PRESCOTT, Ariz. (K-LOVE News – Abby Aronoff) – Outdoor Nation’s the name lovingly given to millions of Americans who can’t get enough of the great outdoors. Many of these nature enthusiasts use the whole weekend to explore the world around them. But now one pastor is capitalizing on the passion of those who feel God in nature.
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In Arizona, there is a lot to discover. With over 450 miles of trails and 1.25 million acres surrounding Prescott National Forrest, locals and visitors have trouble staying indoors. Pastor Steve Lummer of Discovery Church tells PE News, “You can whitewater raft, hike, mountain climb, bike, the options are endless.” And with moderate weather year-round you can explore from dawn to dusk.
After attending his own “pastors adventure” in Zion National Park exploring canyons and discussing the things of God with other like-minded church leaders, Steve caught a new vision: Church outside.
Steve explains, “We encourage people to get outside and let God speak to their inside.”
Pastor Steve started Discovery Church, but just about everyone in leadership is an outdoor enthusiast. And whether it’s trips to Yosemite, the Redwood National Park, or rafting at the Grand Canyon, members focus on faith as the congregation continues to grow.
Creation provides a powerful backdrop to connect and talk about God. And Steve points out, “Over half of Jesus’ teachings occurred in the outdoors.” In fact, Jesus took his disciples to mountains, in gardens and on boats to show them his purposes and teach them deep lessons about themselves.
At almost every adventure at Discovery Church a campfire is roaring and people are talking about the Creator.
For Pastor Steve it is simple, “We worship in outdoor classrooms to acknowledge that there is a center of the universe, and we are not it.”
Listen to the article on sound cloud here.
“Every leader functions on two stages–the front stage and the back stage. The front stage is the public world of leadership. The back stage is the private world of the leader. There are many resources to help you succeed on the front stage. But who is talking to you about you and your backstage life?
- prioritize matters of the soul
- develop healthy spiritual practices
- address problems that lead to burnout
- create a healthy rhythm in your life
- craft a healthy leadership culture
- develop better systems in your church
- move toward an unhurried life”
From the book Replenish by Lance Witt
At the age of 60 I had a personal goal to take a six week sabbatical from my ministry responsibilities at Discovery for the above mentioned desire.
However, real life would not allow that to take place.
Then, an idea of a partial sabbatical took shape and here is how it worked.
Discovery church here in Prescott has developed and been given some amazingly gifted and talented people.
Seven of them responded to my request to speak on Sundays and each brought such a rich and diversified message.
Something besides giving me the much needed break came out of this as well.
Over the seven weeks I noticed something I have never that experienced.
Each speaker showed our church what our actual theology was and that was powerful to witness.
Here are a few quotes and statements from the past seven weeks.
Week 1 with Keith Dionise
“Jesus is the continuation of the story of God.”
“We need the Gospel to transform the heart, to grow with our relationship with God.”
“Jesus is coming back…..Without this truth rooted in our heart we can be discouraged.”
“In our everyday practical life we are living one of four ways: our hearts are hardened to the word of God, we recognize the word of God but do not accept it, we accept the word of God but not the reconciliation, & we accept the reconciliation of God.”
“Without having a foundation of faith, we can become a skewed in our beliefs.”
“God doesn’t want us to have a piece of him, he did not sacrifice his son for this, to deny him is to deny the work he has done for us.”
“We are not here to reinvent the gospel … we are here to let the gospel will reinvent us.”
Listen to the sermon here:
Week 2 with Helen Jackson
“As mother’s we are not given a manual. Our manual for life & reference is the word of God.”
“The Bible gives us instruction for birthing, marriage, family & anything else we may encounter in our lives.”
“We can say that we love God, but if we don’t read the Bible, how do we know how to love him?”
“We live with God & he lives with us, he is a personal God.”
“In our times of trial & trouble we can sometimes question God’s direction. The Bible can help answer our questions, & define God’s character.”
“We eat everyday, food is our body’s fuel. The Bible is no different, it is the food for our spiritual body. If you don’t fast for your physical body, why are you fasting your spiritual body?”
