Archives For John

John asked me to write a quick intro to this post partly because I pressured him to write the post. That was because what he said on a phone call one day seemed so crystal clear, so profound and yet so simple, that it just had to be shared. Do you live on the cruise ship or the battleship (a great analogy our friend Gary Barkalow uses to describe how we approach life)? Or more accurately, do you realize yet that the cruise ship is a lie. (Even more so than the cake…)

And it was John’s comment, almost passingly, that he no longer even considered the issue which made him mostly immune to the kind of self-absorbed hang wringing that was plaguing our friend. What you expect determines 90% of what you experience – know now that this is a world at war and so much will make sense almost overnight. -Chris Skaggs

“Life just hasn’t turned out the way I had hoped.” I have heard that from several people lately, often in conversations with friends once the chitchat and small talk turns to deeper things of the heart.

We all have dreams, aspirations and hopes. We keep going through disappointments and detours. Think of all the things you set out to do all those years back as a little child. You were going to save the world with a cape and some spidey underwear, the outlaws were going to fear you as you rode into town with your mighty posse. Nothing was going to stop you from becoming that famous explorer who discovered the cure for whatever ailed society.

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
that he channels toward all who please him. Proverbs 21:1

But life has a way of killing even the strongest desires…except those that God places in our hearts.

Recently I finished an incredible study of the book of Daniel with my wife Kristine. I thought I knew the story well but as we dove in the details and richness of the story began to form.

Daniel’s life turned out very different than he expected. We get a good description of Daniel in the first chapter. “young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.”

As a privileged teen in the royal courts of Israel he had a life ahead of him of promise and stature. He was on the track to a successful life filled with learning, opportunity and leadership.

It all changed though with the Babylon’s invasion and kidnapping. Daniel was among the ones chosen to serve a foreign king because of his giftings.

He spent the rest of his entire life in exile serving godless men. He did it all in the shadow of our mighty God. He constantly kept close to God’s heart and through it found his true calling and desire. And in it he did God’s will.

Many times in the book a scene is played out where Daniel is seeking God on the river bank. It is a picture of a man, face turned toward the holy hill in Jerusalem in a far off Land. God meets Daniel over and over with his own presence and with mighty angels. There is evidence of long times of despair and loneliness, but Daniel never wavers.

What is never seen is Daniel losing heart. He is steadfast in his pursuit of God. And that is the difference. Yes, like every man, I am sure he had his moments of doubt. But I don’t think he let them last long or become deep enough to take root in his outlook on his existence. He knew who he was, and he knew his calling. God did mighty things with him as a result. The events that happened because of Daniel’s faith in God are still rippling out through time. We even received glimpses of the end days and all God has planned because Daniel opened his heart to God instead opening it to despair and resignation.

Life did not turn out the way Daniel planned. I do know that God probably spoke great things to him as a young boy, to a young boy’s heart. We can choose where our hearts wander when detours hit. Do we fall into despair or do we choose to get closer to God?

In those stolen moments with God what is he speaking to your heart? What is he slowly cutting away and revealing? As he whispers, confess to him the plans you have been holding on to. Turn your question away from “who am I” to “Who are you Lord”. Ask him how he can redirect your desires. I know you won’t be disappointed. In fact I know you will be thrilled. He will change the world with you. The truth is that you will find your self. You will realize who you truly are once you find him. Jesus said to his disciples “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Lets, lose it together.

A Moment In The Woods

John —  March 21, 2013 — 1 Comment

When was the last time you just sat still in the woods?  Over the last ten years we have heard from so many guys who have taken up our guidance to make it a habit to spend at least one day alone with God a couple times a year. What they have reported back is that it has made all difference.

When life throws us multiple problems and our schedules fill up we say we are too busy to take an extended day to unplug. But really each of us that makes the choice to disengage with the world and re-engage with God, come away blessed. Jesus made it a practice even at the height of his ministry to steal away with his Father. Watch this video and think of the last time you sat alone in the woods. If you never have, give it a try. You will come away changed.

a Forest Year from motionkicker on Vimeo.

Do You Really Want To Be King?

John —  March 2, 2013 — 1 Comment

kingNat Iwata, one of our alumnus is a remarkable artist. We have loved witnessing him father his 3 young boys through his art and photos. He is a really good papa. Nat recently shared a poem and sketch inspired interactions with his boys. It really illustrated how we all struggle with wanting to be in a different stage of the masculinity journey than the one God is currently taking us through. I (John) asked a few of our kings in the Bootcamp NW fellowship what being a King means to them. Here are a few of the responses: A king’s heart must be unselfish, willing to sacrifice his own feelings and desires for those he serves. He serves others and a cause far greater than himself.  He speaks truth no matter how unpopular it might be.

Nat’s poem is both innocent as well as haunting. It reminds us that our own Papa knows what we need, when we need it. What stage is he taking you through at this moment? Are you open to his initiation, instruction and very often humility? The truth is as men we all should desire to be a king one day. A king just like the greatest King who gave everything for those he loved.

Pumped For This Journey

John —  February 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

campThis morning, part of our team is headed north of Seattle to join other men at a Calling Intensive led by Gary Barkalow of The Noble Heart Ministries. As I (John) packed up I saw one of our alumni, Jeremiah post a message out to his social networks that he was “Pumped for this journey!” I remember seeing Jeremiah a year ago on his way to his first Bootcamp. He had hopped off the train and the look on his face was of pure excitement and delight in what was ahead of him.

Everyone knows how tough the world is right now. Every day seems to be a struggle to find hope to get us all through. But where are we finding excitement in the Story?

Last night at our leaders meeting, the guys on the team that were headed north were joking about who had or had not done the pre-event assignments? These assignments were pretty involved too. Some of them took days to complete. In the busyness of life it is easy to let things slip, get caught in the many traps of duties and punch-lists. Our days can become one drudgery after the next. Excitement in anything can be so hard to find.

I bet Jeremiah did his homework though.

What are you “pumped for” today? What risk is God asking you into this moment? Do you have an answer? Go ahead and ask Him.

But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

A treasure here for every man

John —  February 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

After our last advanced bootcamp in October our own Jayson wrote this poem. Those that were present at the camp all remember it as a very special time of stepping out of the battle, spending much-needed time with God and each other. So many of us had hit financial troubles that had seemed to culminate this past year and everything that goes with that. Many felt as if they had been pulled through not just a spiritual war but a physical one. We will remember this camp as a time where God showed up and gave many gifts. He reminded us of His promise in that first part of Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Wild things invade the landfall2012
Adventure on the highest hill
From ancient paths to where we stand
Healing from the soldier’s hand

Laughter overcomes our chill
A treasure here for every man
Stars at night so calm and still
Commission of his master plan

Morning daylight, swords and skill
A time for men to die or stand
Armor on to block the kill
Redemption comes for every man

Sit and eat and have your fill
The victors table, large and grand
We ancient soldiers took the hill
We ancient soldiers healed the land.

We invite you to come and spend some time with God this April. We will be back at Mt. Spring for our Spring Bootcamp. You can find all the details on our events page.