Canoeing the Mountains
After the Louisiana Purchase had been secured with France, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis & Clark to explore and map the newly acquired territory. It was widely believed that they would be able to navigate waterways from St. Louis all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back.
From May 1804 to September 1806, they faced profound risk and perils, but what they never imagined was the Rocky Mountains … The river they expected to trace to the Pacific led up a mountainside to a little spring, still 750 miles from their goal. Yet Lewis & Clark and their team adapted and stayed on task. They made it – all the way there and back!
A new book, Canoeing the Mountains, by Tod Bolsinger, addresses the profound sense of cultural change that we are now facing as Christians. The author’s main point is that like Lewis & Clark, even as we face unimaginable obstacles, we are called to adapt and stay on mission.
So what are our Rocky Mountain obstacles? In less than 50 years, our culture has flipped. We have gone from where Christendom was the defining element of our culture to where now, easily less than 20% of our neighbors care at all. And a growing percentage are openly hostile to the claims of Jesus.
So what do we do? Simply, we stay on mission to follow Jesus and lead others to Him. As a church, we pray for our city to be transformed. We trust that we are loved by God the Father, that we have been saved by Jesus His Son, and that we’re empowered by His Spirit. Resourced by Him, we believe that He calls us to reach our city with His love.
How can we do that? 1) Stay humble. We need to admit that we are now the minority and the outsiders. 2) Adapt. Don’t expect that the habits of Christendom to persist. We have to be creative and determined. And 3) I want to urge you to pray as you never have. If you pray occasionally, I want to call you to repent. If you pray regularly, I want to urge you to amp it up. If you pray throughout your day, I want to ask you to help someone around you learn to pray. What I know is no movement of God’s Spirit – anywhere or at any time in history – has ever occurred where there was no prayer.
Things to Pray for:
- Gratitude for clarity. It’s actually clearer today to share the Gospel because cultural Christians have all been sifted out. Give thanks to the Father for this gift.
- Humility for our lack of vision. Ask for forgiveness for being more concerned for your kingdom and the things of this world than you are for His Mission that lost people would be redeemed.
- Hope. Ask the Lord to fill you with a sense of His power. Reflect on the LORD’s power and all He’s done to save you, and ask Him to renew your hope.
- Faith that expresses itself in love. Pray that He would fill you with His love, that it would spill out of you to those around you who do not yet know Jesus.