Archives For Calling

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

Think of the character and identity of God. Think of what he is able to do and the scope of his desires. God’s image is reflected in every human being ever born. Our lives were meant to reflect all that identifies and characterizes God.

As young children, before we learn to second-guess ourselves…or before we believe false words or things about us, we experience a free mind. At boot camp, we often ask guys to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. We love to hear those stories. If we stop and remember some of those dreams, we can tap into what was lost or stolen along the way.

Doug wanted to be a pilot from the first time he saw a squadron of planes land and take off on his Aunt B’s property at the young age of four. Watch Doug’s story begin…

As Doug explained in part one, the enemy tried to destroy not only Doug’s dream of becoming a pilot, but his entire family – and a legacy of people following after God’s heart. We have seen this pattern over and over. God awakens a desire early on, and even though that dream might go dormant or seem destroyed, He will, at another time, reawaken it…if we are willing to give our lives to him. It took three decades for Doug to begin his journey to becoming a pilot. Watch how that unfolded…

Discouragement may take hold when a desire is reawakened, but having it fulfilled seems impossible. We can explain it away as life, or bad luck…but what God is always up to in a man or woman’s life is deepening his relationship with us – healing and preparing a foundation in our lives. While Doug remained uncertain how or when he would be able to get his pilot license, he did know God was excavating and restoring areas of his life…

All of us have a call on our lives – a bestowed glory from God that uniquely shows the character and design of the Father. Jesus said, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. And that abundant life is SO WORTH FIGHTING FOR – though to experience it, it’s essential you let God heal whatever personal brokenness or stronghold stands in your way, lay down everything and say yes to him.

If you have not been to a boot camp, and this has stirred something in you, we encourage you to join us. Learn more on our events page. Also, consider sharing Doug’s story with a friend who needs to hear it. 

What I am about to share could happen to any of us. And does! In fact, I share life with a lot of people who have these kinds of ‘God experiences’ on a regular basis… and it is a completely normal experience. Yes, I use the word normal, though it is a hidden normal. Veiled in plain sight… lost in the noise and circumstances from a fallen world. The great deception of the enemy is to keep us from knowing who we are…

Eastern Oregon high dessert is beautiful. It was our 2004 bootcamp near Antelope OR. It was sunny with warm dry mild breezes; ideal conditions…I came into this camp with a lot of questions. Mostly the, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” kinds of questions.  I had spent the previous several years sort of lost and wandering without much direction. I know now that I was groping at life as a drowning man gropes for something to stay afloat. I felt that I had no clear starting point. Who thinks about this stuff? Well… at some point, everyone… So there I was.

Names are important to God. They are part of his design for the universe. For us, they are a testimony and sign to all of creation. The name that Jesus calls us is who we really are. The voice that spoke life into existence is the same voice that calls us by name. He always names us aptly…It’s a glimpse of all we are, how he sees us! It doesn’t happen exactly like this for everyone, but here is what happed to me:

The afternoon session ended… and now all the men quietly went out and about for a covenant of silence time, me included.  I headed for the nearest mountain. The questions on my heart were…” What’s next God?” and “Who am I God?”  Two questions…

The pathPart one: What is next? This mountain I was climbing was covered in loose shale and my footing was shaky… The trail was… well there was no trail… the terrain was steep. I was more focused on the question than my safety… My legs were burning, my lungs on fire but the question was bigger…The intensity was pulling me up the hill as if I were chasing after the answer. It was up there…

To add a little more context to this, I sort of saw two immediate life paths as it pertains to the questions. One was to continue down the rabbit hole with all the guys at Bootcamp NW… I loved these guys then, but not like I do now. I mean, it would have been easy to turn away…actually, more like fade away like I had always done. I would simply become (or remain) NOT critical to the plan. I had successfully avoided plenty of situations in life that fit the “much is required” description….especially if some vulnerability and exposure were involved. The old easy way of dealing with things was, well…safe and familiar.  So this, among other things was the context of my question. What happened next I was not expecting.

I was nearly there now…A little more panting, sweating and grunting before I finally reached the top… Tired now, I just found a place to sit and enjoy the view. I was at the crest now. Next to me, on the ground, was an arrangement of rocks in the shape of a cross. Beyond that was the panoramic view of the entire valley below…the camp and the neighboring and distant hillsides. It was my first time up there, and something about the struggle Treeand the beauty of it all just brought me to tears. And there was silence… and the question.

