The Great Adventure [v52]

JUNE 2003

THE GREAT ADVENTURE: In the next few months most of us will go on some sort of ‘vacation’ or send our sons or daughters to camp or to visit family many hours away from home—wanting to enjoy a new experience and come back safe. At least for me, it is exciting to go to places I haven’t been and thrilling to “push the envelope.” That sense of adventure is enthralling!

In a way, we can look at our lives as an ‘adventure’—one with many options, ‘roadblocks’ and pitfalls. I’ve got to believe that all of us want to experience the best that life has to give—and avoid any unnecessary pain.

The following letter was received by some parents of a teenager that was off to an “adventure” camp:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Our Scoutmaster told us to write our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and are worried. We’re OK. One of our tents and two sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily none of us got drowned,’ cause we were all on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yeah…please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK…he can’t write because of the cast.

I got to ride in one of the search and rescue Jeeps…it was really neat. We would not have found him had it not been for the lighting. Our Scoutmaster, Walt, got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anybody. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him at the time.

Did you know if you put gas on a fire the gas can will blow UP? But the wet wood didn’t burn…however one of our tents did. Davis is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We’ll be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Walt gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Walt said with a car that old, you have to expect something to break down. That’s probably why he can’t get any insurance.

But all of us think it is a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty. And when its hot, sometime he lets us ride on the fenders. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car, so he lets us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped him and talked to all of us.

Scoutmaster Walt is a neat guy. He’s a good driver and in fact he is teaching Terry to drive on the mountain roads when there isn’t any traffic. did you know you didn’t need any guardrails on roads that don’t have much traffic? All we ever see up there is logging trucks.

This morning all the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Walt wouldn’t let me cause I can’t swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of the big cast. So he let us take the canoe across the lake alone, It was great! You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood.

Scoutmaster Walt isn’t crabby like some Scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad for us losing our life jackets.

He has to spend a lot of time working on the old car, so we’re not trying to cause him any trouble.

Hey, guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges when Dave dived in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Wade and I threw up but Scoutmaster Walt said it probably was just food poisoning from the left over chicken. He said they got sick that way on the food they ate in prison.

I’m so glad he got out of prison and became our scoutmaster. He said he sure found out how to get things done better while he was doing time.

I got to go now. We are all going to town to mail our letters and buy bullets. So don’t worry about anything…we’re fine.

Love, Cole

Whoa!!—maybe the Scoutmaster is taking ‘adventure’ a bit too far! But, even when we think we have everything ‘under control’, sometimes we don’t know what the next moment will bring.

So, how can we make the most of the rest of our lives? May I suggest that it all starts with a ‘personal relationship’ with our Creator, the God of the Bible—a wonderful adventure with the One that loves us more than we can imagine, and wants the very best for our lives.

Often we think that if we trust God with our lives, He will take away all of our enjoyment. But just imagine your own father. Would he not try to give you the best he had if he knew it was for your own good? Then wouldn’t it be absurd to consider that God would treat you worse than an ‘imperfect’ human father? To willfully cause you unnecessary pain?

We all would like to avoid as much pain as we can—and I propose that we can do this by paying attention to God’s warnings. Think of it this way, imagine that you’re an infantry lieutenant and that you’ve been ordered to take your men through a pass loaded with land mines. What if, right before you set out, a spy showed up with a map locating every mine? Wouldn’t you be pretty happy?

So, think of the Bible as a map, from the God who loves us, that locates the ‘land mines’ of life. I’ve got to believe that most of us would want to follow that map so we could avoid any of the unnecessary pain in life.

But God won’t force us. He has given all of us a free will, the freedom to choose—and for choice to exist there have to be consequences. If there aren’t any consequences or differences then choice doesn’t exist, and if there’s no choice, there’s no love. The free will to make choices is what makes us capable of responding to God, and thus, capable of a personal and loving relationship with Him.

I think it comes down to control—and our willingness to give it up to Him. He has promised that if we allow Him to lead, He will give us direction and a “peace that transcends all understanding.”

If God loves us and He wants the best for us on the one hand, and if He knows what’s best for us on the other hand, doesn’t it seem that we’d be fools not to trust Him with our lives?

Think about this for instance: If you and a colleague have a conflict, most people’s tendency is to either get upset and say something they’ll later regret, or else withdraw and not say anything at all, sometimes for hours or even days. However, the Bible says that neither of those responses is how God wants me to react. In one place, the Bible says that we’re not to return evil for evil or insult for insult, but that we’re supposed to return a blessing instead. And even though it’s very unnatural for most of us to respond in that way, when we allow God to be in control of our lives, we end up forgiving instead of harboring resentment—and even try to do something kind for or say something constructive, instead of insulting them.

