Monday, May 30, 2016

On Mission, Part Two

My last blog post described an amazing “missional” experience that took me to Trail’s End Ranch (TER) in Ekalaka, Montana.  (If you missed that one, you may want to go to to get a bit of background for this post.)  TER sits on a portion of 720 acres of land in the SE corner of the state; much of the land, at least in that area, is primarily wide open spaces.  However, the camp itself is nestled in among high hills, surrounded by magnificent Ponderosa Pines.

Because of the remoteness of this unique geographical area, it was nearly impossible to access the internet, to open voice mails and to generally communicate with the outside world (apart from inside the TER office and even there, I was told, the connection could be slow).  Truthfully, it was rather liberating to not be so connected.  It was much easier to focus on our mission,  to develop relationships and to serve one another.

However, we did get creative and figured out how to work with our limitations.  We had families at home and desired to stay in communication with them, even with the limitations.  One of the “solutions” to this challenge was to take a hike up the steep hill behind our cabin.  We could hike straight up or take a long 2-track road to the top.  We had to find the absolute highest point but we had a double blessing once we arrived: we could make our calls and send our texts…. and the views were spectacular!

I’m thankful I was still in good enough shape to embrace the challenge of that uphill hike!  We were significantly above sea level and by the time I reached the top, getting oxygen in my lungs became challenging!  It was worth it to be able to check out the small village on the other side of the ridge, to look down on the camp and see the beauty of such “holy ground”….taking in God’s amazing creation.

I found myself thinking about my communication with God.  Do I put the same effort into talking with Him?  Am I so eager to hear His voice through daily prayer and the reading of His Word that I will carve out that time every day no matter what “hills” are in my path that day?  Speaking truth….there are days when I allow other things, people and distractions to get in the way of my time with Jesus.  When that happens, I miss the “view” of life He has planned for me that day.  My to-do list becomes more important than walking with God on the lofty ridges prayer provides.  Being in His Word gives me the energy I need to face the challenges of my day, the ones only He knows I will face. 

My relationship with God, through His Son, is much more important than anyone on the other end of my cell phone or any text message I might receive.  Philippians 4:6:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And then what does the very next verse say? Verse 7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

I don’t know about you but I greatly desire the peace God promises and the guarding of my heart and mind.  So I am renewing my commitment to climb up to the ridge each day, the “ridge” of carving out quiet time with God, so I might converse with Him and hear His voice.  Will you think about doing the same?

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