This September, we launch a new leadership experience for those who have journeyed with us through Refresh. I really wanted to walk through the experience, including the mountain terrain, to make sure we are prepared for this wild adventure. So I asked 2 guys from our team, Josh Collesano and Jacob Hawkins to join me on a scouting trip to Estes Park, Colorado. Let us tell you about our adventure.
Tim: Our game plan was to hike the trails planned for the guys this fall. There were a few key spots we needed to see and some last minute details to iron out. We also wanted to get a bunch of video footage and product shots. Then we would spend about an hour each day listening to Jesus; chasing after him in the wild.
I’ve been to Estes Park a few times in the past. Let me just tell you that it is a magical place! There is no way I can describe its beauty through words. You just have to see it for yourself. When I invited Josh and Jacob to join me, they had no idea what they were in for.
Josh: I have been fortunate to see some pretty amazing things. I’ve lived in and hiked through the Ecuadorian Amazon, explored caves on the side of Europe’s most active volcano and have taken a lot of long walks through the woods of Northern Michigan. About 20 years ago I had been to Colorado Springs and I thought I knew what to expect. Little did I know that God fully intended to blow my mind once again! On the drive to the mountains I caught myself acting like a young boy who had just experienced his first roller coaster. With my window down, I was pointing at the mountains and words like “oh my goodness, wow, look at that!” kept coming out of my mouth, almost involuntarily.
Tim: About 10 minutes into our first hike, we quickly realized this was going to be more physically challenging than we originally planned. I was completely winded within five minutes of hiking in the altitude. But there was no way I was going to show my companions my fatigue. As I later learned, I wasn’t the only tired one!
Jacob: I would like to think I am in decent shape. But within the first five minutes of hiking, I was out of breath and had to unclip my backpack straps across my chest, just so I could breathe better. All I could think about was “what have I gotten myself into?” I felt like I was up against an impossible battle, but I had to keep moving. I didn’t want to let anyone down. But more importantly, I was excited to see what God had in store for me.
Tim: We stopped and took a quick breather. As we looked out over Rocky Mountain National Park we got to take in our first panoramic view. We stood silent for a minute. There was simply a sense that we were about to experience God in a new and fresh way. We were in for an adventure that would awaken our souls and reignite our passion for seeking Him.
Josh: I wasn’t prepared for the jaw-dropping beauty and the landscape that God had put us within. I found myself quietly thanking Him, multiple times, for how incredible, amazing, and big He is and the creation He made. There is something profound about physically being surrounded by His beauty on all sides.
Tim: As we continued on our first day’s hike, what happened inside of us is tough to explain. We experienced God’s creation in a whole new way. About every three minutes one of us said “quick, look at that!” We felt like a trio of 12 years olds, seeing the world through fresh eyes. It was stimulation overload, in the best sense. Everywhere we looked we saw the canvas of the Creator and he was speaking to us through His beauty. By the time we settled down to spend an hour of listening, there was no doubt that Jesus had captured our hearts.
Josh: Up until the trip I had gone into a season of finding myself really busy with work. My daily rhythm of slowing down to listen to Jesus had fallen off quite a bit. I was simply tired. So, I climbed up on top of a boulder, laid my head on my pack, and quickly heard “... I’ll show you how to take a real rest” (Matthew 28:11). I knew it was King Jesus, so I closed my eyes and fell asleep. I woke up 15 minutes later feeling like I had gotten a full eight hours. The rest of my time on that boulder overlooking Grace Falls was spent taking time to hear from Jesus regarding my family and faith (part of the Five F’s) and being grateful for all that He’s blessed me.
Tim: Spending time in the mountains of Estes Park just does something to my soul. Each time I go back, I feel more alive, more connected with my King. I experience Him in a new way and am reminded that He is so much bigger than we can imagine. I am also reminded that life is supposed to be an adventure. We are not designed to just sit idly by or to be spectators in our own story. We were created to take risks and experience life.
At Seek Well, one of our favorite verses is John 10:10.
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and life to the full.”
This verse sums up what our experiences are all about. We have to recognize that there is an enemy out there that wants to destroy us. He wants to take us out and steal our joy, our purpose and our soul. He wants us to fall asleep on the journey and be spectators in our own story. To be honest, this is the place where so many of us live.
The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way. The second half of the verse says “I have come that they may have life, and life to the full.” Jesus not only came to redeem us but to restore us and give us a better life than we can imagine. But we have to do our part. We have to seek Him well, on purpose. And at Seek Well, we believe that involves a little adventure!
As Jacob puts it, “Hiking through the Rocky Mountains truly brought out the inner kid in me; something I believe I have been missing lately with my daily routine. I felt more alive in those four days than I have in a long time. As we experienced the mountains together, I felt strong. But best of all, I could feel His warm embrace and soft words reminding me that anything is possible. It gave me a fire that I had been missing.”
If you want to take your relationship with Jesus to a new level then join us on the journey. Experience what it’s like to slow down and be present with the King. Come to ONE DAY on September 28th, 2019 or join a Refresh or Encourage group (applications starting this fall). We would love to have you with us as we Seek Well together.