For years I searched for some truth that I was afraid I didn’t know. I wondered if the veracity of my long-held beliefs would stand the test of time. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line I have begun to have confidence that my old spiritual gear, a little ragged and torn from years spent at the bottom of my pack, will work when the cold and the winds and the rain come.
The cliff drops dramatically away below us. A body falling from here would accelerate past the jagged, flesh-ripping rocks covering the mountainside and plummet to the bone-crushing boulders below. I’ve hiked, climbed, and crawled around on slopes like this more times than I can count, but this time it’s different. This time my 15-year old son is sitting next to me.
Really, to pay it forward is simply a natural act of worship. It’s a reaction, a way of saying thank-you to the one that gave us life, who blessed us to such an overflowing that we find it necessary to pass some of those blessings on. To truly pay it forward, you have to acknowledge to yourself that someone along the way paid the price for you.
It’s one thing to browse through the glossy magazines and dream of an adventure to pursue while you live your life to the full at home. It’s quite another to pine away for some “other” place or experience and be unhappy with where you are and what the Lord has blessed you with right now. Are you sacrificing your now for some future excitement?
As we began to develop the concept for Shout! Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine, the tag-line "Celebrate Life Outdoors" seemed perfect. The excitement of experiencing God's presence outdoors was exactly the central theme we wanted to delve headlong into. However, it soon became clear that there is much more to this connection between faith and the outdoor experience than first meets the eye.
If expertise is the price of admission, then there might not be any club I can join. I can’t lead much more than a 5.9 trad, I’ve only done a half-marathon with a pedestrian time, and Class III water sends my stomach into my throat. Am I a climber, hiker, skier, what? Where do I find my identity?
In a society that treasures creature comforts, celebrates home and hearth, and at least indirectly suggests that the honorable man grinds it out day after day, what role could adventure possibly play? Everything. We long for adventure not just for novelty or the thrill, but because of what we hope we might find.
You’re heading into the backcountry, what survival tools do you take? Do you grab your cell phone, a ball of twine and chewing gum, or do you simply say a prayer and have faith that God will bring you home safely? For most of us, the answer is probably all three.
Isn't it funny that when we spend time amidst the majesty of creation, not only are we inspired to search for the God that could create such intricacy and grandeur, but we well up with a desire to help our fellow man. Seems the writers of the Gospel simply wrote down what Creation has always called us to do.
Worship is really a springboard that propels us forward in our search for God. From it we explore, we study, and we ask questions. True worship is not idolization, but reverence and awe for the God of creation.
Subscribe for FREE: Receive a monthly e-mail alerting you to up-dated articles, new content, or just reminding you that a new issue is online & ready to read.