Life Principles of the Gospel Man Part 1

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“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”-Rudyard Kipling

Ole Rudy was on to something.

If you have never done a self-evaluation to determine whether you are a “glass half empty” or a “glass half full” kind of person, you should do it.  You may need to get really vulnerable and transparent and ask the people around you, closest to you—those you trust.  The fact is, pessimism is a fairly cultural norm in our generation.  We tend to think the worst in any given situation, and we tend to expect the worst outcome.  We impose this onto people, expecting others to disappoint us, and we rarely give others the benefit of the doubt.  We sort of expect the worst out of people and almost wait for failure to ensue.

But in a world where enough bad stuff happens, a Gospel Man will look for opportunities for Christ to shine in the worst situations.  I want to be the kind of man who cannot, and will not, be discouraged.

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When the economy tanks, Jesus is still on the Throne, and opportunities abound.  When terrorists attack and politicians disappoint, The Gospel will still thrive.  We serve a God who DOES.  He is at work, and things are happening everywhere for His Glory.  We need to view life through THAT lens.

And we need to remember Jesus’ words in Mark  10,  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

But we’ll get into that in part 2…

Thoughts on Paris

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Over the past week, a lot of people have given thoughts and opinions concerning the terrorist attack in Paris.  I have read encouraging words from pastors and Christian bloggers who point us to Christ and the hope of the Gospel, but others have pointed a finger at the very Lord they reject.  In situations like this, the questions of God, good and evil are always brought up.  It seems that people will inevitably question the power, goodness or even the existence of God. We know from scripture, though, that evil is always present, and people will grow more and more evil (Matthew 24:12). People are evil, but Jesus is still sovereign, and literally “in Him, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

The Psalmist asks the question, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?”(Psalm 2:1).  The hope we are given is that God is not defeated when evil seems to prevail and people plot against Him and the work of The Gospel.  I am hopeful, and even in the midst of pain and suffering, I am confident that Christ is still in power and there will be a day when no more evil and suffering exist.  I am thankful for this truth, and in moments like these, I look forward to that day.

Remembering Nancy

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It’s pretty crazy to look at the history of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters and the way the Lord has exponentially grown this place. Beginning in 1997, we’ve come a long way—and Nancy McDaniel played a huge role in those formative years.

Nancy began her involvement at SWO on the Board of Directors in the early 2000s, helping to establish the DNA of this ministry. Originally from South Florida, Nancy became one of the first board members to have a hand in the pulse of this ministry. She not only understood the vision and goal of SWO, but she also understood the inner workings delicate nature of the administration side of camp. So much of her ability to understand SWO was due to the fact that she really became one of the first board members to really be involved with everyday life here. Understanding the importance of both ministry and administration in the business world is pretty difficult for most people, but not so for Nancy McDaniel.

Because she had such a heavy involvement with everyday life here at camp, she was able to spear-head the Coop project when we grew too big for our chapel. She wrote grants, talked to donors, and oversaw the project.

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Tim Litchfield, our reservations coordinator, remembers Nancy as feisty. He recounted a story in which he and another girl on staff at the time, Amy, were writing a proposal for faster internet in the office. They handed the proposal to Nancy, who confronted them about a week later to discuss it. In Tim’s words, “Nancy let us have it for about 20 minutes letting us know exactly why our proposal wasn’t to be taken seriously.”

Apparently their proposal didn’t measure up to the professional standards of Nancy, so she informed them of all the things they needed to work on before writing another one. She ended the conversation by informing them that despite their best efforts, their plan to get faster internet had been approved.

A week and a half ago, Nancy McDaniel passed away, and Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters grieves her absence. Francis Chan said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Nancy’s life reflected this quote. She served on the Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters board of directors for a little over 12 years. Although for the past 6 years, her health prevented her from being as involved as she once was, she still remained a part of our Board of Directors, and stayed as connected as was allowed.

Once you’re a part of the SWO staff, you’re family, permanently. We feel her loss here, but we rejoice in the fact that she invested her life in things that were of eternal value.

Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters and I are incredibly grateful for your love, support, and investment, Nancy.

We will miss you.

Ashes and Eyeballs

I love to play with fire. I always have. One year, about this time, I was messing around with a fire out in our fire pit, when a piece of hot ash flew into my eye and burned my cornea. It was so small that you could not even see the wound, but it burned and hurt like crazy.  For the next three or four days, I was in constant, nagging pain. It drove me crazy! If I blinked, it hurt. If I held my eye open, it hurt. I couldn’t sleep. I was too tired to be awake. But that little eye “booboo” would not give me a break. It literally affected my whole person, both physically and emotionally.

I am grieved to hear of the persecution in Pakistan of my brothers and sisters. They are part of the same body as me — the body of Christ.  We… WE are persecuted. Not “THEY” are persecuted.  WE are persecuted.

Pakistani Christians chant slogans as they burn materials during a protest against a suicide attack on a church, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 in Pakistan. A suicide bomb attack on a historic church in northwestern Pakistan killed scores of people Sunday, officials said, in one of the worst assaults on the country’s Christian minority in years. (AP Photo)

Pakistani Christians chant slogans as they burn materials during a protest against a suicide attack on a church, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 in Pakistan. (AP Photo)

If we are the body of Christ, then we should literally feel the pain of persecution when we read the headlines that 85 brothers and sisters have been killed for the name of Christ. We should grieve for their families left behind. We should grieve for our LORD.  He told us this would happen.

Pakistani women grieve over coffins of their relatives who were killed in the suicide attack on a church. (AP photo)

Pakistani women grieve over coffins of their relatives who were killed in the suicide attack on a church. (AP Photo)

But I fear that American Christians, so often, in perfectly peaceful cities, towns, neighborhoods and churches would much rather remain comfortable and unpersecuted than to feel the pain in another part of our body. The body doesn’t work like that. We can’t turn a blind, painless eye. We SHOULD lose sleep over this.  We SHOULD hurt with them. We should, at times, be ashamed of ourselves for failing to lift them up to the Father in prayer. We SHOULD feel this, if we are part of the body.

There is hot ash in our eyeball. Surely we should feel it.

WE are persecuted.