Unless we are consciously committing ourselves to do God’s will and asking for His help, we fall flat on our faces. The ironic thing is, when we put Him in charge and do His will instead of ours, which again is the unnatural thing, the results are so much better. Instead of an extended battle and coldness between the two of us, we can talk constructively about our feelings and grow closer instead of wasting all that time and energy doing battle.

Based on God’s incredible mercy, which is again what brings us to that point of trust, we’re to offer ourselves to God as a “living sacrifice” and allow Him to renew our whole way of thinking—instead of just being squeezed into the way the world around us thinks.

“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” [John 3:16-18].

The Christian life, properly understood, is not complex, nor difficult. As a matter of fact, the Christian life is very simple. It is so simple that we stumble over the very simplicity of it, and yet it is so difficult that no one can live it! This paradox occurs because the Christian life is a supernatural life. The only one who can help us live this abundant life is the Jesus Christ who empowers us with His Holy Spirit.

If you try to live the Christian life by your own fleshly effort, it becomes complex, difficult and even impossible to live. But when you invite the Jesus to direct your life; when you walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit, you will experience the abundant life He promises.

I’m not suggesting that the Christian who walks in the fullness of the Spirit will have no difficulties. Problems of poor health, loss of loved ones, financial needs and other such experiences are common to all people. However, many of our misfortunes are self-imposed because of our own selfish actions.

Suppose you ignore all the warnings and smoke four packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years and then develop lung cancer. There’s all kinds of pain in this life that we clearly bring on ourselves simply by the bad choices we make.

But when ‘real’ problems do come, the person surrendered to Christ can face them with a calm, confident attitude, because he is aware of God’s resources that are available to him to deal with adversity.

This is not simply a matter of positive thinking. We are instructed to cast our cares upon Jesus because He cares for us. We learn the trustworthiness of God through experience—He becomes our problem-solver—and the trials and burdens of this world are no longer too great for us when He is carrying the load.

The key to all of this is the unchanging promises of God’s Word, the Bible, not our feelings. Tied as they are to our ever-changing circumstances, feelings are unreliable in evaluating our relationship with God. The Christian is to live by faith, trusting in the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word. A train is a good illustration of the relationship between fact, faith and feeling.

Let us call the train engine “fact”—the fact of God’s promises found in His Word. The fuel car we will call “faith”—your trust in God and His Word. The caboose we will call “feelings.”

As fuel flows into the engine, the train runs. It would be futile and, of course, ridiculous to attempt to pull the train by the caboose. In the same way you, as a Christian, should not depend upon feelings or emotion live a Spirit-filled life. Rather, God wants you to simply place your faith in His trustworthiness and the promises of His Word.

Feelings are like the caboose—they are important, but are designed to follow a life of faith and obedience. Jesus promised all who obey Him, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” [John 14:21]. So, you can expect to have a valid emotional relationship with Christ when you trust and obey Him. But you should never depend on feelings or seek after an emotional experience. The very act of looking for an emotional experience is a denial of the concept of faith.

To summarize then, you can know that your are filled with the Holy Spirit by trusting in God—His command and promise—and you can go through life with the assurance of a greatest adventure you could imagine!

(If you would like to investigate how to have an abundant life, visit the following link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q11_d5_1of10.html ).

So, what do you think would happen if you were to spend fifteen or twenty minutes a day reading the Bible and thinking about God? Do you think it would give you a better idea about what God is all about? How do you think this would change the way you see things around you?

Whether it’s a diet, exercise, or setting time aside for yourself or your family, any discipline is difficult and requires some struggle. But the anticipated end result of the discipline is often what prompts us to begin and motivates us to continue. It’s not that much different in getting to know God by reading His Word to us, the Bible.

Here’s the challenge: For the next month, consistently take fifteen to twenty minutes a day to read a portion of the Bible, reflect and pray on what you have read, and open yourself up to God. If you are open to it, I believe you will see a wonderful life change and will not be the same person a month from now.

The Christian life is a great adventure. It’s one where a person never ceases growing. It’s a life in which God is the lamp of our souls. It just might be the best, most rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying way for you to live.

Why don’t you welcome the Light of the world into some of the dark parts of your life today? You might be surprised what He will show you.

[Excerpts from: Bill Bright; Bill Kraftson; Nicky Gumbel]

Blessings…. Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v52) for JUNE 2003  If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net

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THE GREAT ADVENTURE
Saddle up your horses
Started out this morning in the usual way
Chasing thoughts inside my head of all I had to do today
Another time around the circle try to make it better than the last
I opened up the Bible and I read about me
Said I’d been a prisoner and God’s grace had set me free
And somewhere between the pages it hit me like a lightning bolt
I saw a big frontier in front of me and I heard somebody say let’s go!

