Archives For Chris Skaggs

A few days ago I was driving past one of those planned neighborhoods and a sign out front was inviting the “post active” crowd to come on in and have a tour.

It took me several seconds to grasp what the term was referring to. Was this a community for veterans? After a few beats I realized that in fact it was a polite but insidious euphemism for seniors. But it wasn’t enough to say “If you born before this date in 1958 you’re welcome here.” Instead it presumed to indicate your level of activity after that 55th birthday – your level of usefulness. “Now that you’re an old coot, sit down and take a breath. Lord know’s you’ll need it. And we assume that you are bored, thinking about fishing all the time, and basically useless. But that would be rude so we’ll call it ‘post-active.'”

One of the biggest mistakes of our current World enemy is the unchecked worship of youth and the consequent dismissal of wisdom. The wisest, most experienced, most mature members of our world often feel cast aside – and for good reason. Everything about the way we live our day to day lives is geared toward the young and the reckless while we get closer and closer to a Logan’s Run vision of our 60s and beyond.

Moses, on the other hand, didn’t hang up his staff at 60. In fact, he was still 20 years BEFORE his great mission to free Israel from Pharaoh. He was 120 years old when he moved on and the Word says that he was ‘Undimmed in his eye and still getting busy.’ (loose translation)

In The Masculine Journey john talks about kings as sages as the stages of greatest strength and influence in a man’s life. When all the hard work and refinement of the previous years comes to a razor sharp point and a man becomes a scalpel in the hands of God, truly able to separate sinew from bone and effect change in the world at a level no ‘warrior’ could dream of.

But if a sage of the Kingdom is put to pasture, or worse, if that man willingly retreats from the field for fear of feeling invalidated…the loss to the Kingdom is truly immense.

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for the last week trying to decide what I could say about the story, but instead I’m just going to tell the story and you can make any conclusions you like.

On Saturday morning of our April 2013 Bootcamp JB and I were running a little late to breakfast and we were the last people in the cabin. As we’re just about out the door I see a bird hit the big A-Frame window and fall the 20-30 feet to the deck. We walk out and see this poor creature is in bad shape. Its breathing ragged its eyes are rapidly dimming and something sharp and white is protruding from the side of his face. Our best guess is that it’s bone from his head – a compound fracture of the little guy’s skull. As I pick him up he’s shuttering, blood is coming off on my fingers and we both say, “we ought to put this poor thing out of his misery.”

Before...

Before…

But then after a short pause JB says out loud what also just came to me, “let’s pray for him.” So I fold my other hand over the top and close him in my hands and we pray. Nothing fancy, just “Father, please heal this poor creature.”

With that behind us, JB goes back inside to grab a box lid and some ripped up paper towels to give the guy a least a little warmth. Prayer or not, we were both expecting to leave this creature to die. He’s still closed up in my hands and I can hear his breathing get faster and faster, harder and harder. Hard to believe I could hear a bird breathe but I was convinced I was hearing his death rattle.

A few seconds later, JB comes out with the box top and I open my hands to let go of this wounded thing. But instead of a corpse, out of my hand jumps a perfectly alive bird. His feathers are straightened, his eyes are bright and the bone(?) is no longer jutting from his face. Not only is he no longer bleeding, but the blood from his face has been cleaned off.

Like something out of Snow White the little guy jumps right up into JBs hand, poses for this picture and then flies off to join his buddies.

After...

After…

Thanks to a friend, I’m pretty sure we had a male Violet-green Swallow (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Violet-green_Swallow/id) and while I don’t know it was bone in photo one, it seems the most likely possibility. Regardless, whatever was sticking out of his bloodied face, it was gone in photo two and there was nothing in my hands (except left over blood) when he popped back out.

Think what you will, conclude what you wish, but JB and I spent the last week in awe of our Father.

Russel Crowe is RadiatorI swung through a church the other day and happened to pick up a pamphlet for their men’s ministry. In bold letters it says “Live The Adventure in Christ” and beneath that is a grainy picture of four men in a drab colored hallway with paint rollers.

Painting? Seriously?
Jesus offers “life to the full” and the best you can come up with is busy work?

But really that’s the kind of thing we see almost everywhere we look, not just in church. It’s a foundational plank in how western culture manages men these days. Have you ever heard somebody say something like “The greatest adventure you’ll ever live is [insert obligation]”. That kind of thinking rises up from a world of undressed wounds where playing it safe is  a primary motivation. When we’ve been hurt deeply and nobody was there to play a father’s role of interpretation and initiation for us, then the desire to avoid pain is often the best motivation we have left. So we only take on the challenges we know we can win. We only risk what we can afford to loose. We take that soul-deep desire for adventure and try to channel it into artificial adventures like sports.

But what troubles me most about this brochure is that these folks should know better. They’re using the language, arguably calling man into the deep and powerful life of spirit…and then offering chores. It’s a horrible bait and switch and acts to convince millions of earnest Christian men and women that the biggest, most important thing the King of the Universe has for them is service.