“Sometimes the message we feast on can be undesirable, & other times it can be pleasant, but remember no matter the message it feeds our spiritual being for the better.”
“To glorify God is to bless God.”
“We can glorify God by our character & our actions.”
“God did not create us for him to be our pleasure, he created us for HIS pleasure.”
“If you want to live for God & have a relationship with him, you cannot live without his word, the Bible.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, God can use you.”
“In today’s world, people are feeling beaten up, all they want is hope. God IS hope, he is faithful, present, giving, generous, & good. He will give direction, just read it.”
Listen to the message here.
Week 3 with Maureen Simpson
“Never pass up an opportunity to break bread with someone who you don’t know. A new relationship & possibility to share the story of Christ may arrive from that occasion.”
“Live with intentionality with the people around you everyday. You do not need to be blood or have any other connection to any one person in order to serve selflessly.”
“Do not take for granted your availability to serve, worship and live as you do in America, because not everyone has that opportunity to do so.”
“The relationship of Christianity isn’t meant to be just for us, but to be given away & shared with others.”
This message is not available online.
Week 4 with James Dufour
” I have not even read the entire bible and yet I have been ask to preach it.”
“Ephesians 6 tells us to “stand” three times.”
“I’m so excited for the next best book in the bible.”
“The belt of truth holds us together.”
“All of us are fighting a battle.”
“Our righteousness is found in Jesus.”
Week 5 with Jason Dyer
“If we are only trying to please people, then we are not servants of God.”
“Deep down we all seek validation & approval.”
“As Christians we share because of our love for others. Regardless of what others may think of us, we must never miss an opportunity to share God.”
“Understand that the approval of “they” & “them”, doesn’t matter.”
“Do NOT seek the approval of man, you will only lose your way, because at the end of the day IT DOES NOT MATTER.”
“As a society we have been conditioned to a culture of “SELFIES”. Do not chase after the approval of man.”
“We are not called to donate & give for the acknowledgment & pride, when we give, give without saying.”
“A lot of us are caught up in seeking the approval of others & ourselves, that we are missing the real reason that we are here.”
“If you are struggling with the circumstances of your life & questioning your approval from God, remember, he GAVE up his ONLY son because GOD LOVES US.”
“God doesn’t only just love us, he cherishes us, we are valued by him.”
“No matter where we are at or what we’ve done, GOD loves us, because Jesus died for US.”
“Understand that God isn’t going to love a FUTURE version of yourself more than he loves you right NOW. ”
Listen to the message here:
Week 6 with Nolan Howell
“What is Biblical meditation: Finding an opportunity to have a time of quiet to focus on God.”
“Every time God gives us something good, the world finds a way to pervert it.”
“With Biblical meditation we strive to fill our minds’ with positive thoughts & strengthen against the attacks of the enemy.”
“When we meditate on God’s word, he is with us.”
“Meditating on God’s word renews our souls. It allows us to discover God’s will for us.”
“Meditation is not easy, it takes practice. All too often when we try to focus on God, the distractions of life can come rushing in.”
“Do not be intimidated by Biblical meditation, if you’re not sure how to begin, start by focusing on a specific scripture or think about all of the gifts that God has given you, & thank him for those gifts.”
“Remember to focus on what’s next, Jesus.”
“Be honest with yourself, we may look like we are put together, but we’re not. The reality is we’re a mess. We need his help, but we may not know what to say. Guard your mind & thoughts & invite God in, to meditate on his word.”
Listen to the message here:
Week 7 with Boniface Musyoka Nyamu
“God came down to rescue the people from the power of the Egyptians, & to bring them up from that land to a land that is good & spacious, to a land flowing with milk & honey to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites…..(.& the websites)”
“At times we may know who we are, but along the way we can forget who we are. Remember though that God will always remember who we are.”
“A mirror is a tool that allows us to see ourselves. We have many different “mirrors” in our lives that let us see our selves.”
“The people in our lives can act as a mirror in the way that they can reflect onto ourselves what they themselves see in ourselves.”
“Our jobs can act as a mirror in reflecting our outward successes to those around us.”
