Tag Archives: hatchet

When peace and quiet seem impossible to come by

28 Aug

Anyone else out there feeling a longing for some peace and quiet in life?

We have our men’s retreat at Twin Pines coming up in a month, and I’m really looking forward to getting away. Up to the mountains. Last year we devoted time at the retreat for personal prayer.  I decided to pray while I hiked to the top of a ridge.  It was a blue skies kind of day where you could see for miles.  I hardly ever get that kind of time alone.

I know that it is a longing I’ve been feeling personally for a number of months now. A young man in our congregation decided to take a few months to hike the Appalachian Trail after graduating from high school.  As I look at his regular updates and pictures, I’m jealous.

The peace and quiet of nature beckons. Last year my third son and I read a series of books known by the name of the first book, Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen.  13 year old Brian Paulsen, surviving a plane crash, is stranded in the Canadian wilderness, and must learn to live with just a hatchet. As we read, we were spellbound by life in the wild.  Through the series, even though Brian is rescued and returns home, nature beckons.  He must return, and he does time and time again.

Nature’s call to us is so appealing because our day-to-day lives tend to be a harried, frenetic.  How many of you feel pressure from work, from school, from family, and yes, from church?  I know I do.  How often have you thought, “There’s not enough time?”  Or “I need to work more so I can make more money to pay the bills” but you know you’re already stressed out.  The solution is complex, but you know you need to get away.  Maybe you’ve got some vacation days to use or lose.

And so you make plans.  A day off, a weekend away on a retreat, a vacation.  You search online.  You invite family and friends.  You share details, book hotels, trade text messages and emails as the excitement builds.  Finally the day arrives, and you’re packing the car, gassing it up, getting everyone out the door…and your boss calls.  There’s an urgent need at work.  Really urgent.  You know the feeling.

How do you react when you’ve got a day off planned, and something comes up at work and you have to cancel your plans?

Do you ever feel irritated? Do you ever just wish for some peace and quiet?

Jesus was looking for some peace and quiet one day. In fact he got his plans set.  He wanted some time with the disciples.  They had just come back from their first ever mission trip, and Jesus wanted to take them on a retreat.  They headed off for a town 6 miles away, but one that was somewhat isolated.  Ah yes, some vacation.  Some time to revel in the peace and quiet.  Time to talk about their trip.

Guess what happens?  That’s what we’ll find out tomorrow.  Faith Church will hold another Worship in the Park, and we invite you to come along.  We meet in the middle pavilion of East Lampeter Community Park on Hobson Road.  If you’d like, you can check out Luke 9:10-17 ahead of time.

If God guaranteed one thing on your bucket list would happen before you die, what would you choose?

26 Dec

Did you cross anything off your bucket list in 2014?

bucketListGet married? Travel somewhere? Perform physical feat?

This year my family drove from Lancaster, PA, to Austin, TX, to visit my wife’s cousin and his family.  Though it was not coast-to-coast, it was the longest we had ever driven, and the first time for most of us through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas.

Last week I got to experience my first NFL regular season game, as my son and I went with friends to see the Redskins host the Eagles.  The tailgating atmosphere, the raucous cheering fans, and the three people we saw escorted off the premises by police, I will never forget, but I don’t know that I’ll go again.

My oldest son got his driver’s license, and his first car.

My second son got his first job, as well as played on the varsity soccer team.

My wife and I turned 40, and good friends surprised the heck out of us with an amazing party.  I ran my second half-marathon with some of those same friends on my birthday, a brutally hot and humid day.  Times were slow, but we made it.

As I look back on 2014, these are all things I would have definitely wanted to do before I die.  That is what a bucket list is all about: things you would like to do before you die.  Though I don’t have a physical paper Bucket List, I’ve had one on my mind for a long time.  And the first item on the list is writing a book.  I would also love to travel more, though I’ve been abundantly blessed to travel frequently in my 40 years. Before I die, I hope to visit Wales, where my grandmother was born.  I would love to visit the Holy Land, to see the Bible come alive.  I would love to travel with my wife to Cambodia to see firsthand what Imagine Goods is up to!

Next year, if things come together, a group from Faith Church will travel to Kenya, to visit our Faith Church family members, the Stoltzfuses, that serve at Rift Valley Academy.  I’m super excited about that trip!

Looking further to the future, I hope to see my kids graduate high school, maybe college, start families and have kids.  My grandkids.  I look forward to meeting them!

I’ve thought about going back to school to get a doctorate.  I think I would still like to do that some day.

In recent years, and especially as my third son and I have read the Hatchet series, I’d like to do some kind of extended stay in the wilderness.  Or maybe do an long hike on the Appalachian Trail.

What’s on your bucket list?  Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish before you do? No one has to have a bucket list, but planning for the future is a wise idea.

What should be on a bucket list?  I found a site that boasts 10,000 ideas.  But what if you put items on your list that aren’t worth your time, and you only find that out after you complete them?  How do we know what we should put on a bucket list?

On Sunday we meet a guy in the Bible who had a bucket list.  I don’t know how long the list was, but it had one item God guaranteed would happen.  It was a very important item.  And God promised that before this guy died, he would be able to cross it off the list.  Imagine that!  As you think about your bucket lists, what if you could choose one thing on it that God guarantees will happen.  Which item would you choose for the God “lock”?  If God guaranteed this guy’s bucket list item, that’s a pretty strong indicator that it should be worth our consideration too.

Join us Sunday at Faith Church as we look at Luke 2:21-40, where one person has a Bucket List “God Lock” item, and it happens!