Saddle up your horses we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other oh… this is The Great Adventure Yeah…
Come on get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for

We’ll travel over, over mountains so high
We’ll go through valleys below
Still through it all we’ll find that
This is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams
Yeah… oh saddle up your horses. . . come on get ready to ride
[Song by Steven Curtis Chapman]

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An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered. [G. K. Chesterton]

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THE BALLAD OF THE HOBBIT
The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is there if you’re bold.
Let go of the moment that life makes you hold.
To measure the meaning can make you delay;
It’s time you stop thinkin’ and wasting the day.

The man who’s a dreamer and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain.
Who sits by the window will one day see rain.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Many times, both as a child and as an adult I’ve drawn inspiration from this simple, yet powerful song. Often, as I’ve debated whether or not to take a risk or start something new, the line “the mold of your life is in your hands to break” has come to the fore in my mind.

The lesson of this song and all those in The Hobbit have stayed with me from innumerable viewings as a child. There are pieces of your childhood that you stumble upon years later and look back upon with nostalgia. And then there are pieces of your childhood that you never left behind, items that helped shape your thinking, and began to mold you into the person you would become. For me, The Hobbit (and especially this song) was one of the latter.

[The Greatest Adventure is featured in the introduction and throughout the rest of the animated movie, The Hobbit, which is based on the classic book by J.R.R. Tolkien. Performed by Glenn Yarbrough. Music composed, arranged, and conducted by Maury Lars. Lyrics Written and adapted by Jules Bass]

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GREAT ADVENTURE FILMS
In 1998, MacGillivray Freeman Films launched a landmark plan to release 10 IMAX Theatre documentaries. Each Great Adventure Film, produced on KodakVision film, takes audiences on giant screen journeys to extraordinary places, encountering people, cultures, and environments never before experienced.

MacGillivray Freeman’s mission to bring science and education to the giant screen experience promises that each Great Adventure Film will also inspire learning among audiences of all ages. Among the primary messages conveyed by the Great Adventure Films will be the importance of conservation of the natural environment.

http://www.greatadventureseries.com/

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PRAYER: THE GREAT ADVENTURE
“Bravo! Dr. Jeremiah gives us a powerful and sincere message concerning prayer. His personal testimony demonstrates the example that Christ set forth for us in the Gospels. Read it and discover the keys to unlock your own adventure to glorious prayer.” [Bill Gaither]

“In our see-it, grab-it, sinkhole society, prayer as a pattern seems like a misfit, but David’s stepping stones to making Jesus’ agenda our own provide a clear guide to mastering this life-changing discipline.” [Howard Hendricks]

Imagine talking heart to heart with God. In the pages of this Gold Medallion award-winner, discover how prayer can become your greatest adventure! Take the first steps on an exciting journey under Dr. David Jeremiah’s skillful leadership. With clear instruction, practical guidance, and uplifting encouragement, he’ll steer you through the “whys,” the “hows,” and all the glorious joys of prayer. You’ll never be the same.

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THE GREAT ADVENTURE CONFERENCE
Thousands of women are gathering for a life-changing experience.

What You’ll See: Thousands of women from all ages and stages of life uniting together to hear God’s liberating message of grace.

What You’ll Hear: Powerful personal stories, gut-level honesty, and inspirational humor from America’s most popular speaker team.

Who You’ll Meet: Speakers and musicians who are the most-loved in North America, and powerful motivators who have overcome life adversities, each providing a unique message of encouragement and hope.

Join us for The Great Adventure. It’s a powerful journey and an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever.
– Great Laughter
– Great Relationships
– Great Music
– Great Insight
– Great Faith

For more info:
http://www.womenoffaith.com/

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SONGS FROM THE GREAT ADVENTURE
Women of Faith Worship Team

Songlist:
1. God Is Great
2. All About You
3. God Of Wonders
4. Lord You Are Good
5. How Great Is Your Love
6. Draw Me Close
7. Jesus You Are
8. I Will Sing
9. You Shine
10. Hallelujah, Your Love Is Amazing
11. The Great Adventure

“Songs from the Great Adventure” is Integrity Music’s newest CD of worship. Filled with some good songs and better arrangements, you will want this in your worship library. This CD is part of there “Women of Faith” series featuring all women leaders and vocalist. It truly is a well done project that has many already classics such as “Draw Me Close” and “God of Wonders.” This powerful journey of worship, featuring the Women of Faith Worship Team from Integrity Music, will be the experience of a lifetime for women of all ages and stages of life! It provides new and familiar songs that affirm God’s greatness. [EXW Review]

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CAMPS FOR KIDS:

http://www.peak3.org/

http://www.incredible-adventures.com/

http://www.rocknwater.com/

http://www.scouts.ca/extremeadventure.asp?cmPageID=94

http://www.challengepoint.com/

http://www.christinthetetons.org/

http://www.campselah.org/

http://www.portagelake.org/

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DEEP THOUGHT:
If God is your co-pilot, swap seats!  [Mickey Atkinson]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” [Proverbs 3:5-6].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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