“Our cultural influences such as social media can act as a mirror in the way that they reflect our thoughts & public personification of ourselves to others.”
“The hardest mirror for us to look into is our past which shows us our mistakes & regrets.”
“The most important mirror in our lives is the word of God. We are a reflection of him. Walk towards this mirror.”
“We have to trust in the word of God. We have to have faith to walk through the hardest parts of our lives & trust that God will not fail us, that the past is gone, & that he is working on us.”
“We put so much pressure on ourselves in the different “mirrors” that we choose to look into. Look into the word of God & see your true reflection. We are not perfect, but we will see ourselves freely when we look into God’s mirror.”
“God is the light, the light of our lives & our future.”
“Through the other “mirrors” we can get distorted views of our lives & believe the lies these false mirrors reflect to us.”
“Our distorted views that we reflect cause us to question our worth, value & purpose.”
“These distorted reflections can give us a false identity. We are not here by mistake, we belong here. Our true identity is because God wants us here, & that he LOVES us all so much.”
Thank you all who contributed to this seven week journey.
As we move into 2018, we are collectively asking God for blessing, provision, and favor as Discovery Church dreams for an amazing future.
We are committing to give God the “first part”; such as the first part of the year, the first part of our day, and the first fruits of our lives.
Our 21 day Daniel fast will begin Sunday night, January 1st, at mid-night and go through Sunday, January 21st.
I encourage you to join in at what ever level you wish. Some may dive in completely and others may change their fasting experience to fit their needs.
Many friends have ask me for a “shopping” list or “menu” for a resource.
So I will do my best from here to update us on our informal shopping guidelines.
The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”
Here are some simple informal menu helps for the 21 day Daniel fast.
SOME INITIAL GUIDELINES FOR DANIEL FAST:
(Foods We May Eat)
Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley
Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas
Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Oats, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon
Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Gingerroot, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts
Liquids: Spring Water, Distilled Water, 100% All-Natural Fruit Juices, 100% All Natural Vegetable Juices
(Foods to Avoid)
All “fast” food – hahahaha ( no really).
Caffeine (are you kidding me?) 😡
Foods Containing Preservatives or Additives
White Flour and All Products Using It
Margarine, Shortening, High Fat Products
Please do not risk your health to go on this fast. Consult your doctor with specific question regarding an extended fast.
Brenda and I have been amazed to see what God has done in our lives over the years through fasting and prayer. We can only imagine what He has in store for us over the next few weeks and the year ahead, not only for our family, but for your family and our church.
I am really looking forward to this year’s 21 days of fasting for Discovery.
My favorite devotional bible resembles a worn ball glove. Its front and back once-blank pages are lled with notes and thoughts compiled over the past couple of decades. I don’t carry it outside the house, due to its fragility and the treasures that reside in those pages.
While most of my reading today is in my Logos software, to return to the familiarity of those leather-bound pages brings a sense of anchoring unlike anything else. I can’t count the number of times I opened it in distress or weariness of ministry, and closed it with a renewed sense of God’s presence and power for the next step ahead. And those notes…
ose notes have coupled with God’s Word to be of great encouragement to me! All of us can identify with the Psalmist David, as he wonders to himself over his own discouragement. All too often, the greatest source of encouragement in ministry has to come from within. is is an awesome grace that God provides, through His Holy Spirit residing within us. We have to choose to receive it in those moments.
Be encouraged today. If you’re feeling low, go for it— encourage yourself like David did!
Stay healthy in ministry!
Ways to encourage yourself:
• Talk to yourself about why you are discouraged. King David did it, so can you.
• Remain in His Word. Review personal notes. Re ect upon God’s past faithfulness in tough times; and realize God will do the same for you in this present di cult season.
• Save personal notes for future encouragement. If they encourage you now, they will again one day.
FORGE 2017 ON THE BANKS OF THE BUFFALO RIVER ARKANSAS
I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.
– Psalm 41:11-12 NIV
What a great time with the men of Journey Church.
America’s First National River
Established in 1972, Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. Once you arrive, prepare to journey from running rapids to quiet pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River.
Thanks for getting us there Jesse Quiroz.