal yesterday
and I will not meet one today.
Will I bring those eternal beings,
those eternal souls,
closer to life?
Or are they just one day
closer to death?

What will I have to show for today?
Studying
Training
But what of prayer?
What of salvation?
What of life?

The harvest is plenty
The day is near
Turn the world upside-down.

13 May 2009

School's out...

... for summer.

Which does not mean vacation just yet: first, there's a bunch of parades - not the kind with candy - and then, there's Combat Survival Training. A learning opportunity, but a hard one. Later this summer, I get to jump out of airplanes.

But right now, it's nice that school is over. It's been a tough semester, and I've been genuinely challenged in school. I've learned how to study, and sworn I'd never procrastinate again... pero lo urgente no deja tiempo para lo importante.

Finals are finally done, and in five minutes, I'm gonna get outta the blue suit and shoulder my pack for a couple days in the mountains, leaving school 2,000 feet below.

Stories and pictures to come.