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 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