If the version of the Gospel you heard goes something like “Sin less, give more, sit down.” then please believe me that there is MORE.
So
Much
More…

A Man and His Calling

Chris Skaggs —  February 1, 2013 — Leave a comment

About a year or more ago our own John Bergquist was taking what seemed like a typical call from a potential client. The man got John’s number from the same kind of friend-of-a-friend network that makes up a good chunk of the pipeline business runs on in the social-media era and John was telling this man about the company, history, services…that sort of thing.

At one point John mentions his work with another team member, Chris Skaggs, and the man on the other end of the line stops John short to clarify, “Chris Skaggs? Like Boot Camp Northwest Chris Skaggs?”
John replies, “Yeah…why?”

To cut to the chase we soon found out that God was completing a circuit after many years to show what Christ can do in one man’s life. This gentleman, in his own words, came to a camp several years ago when his life was falling apart. He knew Glen professionally and came out to Wild Horse Canyon with far more questions than answers, quite uncertain about where his life was going. Somewhere in that weekend God confirmed his calling and set off a chain of events that has now led to a completed movie script that reveals the true power, love and beauty of our Lord – a path that had now come full circle to where JB was on the phone getting major Jesus chills as the story unfolded. In that moment, he took a road not unlike Abraham, Jacob or Isaac. He accepted a challenge like Peter, Paul or Matthew.

The man found his calling – and was now living boldly in it.
His life was no longer his own and it would never be the same.

If Boot Camp were to be summed up as a ‘you are here‘ experience – a time to stop and look at our lives to see where we’ve actually come to when all our wounds and strengths, victories and losses get summed together – then the next step is for us to ask
where am I going?
and that question is best answered by understanding your calling.

If you knew – really knew what God made you for how would that change your life?
If you could get even one minute of total clarity on the path God laid out for your life, what would that be worth to you?
Finding our deep, God-given hearts is how we find life in the midst of a dead world. Finding our calling is how we bring our own weightiness to the battle that Christ asks us to join.

We are so excited to have this Calling Intensive as a second part to our 1st calling event  in October 2011. Several of us have known Gary Barkalow for years and having him back out here again feels like God bringing another long circuit around. We hope you’ll join us.

A Calling Intensive with Gary Barkalow
February 22-24, 2013
Warm Beach Christian Camps and Conference Center; 20800 Marine Drive, Stanwood, WA 98292  (Click here for Map & Directions)
Register on Gary’s site

calling

All Saints

Chris Skaggs —  October 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

In a few weeks, on November 1, is a liturgical holiday called All Saints Day…I only know this because Odin, my 6 year old son, was asking about Halloween and I decided to look it up. Outside of what Wikipedia says I’m only slightly more informed but the name reminded me of something we talk about at Bootcamp.

Who are the ‘Saints’?

Let me tell you a quick story. Several weeks ago we got a kind of SOS from a dear friend and ally. Kevin and his team were leading a Bootcamp in MI and with about a week to go ‘the cupboards were bare’ so to speak. Registration was in the toilet and the enemy started to get up in Kevin’s grill with the same kind of trash talk we’ve all heard before.
“This is a waste of time.”
“Nobody cares.”
“You’re all alone.”
“Your so-called ‘ministry’ is dead.”

Now in case you’ve never met Kevin – He’s a saint.
No really. I don’t mean he’s really nice or that he talks to animals. I’m talking about his title, his rank in the Kingdom of Heaven, the official God-given designation for one who walks with, and takes his strength from the Living God and the Risen Lord. The Bible repeatedly calls those people Saints. Not ‘sinners saved by grace,’ though of course that’s true it is what we WERE, no longer what we ARE.

Kevin is a saint who lives in a great company of other saints, and everyday he chooses to walk under the weight of relentless attack from the enemy or in the flood of Furious Love of his King. So Kevin, he did a very brave and wise thing: he called for reinforcements; he reached out or help.

As it happened, when we got Kevin’s note much of the Bootcamp NW team was together for a meeting. It was one of those moments where your heart knows the right thing to do but your head thinks it’s stupid and resists.
“Pray for him. Encourage him. Now.” said the thump-thump-thump in our suddenly heated hearts.
“Maybe he’s right. Maybe this Wild at Heart thing has run its course.” said our stubborn, lazy heads.
It’s funny how that lazy head voice grows stronger when we’re alone but in this case the hearts won the day quickly and we went to war. Prayers. declarations, warfare – it was powerful. We then took a quick little iPhone video to send to Kevin right then and let him know we had his back.

Depending on your point of view, that may seem like little more than a meaningless gesture. But if you truly grasp your identity, if you truly understand that we are ALL Saints, then you understand that it’s something far more potent.

To close the story started above, Kevin’s camp went NUTS in the last few days before it started. In his own words, “We had 140 men at Hearts Alive & Free and it was an explosion — an atom bomb destroying men’s fig leaves and washing and healing wounds. This weekend was–wow, the best yet in my estimation if you can say that. They’re all great, but this one was really special.”