Our Bible verse for today: “Then he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.’ At that moment the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him …” 1 Kings 19:11-13 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You can encounter God outdoors in His creation.”
A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a pastor friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He is currently sensing the Lord calling him into a new ministry venture but he isn’t sure what it will be. He is a pastor with a heart for missions and he is an experienced mission-team leader. He has led missions to various places around the world and he recently took a team to Alaska for the fourth time. He is also an avid outdoorsman. He loves to fish, hunt, hike, and explore.
As we considered who he is, the things he loves to do, and the direction God might be calling him in now, I suddenly remembered a book I had read years ago called “Wild Men, Wild Alaska” by Rocky McElveen. Rocky is also an avid outdoorsman who loves Alaska, and he has a heart for discipling Christian men. So he created a ministry to take groups of men on outdoor adventures into the wilds of Alaska for the duel purposes of enjoying God’s creation in an adventurous setting, but also to engage in some deep discipleship at the same time. Rocky found that serious disciples of Christ can have very special encounters with God out in the middle of spectacular settings (like what happened to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13). I suggested to my friend that he consider doing something similar. Maybe not in Alaska, but perhaps here in Tennessee. Being outdoors enjoying God’s beautiful creation is a great way to encounter Him in special ways.
Franklin Graham has gone on some of those discipleship adventures with Rocky. In the forward to the book Franklin wrote, “When you crack the pages of “Wild Men, Wild Alaska”, you’ll be captivated by the true-to-life depictions of majestic mountains, pristine lakes and streams, wild animals, hair-raising brushes with death … and how that all relates to a person’s need for an adventurous connection with God.”
Even if you are not an “outdoors” person, it’s still important to spend time with God outside, appreciating His beautiful creation. For you that may involve a wilderness adventure in Alaska, or it might just be a walk in the city park. It doesn’t matter. I encourage you to spend some time with God outdoors this weekend and gain a new appreciation for the beautiful world He has created.