After some time went by, I caught a glimpse of a little paper booklet tucked under a rock that was part of the rock cross arrangement. It was literally right next to me! I pulled it out just to have a quick look and see what it was. It was just a little booklet for children (I guess) and it had pictures of gnomes in it. Nothing special. Trash I thought.

The booklet was missing its cover, so I had to read the little introduction paragraph to figure out what it was all about. The paragraph started out with simple lines like… ”Have you ever longed for a better prayer life? Do you ever wonder if God hears your prayers? Do you long to hear God speak to you? And so on…

“Oh yeah… Jayson…about that question…”

Oh my! The things I desired in the context of my question would represent a radical shift…“It’s prayer…”

Another wave of tears came. I flipped through the pages to see more, and the answer to my question began to unfold! This little booklet was about prayer! “Yep, It’s prayer! That’s what’s next.” It went straight to my heart. Did I mention it was written for CHILDREN with pictures of GNOMES in it!? It depicted little Gnomes praying in every kind of circumstance. God’s ironic humor! The emotion that followed was so deep and pure. I sobbed and the tears were like pure joy … imagining hearing, seeing or walking for the first time in your life…that kind2013-05-14 21.24.31 of joy!

I was excited to get down the hill now! I had to tell someone! Ahh, but God was not done yet. If you remember, I came up the hill with two questions.

Part two: Along the way, God and I… we descended the hillside in a different route. The route was down a steep ravine that widened near the bottom of the hill, and there were a few trees along the way with shade where I could rest. As I was coming down I noticed two or three deer resting peacefully under a tree.

ConfusedJust for fun, a sneak attack seemed in order. (please don’t judge me) After getting close as possible, I charged like a screaming mad man down the hillside! Like Gandalf charging the Orcs! By the time I got to the tree I was laughing beyond control! I claimed the very spot where the deehad been and dropped to rest. “Victory!” What a goofy thing to do, I thought. In the midst of laughter and self-satisfaction I hear God say to me, “You are my Scout”… (Laughter paused)… (Head scratch) “Umm…What does that mean?” Again I heard “You are my Scout.”

“Huh! Ok… I’m your scout.”

A little confusion in the absence of hopelessness must be akin to faith! There was peace about it even though I did not quite know what to do with the news. Like an unopened gift; you know it’s really good but have no idea what it is. That was the real beginning of the journey for me… Being a little slow to the process, it didn’t even occur to me then that God was putting me at the starting line of the journey… of discovery. His answer to my second question was to begin the journey of answering the new question. This journey entails doing and being and an abiding in Jesus. Who is “Scout”? Which is to say, who does God really think I am?

It is a better question…

The subject of our rightful name and why God reveals it to us is a good topic for another day. But I will say… God uses this in our lives in a huge way. It’s a critical piece in the process of walking with God and finding our true calling.

I don’t know if praying gnomes or elves will get you there. But as the word says… Ask, seek and knock….


….to be continued.

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 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


What is Clarity Worth?

Chris Skaggs —  October 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says,
Next time you think you’re perfect,
try walking on water“?

The author is obviously nodding toward Jesus and His famous stroll across the Sea of Galilee, but we often forget that Jesus wasn’t the only person to do this particularly impressive miracle. Peter, who many might call the most imperfect of the disciples, also took a stroll on the surf.

Today I was reading another news story about the floundering economy, the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and all the other grim signs of the times. People are scared – no, let me correct that – people have been scared for most of the last years years. What’s new today is a growing realization that nobody anywhere has any real answers. The Fed, the President, Congress – none of them seem able to really do much of anything and we’re all in for a bumpy ride.

We live in a season without hope, without purpose, and without vision.

Proverbs says, “Without vision, the people perish…”(29:18) and “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” (13:12) which seems like a fair diagnosis of our country today.

But the second half of Proverbs 29:18 says “happy is he who keeps the law.” – pointing us back to our personal walk with God, our integrity and holiness as effective proof against dark days.
13:12 continues, “A dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

So this got me thinking: HOW did Peter walk on the water?
He was called.

What if you had perfect clarity, even just a single moment, into what God is calling you to in this age of confusion and uncertainty?
What if that dream you thought died in your breast a decade ago were suddenly kindled by Christ’s whisper that He’s who planted that seed – and it’s not dead after all?
What if you heard Jesus’ simple invitation like Peter did, to look up above all the storms and swells and follow Him into remarkable adventure?
Could you take a step out of the boat?

So…what is a little clarity worth?